This secluded Fort Myers offshoot is considered even more low-key, quiet and quaint than its Gulf Coast neighbor, and that's saying a lot. Casual is the order of the day on Sanibel Island; a shabby chic vibe permeates the Periwinkle Way galleries, restaurants and shops; seashells cover every sandy and linoleum surface. In fact, the abundant seashells have become this island's (and its smaller sister, Captiva's) claim to fame. You'll find plenty of beachcombers practicing the "Sanibel stoop" — what locals call shelling — on any lengthy stretch of sand. Plan on joining them for at least one afternoon of your stay; that is, if the mood strikes you. The residents of laid-back Sanibel wouldn't have it any other way.
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The best time to visit Sanibel Island is December to April, the peak season. Trips during these five months will be more expensive than at other times, so start planning early. Still, this is when you'll find idyllic beach weather. The late fall is a good time to secure a room deal and do a little shelling in the chilly Gulf water. Avoid the hurricane season altogether — if you want to visit in the summer, plan your trip for May or early June, before the threat of bad storms.See details for When to Visit Sanibel Island
Indulge in fresh seafood during your stay in Sanibel. Dishes worth hunting down in your free time include grouper, snapper, stone crab and shrimp. Head over to Periwinkle Way for the best restaurants on the island such as Traders Cafe, George & Wendy's Sanibel Seafood Grille and The Island Cow.
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