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Sanibel Captiva Island, FL

Travel Guide
Sanibel Captiva Island

This barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico is famous for its seashells, and charms visitors with its sunsets, watersports and family-friendly resorts.

With white-sand bays, wildlife reserves and oceanfront resorts, Sanibel Island is a holiday destination of choice. Celebrated for its natural beauty, this island off the west coast of Florida has 15 miles (24 kilometers) of beach, mangrove forests and coral reefs teeming with fish.

Sanibel Island is a city and barrier island, connected to the mainland by a tollroad. On this small island you will not be going anywhere in a hurry. You can rent a bike and follow the 22 miles (35 kilometers) of bike trails traversing the island. With very few hills, this is not too strenuous, but note that there are no streetlights after dark.

On the beaches you can stand ankle deep in seashells. Take part in the “Sanibel Stoop,” a ritual for locals and tourists alike, which involves walking along the seashore to collect the shells washed up daily from the Caribbean and southern seas. Learn about the history and science of shells at Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

Go snorkeling, paddleboarding or windsurfing to try some of the water-based activities on offer. To get a break from the beach, enjoy the events at the Big Arts cultural center, including jazz concerts and dance performances. For a slice of history, join a guided tour of Sanibel Historical Museum and Village and learn about local pioneer families.

Over two-thirds of Sanibel Island is a designated nature reserve. Be sure to visit J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This undeveloped mangrove ecosystem is named after Jay Norwood Darling, a cartoonist who fought to protect the island from developers. Join a kayaking tour to discover the varied flora and fauna, including horseshoe crabs and woodpeckers. Visit the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife to see who takes care of the island’s injured birds and animals.

Sanibel Island places a strong emphasis on independent stores and restaurants. A prime example is Bailey’s General Store. The Baileys, one of the city’s original families, have been running the store since 1899. If you decide to try your hand at fishing during your visit to Sanibel Island, some of the restaurants are willing to cook your catch.

Where to stay in Sanibel Captiva Island

Sanibel Island Beach Resort
Sanibel Island Beach Resort
3 out of 5
1231 Middle Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL
The price is $199 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
Nestled on the beach, this Sanibel hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Periwinkle Way and Sanibel Island Southern Beach. Sanibel Island Lighthouse is 2.7 mi (4.3 ...
4.3/5Excellent! (1,076 reviews)
"It was wonderful that the property has beach access as well as its own swimming pool and a nice bar. The staff were very good and the resort was clean and attractive. It is really just a simple place, a two-story motel with nice landscaping."

Reviewed on Aug 3, 2021

Sanibel Island Beach Resort
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
3 out of 5
1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel, FL
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $358 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 16
Located in Sanibel, this beachfront condo resort is next to a golf course and within 3 mi (5 km) of Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, BIG Arts Center, and Sanibel ...
4.3/5Excellent! (2,434 reviews)
"What a great place for a getaway! The staff were very nice, so many on-site amenities and activities, and the rooms were great as well. My wife and I went as a part of our honeymoon and loved it. There really is something for everyone here, so there's really no reason to leave the resort area. Food ..."

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
West Wind Inn
West Wind Inn
3 out of 5
3345 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, FL
The price is $238 per night from Aug 19 to Aug 19
Nestled on the beach, this Sanibel hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Sanibel Island Southern Beach, Periwinkle Way, and Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. ...
4.4/5Excellent! (995 reviews)
"Excellent"

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

West Wind Inn
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Sanibel Inn
Sanibel Inn
3 out of 5
937 E Gulf Drive, Sanibel, FL
The price is $219 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
Located in Sanibel, this beachfront condo resort is next to a golf course and within 1 mi (2 km) of Periwinkle Way and Sanibel Island Southern Beach. Sanibel ...
4.3/5Excellent! (2,047 reviews)
"This is our second stay at this property. We will definitely be back for a third stay in the future. It’s a great location, the staff is polite and helpful, and the rooms are comfortable and clean."

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2021

Sanibel Inn
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
3 out of 5
1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel, FL
The price is $358 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 16
Located in Sanibel, this beachfront condo resort is next to a golf course and within 3 mi (5 km) of Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, BIG Arts Center, and Sanibel ...
4.3/5Excellent! (2,434 reviews)
"What a great place for a getaway! The staff were very nice, so many on-site amenities and activities, and the rooms were great as well. My wife and I went as a part of our honeymoon and loved it. There really is something for everyone here, so there's really no reason to leave the resort area. Food ..."

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Seaside Inn
Seaside Inn
3 out of 5
541 E Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL
The price is $368 per night from Aug 15 to Aug 15
Nestled on the beach, this Sanibel aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sanibel Island Northern Beach and Sanibel Island Southern Beach. Sanibel Island Lighthouse ...
4.4/5Excellent! (1,279 reviews)
"The Seaside Inn is the perfect “vintage” Florida hotel with great service and amenities and a $1 million PLUS location! We WILL return!"

Reviewed on Jul 26, 2021

Seaside Inn
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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