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Shelling picture in Sanibel Island
paparutzi / Flickr

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily

Details

  • Beaches Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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.

Though this area isn't as developed as other areas of the islands, it still offers a few amenities, including picnic tables, grills, bathrooms and bike racks. Plan on bringing your own food instead of visiting one of the popular restaurants located about a mile down Bowman's Beach Road, as they can get pretty pricey. Another unfortunate side effect of visiting this centrally located beach is the $4-an-hour parking fee by the shore. The beach welcomes visitors from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, visit the Lee County website.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages

Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages ...

  • 1.9 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
West Wind Inn

West Wind Inn ...

  • 4.2 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Beachview Cottages

Beachview Cottages ...

  • 4.2 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Sanibel Island »

More Best Things to Do in Sanibel Island

Shelling picture in Sanibel Island
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Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum picture in Sanibel Island
Museums Type
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Schoolhouse Theater picture in Sanibel Island
Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
National Wildlife Refuge picture in Sanibel Island
Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Sanibel Lighthouse picture in Sanibel Island
Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
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#1 Bowman's Beach 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 ... Read more » paparutzi / Flickr

#2 Captiva Island 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 ... Read more » Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

#4 Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum 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 ... Read more » Jessica Lucia / Flickr

#5 Schoolhouse Theater 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 ... Read more » Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

#6 J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge 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 ... Read more » cletch / Flickr

#7 Sanibel Lighthouse 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 ... Read more » Todd Ryburn Photography / Getty Images

Shelling picture in Sanibel Island
Sunset at Captiva Beach picture in Sanibel Island
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum picture in Sanibel Island
Schoolhouse Theater picture in Sanibel Island
National Wildlife Refuge picture in Sanibel Island
Sanibel Lighthouse picture in Sanibel Island
Shelling picture in Sanibel Island
Sunset at Captiva Beach picture in Sanibel Island
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum picture in Sanibel Island
Schoolhouse Theater picture in Sanibel Island
National Wildlife Refuge picture in Sanibel Island
Sanibel Lighthouse picture in Sanibel Island

Shelling is one of the most popular activities on the island. For the best pickings, head to the central-strand Bowman's Beach. paparutzi / Flickr

Head over to the smaller, northern island of Captiva for a nice dinner and an even nicer sunset. Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

Seashells of all kinds are on display at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum Jessica Lucia / Flickr

The Schoolhouse Theater started out as a one-room school in the 19th century. Now, it seats approximately 90 people for Broadway performances and live music concerts. Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge shelters mangroves, crocodiles, alligators, birds and more. cletch / Flickr

You should snap a few photos of this iconic lighthouse, but recent visitors say you don't have to spend too much time here.  Todd Ryburn Photography / Getty Images

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