10 Ways to Enjoy Sanibel and Captiva Island


I send as many people there as I can.

That’s because I figure any beach bunny who visits Sanibel and Captiva Islands is going to be twirling her beach towel in joy. The islands are beautiful, with tangles of Mangrove trees along the roads and a whopping 15 miles of beaches. They boast an abundance of quirky restaurants and eclectic shops. And they’re as relaxed as juice-in-the-blender. They don’t even have any traffic lights.

But don’t think you’ll get bored! Check out some of the area's offerings:

·    Shelling: Assume the ‘Sanibel stoop’ and scoop up some treasures from the sea in this world-famous shelling hotspot. Make sure to visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum while you’re in town; they offer free workshops to teach you all about shelling, as well as trips to the beach where you can try the real thing.

·    Ding Darling Nature Preserve: This 6,300-acre nature preserve is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States, is famed for its spectacular migratory bird populations, and you can explore it via car (on their wildlife drive), kayak or canoe, on foot or bicycle. Go – you’ll love it! 

·    Have a Ball at the Beach: Sanibel and Captiva boast an abundance of beautiful beaches, where you can look at a lighthouse, search for shells, escape the crowds or just soak up the sun. Find the perfect fit for you in this beach guide.

·    Biking: Bikes and mopeds and Segways, oh my! Sanibel’s superbly-maintained bike paths meander through 22 miles of shopping districts, back roads, friendly neighborhoods and quiet waterways. Check out where you can rent bikes and suggested trips here.

·    Parasailing: Soar over to tiny Captiva Island for a fabulous flight with YOLO Watersports. You’ll never forget the views!

·    Rent a Wave-runner: Search for manatee, sea turtles or dolphin – or just enjoy the ride on your too-cool wave-runner. You can rent one from Captiva Island’s YOLO Watersports. They also offer guided tours to Cayo Costa Island.

·    Fishing: Hook into some family-friendly fun on a backwater fishing trip with Adventures in Paradise. They also offer sea life encounters, sunset and afternoon dolphin cruises, shelling and lunch excursions, and eco-canoe tours.

·    Snorkel or Scuba Dive: Wrecks and more than a dozen artificial reefs and residents like barracuda, cobia, nurse sharks, grouper, amber jack and moray eels make the waters surrounding Sanibel a super place to dive into the underwater world. 

·    Cruise to Cayo Costa: Spot delightful dolphin, enjoy superb shelling and snorkel in the shallows with a boat ride – either private or group – to the barrier island of Cayo Costa with Sanibel Island Cruise Line. The pristine paradise boasts seven miles of beautiful Gulf front beach. While there, kick back in a kayak or splash into fun on a Sea Doo Sea Scooter.

·    Nature and Historical Walks and Tours: Discover delightful Sanibel diversions that include Chapel by the Sea (11580 Chapin Lane, Captiva, 239- 472-1646), C.R.O.W. (the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife), Old Town Sanibel and Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners


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