Bowman's Beach#1 in Best Things To Do in Sanibel Island
Price & Hours
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. (You may want to wear water shoes to protect your feet.)
Beachgoers routinely praised Bowman's for its excellent shelling and expansive sands that let visitors find their own spots with ease. Several also enjoyed riding their bikes to the beach, saying that the ride is easy along the nearby path.
Though this area isn't as developed as other parts of the island, it still offers a few amenities, including picnic tables, grills, bathrooms and bike racks. Plan on bringing your own food, as the closest restaurant is about 3 miles away. Another unfortunate side effect of visiting this popular beach is the $5 hourly parking fee by the shore. The beach itself is free to access and welcomes visitors from sunrise to dusk daily. For more information, visit the Lee County website.
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#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's a cheat sheet: Sanibel has better shells on its beaches, but Captiva's dining is more eclectic. Souvenir shopping on both islands is fairly evenly matched, but Sanibel has an inside edge on art galleries. In short, consider spending your days on Sanibel, then hop over to Captiva for a unique dining experience. Stay a few extra minutes for one of the romantic sunsets along Captiva Beach. Recent travelers found these beaches quieter than the ones in Sanibel. Even so, parking is limited, making it difficult to bring your own set of wheels. There are also fewer facilities on these beaches.
You can access Captiva Island from Sanibel by driving up Sanibel Captiva Road and crossing the Blind Pass Bridge, which connects the two isles. Parking costs $5 per hour at the beaches, but the beaches themselves are free to access. Restaurant and shop hours may vary.
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