August 31, 2021
I just got back from Sanibel Island (aka my families favorite place to be). It has a very special place in our hearts because it is a yearly family tradition. My Grandparents have been taking my Mom here since she was three years old. Not only have they been taking her to the island for that long, but we stay in the same ROOM every single year. If you need to relax and unplug from the real world, this is the place for you because everything is unique to the islands heritage and there are only a few commercialized businesses on the island. I am going to give you a full guide of everything you’ll need to know about traveling to Sanibel Island.
A cool feature about the island is that there is a causeway that connects Fort Myers, FL to Sanibel Island. The causeway is 6.4 miles long and takes approximately nine minutes to drive across. The causeway is the only way to get on the island because there is no airport. Sanibel Island is also connected to Captiva Island by a bridge. Captiva is absolutely beautiful, it is only 5.002 miles long and a must visit to watch the sunset. We go to beach behind the restaurant Mucky Ducks to watch the sunset and it is so special because everyone goes there from the island and watches it together.
Where we stayed: Casa Ybel Resort
Like I mentioned earlier, my family has been coming here since my mom was 3 years old. My grandparents actually purchased our timeshare before the resort was even finished being built. We own one week in April and one week in August. We love staying here because our room has so much space. We have a full kitchen, living room (with a pullout couch), dining room table, a balcony with another table, and even two stories. The upstairs has two rooms, one room with 2 twin beds with a bathroom in the hallway and then the master suite that has their own bathroom. Although we do have the timeshare, you can still stay at the resort even if you’re not an owner through their website.
Things to do:
Shelling: Sanibel Island is the shelling capital of the U.S.
We spend most of our days on the beach finding some of the most beautiful sea shells. We found so many this year that we had to leave a whole shoe box on the island because our suitcases were already full. Not only do we find shells but there are tons of sand dollars and this year we even found a starfish! (Don’t worry, we put it back after we found it because it was still alive)
Kayaking: We went kayaking at Tarpon Bay. We only saw birds, but earlier that day people had seen manatees and dolphins! You can also go kayaking at Ding Darling which is a wildlife refuge and it is 6,300 acres which comprises more than half of Sanibel Island.
Biking: Sanibel Island is quite small. It is only 12 miles long. Which is why biking on the island is so popular! We rent bikes through our resort, but you can also rent them from Billy’s Rentals. You can bike everywhere on the island, but one of our favorite places to ride through is the Bailey Tract in Ding Darling. We see everything from fish, birds, geckos, crabs, reptiles, and the largest population of species is the alligators.
Visit The Lighthouse: The Sanibel Island Lighthouse is located on LightHouse Beach Park and it is a great spot to watch the sunrise and go fishing on the pier.
The food on the island is AMAZING! We have our favorite restaurants that we go to every year. The nice thing about our condo is that it has a full kitchen so we make breakfast in the room most mornings. We only go out to lunch a few times during the week, but we go out to dinner every single night! There are two grocery stores on the island for when we make our meals in the room. Jerry’s Foods is our personal favorite because they have birds outside and they are so cute. The other grocery store is called Bailey's General Store. Below is a list of our favorite restaurants that we went to on this trip for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Restaurants for Breakfast:
My order every year is the Oreo pancakes with bacon and let me tell you, it’s the best breakfast you’ll ever have!
Restaurants for Lunch:
The Lazy Flamingo (there are 2 locations, one on Sanibel & one on Captiva. We went to the one on Captiva)
Restaurants for Dinner:
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille (there are 2 locations, one on Sanibel & one on Captiva. We went to the one on Sanibel)
The Mucky Duck (Captiva Island)
Places for Dessert:
There isn’t a ton of shopping on the island, but there are definitely some awesome plazas/stores that you should definitely check out for souvenirs, shells, books, art, jewelry and more.
Periwinkle Place is the biggest shopping center on the island
Jungle Drums Gallery (on Captiva has beautiful art work)
Sanibel Travel Tips:
Buy the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club $40 coupon book from the bank. More than half of the restaurants we went to had a buy one entree get one free coupon so we saved a ton of money.
Keep an eye out for sea turtles because they have their nests all over the beaches during nesting season (May - October)
Wear lots of bug spray and even spray it in your bed before you go to sleep because no-see-ums (aka crazy mosquitoes that you can’t see) are everywhere. Most stores on the island sell a special no-see-ums bug spray that works better than regular bug spray. Be prepared even with the spray you probably will get bit.
Bring water shoes for the beach because there are so many seashells it is a little uncomfortable on your feet.
What I packed:
Everything I wore on the trip is linked on my LIKETOKNOW.it!