What to Do

Fun at the Beach

Instead of schedules and sightseeing, choose a beach vacation where you can relax and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. A day at the beach can be as relaxing or as active as you please. Many visitors choose to spend their days sunbathing or reading a juicy novel, while others indulge in every adventurous activity that the beach has to offer.

If you have a craving to get out on the water, choose between boating, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, or canoeing. Sanibel Island is truly a water lovers' heaven, where you can spend your entire trip on the water enjoying different activities. Don’t miss out on the chance to go out for a dolphin tour and encounter these incredible creatures in their natural environment.

sanibel family beach

Fun for Families

The beach will be the first draw to the Island, but once you arrive, you will realize all the other activities that this island has to offer. Miles of bike paths are ideal for early morning exercise or a family bike ride at sunset. Work on your tennis skills at one of the local tennis courts, or build a sand castle on the beach. Another of the most popular activities in Sanibel Island is shelling. The place is known for its beautiful seashells, of all pastel colors, lining the shore. Get the family together for a stroll along the beach, and you might just be amazed at all the different shell varieties, colors, and shapes you come upon.

Fun for Adults

Sanibel Island isn’t only fun for families; it also has plenty to offer adults. If you love golf, this island will seem like the Garden of Eden. There are 70 scenic golf courses within a short driving distance. You could play a round of 18 every single morning of your trip and not even make a dent in the number of courses there are to play.

One local favorite golf course is the Beachview Golf Club. This 18-hole course is open to the public and as the name suggests, provides excellent views. Sanibel Island is also full of romantic places to go for a stroll. Beyond the beach, go for a walk at sunset in the Port Sanibel Marina or the Sanibel Marina to see the local boats.

sanibel island shels

What to See

What Sanibel Island lacks in attractions, it makes up for in wildlife. This island is full of incredible wildlife and opportunities to spot these creatures in their natural habitats. The most popular activity for this is definitely dolphin tours, but there are other things to do as well if you’re interested in wildlife.

Spend a day bird watching and you will encounter pelicans and elegant herons. If you’re an avid bird watcher, a local tour guide can help you to find a variety of colorful species all over the island.

sanibel sunrise

Where to Shop and Eat

The Style of Sanibel Island

After a few days in the Florida sun, you might need a break from the beach. Luckily this island offers a wide range of shopping that will tempt even travelers who don’t think of themselves as shoppers. From boutiques to gift shops and art galleries to jewelry stores, you will find a great selection of items to buy for yourself or someone special at home.

Browsing can be one of its main shopping pleasures. During your day of shopping be sure to check out some of the island’s most popular stores including Bailey’s General Store, Island Gifts and Shells, Cheese Nook Gourmet Shop, Islander Trading Post, and Her Sports Closet.

Dining in Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is known for succulent, fresh seafood. Many visitors plan on cooking some meals in the privacy of the kitchen of their vacation rentals, but you must also take the time to sample some of the local flavors.

Every local in Sanibel Island will have their own favorite restaurant, so be sure to ask the owner of your vacation rental for his or her personal recommendation. Some local favorites include Dolce Vita, Hungry Heron, La Vigna Restaurant, Mermaid Kitchen, Sanibel Steakhouse, and Island Cow.

sanibel fishing

When to Visit

Part of the appeal of the Island is its sub-tropical climate. This means perfect beach weather all year long. No matter what time of year you want to travel to Florida, you will be able to enjoy a day of sunbathing or a day out on the boat. That being said, some seasons are more popular than others for a variety of reasons.

The winter is by far the most popular time to visit Florida. From the months of November through March, when the northern half of the country is plagued with freezing temperatures and snowfall, Florida is still as warm and tropical as ever. The summer season when kids are off from school is also popular, but July and August are the hottest and most humid months of the year. Towards the end of August and into September, hurricane season begins, so beware of booking a vacation during this time as there is potential for interruption.

What to Bring

The beauty of a Sanibel vacation is that it doesn’t require too much planning. For a simple beach vacation you will need your beach basics such as bathing suits, sunglasses, sunscreen, and flip-flops. If you’re planning a family vacation, bring along some entertainment for the kids, including beach toys, floaties for the water, and maybe a cooler to bring snacks and drinks to the beach.

Sanibel Island doesn’t have the glitz that some other Florida destinations offer, so leave your fancy clothes at home, and bring along comfortable items. If you do plan on enjoying some of fine dining restaurants, a nice outfit or two will do, but nothing fancy is required.

sanibel island vacations

What to Know

There are a variety of beaches in Sanibel Island and they all offer their own pleasures. While you might wind up spending most of your time at the beach that is closest to your vacation rental, you might also want to explore other beaches. Bowman’s Beach for example is a quiet, secluded beach. Here you will find barbecue grills if you want to plan a family picnic.

The Causeway beaches are known for having lots of shade. If you want to sit beneath the shade of a palm tree during your day at the beach, this is the spot for you. Lighthouse Beach and Fishing Pier is for more adventurous travelers. Here you will cross a boardwalk nature trail across wetlands to reach the beach.

Why Vacation Rentals?

If you’re planning a beach escape, the odds are you could use a little relaxation. Why not take that relaxation a step beyond what hotels can offer and rent your own private beachfront property?

The sound of the ocean will be the only thing you hear instead of noisy neighbors. Your family will have all the room they need to spread out, and it will be easier to plan quality time when you have a living room and kitchen to utilize. Watching the sunset from your private balcony, you will be glad you chose vacation rentals.

sanibel sunset