Vacation Guide to Southwest Florida

Sanibel-Captiva Island Vacation Guide

Sanibel-Captiva Island Vacation Guide


The islands are known for their lush tropical atmosphere, beaches and other natural resources. At the Sanibel Lighthouse, you can fish from the pier or pick your spot for a beautiful sunset. Shopping is a main attraction, with an abundance of upscale shops along Periwinkle Way. A large portion of Sanibel Island is reserved for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a top attraction for nature-lovers. You’ll find the refuge on Sanibel-Captiva Road. Visitors can drive, bike or hike the five-mile wildlife drive. Shelling is a top attraction here, and water activities can be arranged at Tarpon Bay Recreation (at the refuge). Also on Sanibel-Captiva Road, you’ll find the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. You’re sure to enjoy a dolphin watch or sunset cruise with Captiva Cruises, located at the far end of Captiva Island.


Off the coast of Fort Myers there are hundreds of small coastal islands, including Sanibel and Captiva, which are connected to the mainland via a three-mile causeway (with a toll). Visitors fly into Southwest Florida International Airport. The islands are west of the airport.


The beaches here are pristine with soft, white sand and shells galore. Sanibel has four public beaches with metered parking, plus lots of beachfront along the Sanibel Causeway. Captiva’s beaches are situated for great sunsets.


From the Sanibel Causeway, you’ll hit Periwinkle Way. Turn right and you’ll encounter a lush shopping paradise with a variety of chic shops and boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. As you head west on Periwinkle Way, stop at Tahitian Gardens and Periwinkle Place, where you won’t want to miss Congress Jewelers for sealife and beach-themed fine jewelry. Near the end of Periwinkle Way, the Village Shops offers a variety of boutiques. You’ll find some interesting shops on Captiva Island as well. Be sure to stop in Jungle Drums for artistic home décor.


On Sanibel and Captiva Islands, you’ll find lots of dining choices, from a quick bite to fine dining, and everything in between. It’s impossible to recommend only a few, but for starters, you can try Island Cow for a pre-shopping breakfast; they also serve lunch and dinner. Be sure to allow extra time to peruse their huge menu! For lunch, Cheeburger-Cheeburger and The Lazy Flamingo are good casual choices. For fine dining, Jacaranda and the Mad Hatter are good bets. On Captiva, R.C. Otter’s is a casual spot with entertainment and Mucky Duck is a great waterfront choice, perfect at sunset.


The accommodations are generally found on the south side of Sanibel Island. The lush foliage allows this area to be secluded from the commercial Periwinkle Way, making your stay a relaxing paradise.

Sanibel-Captiva Hotels Map Hotels Map

Area Guides