Every year since moving to Florida, with the exception of one, my family has made a trip to Sanibel Island. Located, off of Fort Myers, the island is a great place for a family vacation. It's also a great place for nature lovers, as it offers great opportunities to be outdoors exploring and enjoying nature. The first year we went, which was probably 10 years ago now, we fell in love with the place. This year, we spent Christmas week with our RV, camping at Periwinkle Park on Sanibel Island. The weather was 80 degrees all week and it was sunny and beautiful every day.
There are a lot of things I love about Sanibel Island, including:
- How pedestrian friendly it is. Now that we have the RV, we take our own bikes, but before that we used to rent them on the island. There are bike paths all over the place and you can bike the whole island. It's great. There are people biking everywhere. I've also never seen more runners in a place where a race is not taking place. There are people running on the pedestrian paths all over the place! The campground is just half a mile from the beach, so bike down there anytime. We even bought headlamps and went down there at night to look for great shell finds.
- The shelling is the best that Florida has to offer. I've looked for shells all over the state and there's no better place to shell than on Sanibel Island. The beaches are literally covered with millions of shells. There are mounds and mounds of them. You can sift through and find awesome ones to take home. You can also walk the shoreline with a net and find great whelks, Florida fighting conchs, and more. Many of them are still alive, which is really cool to see. Keep in mind that it's against the law to take those shells that are alive, so we marvel at them and then put them back in the water.
- The beach is super clean. I rarely ever see trash on the beaches in Sanibel Island. The beach is primarily covered with natural items from the water. It's rare to see trash on the beaches there.
- There are some nice things to do on the island, including driving through the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, watching the sunsets in Captiva, visiting the shell museum, and checking out the nature centers there, including CROW and the shell museum. Here's a video I took this week of an alligator at the wildlife refuge.
- It's a great place for birders. We love to watch birds and there are lots of them to see on Sanibel Island. I'm especially a fan of woodpeckers, and they are all over that island. Every day I see multiple woodpeckers as we ride around the island on our bikes.
- If you want to leave the island for the day, you can head to Fort Myers to see the beach and pier, or take in more nature by visiting Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve or the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples.
If you are looking for a nice family vacation destination that isn't too far from home, Sanibel Island is worth considering. Our first time there we stayed at a hotel on the island, but that's very expensive. After that, we found a La Quinta that is right off the island in Fort Myers. We stayed there every year to save money. For the last two years we have had our RV and have been able to stay on the island for an affordable price. You can bike the island to go to the beaches, nature centers, restaurants, and stores. Everything you need is right there on that beautiful little island!
Here are a couple of previous posts I've done on Sanibel Island: