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Enjoy Island Life on Sanibel & Captiva
As much as we like to refer to Florida as a coherent, homogenous state, there are plenty of areas that buck the trend and boast their own style and ethos completely. Such is the case with these two barrier islands off the coast of Fort Myers in south-west Florida.
Sanibel and Captiva exist just nicely out of step with the mainstream, as befits their slightly removed location from the mainland. The low-rise, natural aspect is deliberately maintained to keep this an eco-friendly environment, where the activities vary from kayaking to paddle-boarding and strolling the beaches for shells and, well, not much more, really, although you will find it popular with bird-watchers (for more than 230 species), cyclists (with 25 miles of bike paths) and fisher-folk (chasing 50 types of fish).
This is definitely the place for an eco-tour, with dolphin-watch cruises, sunset sailings and snorkelling trips all on offer, but the main activity is shelling, to such an extent the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ from all that bending over to collect shells is a real-life posture! Devotees won’t want to miss the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, while the JN ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the state’s natural treasures, with a variety of ways to tour this pristine habitat that attracts thousands of birds and other wildlife.
Dining and small-scale shopping are also a pleasure here, and, while the accommodation choice tends to be distinctly low-key, you will still find the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva, set in its own 330-acre nature preserve, a striking choice with lots to do – including its own nine-hole golf course and tennis academy – and the Pink Shell Resort on nearby Fort Myers Beach an all-action option, with plenty of watersports and lots of beach activities.
But mostly this is the place to check in, chill out and find your perfect level of relaxation; where the beaches genuinely invite you to drop anchor and slow your pace down to ‘idle’; no buildings are taller than the tallest palm tree; and the concept of time has very little meaning on islands that don’t boast a single traffic light.
Weather in Sanibel & Captiva
Average temperature (°C) and average rainfall (days)
Hotels in Sanibel & Captiva
South Seas Island Resort
The South Seas Island Resort is a 330-acre nature preserve surrounded by two and a half miles of beautiful white sandy beach.
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Located in Sanibel, West Wind Inn is on the beach. Sanibel Island Lighthouse is a notable landmark, and the area's natural beauty can be seen at Sanibel Island Southern Beach and Bowman's Beach. Fishing Pier Fort Myers Beach and Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf are also worth visiting. Take the opportunity to explore the area for outdoor excitement like ecotours.