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About Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is a family friendly vacation destination that will make you feel like a kid, whatever your age. Located on the Gulf Coast of southwest Florida, it is a haven for beachcombers, birdwatchers, and anyone who likes to relax and enjoy beautiful sunsets. Strong restrictions on development since the 1970s have helped protect the natural ecology of the island, and more than half of its area is a network of wildlife refuges.
The island is covered with beautiful tropical flowering plants and is home to a large bird population frequented by birdwatchers. In addition to common seabirds and pelicans, you'll find rare native species like the roseate spoonbill. Visitors from around the world come to explore beaches that are covered with shells and other treasures from the sea. While the chameleons are charming, and the alligators keep their distance, you'll want bring your insect repellent for the sand flies that commonly appear during the summer.
Peak tourist season on Sanibel Island is from January to April. Like much of the Gulf Coast, the climate is humid subtropical, averaging 75º in winter and 90º in summer, but it enjoys cooling ocean breezes all year round. The area is subject to tropical storms and hurricanes, which typically occur around September or October.
Sanibel Island Accommodations
Virtually every vacation rental on Sanibel Island is "beachside." Cottages, villas, and condo rentals provide great deals for families and groups staying together. Even though the Gulf waters are relatively balmy spring-fall, you can still find accommodations that also offer a heated pool. Although Sanibel tends to have higher rates than other destinations, Tripping offers a variety of listings so you can find the perfect vacation home to fit your budget.
What to Do on Sanibel Island
Explore J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the island's largest, covering 5200 acres and housing over 220 species of birds. You'll also find many other native species, including endangered and threatened animals, and rare and unique subtropical plant communities. There are many walking trails and opportunities for biking, kayaking, and even fishing within the Refuge.
Other outdoor activities on Sanibel include snorkeling and scuba diving, windsurfing, bicycling (with miles of trails open during daylight hours), golf, and tennis. Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum has unique exhibits dedicated to mollusks around the world, with many rare specimens. At the Sanibel Island Lighthouse you'll find a fishing pier and a number of nature trails, and Sanibel Historical Museum and Village offers a glimpse into the area's past.