Our Family Favorites
There is variety of attractions in the Sanibel area. Here are a few favorite adventures that our family enjoys:
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel – Part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States; this 6,400-acre refuge is home to more than 220 species of birds. Tours, trails, fishing, kayaking, and bicycling are available. Education Center features interactive exhibits and a hands-on area for children. A tram tour is available at 900 Tarpon Bay Road. Let professional naturalists guide you through the many Floridian wildlife species that reside in the refuge making stops near the refuge’s most famous inhabitants, including the preserve’s many rare bird species and Florida alligators. In addition, the tram tour also benefits wildlife by reducing automobile traffic in the refuge.
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel – Families and nature lovers will enjoy the miles of nature trails, as well as in-depth educational programs and nature walks. The exhibit center offers a touch tank and play area perfect for kids, while the nature trails offer an unparalleled look at Florida’s unique wildlife and wetland habitats.
Sanibel Historical Village and Museum, 950 Dunlop Road, Sanibel – Follow the footsteps of Sanibel Islands past, from Calusa and Spanish eras to early pioneers as you stroll through the Historical Village’s seven restored buildings. Docents bring to life Sanibel’s early pioneer families who homesteaded the Island with tales of warriors, adventurers, fisherman, farmers, and proprietors. Open Wed. – Sat.
Baily-Matthews Shell Museum, 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel – Provides education on shells and mollusks (the shell makers) through educational programs, library services, publications, and more than 30 exhibits featuring mollusks from around the world. A learning lab features a hands-on play area for children, displays, games and a tank with indigenous mollusks.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers – Visitors to the estate can enjoy 20 acres of historical buildings and gardens including Edison’s Botanic Lab and Estates Museum. The 1929 historic landscape is evident throughout the property and the museum has an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts, archive and special exhibits. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Island Style Shopping – You came to enjoy the beach and sun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little shopping while you are here. There are shops and boutiques filled with handcrafted gifts and fashions, exclusive fine jewelry and the latest brands in swimwear. Wonderful island style boutiques and galleries can be found on Sanibel Island, where the Chico’s women’s clothing empire got its start selling Mexican folk art and cotton sweaters in 1983. Bailey’s General Store and Jerry’s Foods are great for grocery shopping both featuring a full-service deli and butcher shop, fresh fish market, on-site bakery and fresh cut flowers. Jerry’s also has a family restaurant offering everything from burgers and comfort foods to mouth-watering steaks and seafood. Catering available. Periwinkle Place Shops is a great place to shop, dine and relax with a tropical setting. It is Sanibel’s largest and most charming shopping oasis. Periwinkle Place is an outdoor shopping center with covered boardwalks, a children’s play area, shady banyan trees, a butterfly garden and soothing water fountains. Periwinkle covers all the bases with distinctive and unique shops that carry men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, trendy beachwear, sunglasses and accessories, dazzling jewelry, island inspired art and furniture, toys and games for kids and adults, gourmet gifts, scrumptious candies and treats. Periwinkle Place was selected by Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau as Sanibel’s top shopping destination and as one of Lee County’s top attractions.