If you are looking for an exciting, unique and tropical island, Sanibel Island in Florida is the place to go. It has plenty of fun places to explore for kids and adults. Sanibel Island is about 20 miles from Fort Myers, FL (and about 2.5 hrs from Fort Lauderdale if you want to drive across The Everglades, a highway referred to as Alligator Alley.) We will be telling you all about it in a 2016 Jet Setter article, but wanted to give you a preview here.
Sanibel Siesta on the Beach is home to 56 non-smoking rental condominiums with a choice of garden and pool views, premium Gulf views or beautiful beachfront views. All units feature the comforts of home, including a king-size bed, two twin beds and a sleeper sofa, as well as a full-size kitchen complete with dishwasher, cookware and dinnerware. Sanibel Siesta on the Beach provides a quiet place to relax and enjoy a Sanibel Island vacation. After you finish on the beach, you can hit the pool where there’s plenty of shade for parents to relax while the kids play around in the pool. You can get to most places by way of bikes (ours came from Sanibel Siesta’s bike rental, but you can rent from Finnimore’s in town). Bikes are a great way to get around without running into all of the crazy traffic.
One stop you’ll be sure to enjoy is The Bubble Room. This “must experience” restaurant’s unique décor features Christmas, nostalgia, antique shops, and Hollywood all rolled into one. The Bubble Room was born in 1979, on its present site on Captiva Island. The Bubble Room was one of the first on the Island to introduce the bright and cheerful pastel colors now widely used on the island. All three floors display memorabilia, antiques, and toys from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The restaurant still presents several of the distinctive original menu items offered by the Farqhuarsons, including such favorites as Socra cheese, Bubble Bread, Carolina Moons, Tarzan, Eddie Fisherman and many more delicious dishes. Save room for their incredible, award-winning desserts.
Another tourist site is the Tarpon Bay Explorers tram tour of the Ding Darling animal refuge. This more than 6,000-acre wildlife refuge is home to numerous native birds, raccoons, otter, alligator, and other wildlife. The refuge features delightful footpaths, winding canoe trails, and a four-mile scenic drive, all of which are lush with native plants. You can learn lots of very interesting facts from a tram tour or you can walk through the trails on your own. USA Today has named Ding Darling as the top birdwatching destination in North America. After the beaches, Ding Darling is the second most popular natural attraction in the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area.
If golf is more your style, then you don’t want to miss Tee Time at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Experience the lush, tropical links on this 18-hole championship course designed by 10-time PGA winner, Mark McCumber. Set against a wildlife preserve sanctioned by the Audubon Cooperative Society, the course offers beautiful views and superb conditions while challenging skills on perfectly manicured greens. The facility includes the only practice range on Sanibel or Captiva islands.
Jump on Captiva Cruises for a dolphin watch and wildlife cruise for an outing filled with magical moments and memories. This 90-minute narrated adventure provides an entertaining and educational look at one of the world’s largest populations of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area. There is a 95 percent chance you’ll see these beautiful, playful marine mammals.
Sanibel has wonderful beaches with thousands of beautiful shells and great weather. Just bury some beach chairs in the sand and relax while the kids jump in the water. If you get tired of the beach that you’re at then you can hop on your bikes and explore the many other beaches Sanibel has to offer.
Visit the Sanibel Lighthouse Boardwalk & Beach which is likely the most frequently photographed aspect of Sanibel Island. The lighthouse has been a landmark since 1884, when the entire island was a nature preserve. You can also grab the family and take a self-guided tour of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. A delightful display of shells from around the world, including the 400 species found in southwest Florida, the museum also features a children’s section.
Sanibel has many more tourist destinations you can visit. It is an amazing island and it will be totally worth the trip. See you there!