As we roll into summer, it’s time to plan out a vacation that is well worth your money and that will ensure everyone has a fabulous time. Do you need a family resort? A romantic getaway? A place to chill with your girlfriends for amusing GNOs?
Think about Sanibel Island, Florida. It’s on the Southwest side of Florida, stretched out into the Gulf of Mexico like a little boomerang, with the Sanibel Lighthouse on the eastside and Captiva island to the North.
Here are nine great reason why Sanibel island should be your next vacation destination.
The Shells — Sanibel Island is the most sought-after locations for shelling in the world. Its geographical location out in the Gulf and salty tidal flows translate into some of the most beautiful shells around (like scallop, whelk, and coquina). They wash up on its white sandy shores, earning the phrase ‘the Sanibel Stoop‘ for those who walk along and peer the shoreline for these amazing shells. Swim out into the Gulf for hidden treasures in the sand, or walk along the beach at sunrise.
The Food — Yucatan shrimp at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, the Grouper basket at the Lazy Flamingo, shrimp and grits at The Island Cow, fresh Italian pizza at Dante’s, incredible hot dogs and ice cream at Schnapper’s Hots.
So many incredible places to enjoy island cuisine. This isle has so much on offer to please all your taste buds.
Plan out your food travels in advance with the Sanibel Visitors Center.
The Feel — I love this island because it’s so tropical and exotic, yet so domestic and familiar, all at the same time. The grocery store, the bars, the restaurants, the clothing stores, plus the everyday places you need — health clinic, vet, nail salons, even a Goodwill. You’ll feel right at home as you relax on island time.
The View — On these islands, there’s a view everywhere you turn. There are no high-rises, nothing is built higher than the tree line, giving this small island the feel of a jungle. You’ll never know what you’ll spy through the trees — a glimpse of a small lagoon, the Gulf of Mexico, a crocodile, perhaps.
The sunrises and sunsets are amazing — especially the sunsets. Right before the glorious sun sinks into the water, a green flash happens super-quick. Even a bar on neighboring Captiva Island is named after this phenomenon when the atmosphere causes the sunlight to “flash” out into different colors.
The Wildlife — Manatees, turtles, sharks, dolphins, sting rays, fish, racoons, alligators — keep your eyes open, you never know what you’ll see in the wandering by on a trail or while you’re relaxing on the pool deck.
You can also visit the wildlife areas around the island for a super-close up look at local wildlife — the CROW Clinic — Caring for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Take a class at the Sanibel Sea School to learn more about the birds and aquatic wildlife of the Gulf.
The Activities — There is no shortage of activity on this island. You can get virtually anywhere by walking or biking, plus stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking and of course swimming and snorkeling with beautiful scenery everywhere you turn.
There’s always something new to delight in. A typical day includes shelling, boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking and hiking.
The Culture — The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, the BIG ARTS Strauss Theatre, Island Cinema, bookstores, clothing shops, gift shops — there’s something for everyone.
Check out the Sanibel Island Light lighthouse at the South end of the island- one of the first lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast.
The People — Everyone who visits or lives here understands the importance of living on island time.
The Places to Stay — Sanibel Island Beach Resort, The Inns of Sanibel, Song of the Sea, plus plenty of Airbnbs and VRBO brings a taste of comfy home to your stay. There are no high-rise or stuffy hotels to be found on the island of Sanibel.
Here you are on island time, and that means restful rooms, easygoing places to eat, and down-home bars that locals and tourists both relax with their beers and island punch.
Vacationing here is a dream. Fall in love with the Gulf. Take a week, a weekend or a month. Just be sure to pack your bathing suit and plenty of sunscreen, plus a little mesh bag for all those glorious shells you’ll spy.
No vacation contemplation here — chose Sanibel Island.
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