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Things to do in Sanibel Island

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There are plenty of things to do in Sanibel Island whether it’s your first trip to the area or a repeat visit. Choose to be surrounded by nature and learn more about the region, visit a historic site on the island or just relax on the sandy beaches. If you want to sample a little bit of everything Sanibel offers, let us help get your plan together.
Upon arriving on the island, a good place to check out is the Visitors Center at the Sanibel Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. Stop in the get tips on where to visit, find area discounts and get recommendations for other things to do in Sanibel Island. There is always something going on and guests will have a great time getting in on the fun.

Beaches

Be sure to add a day at the beach on the list of things to do in Sanibel Island. One of the main reasons visitors come to Sanibel Island and Southwest Florida is for the sandy beaches, often adorned with seashells washed up by the currents of the Gulf of Mexico. Start the day on the beach doing the “Sanibel Stoop” to find seashells or take a sunset walk and enjoy the spectacular display.

 Bowman’s Beach

One of the more popular beaches with locals and visitors on the island’s northwest coast. Bowman’s Beach is located in a quiet section of Sanibel Island, away from the normal traffic on the island.

Lighthouse Beach

The southern tip of Sanibel Island is where visitors will find Lighthouse Beach. The area is named for the island’s historic lighthouse. The beach is within close driving distance from the Sanibel Causeway with great views of the Southwest Florida region.

 Blind Pass Beach

Located on the northern tip of Sanibel Island, Blind Pass Beach is in the shadow of the Blind Pass Bridge taking visitors between Sanibel and Captiva islands. The beach like others along the Sanibel coast provide spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico.

 These are just a few of the beautiful beaches dotting the Sanibel coastline. While visiting the area, choose to rent a home right on the beach, or opt for one of the other properties that have private beach access or within close proximity.

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Shelling

It would be a shame to come to the Seashell Capital and not spend time enjoying the gems nestled along the sandy beaches of Sanibel Island. The area’s unique position in the Gulf of Mexico results in the many different shell varieties found along the shore.

There is a lot to learn about seashells and shelling in the area. Enjoy any of the shelling classes provided, or go out on your own to see what you discover. Be careful to make sure there is nothing living in the shells you find. It’s asked that visitors leave living seashells undisturbed on the beach. There are plenty of others to share.

Sanibel Island is home to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Visitors can spend a few hours at the museum or the entire day learning all there is to know about seashells, especially those found in Southwest Florida. There are several shell excursions available through vendors on the island. 

Whether you begin early in the morning at low tide or later in the day, the “Sanibel Stoop” is a sign to others that there is serious shell viewing and gathering underway. Keep your eyes open for a junonia shell, which is a rare find. Those who manage to locate a junonia shell may suddenly find themselves famous during their stay.

Fishing

Fishing is a popular activity for those visiting Sanibel Island. While some take small boats out to fish in hamlets around the island, others prefer excursions in the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. The area is known for Snook and Tarpon to name a few.

It’s easy to book a fishing excursion for a few hours or an entire day. Select a vacation rental property close to a marina or choose a home with a boat dock and go fishing at your leisure while visiting Sanibel Island.

Anglers who want to get an early start to reeling in the big one will find fishing trips that leave before the sun is up fully. Others may want to sleep in and get a later start, there is an excursion to fit the schedule.

Watching Nature

Sanibel Island is home to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge where a vast array of birds and other wildlife can be found in their natural habitats. Bird watchers especially flock to the area to view the over 100 different birds that find their way to the island on a seasonal basis or are there permanently.

Turtle nesting season is important on Sanibel Island. Each year from May 1 to October 31 sea turtles will come ashore to lay their eggs. Visitors during this time period need to be watchful for barriers around the nests of these endangered species. Watch for the signs and the dimmed lights at night which helps the hatchlings find their way to the water.

In addition, guests can see dolphins jumping out of the ocean to entertain anyone on the beach. And keep watch for manatees while in the refuge or boating on any of the freshwater areas on the island.

Navigate the island’s nature trail or any of the bike trails to spend some time outside, inhaling the fresh air and soaking up the sun.

Vacation Rentals Near Things to Do In Sanibel Island

Whether you want to be near great dining spots, a golf course or on the beach, the Royal Shell team can find the right property to suit the activities you desire.

Sanibel Island vacation rentals include:

Each home comes with a list of amenities which vary depending on the property type and location. So if a home with a pool or condo with beach access is a must, then let’s see what property is available during your time on the island.

Royal Shell is synonymous with luxury accommodations. We handle everything in-house so all visitors need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the beach and sun.

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Blog: Travel News & Articles

February 10, 2020
When is the Best Time to Visit Sanibel Island?

The best time to visit Sanibel Island will ultimately depend on what you’re looking for. If you want to visit during the peak season, this typically occurs between December and April. Even during the off-season though, Sanibel Island has plenty to offer, making it nearly impossible to choose a bad time to visit. 

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February 11, 2020
Sanibel Island Shopping Guide: Don't Skip These Shops

Shopping on Sanibel Island is an unforgettable experience thanks to numerous unique island shops. From tiny mom and pop boutiques to colorful souvenir stores, there’s something to find for every shopper. 

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February 10, 2020
What to do on Sanibel Island at Night: 13 Best Choices

So if you’re looking for inspiration about what to do in Sanibel Island at night, then you’re in the right place. Our top 13 choices below will let you know the very best places to eat, drink, play, relax and unwind so that you can focus on making the most of your visit.

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