Sanibel Island Vacation: The Complete Travel Guide with Things To Do

About Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island floats on the Mexican Gulf with only 7402 residents. Shell crusted white sand and teal waters encircle the island. There you will find idyllic tourist sites like the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Periwinkle Way, Captiva Island, Bowman’s beach, and more.

The idyllic climate, beachfront hotels with picturesque views, great local eateries, and bars make vacationing in Sanibel Island a blissful travel guide for travelers all over the world. 

“It’s a wonderful Sanibel Island, we will come back next year for sure!”

HomeTobeach Sanibel island travel guide will enlighten you with all the crucial information on activities, restaurants, nightlife, accommodation, and many more.

Sanibel Island

Getting Around Sanibel island

There are various easy means of exploring travel to Sanibel Island. Biking takes the first position in that list. Lengthy bike trails run through the island and provide a safe path for bikers. Moreover, bike rental rates are low, and stores like Billy’s Bike are accessible.

If you are on a family vacation or do not want to bike around the island, taxi services and car rental companies are readily available to take you out and about. Lastly, you can walk around the tiny island and explore it closely, without worrying about the jammed roads.

Best Places to Stay in Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island shores are cramped with beachfront hotels, resorts, and rentals in a range of prices. You will never fail to find a suitable place to stay, as per your occasion and budget. Sundial Beach Resort & Spa stands as the best choice for your staycation. Free of charge parking, fantastic architecture, comfortable rooms, a spa, and easy access to the beach, has rewarded the hotel with many reviews on Tripadvisor.

The list of great beachfront hotels, Sanibel island house rentals includes Casa Ybel Resort, West Wind Inn, Seaside Inn, and Island Inn. Finally, among the vacation rentals or Sanibel island house rentals, Heron secures the top spot. Vacation rental sites like Airbnb, vrbo, Expedia, and booking.com will assure you of the best prices with top amenities like a private pool or heated pool, hot tub so on. 

Sanibel Island villa

Best Things to do in Sanibel Island

Lie down on the pearl-white sands and listen to the soothing melody of rushing waves on the beaches of Sanibel Island. Shores of Sanibel Island are embezzled with shells, making shelling one of the most favorite activities. Water sports like snorkeling, kayaking, jetski, and speedboat riding are tourist-favorites. It is not hard to find out if you search on google “jet ski rental near me”, “boat rentals near Sanibel island”. Besides this, Sanibel Island also offers cruises like Key West Express for dolphin viewing and a ‘wind in your hair’ adventure on the emerald waters. Things to do in Sanibel and Captiva are almost the same. 

Loads of tourist spots, museums, and animal sanctuary, are also part of why travelers love Sanibel Island. Ding Darlington Wildlife Refuge is a tourist destination, included in every tourist’s itinerary. It is a wildlife sanctuary and preserves different kinds of species, mostly birds. A tour through the park is educative for all ages.

Bailey-Mathews National Shell Museum is a must-visit spot as it is the only museum in the country dedicated to showcasing different kinds of shells only. The museum exhibits are rare, and it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you and your family.

Have a picnic at Bowman’s beach while relishing the gorgeous view. Facilities like grills, picnic tables, restrooms, playground, and public showers make this beach an ideal picnic spot. You can also take a short ride to Fort Myers’ Times Square’ and rejoice in the convivial atmosphere full of vendors, street performers, live bands, and lively people just gathered to view the sunset and have a good time.

Sanibel Island night
Sanibel Island night

Sanibel Island Food & Restaurants on the Beach

It is impossible to go hungry when you are on Sanibel Island. Plenty of local seafood eateries runs along the beach and serves the best seafood. Mad Hatter is one of the best-known restaurants on Sanibel Island. The restaurant features a cozy, family-friendly atmosphere, and its specialties include juicy lamb chops, coconut risotto, and creamy scallops.

The Sandbar at 2761 W Gulf Dr served freshly caught seafood and refreshing drinks and desserts like crème Brule and Key lime pies. To savor some more seafood but in different flavors, visit George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille at 2499 Periwinkle Way.

Please do not leave without trying some mind-blowing Italian dishes at Matzaluna, which has the softest and freshest mozzarella incorporated into their meals.

If you are on Sanibel Island, do not forget to have a meal at Sweet Melissa’s Café. The entire menu is tempting and mouth-watering, but the romantic vibe of the café snatches the trophy.

Food & Restaurants on the sanibel island

Best Time to Visit Sanibel Island

During the months between December and April, the blissful weather makes this time the most suitable time to visit Sanibel Island. However, the main drawbacks are the congested roads and rising hotel prices. Belated fall is a considerable time for your trip to the beach if you do not mind crisp waters. Lastly, if you plan to tour the island in summer but omit any chances of encountering storms, then May to June is your window.

Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna.

Sanibel Island Nightlife

After enjoying a fun day under the warm sun, you do not have to get back to your hotel when you are vacationing on Sanibel Island. The island stays awake into the most profound hours as travelers roam around and visit plenty of fun spots. Start by enjoying an amber sunset on an adventure cruise. Drop off and enjoy a refreshing happy hour at Cip’s Place with only $1. Next, indulge in some great live music with a side of delicious dinner and beer at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar, or conclude the night by dancing into the AM at the Island Inn.

Sanibel Island Day Trips

A day in the calm Sanibel Island can turn into a fun-filled adventure if you know where to go. There are tons of thrilling ventures you can have on your daycation, one of which is renting a bike to explore the island, dive through the Ding Darling Wildlife preserve, and make a few stops at To have some fun-time a the beach, take a trip to the Gulf side city park. You can also rent a kayak from Tarpon Bay Explorers, or hop on the sunset cruise or catamaran sailing boat and enjoy fishing, snorkeling, and sailing on the emerald waters.

Nearby Beach Destinations

Naples Beach =46 km             Miami Beach =206 km            Key West Beach =212 km

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