Things to do in Sanibel Island, Florida

DRUMROLL please! On this day, the 20th of October, 2015, I am pleased to present my very first guest post. The author is brand new to this writing thing and she calls herself CJ..


After a few mundane weeks at work, I figured it was time to satisfy the travel bug that kept buzzing at my head. In addition to that, I had recently celebrated a birthday and wanted to do something special. With that in mind, I began looking at all the beautiful destinations available in and around Florida. I figured why fly when there are so many other options to get where I wanted to go. A grand road trip sounded like it would do the trick.

Now that I decided HOW I would get there, the decision had to be made on WHERE I would go. Oh, by the way, did I tell you all of this was being done on the Friday? Yes, the same Friday I planned to leave.

The picturesque view driving over to Sanibel
The picturesque view driving over to Sanibel

Naples, Key West, and Palm Beach on the East Coast of Florida all sounded appealing at first but very quickly the ‘been there, done that’ feeling kicked in. So the West Coast started calling my name – Fort Myers, Clearwater, St. Petersburg all beckoned  – until finally I decided on the quaint city of Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Many of my friends had raving reviews about them, so I said, why not?

Did I already mention that this trip was so impromptu, at this point I still didn’t have a room booked? Trip Advisor, Google, and Trivago became my best friends as I tried to find somewhere to rest my wanderlust head. After making a few calls to some hotels and looking at Airbnb stays in the Sanibel area, it became clear that maybe, just maybe my last minute decision wasn’t such a great idea. EVERY- SINGLE-HOTEL -WAS –FULLY- BOOKED -ON -THE -ISLAND!  Noooo, this could not be happening! But would that stop me from hitting the open road? Oh, no!

Captiva Island full speed ahead!
Captiva Island full speed ahead!

When life serves you lemons you make lemonade. Right then and there, Fort Myers – a hop, skip and a jump from Sanibel – became Plan B . We were able to find a boutique sized property in Fort Myers for far less than what we would have had to pay on the island. So at 6:30pm on Friday, my weekend getaway got off to a vroom vroom start.

My flexible itinerary? Stay in Fort Myers and drive over to Sanibel for the day. It worked out perfectly.

Diners having lunch at the popular Island Cow cafe in Sanibel, Florida.
Diners having lunch at the popular Island Cow cafe in Sanibel, Florida.

As I wanted to maximize my limited time on the island, I did the touristy thing of stopping by the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015 winner, Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center to pick up a few brochures. The personable volunteer proudly told us that shelling was THE most popular thing to do on the island.

Checking out the map at the Chamber of Commerce
Checking out the map at the Chamber of Commerce

Some quick research showed that Travel + Leisure Magazine considered it one of the best shelling beaches in North America. {A shelling beach is one where beachcombers collect shells} So off we went to see the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, which is the only museum that houses shells and the mollusks that produce them.  There, I also learnt that the phrase, “the Sanibel Stoop” was born and immortalized because so many people bend down to pick up shells in the area.

If you listen very carefully you can hear the ocean (sshhh)
If you listen very carefully you can hear the ocean (sshhh)

Sanibel operates at a relaxed, easy vibe pace that is conducive to couples and families. There is no hustle or bustle of unending traffic. I’ve compiled a few pictures of what you can do and see in Sanibel and Fort Myers.

One of the many families seen cycling together in Sanibel

Land and water based activities were available.

Unusual ground transportation in Sanibel

Whether you wanted to have a picnic or…

Sainbel Beach

float with your pet, Sanibel caters to you.

Man and dog floating in Sanibel

After a quick stop by the Fort Myers Pier for lunch and some photos, it was time to take my weary but re-energized self back to reality. 

Sunbathers enjoying Fort Myers Beach
Sunbathers enjoying Fort Myers Beach

No Florida road trip would be complete without someone passing you by with an airboat attached to the back.

Airboat being transported on vehicle


Are you ready to join me on my next adventure?




  1. Frequent Flyer

    Trekking Sanibel, viewing the landscape of Fort Myers and digging toes first in the warmth of the white pure sands of the beach…I closed my eyes and listen to the ocean whispering – Time to act on the spur of the moment – “Vroom Vrroommm” the provision is already made…

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