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15 Must Do Activities while Visiting Sanibel Island

30 Aug 2016
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Things to Do

Sanibel Island and the surrounding southwest Florida area offers plenty of things to do for families, couples, groups, and more. Whether you're looking to unwind on Sanibel beaches or you're excited to explore the wildlife of this region, use our guide to help you plan your vacation. 

sanibel island beach

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Everyone expects to see alligators and crocodiles in Florida. Here, you can see so much more. The refuge has a mangrove system that provides an excellent habitat for so many animals. There are 245 Different species of birds in the refuge, and they are a spectacular sight to see during migration season. You can see endangered mild-natured giant manatees and 30 other species of mammals. 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957  239 472 1100

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

After collecting shells on our beautiful beaches you can learn a bit about them so you can differentiate what they are. The best place to learn about a junonia, banded tulip or a fig shell is to visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd. Sanibel FL 33957  239 395 2233

Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

Every Sunday from October through April, you can visit our Farmer's Market in front of Sanibel City Hall. Fresh produce such as tomatoes, zucchini, beets, strawberries, carrots, breads, honey, meats, seafood, flowers, cheeses and much more. 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island, FL 33957 

Sanibel Causeway

Until 1963 when the Sanibel Causeway was completed the Island was connected to the mainland all had to be ferried that crossed the San Carlos Bay daily. The entire Span that connects Punta Rossa is 2.8 miles long. Two little islands are part of the Causeway Island Park and serve as popular public beaches today. 

CROW Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

This center cares for more than 3500 sick, injured or orphaned wildlife patients every year. The visitor's Education Center focuses on educating the public about veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine through a variety of presentations, exhibits and live video footage. Open Monday through Saturday  3883 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, FL 33957  239 472 3644 

Big Arts

Local artists established the Big Arts Center in 1979. The 409 Seat Schein Performance hall organizes Jazz, classical, pop, folk and western concerts  The 139 Seat Herb Strauss Theater offers Broadway shows. 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 239 395 0900

Tarpon Bay Explorers

Located within the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers presents nature and wildlife tours and offer kayak and boat tours that focus on the wildlife and landscapes of Sanibel. You will view manatees, alligators and nesting birds in the natural habitat. There is a touch tank for the little ones and it is all quite educational and fun  900 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel FL 33957 239 472 8900

Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Our Sanibel Lighthouse is 98-foot tall iron skeleton tower completed in 1884 with a spiral staircase in its center. It is located in the protected wildlife area on the eastern end of the Island. The grounds and a nice beach nearby are accessible. Snap some family photos with the lighthouse in the background.

Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream

Located in the Seahorse Shopping Center on the east end of the Island, this little ice cream shop has been serving Italian ice cream and gelato, sorbet, sherbet and frozen yogurt for over 33 years. The is one of the most popular fun places that you just have to visit while on vacation. 362 Periwinkle Way 239 472 6566

Periwinkle Place

Periwinkle Place is Sanibel's main destination for shopping. It features over 26 unique Shops , award-winning restaurants and a day spa. 2075 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957  239 395 1914 

Sanibel Public Library

The Sanibel Public Library is a beautiful place, staff is friendly and helpful. If you can't find a book, they will go out of their way to get it for you. There is a computer room to use and if you want to stay and read there is a porch with rocking chairs overlooking the Sanibel River. It is such a gorgeous view and serene won't want to leave. 

Sanibel Community Playground

The park is located right on Periwinkle Way with lots of room to run , covered picnic tables and restrooms. A perfect place for lunch and to take time for the kids to release some energy.  The play equipment has a huge canvas cover keeping them cool and shaded in the summer heat. 

Sanibel Thriller Adventures

Cruise the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. Enjoy the wildlife such as dolphins and exotic bird life. Reservations required - departs from Sanibel Marina, 634 N. Yachtsman Dr. 239 472 2328 

Sanibel Beaches

Sanibel is one of the unique barrier islands of the world, having an EAST-WEST orientation when most islands are north-south. Hence, the island is gifted with great sandy beaches and an abundance of Seashells. 


We have 25 miles of paved bike paths that are well laid out and easy to navigate. There are several places to rent bikes or you can bring your own. 

Plan Your Sanibel Island Vacation

Our Sanibel Island vacation rentals offer private, spacious accommodations to enjoy your beach trip to southwest Florida. If you're looking for more insight to plan your days on Sanibel Island, use our guide to take out some of the leg work.