Sanibel and Captiva Island
Just off the coast of Fort Myers in the Gulf of Mexico sit the quiet barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva. Voted one of the Top 25 Beaches in the world to visit and ranked one of the Top 3 Shelling Beaches, Sanibel’s seasonal visitors and year-round residents find the warmth of the sun is as warm as the people enjoying it. Just like the people of Sanibel, the slow, easy-going lifestyle you find here is like none other. As you cruise down Periwinkle Way, the only main road that stretches the length of Sanibel to Captiva, you will pass vibrant specialty stores, family-owned cafés, breathtaking homes, protected wildlife parks and families biking down to the local ice cream shop.
Sanibel is a place of uniqueness from the island lifestyle and the warm people to the exciting activities and the gorgeous views, there’s no other place like it to live or visit.
Sanibel and Captiva Island Living
Spanning almost a third of the Island is the J.N. “Ding” Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge that is home to more than 300 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians and more than 30 types of mammals. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top five most visited refuges in the United States with over 800,000 visitors who make the wildlife filled drive through the refuge each year.
Take a day trip on Captiva Cruises to Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Ussepa Island or Boca Grande to secluded beaches, great shelling locations and even surprise wildlife adventures. The Sanibel Island Cruise Line also provides boat tours throughout San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound and Cayo Costa a State Park barrier island that is only accessible by boat. Boat tours are an exciting activity for everyone; even the dolphins find the boats exciting because it’s not uncommon for them to play in the trail of bubbles from the boats creating an experience many people will never forget.
Sanibel is a pretty family-oriented locale, but when you’re in need of some adult time you can find live music and good eats all over the island at places like the Beaches Bar & Grill, the Sundial Beach Resort, which has live music and dancing around 9 pm, McT’s Tavern a sports bar where you can catch a game or challenge your buddies to a game of darts, the Lazy Flamingo, Doc Ford’s or the Sanibel Grill. If you are into jazz, places like Ellington’s and Jacaranda Lounge provide live jazz. A popular attraction is the NASCRAB races at Tween Waters on Captiva on Mondays and Thursdays at 6pm for families and 9pm for adults where you can purchase a hermit crab and cheer them on as they race for the finish line. It is a fun time and for a good cause – half the money raised is donated to the United Way and cash prizes go to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. At the Mucky Duck you can enjoy drinks and live music while you watch the sun go down over the water.
For the golfers, there are two public golf courses on the island: Beachview Golf Course and The Dunes Golf Course. Beachview Golf & Tennis Club offers an 18-hole, Par 70 championship golf course that surrounds the scenic beauty of Sanibel River. They take pride in being a part of the Audubon International’s Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program as a golf course that works to preserve the beautiful, natural Florida landscape that surrounds the course. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club is also a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program as their 18-hole championship course designed by 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber is nestled amongst a wildlife preserve providing breathtaking views and perfect conditions for a premier golfing experience.
Sanibel may be a small island, but it is not lacking in shopping opportunities. If you are looking for the perfect souvenir or the perfect bathing suit, there are several popular shopping centers like Periwinkle Place with stores like Trader Ricks, Fresh Produce, Friday’s Child, Scot’s Fine Jewelry, ice cream shop, Pandora’s Box and when you’ve worked up an appetite the Blue Giraffe offers a wide variety of island food. There are many shopping centers on the island to fill your every shopping desire from Tahitian Gardens with specialty shops and eateries like CheeBurger CheeBurger and the Sanibel Café to the Village Shops with designer and private label women’s clothing, fine art gallery and tropical wine shop. Or sort through colorful seashells at She Sells Seashells and Tuttle’s on Periwinkle Way.