Best Things To Do in Sanibel Island
You're probably in town to pick up a few shells — and everyone agrees that Bowman's Beach is the best place to try the "Sanibel Stoop." Identify your pickings at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, then buy a piece of the best conch art somewhere along Periwinkle Way. Of course, not everything in town is about seashells. The popular J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a terrific diversion for families, and romancing couples should catch a sunset over on Captiva Island.
- #1View all PhotosfreeBowman's Beach#1 in Sanibel IslandBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Bowman's is well known for having beautiful, unusual shells, but you'll have to put a little effort into finding the true gems along this beach. Recent travelers found the best method is to step waist-deep in the water and dig your feet into the sand to find the shells.
- #2View all PhotosfreeCaptiva Island#2 in Sanibel IslandBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Most people think of Sanibel and its quirky little sister island, Captiva, as interchangeable. True, they're both quiet spots with great shorelines, but there are a few differences. Here's a cheat sheet: Sanibel has better shells on its beaches, but Captiva's dining is more eclectic. Souvenir shopping on both sides
- freePeriwinkle Way#3 in Sanibel IslandFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The island's main thoroughfare is home to several restaurants, shopping opportunities and some of the choicest hotels. So there's no real reason to recommend you visit; there's a good chance you'll end up along Periwinkle at some point in time during your trip.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Sanibel IslandMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is small but packs quite a punch. In just a few choice exhibits, you'll be able to learn more about any sea treasures you might have uncovered at the nearby seashore. Popular exhibits include the sailors' valentines (19th century shell art that Bajan women designed for
- #5View all Photos#5 in Sanibel IslandEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
This bright pink Sanibel landmark started out as a one-room schoolhouse in 1896. Now, it’s the 90-seat BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater, a performance venue that welcomes Broadway shows, live music concerts and comedy acts.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Sanibel IslandHiking, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Named after a political cartoonist and conservationist, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge was originally meant to conserve the Sanibel Island mangrove forest. Now, the refuge (which occupies 6,300 acres of land or half the entire island) shelters those same mangroves, as well as animals like crocodiles, alligators and
- #7View all Photos#7 in Sanibel IslandSightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
One of the first lighthouses on Florida's Gulf Coast, this station on the island's eastern end used to light the entrance into San Carlos Bay. Now, this iconic Sanibel Island landmark is a little worse for wear. Recent travelers did not find the lighthouse too aesthetically pleasing and recommended taking
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