Sanibel Island in Florida
It doesn't matter whether you're looking for a family adventure, a romantic getaway, or a solo trip, Sanibel Island in Florida has everything you could ask for. From water sports and scenic walks to museums and sophisticated nightlife, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Places to go
With over 15 miles of pristine coastlines to choose from, you're spoiled for choice if you're a beach lover. Not sure where to go when you first arrive? Head over to the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce. They're sure to point you in the right direction.
The island boasts long stretches of sand littered with pretty shells. In fact, Sanibel Island has even won awards for having the best beaches in Florida for shell collecting. Facilities are excellent too, and all their public beaches have toilets and some even have picnic tables where you can get away from all that sunbathing and grab a bite to eat.
Some beaches also have showers, so you can rinse your feet and avoid filling up your hire car's footwells with sand. If you're a nature lover and want to enjoy a spot of fishing or bird watching, these shores are great for that too. The Causeway Beach deserves a special mention if you're looking for places to visit in Sanibel Island. It doesn't matter whether you fancy a dip in the ocean, a spot of windsurfing, or quick fishing session, this beach has everything you need.
Attractions for families and grown-ups
If you enjoy messing about in boats, then there are plenty of companies who'll rent you a boat for the day. There's no better way to explore the island's coves than by hitting the open waters and taking a leisurely trip around the coastline.
For the more adventurous, try an afternoon of kayaking or paddle boarding out on the crystal clear ocean. If that sounds appealing, head to the north of the island, where you'll find plenty of opportunities to take part in some water sports.
It's not just the beaches that attract tourists: the island's also famous for its top-notch food. Chefs from all over the globe come here in search of inspiration for their own dishes. With over 50 restaurants to choose from, you'll certainly find something to tickle your fancy.
From family-owned ice cream shops to waterfront restaurants complete with beach views, the food scene is excellent.
For a spot of high culture, Schoolhouse Theatre is the place to be. You can't miss this unusual building, it's bright pink. As the name of the theatre suggests, the property was once a schoolhouse back in 1896. Fast forward to today, and you can enjoy live performances here. To date, this venue's hosted Broadway shows, music concerts and hilarious comedy acts. Be sure to do some research to find out what's on before you arrive.
Places to visit
No trip to Sanibel Island would be complete without a visit to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Don't let its small size deceive you, as you wander around, you'll be amazed at the colours, shapes, and sizes of the gorgeous shells retrieved not only from nearby shores, but from around the world. The 'sailor's' valentines' is one of the museums more popular exhibits. All this shell art was created back in the 19th century by Bajan women. These cute designs were initially sold to sailors to take back to their sweethearts.
The shell classification wheel's also a firm favourite. You can use the wheel to identify whether a specific shell comes from Southwest Florida. Wander around life-size models that showcase what 18th century life was like for Native Calusa Floridians.
Don't forget to take a walk down Periwinkle Way at some point during your trip. Not only is this the island's main street, but it's also home to some of the best restaurants and shops on the island, making it perfect for boutique shopping trips. Tiki Jim's is a particular favourite for tourists wanting to buy souvenirs.
You may even want to hire a bike as there's a cycle path that takes you past the best shopping hotspots. You could also take a day trip over to Sanibel's sister island, Captiva. Similar to Sanibel Island, you'll also find fabulous beaches and a thriving food scene here. It's the perfect place to go for a special dinner with your loved one.
More Things To Do ideas