Ideas for Families are easy to come by on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Whether you’re coming for a family reunion, family event or to discover the joys of the beach with your children, there are plenty of ways you can make your island trip particularly memorable.
If your children are very young, and you’re imagining them playing in our gentle surf, consider staying on the island of Sanibel while they’re small. Sanibel’s beaches (along East, Middle and West Gulf Drive) slope gradually into the sea – so much so that small children can wade out several yards at low tide, with no fear of sudden drop-offs. This allows everyone to play and look for shells in total relaxation.
Events & Places
Captiva has its own special event at The Crow’s Nest at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Kids (and adults) of all ages adore the “NASCRAB” Races. Hosted every Monday and Thursday evening, the early show is for families and includes dinner. Come early to eat, pick out your own racing crab, and join in on the fun.
Sanibel has a ‘hidden’ bird aviary. Located in Periwinkle Park, this amazing place is home to talking birds, lovebirds, toucans, and sometimes even flamingos! Bring some change to buy hand-fulls of duck food. Periwinkle Park’s front entrance will kindly let in bicycle traffic; there’s also a back way in (from Nerita Street). Talking birds also can be found at Jerry’s Grocery.
At Casa Ybel Resort, Mom and Dad can relax knowing the kids are safe and entertained in the Casa Kid’s Club. The professionally staffed Club is a great time for kids ages 4 to 11.
Bike rentals are a “must” for many families on Sanibel. The island has 25+ miles of protected bike paths for exploring and getting around (we advise keeping young ones off Periwinkle Way). Park your car and forget it! You can ride through J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, past historic locations and markers, or shopping and well as out to eat. Local bike companies rent tandem bikes, bicycles and accessories for children and adults by the day or week.
Instruction is available on-island for everything from tennis to cartooning to sailing. Do your kids need swimming lessons?
Your teens will enjoy kayaking and canoeing, a volleyball game on the beach or tennis clinic. The local movie theater is a popular spot for all ages to meet.
Portraits are a special souvenir. Many families choose to sit for a beautiful family portrait on the beach, or in their favorite island locale. We’ve heard of families doing this year after year, to document their fun times, as well as the growth of their children. (Consider the holiday card possibilities!)
Families have been growing up on Sanibel and Captiva vacations for over 100 years. Come start your own island traditions… on the beach, in a boat, eating at your favorite spot…this will be your most memorable family holiday ever, we just know it!