Welcome to the Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Sanibel Island in FloridaSanibel and Captiva Islands are located in Lee County, Florida. More than half of Sanibel is made up of wildlife refuges and is known as a popular tourist destination. Captiva is an unincorporated community that can be accessed from Sanibel Island via a bridge.

Beaches & Recreation

Sanibel & Captiva Islands have a sub-tropical climate, where residents and visitors can enjoy many outdoor activities. Sanibel has plenty of walking trails and 22.6 miles of paved paths for people to hike, walk and bike along as well as 15.5 miles of beaches and several golf courses. The beaches have places to picnic, and launch canoes and kayaks, as well as several places to fish and shell.

Sanibel Island Beaches

  • Bowman's Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach Park
  • Gulfside City Park Beach
  • Tarpon Bay Beach
  • Blind Pass Beach

Captiva Island Beaches

  • Captiva Beach
  • Turner Beach
  • Alison Hagerup Beach Park
  • Cayo Costa State Park (accessible by boat from Captiva)

Popular Outdoor Activities on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Here are just a few of the many outdoor recreational opportunities on these beautiful islands.

  • Shelling: Collecting shells along the shoreline is a favorite activity for visitors, as these islands are known for their abundance of diverse shells.
  • Biking: With miles of bike trails, exploring the islands by bike is a great way to see the sights and enjoy the natural beauty.
  • Bird Watching: The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent opportunities for bird watching and wildlife observation.
  • Fishing: Both inshore and offshore fishing options are available, with plenty of species to target, such as snook, redfish, tarpon, and grouper.
  • Kayaking & Canoeing: Paddle through the mangroves and waterways to explore the island's unique ecosystems.
  • Beachcombing: Stroll along the pristine beaches and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf while looking for treasures washed ashore.
  • Boating & Sailing: Charter a boat or rent a sailboat to explore the surrounding waters and nearby islands.
  • Snorkeling & Scuba Diving: Discover the underwater world around the islands, including artificial reefs and abundant marine life.
  • Golfing: Enjoy a round of golf at one of the island's beautiful courses, such as The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club or the Sanibel Island Golf Club.
  • Paddleboarding: Rent a paddleboard and explore the calm waters surrounding the islands.

Wildlife & Nature Preserves

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a haven for nature lovers, with an array of wildlife refuges and nature preserves. The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a 6,400-acre refuge on Sanibel Island, is home to over 245 species of birds, more than 50 types of reptiles, and 32 different kinds of mammals. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation offer educational programs and exhibits on local ecosystems and conservation efforts.

Arts & Culture

Sanibel and Captiva Islands have a thriving arts scene, with several galleries, theaters, and cultural venues. BIG ARTS Sanibel provides a platform for visual and performing arts, while the Schoolhouse Theater offers a variety of performances throughout the year. The Captiva Island Historical Society preserves the island's rich history and organizes regular exhibitions and programs.

Shopping & Dining

There are several places to dine and shop on the islands. A few of the local shopping centers include Tahitian Gardens, The Village Shops, Olde Sanibel Shoppes, and Town Center. The Sanibel and Captiva Islands are home to a variety of local businesses, from boutiques and gift shops to restaurants and services. 

Bridge to Sanibel Beaches in FloridaSchools

Get information about the schools located in Sanibel & Captiva by clicking on the links below.

Fun Facts About Sanibel & Captiva

  • Sanibel Island is renowned for its shelling opportunities. Thanks to its unique geographical orientation, the island acts as a scoop and collects seashells that the Gulf of Mexico brings in with the tides.
  • More than half of Sanibel Island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Captiva Island is an unincorporated community and is only accessible via a bridge from Sanibel Island.
  • The islands have a sub-tropical climate, making them a perfect destination for year-round outdoor activities.
  • Captiva Island was once the home of famous cartoonist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, who contributed significantly to the island's conservation efforts.
  • The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to shells and the mollusks that make them.
  • Both islands are known for their beautiful sunsets, which can be best viewed from their western-facing beaches.
  • Sanibel Island has no traffic lights, maintaining its peaceful and laid-back atmosphere.
  • The Sanibel Lighthouse, located on the eastern end of the island, was first lit in 1884 and is still a functioning lighthouse today.
  • Famous inventor Thomas Edison and automobile industrialist Henry Ford had winter estates in nearby Fort Myers and were known to visit the islands.

Eco-Friendly Tourism in Sanibel & Captiva

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are gems for eco-friendly tourism, offering a plethora of sustainable travel practices, eco-tours, and green accommodations. Visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of these islands through guided eco-tours that explore the rich biodiversity of the area. From kayaking through mangrove forests to bird watching in wildlife preserves, these activities are designed to educate and inspire travelers about the importance of conservation. Green accommodations on the islands further enhance the eco-friendly experience, providing sustainable lodging options that minimize environmental impact. This commitment to eco-tourism makes Sanibel and Captiva ideal destinations for environmentally conscious travelers looking to enjoy nature responsibly.

Local Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are at the forefront of wildlife conservation, with numerous initiatives aimed at protecting their unique ecosystems and endangered species. Conservation efforts include habitat restoration, pollution control, and species protection programs. Visitors can contribute by participating in eco-tours that support local conservation projects, adhering to wildlife-friendly practices, and donating to organizations dedicated to preserving the islands' natural beauty. These collective actions help ensure the longevity and health of the islands' diverse habitats, making them a sanctuary for both wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate

Browse a variety of real estate options in the Captiva and Sanibel Islands including waterfront homes and condos. If you have questions about the area or would like more information on properties, contact Phaidra McDermott. I'm ready to help you find your new island home in beautiful Southwest Florida.

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