Sanibel Island is off the coast of Lee County Florida (Ft. Myers). It is definitely one of the many Jewels of Florida. This island is known world wide and the shelling capital of the world. You can walk for miles on the beaches, watching the dolphins play in the gulf, see the "Florida" birds at every turn of your head or just take in the sun. Sanibel has so many shells on the beach you almost have to wear "beach shoes" to keep from cutting up your feet.
Before moving to Florida, I use to vacation on Sanibel 3 to 4 times a year. It is by far the most peaceful place that I've ever been. Don't plan on an exciting "night life" because the island rolls up it's sidewalks at dark. What you can do after dark is enjoy the largest concentration of outstanding restaurants that you will find anywhere in the world. Besides, with all the activities you can do during the day, you will need plenty of sleep at night to save up your energy for the next day.
During the day light hours you can enjoy long strolls on the beach, watching the various "Florida" birds, look for shells, or take in a few rays for a tan. Sanibel has the only Shell Museum in the world also which is a treat to visit. On the northern end of the island is Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve. Ding Darling is the most wonderful place to visit. It has a five mile long "trail" which you can drive your car along to view what nature has to offer. Thousands of shore birds, Alligators, crocodiles (if you are lucky), White Pelicans, and all kinds of other wildlife can be seen on a good day. I've been to the preserve probably 100 times and only once was I able to see the American Crocodile. A cute little lady...only about 14 foot long and a huge head on her shoulders. You can rent kayaks, charter fishing boats, work on your tan, and a whole list of various outdoor activities.
On the very Northern end of the island you will cross a short bridge and enter Captiva Island. Another beautiful place. You will not find any building over 4 stories tall, only a couple "name brand" hotels and no fats food restaurants. The majority of people who stay on the island rent a condo for the weekend or week.
On the Southern end of the Island is the Sanibel Lighthouse. An extremely old building that sits right on the beach. One of the most photographed building on the island.
If you have ever thought about visiting Southwest Florida, then Sanibel Island needs to be on your list of places to stay and visit for a few days. You only have to come here once and you will be addicted to the island. I guarantee that you will make numerous visits in years to come after that first visit.
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