Sanibel and Captiva history swims with Indians, pirates, fishermen, farmers, hurricanes, a ferry boat, several airstrips, Presidential visits, a nationally-known cartoonist, and an elaborate boat named Algiers. While only a handful of current island residents are descended from original settlers, the curious can discover the old islands via a number of formats.
Recreation & Fitness
Recreation is practically unlimited on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Go shelling, play tennis, hit the links, go birding, bike around the islands, stargaze on the beach, learn to make pottery…you have plenty of choices!
Sanibel and Captiva Islands may seem remote by some standards, but we have no lack of great service professionals here! Whether you need a locksmith, a wedding planner, photographer or musician, you’re in luck. The islands have all that and more.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands were made for lovers and falling in love. There’s no more romantic place in the world for your romantic interlude, marriage proposal, wedding, honeymoon or vow renewal. Every aspect of a tropical fantasy is at your fingertips: a seashell-filled beach, swaying palms, intimate cottages, luxurious resorts, romantic bistros, sailing charters, private massage and sunset blazing into the Gulf – every single night.
Entertainment is easy to come by on the islands. Sanibel Island has carefully cultivated its cultural offerings over the years, truly becoming an “Island of the Arts”. One successful island organization, Barrier Island Group for the Arts, or B.I.G. Arts, embodies this concept, with musical concerts, literary discussion groups, classes in painting, dance, pottery, drawing and more. B.I.G. Arts’ Schein Hall is an outstanding facility for performances, many of which happen during high season (February through April).
Sanibel Island is one of America’s most popular bird-watching sites. Hosting over 240 species of feathered friends, the island is an ornithological treasure. Located in Southwest Florida, Sanibel is a natural flyway terminus, as well as a stopover or destination for migrating birds.
The Florida Everglades, known as the “River of Grass”, is less than two hours away. This mysterious and intriguing environment is something every Florida visitor should see. Naturalist-led tours are available, or explore on your own. Take an airboat ride, see where alligators raise their young, stop by an Indian reservation or a museum. You may even run into a famous Mullet Festival if you’re lucky.
Several out-islands are easy to reach from Sanibel and Captiva. Our closest neighbor is North Captiva, just to the north of Captiva Island. This secluded barrier island was formed when an early 20th century storm blew the two islands apart. Many islanders enjoy boating to North Captiva for lunch. The island is reached only by boat or airplane (there’s a grass strip on the northern end). There are limited vacation accommodations on this island.
Seashells are plentiful on Captiva, but it is Sanibel Island that is famous for its shells. In fact, Sanibel is considered to be one of the Top 3 shelling beaches in the world. On any of its seventeen miles of beaches, Sanibel reveals an abundance of shells which will take your breath away.
Getting out on the water conjures different images for everyone… the slow pace of a canoe, the excitement of offshore fishing, the relaxation of a sunset sail. Whatever your idea of fun is, Sanibel and Captiva Islands provide lots of ways to make your dreams come true.