The weather on Sanibel and Captiva is pretty much the same as everything else on these paradise islands — perfect. The islands are located three miles from the mainland out in the Gulf of Mexico. That leads to a moderate climate because of the sea breezes that waft across the islands. The result is a nice comfort level with summer months that are not unbearably hot and winter months that are never really cold.
The islands are really pretty comfortable. There is the normal difference of about 20 degrees between the highs and lows but neither is extreme. There will usually be fewer days in the 90’s and more days in the 70’s than on the mainland in Fort Myers and almost always with a sea breeze.
The best time to visit is during the high season when the island temperatures are most pleasant and the winter blah’s up north are at their darkest. But for the lucky people who live on the island there is no season. The sun is always bright and the gulf waters are always warm and refreshing. There are some who say there are four months that are simply spectacular – April, May, October and November. The other months are only gorgeous.
The islands are sub-tropical and, as such, receive a fair amount of rain – particularly during the summer months. During the summer there might well be a thunderstorm in the late afternoon but after a good soaking it passes and the sun returns. It’s unlike some Caribbean islands or Hawaii where it might rain several times a day. On our paradise islands the annual rain will average about four inches per month but with most of it falling in the summer months.
Sanibel and Captiva are not generally at an unusually high risk for hurricanes when compared with the Atlantic coastal areas. If a hurricane does enter the Gulf of Mexico it usually doesn’t make a sharp enough turn to hit as low as we are on the Florida peninsula. More at risk are Louisiana, Texas and Mexico. But the weather professionals are not complacent. The islands were hit in 2004 with Hurricane Charlie which was the first hit in 40 years. Historically we get impacted every 20 years, on average. The National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Florida watches conditions very carefully during hurricane season (June thru November) and provide ample warning if a storm looks like it may come our way.
Sunrise and Sunset
Since Sanibel and Captiva are sub-tropical islands they will have longer days than most of the country. The average sunrise ranges from 7:15 AM in December to 5:34 AM in June. Average sunset is 5:34 PM in December to 7:25 PM in June. That’s around 10 hours of daytime sunshine in the winter and 14 in the summer. That’s a healthful amount of the beautiful sunshine and Vitamin D but make sure you’re ready for it with sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and water.
Living on these islands is an uncommon pleasure with a comfortable climate, lush beauty, much to see and do and lots of friendly neighbors. Come and see for yourself!