Sanibel Island Florida

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You are looking for an idyllic getaway far from big hotels? Then, a boat trip to Sanibel Island in Florida is perfect for you. Here, fine, sandy beaches, untouched mangroves, international restaurants and family-friendly accommodation options await you.

Beaches on Sanibel Island

The beach on Sanibel’s southern coast stretches for more than 12 miles from the lighthouse to Blind Pass Beach. Here you have ample opportunity for sunbathing, swimming and fishing. The following beaches on Sanibel Island are especially worthwhile:

Lighthouse Beach

Like the name suggests, Lighthouse Beach is situated near the lighthouse on Sanibel’s eastern end. The beach not only amazes visitors with its turquoise water and fine sand. A weak current makes Lighthouse Beach ideal for children, and colorful seashells are found in abundance. Having filled your bucket with ocean treasures, you are lucky that you do not have to walk to the parking lot. Instead, just hop on your boat again. This way, you will also save the parking fees of 5 USD.

Bowman´s Beach

Sanibel’s second main beach is equally beautiful: Bowman´s Beach on the southern coast is known for its lush, natural surroundings. Here, you will see pelicans hunting for fish, and if you are lucky, dolphins may appear off the shore. While the beach only has one entrance by land, a boat gives you maximum flexibility: Just pick a nice, quiet spot and hop overboard.

While you are here, you can also catch your dinner, as the water is teeming with snook. Tarpons also love to swim near the shore, where the water gets deep quickly. With the catch tucked away in your cooler, you can go shelling: More than 250 kinds of seashells are washed ashore on Bowman´s Beach.

Silver Key Beach and Blind Pass Beach

Do you want to enjoy piece and quiet, and observe a multitude of water birds? Then steer your boat towards Silver Key Beach, an almost empty stretch of coast further to the west. Arriving by sea, you are spared the 30 minute walk other guests have to take to get here.

Of course, you can also head north until you reach Blind Pass Beach. Due to strong currents, swimming is not advisable there. Instead, Blind Pass is a paradise for fishing fans: Tarpons, snappers, sheepshead and many other species are regularly caught here.

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Directions and Marinas for Boaters on Sanibel Island

Thanks to its location near the mainland, getting to Sanibel Island by boat is no problem. Only 9 miles separate Cape Coral from this island in the Gulf of Mexico. Guests based in Fort Myers reach Sanibel on a 4 mile boat ride. Coming by boat has another perk: namely, that you do not have to pay toll fees for the Sanibel Causeway.

Map

If you are planning your boat trip to Sanibel Island, our map will help you. The Sanibel Island Map contains all the island’s important sights, restaurants and accommodation options.

Sanibel Marina

Sanibel Island might be a remote paradise. The infrastructure for boaters, however, is excellent, thanks to the Sanibel Marina. This harbor features 65 boat slips for vessels of up to 70 feet. Here, you can fill up on gas and buy snacks, clothes and boating equipment.

Navigation Tool for Boaters

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Calculate how long it takes to get to Sanibel Island and see the best route with our Navigation Tool.

Click here for the Tool ->

Weather Sanibel Island and best Time for Boat Trips

In typical South Florida fashion, the weather on Sanibel Island is hot and rainy in the summer, while winter and spring feature warm and dry conditions. Therefore, the months from November to April are considered the ideal travel time.

Boaters who want to check Sanibel’s weather before their trip can do so with this webcam.

Climate Chart

You want to know what the weather on Sanibel Island is like in a certain month? Then check our climate chart below.

Sights and Attractions on Sanibel Island

The beaches on its southern coast are not the only attraction on Sanibel Island. This tropical paradise has many more sights to offer.

Sanibel Island Golf Club

You want to improve your handicap on a state-of-the-art course? Then you should head for the Sanibel Island Golf Club in the island’s south. Lush nature and the sound of the Sanibel River will make you forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Beginners and veterans alike find the right challenge here, and the adjacent shop offers a wide range of golf equipment.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Situated on Sanibel’s northern coast is the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with its huge population of water birds, among them herons, ibises and spoonbills. But feathered friends are not the only visitors who gorge themselves on the rich fishing grounds. The mangrove coast is a prime spot for vacationers to cast their rod.

And what better place to enjoy your catch than Picnic Island? On this unpopulated islet 2 miles north of Sanibel you are allowed to set up your tent and even light a campfire.

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

This family-friendly museum houses a huge collection of ocean treasures, among them:

  • rare spotted Junonia snails
  • the world’s biggest Goliath Conch shell
  • artfully crafted shell jewelry from past centuries.

At the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum children can craft their own jewelry and pet live mollusks in the touch pool.

Lighthouse

The interior of Sanibel’s historic lighthouse from the 19th century might be off-limits for visitors. However, thanks to breeding birds, this landmark is an ideal spot for birdwatchers. Turtles are also spotted frequently in the vicinity of the lighthouse.

Shopping Opportunities on Sanibel Island

Visitors will search in vain for big malls and supermarkets on Sanibel Island. Instead, the island features traditional stores that have become rare in other parts of Florida. And if you are looking for more variety: The shopping opportunities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral are only a stone’s throw away.

Periwinkle Place

With 26 stores, Periwinkle Place is Sanibel’s biggest shopping center. Here, you will find clothes for women and men, beauty products and jewelry, as well as artworks and toys.

The Village Shops

Do you want to browse exclusive boutiques for swimwear, buy souvenirs for your friends, or even purchase artworks straight from the gallery? Then, the Village Shops in Sanibel’s center are perfect for you. In addition to its stores, this little shopping mall also features a hair salon and a restaurant.

She Sells Sea Shells

This shop with the difficult name houses arguably the most beautiful shells Sanibel Island has to offer – in many different forms and sizes. In addition, the She Sells Sea Shells is known for its shiny Sand Dollars, starfish and handcrafted jewelry.

Sanibel Outlets

Sanibel Outlets might not be located on Sanibel Island. However, this giant shopping center with its 42 stores is just 4 miles away. If you are looking for a wide range of high-quality clothing, shoes, jewelry and beauty products, you have come to the right place.

Restaurants auf Sanibel Island

Of course, you do not have to cast the rod yourself to enjoy an excellent lunch on Sanibel. The island features restaurants for every taste and budget.

Gramma Dot´s

Situated right next to the marina is Gramma Dot´s, a traditional restaurant that is famous for its clam chowder. Seafood like fried oysters, calamari and Caribbean Coconut Shrimps are not the only items on the menu, though. At Gramma Dot´s you can also order fast food like fries and burgers, as well as tender steaks and healthy salads.

Lazy Flamingo

After a 15 minute walk from the marina you will reach the Lazy Flamingo. Thanks to its casual atmosphere, this restaurant is perfect for families, and the serving sizes can only be described as epic.

Cielo Restaurant

If you are looking for romantic candlelight dinners and live music, look no further than the Cielo Restaurant. In addition to gourmet dishes like salmon, lobster ravioli, scallops and roast lamb, this restaurant amazes guests with its extensive wine list.

Accommodation Options on Sanibel Island

Instead of big, anonymous hotels, Sanibel Island is known for charming accommodation options where your whole family will feel right at home.

Hotels on Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island’s hotels draw in guests with their many amenities, close proximity to the beach and beautifully decorated rooms. The following hotels on Sanibel Islands are particularly popular:

Hotel Sunshine Island Inn

Room from the Hotel Sunshine Island Inn on Sanibel Island

You want to moor directly at your hotel? Then, the Sunshine Island Inn is worth a closer look. Here, only a 200 yard walk separates you from the beach. The rooms come fully equipped with small kitchen and fridge, while barbecue areas are available outside.

Hotel Sanibel Inn

Pool of the Hotel Sanibel Inn on Sanibel Island

Spacious rooms amidst lush, tropical surroundings, a private beach with sun chairs, tennis courts and one of the island’s best pizza restaurants – these are the selling point of the 3-star-hotel Sanibel Inn. Here, you can rent bicycles and kayaks. As an icing on the cake, the hotel features a cocktail bar directly by the pool.

Beach Resorts on Sanibel Island

Guests who are looking for all-inclusive service and many amenities around the clock should book one of Sanibel Island’s beach resorts.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Pool at Sanibel Beach Resort Spa on Sanibel Island

If luxurious surroundings under palm trees, a private beach and an extensive pool rank high on your wish list, the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is perfect for you. In addition to tastefully decorated suites with up to 3 bedrooms, the resort offers spa treatments, free access to The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club and a huge event space for weddings and conferences.

Casa Ybel Resort

Room with bed from Casa Ybel Resort on Sanibel Island

The Casa Ybel Resort sits on 23 acres of lush tropical surroundings. The hotel’s restaurant has seen famous guests like Edison and Ford, the pool is super-sized, and there is a relaxing spa area. Alternatively, book a massage in your room before enjoying the view over the Gulf of Mexico.

Vacation Home on Sanibel Island

Guests who value their privacy cannot go wrong with a vacation home on Sanibel. The island features a wide variety of villas with scenic gardens, roofed pools, air-con, multiple bedrooms and your own boat dock. In the winter months, you can even see manatees in the water if you are lucky.

Vacation Home 1

Plenty of space for big groups, a large pool and idyllic gardens – these are the main selling points of vacation home 1.

Vacation Home 2

Boaters who want to moor right next to their temporary home should have a closer look at vacation home 2.

Vacation Apartments on Sanibel Island

If you like it a bit smaller than a vacation home, you should rent a vacation apartment on Sanibel Island. Here you will find everything you need and enjoy a maximum of privacy.

Vacation Apartment 1

Vacation Apartment 1 is known for its cozy vibes and the quiet location. In the kitchen you can prepare meals for your whole family. There is also a roofed pool if you want to go for a swim.

Vacation Apartment 2

Spacious, tastefully decorated rooms await you at Vacation Apartment 2

Motels on Sanibel Island

Visitors looking for a budget-friendly place to stay will feel right at home at Sanibel Island’s motels:

Parrott Nest Cottages

Rooms from Parrott Nest Cottages on Sanibel Island

Located just a 10 minute walk from Sanibel Marina are the Parrott Nest Cottages: a down-to-earth motel with excellent cleanliness, quiet surroundings and friendly service. What is more, the cottages are situated right next to the Lighthouse Café, a popular breakfast place on Sanibel Island.

Tropical Winds Beachfront Motel

Entrance area of the Tropical Winds Beachfront Motel on Sanibel Island

Spacious bungalows for 3–8 persons await you at the Tropical Winds Beachfront Motel and Cottages. Every cottage features flat screen TVs, a terrace and a grill. The beach is only a 5 minute walk away. Alternatively, go for a swim in the huge outdoor pool. Thanks to its remote location, this motel is perfect if you are looking for some deep relaxation.

You have not found the accommodation option you want?

Then just have a look here!

Sanibel Island Florida FAQ – Frequently asked Questions

Which hotels on Sanibel Island are particularly child and family-friendly?

Children are welcome at all hotels on Sanibel Island. Particularly suited for little guests is the Casa Ybel Resort with its kid’s pool and on-site childcare. The Sundial Beach Resort also offers many activities and discounts for children.

Which hotels on Sanibel Island are especially suited for couples?

There is hardly a more romantic hotel on Sanibel Island than the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa – no wonder that this resort is hugely popular with wedding guests. More excellent options for couples include the Island Inn and the Sanibel Moorings Resort.

What are the best-rated hotels on Sanibel Island?

According to customer ratings, the Sunshine Island Inn is one of the best accommodation options on Sanibel. More top-rated hotels include the Sanibel Island Beach Resort and the Seaside Inn.

Which hotels on Sanibel Island offer good breakfast?

Guests are especially fond of the breakfast at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, the Island Inn and the Song of the Sea Hotel. The Parrott Nest Cottages are located right next to the Lighthouse Café, one of the most popular breakfast restaurants on Sanibel Island.

What are the cheapest hotels on Sanibel Island?

The following hotels on Sanibel Island offer budget-friendly accommodation: Kona Kai, Sunshine Island Inn, Anchor Inn and Cottages, and the Parrott Nest Cottages.

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