Captiva and Sanibel Islands
In my humble opinion, this is the most beautiful region in the Sunshine State. Located just off the coast of Cape Coral and Ft. Myers on Florida’s southwest coast, Sanibel Island (a barrier island sanctuary) and its little sister, Captiva, are paradises perched in the glorious Gulf of Mexico. You feel like you are somewhere extremely special…and you are. My memories of this area are distant but somehow, I can still see the brilliant sunshine and the lush greenery clearly. I remember shelling and bird-watching, and the feel of the Gulf waters gently lapping at my feet. When you feel the need to really connect with nature and slow down the fast pace of life, this is the part of Florida you’ll want to visit for your next vacation.
A Few Accolades:
The list of distinctions is so long, I had to trim it down. Sanibel Island is a world-class utopia for family vacations, shelling, relaxation, and natural beauty.
- 2015 – FamilyFun Travel Awards – Sanibel Island ranked #1 family travel destination
- 2016 – The Culture Trip – Sanibel topped the list of – The 12 Most Beautiful Spots in Florida.
- 2017 – FlipKey – Top of the list for 10 Best Vacations for Families with Toddlers
- 2017 – Coastal Living – Sanibel Island Named Best Beaches for Shelling
- 2017 – National Geographic Travel – Sanibel listed 7th in their 21 Best Beaches in the World
You can’t go wrong choosing a beach but I’ll break it down into the best-rated. Although you’ll have to put in a little work, Bowman’s Beach is pristine and quiet. It’s well-known for having unusual shells. This area is not as developed as other islands but it offers picnic tables, grills, and bathrooms. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day.
Gulfside City Park
This beautiful secluded strip is located mid-island and offers grills and picnic tables, restrooms with outdoor showers and free handicap parking.
Lighthouse Beach & Fishing Pier
At this beach, located on the eastern tip of Sanibel, you’ll find a historic functioning lighthouse, fishing pier and a boardwalk nature trail winding through native wetlands. It offers restrooms with an outdoor shower as well as free handicap parking. A beautiful place to spend an afternoon bonding with family.
Shopping and Dining
Some say to spend the day on Sanibel and head to Captiva for dining. However, both islands offer everything from quick bites and snacks to family restaurants and fine repasts. You can dine in quick or linger on outdoor decks and patios and enjoy fresh meals with scrumptious sweets and stunning sunsets for dessert. For souvenir shopping, you’ll find specialty shops and unique boutiques for collectibles to remind you of your island experience. I think you’ll find that some of your best souvenirs from this incredible wonderland of lush nature, will be the frame-worthy photographs you take so you can experience Captiva and Sanibel over and over again.