Sanibel Island
A Beautiful Florida Destination

Sanibel Island Beach

Sanibel Island Beach
Photo Courtesy of Henrik Jagels

What is Sanibel Island?

Sanibel is a vacation spot that is known as a quiet, gorgeous natural Florida travel destination and well suited for a Florida family beach vacation.

It is a barrier island and a Florida Gulf Coast beach resort. In fact, it is just offshore from the Fort Myers beach Florida.

If you are a family, don't worry public restrooms are located where you go on to the beach.

In the same area you might find, but not all, picnic tables and even a shower which I find is good to use when you come out of the water on a Florida Gulf Coast beach.

There is a city on the island, with the name of (you guessed it!) Sanibel. In fact, the city of Sanibel incorporates the entire island.

In Florida tourism Sanibel Island is quickly becoming popular for beach vacations in Florida.

This is due in part to the shelling beaches, the beautiful sunsets and the wildlife refuges.

So, if you do go on your Florida beach vacation to a Sanibel beach, make sure you go to a Florida wildlife refuge there. Preserving the natural ecology is important to the people that live on Sanibel Island and visitors alike.

When you visit Florida the biggest wildlife refuge is the Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge with around a million visitors a year coming to it.

Have a look at the following welcome video put together by a local company. It is over 5 minutes long, but is very good.


Sanibel Island beaches are known for their premium shelling. Due to the island being a barrier island, there is a large amount of shells that wash up on the beaches.

Many people looking at Florida beach vacations go to the island just for the beautiful shells they can collect for their own collection.

As a matter of fact, when you look up and down the beach people are often seen bending down looking for shells, and this has become known as the "Sanibel Stoop."

If you do go for the shelling keep in mind that live shellfish may not be harvested.

If you like to fish a license is required whether you fish from shore or hare a charter.

Why not have a go at Florida's fishing, you can catch mouth watering whiting right in the surf on the beach and minutes later be having the freshest fish you have eaten in a long time.

There are beaches everywhere on Sanibel Island from the most secluded beach which is Bowman's beach, with no Florida beach hotels in sight to the Lighthouse Beach, named after the Sanibel Beach Lighthouse.

On the Lighthouse beach, there is a very popular fishing pier, and if you like to go on walks you have your nature trails.

Actually, Sanibel Island has many multi-use path systems that are great if you are on a bicycle or walking. You can go this way to your wildlife refuges and a majority the Sanibel Island beaches.

On Lighthouse beach swimming is not recommended due to the cross current, also, because the beach is easy to reach it is normally crowded.

If you are looking for the well groomed white sandy beaches that you have, for example, on a Naples Florida beach, you may be disappointed. The Sanibel Beaches are more natural than many of the other Florida beaches and are less maintained.

Many people comparing the Sanibel Beaches with another Southwest Florida beaches may think there are a lot of weeds on the beaches. These are not weeds and the beach is not dirty. Grass, plants and seaweeds are to be found between homes on the beach and the edge of the water.

In other words, Sanibel Island beaches are in a natural state.

One problem with Sanibel beaches is that the parking is very limited and often unavailable. However, you can rent full size and mini bikes or scooters to see the island.

The following is a video of Lighthouse beach taken by a family that were on holiday there.

What Beaches Are There?

  • Causeway Beach

    Parking is available when you can go to the water with your car and there is no parking fee. Restrooms are on this beach.

  • Lighthouse Beach

    Car parking available, fishing is available on the pier, pets must be kept on leash and cleaned up after. This Sanibel beach is open from 7 am to 7pm.

  • Gulfside City Park

    The park has beach access. For the walkers, try the nature trail, and if you are really looking for something to do there is an old cemetery.

  • Tarpon Bay Beach

    Easy parking is available slightly away from the beach access. It is open from 7 am to 7 pm. If you do bring your pet remember as with the other Sanibel beaches it is pet friendly but pets must be kept on a leash, and you must clean up after your pets.

  • Bowman's Beach

    There is parking at this beach, but it is about a quarter of a mile away. Once again, any pets must be kept on a leash and cleaned up after. There are showers on the beach to clean the sand and salt water away.

Just to give you more of an idea what Sanibel beaches are like I have included the additional videos.

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Sanibel Beach Dock

Sanibel Beach Dock
Photo Courtesy of April Younglove

Sanibel Beach View

Sanibel Beach View
Photo Courtesy of Pat Williams

Sanibel Island Beach at Dusk

Sanibel Island Beach
Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Shezamm

Sanibel Island Beach Palm Tree

Sanibel Island Palm Tree
Photo Courtesy of Alan Levine

Sanibel Island Beach View

Sanibel Island Beach
Photo Courtesy of Tara S

Sanibel Island Beach Walkway

Sanibel Island Beach Walkway
Photo Courtesy of Alan Levine

Sanibel Island Beach Wildlife

Sanibel Beach Wildlife
Photo Courtesy of Todd Poling

Sanibel Island Cabins for Rent

Sanibel Cabins for Rent
Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Shezamm

Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Sanibel Island Lighthouse
Photo Courtesy of Pat Williams

Sanibel Island Sunset

Sanibel Island Sunset
Photo Courtesy of Tim Menzies

Sanibel Island Welcome Sign

Welcome to Sanibel
Photo Courtesy of Lizard 10979

Sitting on Sanibel Beach

Sitting on Sanibel Beach
Photo Courtesy of Pat Williams

Walkway to Sanibel Beach

Walkway to Sanibel Beach
Photo Courtesy of April Younglove

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