Sanibel - Sun, sand, and the most beautiful aquamarine waters will beckon you to this Florida island paradise for romantic or family beach vacations!

Famous for it's 25 miles of award-winning beaches, 22 miles of bike paths, great shelling, and wildlife refuges, visitors and tourists come from all over the country and the globe.

You'll also find fabulous restaurants and accommodations .......... plus plenty of fun things to do!

You can enjoy boating, fishing, all kinds of watersports, golf, tennis, shopping, and various cultural events, besides hanging out and working on your tan at any of the island's numerous beaches.


Did you know that there isn't a single traffic light on the entire island?!

What you'll see instead are lots of families biking up and down the main road through town, Periwinkle Way, and down the sandy lanes that run off of it.

sanibel island vacation

sanibel fl

Sanibel is a barrier island west of Ft Myers and part of a chain that includes Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, North Captiva, Cayo Costa, Useppa, Cabbage Key, Pine Island, Matlacha, and Boca Grande.

If you're flying in, get a flight to Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers.  It's under 10 miles and about 20-25 minutes to drive to the Sanibel Causeway.

sanibel causeway

It's 3 miles long and spans San Carlos Bay at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River where it meets the Gulf.  There are 3 connected bridges that land on 2 small islands with beaches and great fishing.

sanibel island causeway

The causeway lets out onto Sanibel near the eastern end.  Almost immediately to the right is the Chamber of Commerce ..... stop by to get information and pick up maps, brochures, and coupons.

sanibel island chamber of commerce

Shortly after that, you'll hit Periwinkle Way, the main street through the center of town. 

Take a left and head towards Lighthouse Beach, one of the island's 5 public beaches. 

Along the way, you'll see neighborhoods of single family homes with many on canals ....... as well as vacation rentals.

sanibel island real estate

sanibel real estate

sanibel island rentals

Take a left onto North Yachtsman Drive to go to the Sanibel Marina.  While you're there, you can grab a bite to eat at Gramma Dots.

sanibel marina

There are 2 small strip malls just before the beach on either side of the street, with one of my favorite places to grab a picnic lunch for the beach, East End Deli.

east end deli

Remember to slow down and watch for bikers.  The road dead ends into the beach parking lot where you'll find several entrances to the beach ........... make sure you pay for parking first before you hit the sand!

sanibel biking

sanibel beach parking

sanibel lighthouse beach

As you head back from Lighthouse Beach west on Periwinkle Way, take a left on East Gulf Drive immediately after East End Deli.

This is a pleasant drive through residential areas.  As the road curves and follows more closely to the beaches, you'll see tons of vacation rentals, both houses and condos ....... and inns, motels, hotels, and the best of Florida resorts.

sanibel rentals

sanibel florida

Algiers Beach at Gulfside City Park is along this way.  Look for Gulf Breeze Cottages, Song of the Sea and Sanibel Inns and The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. 

song of the sea

florida resorts

Further down, the road turns into Middle Gulf Drive and you'll see more vacation accommodations such as the Holiday Inn and Sundial Beach Resort & Spa.

When the road comes to a T, take a right to get back to Periwinkle way, or go left on Casa Ybel Rd and to the Casa Ybel Beach Resort.

casa ybel

If you continue down Middle Gulf Drive to Tarpon Bay Rd, you'll see Tarpon Bay Beach. 

family beach vacations

At this point Middle Gulf Drive turns into West Coast Drive with more homes, rentals, and accommodations such as Island Inn and Sunset Beach Inn.

From there take a right onto Rabbit Rd and then onto Sanibel-Captiva Drive.  To the left and several miles up the road is Blind Pass and the bridge to Captiva Island.

There is a terrific bike path up this road.  This is where the island narrows and JN Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge takes up most of the northern end of Sanibel.  You can either drive, walk, or bike through the refuge and see birds, fish, and maybe even alligators!

jn ding darling wildlife refuge

You can also go to the SanibelCaptiva Conservation Foundation's Nature Center (SCCF), and Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

Near the western tip of the island is Bowman's Beach, then a bit further down is Santiva and Castaways Beach Cottages and Marina ........ along with restaurants, shops, and Turner Beach.


Then you can either go over Blind Pass Bridge to Captiva or turn around and head back down San-Cap Drive to Periwinkle Way.  It's a little confusing but when you come to the intersection at Tarpon Bay Rd, you can either turn right onto Tarpon Bay Rd and then left onto Periwinkle ...... or continue from San-Cap onto Palm Ridge Rd and then left onto Periwinkle.

sanibel deli and coffee factory

This part of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Rd has Sanibel Deli and Coffee Factory, Il Tesoro restaurant, Historical Museum and Village, the Mel Fisher Treasure Exhibit, plus art galleries and shops.

sanibel island florida

Watch shows at Big Arts, movies at Island Cinema, and plays at Beach Theater.  As you can see, there's plenty to do!

Periwinkle Way has lots of fine dining, and casual restaurants such as The Island Cow, lots of shopping centers, realtors, bike rentals, various businesses, and places to stay like the Kona Kai and Anchor Inn.

island cow sanibel

sanibel island shopping

periwinkle way

anchor inn

Make sure you pick up some shells as souvenirs at She Sells Seashells if you didn't get any at the beach!

she sells seashells

Eventually you'll see the signs to get off island and we're back to where we started! 

Here are the other pages about Sanibel that are on my website:

This is what I love about living in Cape Coral, I have such close access to this beautiful island for either the day or for a longer stay.

If you haven't been to Sanibel yet ....... what are you waiting for?  Go for some of the best Florida resorts, beaches, restaurants, and activities.  Go for fun and relaxation, go for memories you'll make, and vacations of a lifetime! 

sanibel island

Related Pages

Cape Coral Beaches
Cape Coral Resorts
Cape Coral Dining
Cape Coral Attractions
Cape Coral Festivals
Things to Do Cape Coral

North Captiva
Fort Myers Beach
Southwest Florida
Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Useppa

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