Search for Shells on Sanibel Island, Florida
By Deanna Destito
Top Things To Do On Sanibel Island Florida
Located along the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida, Sanibel is famous for its shell-filled beaches, making shelling its most popular activity.
Locals and visitors alike practice the “Sanibel Stoop” as they lean over to collect their shell treasures.
Being a top shelling location in the world is just one of the many things to see and do here.
With gorgeous sunsets, delicious seafood, museums, and plenty of water sports to try, this short drive from Fort Myers offers something fun for everyone.
Even if you just want to soak in the sunshine on one of the beaches, the serene atmosphere offers a relaxing getaway for those seeking a quiet retreat from busier Florida spots.
You won’t find many fast food or chain restaurants here either, adding to the island’s quaint vibe.
The island boasts 15 miles of beach and the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the nation as well as 22 miles of bike paths and a spectrum of animals, with more than half the island consisting of wildlife refuges.
The largest refuge is J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors have the option of driving, walking, biking, or kayaking through the refuge.
It offers the perfect environment for indigenous animals to thrive.
Visitors can see these creatures in their most comfortable spaces, including 245 different species of birds as well as giant manatees and crocodiles.
Inside the refuge, the Tarpon Bay Explorers offer nature and wildlife tours as well as kayak rentals.
Patrons learn about the different animals and get a front row seat through the mangrove forests.
For kids, try the interactive Touch Tank, featuring a plethora of sea creatures.
For visitors looking for a bit of history and culture, the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village narrates the story of Sanibel’s earliest residents.
With seven historic houses furnished with antiques, clothing, and tools from the era, guests can relive what it was like to live like the pioneers of the 1800s.
The museum also hosts special events and concerts regularly.
You can’t visit Sanibel without stopping by the island’s most famous landmark, the Sanibel Lighthouse.
Located on the eastern end and adjacent to a notable fishing pier, this lighthouse is not your typical lighthouse.
Completed in 1884, this structure is a 98-foot iron skeleton tower with a spiral staircase about ten feet above the sand.
Originally built to provide safe passage through San Carlos Bay, the lighthouse itself can be found in a protected wildlife area not open to the public.
The grounds and beach nearby are open to tourists, where visitors can see the lighthouse standing tall in the background.
For shopping and restaurants, visit Periwinkle Place, the main thoroughfare with the most activity.
With more than 40,000 square feet of stores, restaurants, spas, and entertainment, shoppers can find unique items and gifts, tour various galleries, stop for a relaxing massage, or indulge in one of the top restaurants in the area.
If you want to sneak in a quick game, stop by The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.
The club can be found within a wildlife preserve, a picturesque location to take in a few rounds of golf.
The location also has a water driving range, seven tennis courts, gourmet dining, swimming pools, and an open pavilion for an evening cocktail.