Sanibel Island Vacation Guide

Where to Eat, Shop,Play and Stay on Sanibel Island

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About Sanibel Island

Sanibel is the larger and more southern of two connected islands, Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel's claim to fame is the best shelling beaches in North America. Along the white sandy beaches, over 400 different species of shells can be discovered, with conch shells being the most common.

Approximately half of the island is occupied by the JN Darling (Ding) National Wildlife Refuge, one of Florida's most exquisite refuges, which provides a great destination for kayaking, canoeing, and walking or biking along the 100-acre trails. Sanibel is perfect for those who love to be outdoors, with its 15 miles of beaches and 22 miles of bike paths.

Cities in Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is located just a short drive from Fort Myers over the Sanibel Causeway - the drive over the causeway is stunning, looking over the open ocean.

The causeway lands on the east end of the island, this is where you'll find the shopping and the largest concentration of homes and condos.

The middle of the island is less concentrated and is very residential.

As you travel further west the island is mostly undeveloped due to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

At the most westerly tip of Sanibel Island is the bridge to Captiva Island.

Sanibel Island Vacation Rentals

Sanibel Island Vacation Rentals

Highlights of Sanibel Island

Do Not Miss

  • Shelling
  • Beaches
  • Boating
  • Ecotours 
  • Water sports
  • J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
  • Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Things to do in Sanibel Island

  • Relax! Enjoy the slower pace
  • Shelling - known as the shelling capital of the world you'll recognize shellers by the "Sanibel Stoop"
  • Check out the beaches - Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park, Bowman's Beach, Turner Beach at Blind Pass + more. Tip: Sanibel Island Beaches are dog-friendly for leashed dogs
  • Visit the Sanibel Island Lighthouse
  • Birding + more at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge - hike, drive, bike, kayak, SUP, fish, and cruise through the park
  • Visit the Baileys-Matthews National Shell Museum

Explore Sanibel Island

Food and Drinks

Sanibel Island offers a wide variety of unique restaurants offering everything from breakfast, seafood, and family-friendly options

  • Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille - Caribbean style eats and great cocktails
  • The Island Cow - a cow-themed restaurant serving up american-style cuisine, family-friendly
  • Lazy Flamingo - sports pub offering beer-steamed seafood
  • Sanibel Fish House - delicious seafood
  • Sanibel Cafe - homey American-style breakfast and lunches

Where To Find Vacation Rentals In Sanibel Island FL

You're in luck! You can find vacation rentals right here on Florida Rental By Owner (FLARBO)! Our rental listings are 100% managed by the property owner or manager. Ditch the pesky third-party fees and interference - no middle man (Or woman) here!

Do you have questions about Sanibel Island Florida, or need help planning your trip? Join our Fort Myers-Sanibel Travel Facebook group here

Transportation for Sanibel Island

Getting To And Around Sanibel Island

Flying To Sanibel Island

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)

The Southwest Florida International airport is closest to Sanibel Island, approximately a 48-minute drive. The airport services most major airlines including Air Canada, airBerlin, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Spirit, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, United, and West Jet. They additionally have multiple shuttles running from the airport to hotels including Best Western, Courtyard Marriott, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Hilton Garden, Holiday Inn, Homewood Suites, LaQuinta, Spring Hill & Travelodge.

Public transit, car rentals, taxis, limos, Uber, and Lyft are available.

Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)

Punta Gorda Airport is located in Charlotte County and is just over an hour away from Sanibel Island. Punta Gorda Airport is serviced by discount airlines Sun Country and Allegiant Airlines. Air Trek, a private jet charter, also utilizes the Punta Gorda Airport.

Car rentals, taxis, limos, Uber, and Lyft are available

Sarasota - Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)

The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is smaller and is a 2-hour 7-minute drive to Sanibel Island. The airport is a destination for Air Canada, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Elite Airways, Frontier, Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, and United.

Car rentals, taxis, limos, Uber, and Lyft are available

Getting around on Sanibel Island

  • Rent a bike - there are extensive bike paths on the island and the island is flat for easy riding
  • Rent a golf cart
  • Taxi
  • Water taxi
  • Car - it can be a challenge to get around by car on the island due to traffic and parking restrictions, there is no parking on any streets

Statistics about Sanibel Island

3+ Properties for rent

Prices range from $0/night

Weather for Sanibel Island

What Is Sanibel Island Weather Like?

  • Sanibel Island average highs vary from 75 in the winter to 92 in the summer
  • Sanibel Island is rainiest June through September - rain is rarely an all-day event
  • Because Sanibel Island is located in southwest Florida the weather is great all year round 

FAQs about Sanibel Island

Answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Yes! Sanibel is a great location for snowbirds to spend the winter, the weather is ideal.
Yes, dogs are welcomed on Sanibel Island. Dogs are permitted on the beach as long as they are leashed, and there are even dog-friendly paths in J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve.
Yes! We love our pets and we are sure you do too! has many pet-friendly rentals in Florida. You can use our search filters to narrow down our Sanibel Island rental properties to show those that are pet-friendly.
On Florida Rental By Owners both private homes and condo rentals are available for your Sanibel Island vacation. Homes offer more space and privacy for a larger group or family. Condos are great for smaller groups and families as well as snowbirds.
Sanibel Island is the perfect place to bring your family! (Florida Rental By Owners) has many family-friendly rentals on Sanibel Island. Use our search filters to narrow down our Sanibel Island rental properties to show those that are family-friendly. Trust us, you and your kids won't run out of things to do!
You're in luck! You can find vacation rentals by owner right here on Florida Rental By Owner (FLARBO)! Our rental listings are 100% managed by the property owner. Ditch the pesky third-party fees and interference - no middle man (Or woman) here!
Yes! We have several subscription levels to advertise your vacation rental suitable for any budget. Our Book Direct, No Commission Fee Subscription Model suits the majority of short-term rental owners, learn more here.

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