Getting Around Sanibel Island
The best way to get around Sanibel Island is by bike. The island is bike friendly and has plenty of paths to help you get around. Cars are also an option, though parking is limited and expensive in most cases. If you'd rather not rent a car or a bike, there are a few taxi companies that can take you around. There is no public transportation on Sanibel Island.
The closest airport is the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), which is about 30 miles east of Sanibel. You may also want to research flights to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), which is located about 60 miles northeast of Sanibel and welcomes flights from low-cost carrier Allegiant Air. You can get to your hotel via a taxi or a ride-hailing app (like Uber and Lyft). However, ride-hailing services do not operate on Sanibel and Captiva, so to get from the island to the airport you'll likely need to call a local taxi.
Biking on Sanibel Island is easy thanks to its 22 miles of paved bike paths, some of which are shared with pedestrians and cars. Trails run the length of the island and pass popular beaches, attractions, restaurants and shops. If your hotel or vacation rental doesn't have bikes available for your use, there are several places to rent bikes and helmets. Weekly rentals for single-speed bikes start at $30. Shops may also have kid-sized bikes, bike trailers and baby seats to accommodate children.
Having a car can be beneficial to get you around Sanibel, particularly if you want to visit Captiva Island or take a daytrip to Fort Myers. However, parking is limited and expensive on both Sanibel and Captiva. At the beaches, you'll spend $5 per hour to park in the lots. To get to the island from the mainland, you'll cross the Sanibel Island Causeway and there's a $6 toll each time you drive onto the island. Visit the LeeWay website for more information on tolls. You can rent a car at the airport or the sole Hertz location on the island.
Walking is a low-cost and easy way to navigate the island for short trips (such as to the beach or to dinner from your hotel). In addition, shops and restaurants are walking distance of one another along Periwinkle Way. For other excursions, like visiting the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, you'll likely need a car or bike to get you there.
Three different taxi companies are available on Sanibel. Travelers typically rely on these services to get them to and from the airport; fares will cost approximately $65 from Southwest Florida International Airport. Visitors also use taxi services to get them around the island to different attractions, making the taxis a convenient, albeit expensive, option for getting around.
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