Sanibel Island, Florida, is the ultimate destination for your next family vacation. One of the hardest things about planning a family getaway is finding activities that everyone in your group will enjoy, but on Sanibel, you won’t have that problem! There are countless family-friendly activities in Sanibel, meaning there’s something to suit every interest.
From beaches to historical sites to natural wonders, there’s a little something for everyone. And the best part? It’s all right near our most popular Sanibel real estate!
Read on to discover our top 10 Sanibel Island activities for your family.
Sanibel Island is world-renowned for its beaches, and Bowman’s Beach is arguably the most popular on the entire island. Beach enthusiasts will likely have heard of the “Sanibel stoop,” which is the signature stooping motion that visitors make to pick up the stunning and unique seashells on the shorelines. Well, shelling in Sanibel Island simply doesn’t get better than this! The shore is quite undeveloped when compared to other beaches, making it the perfect relaxing destination for an afternoon with your family. Plus, it costs just $5 an hour to park, so you can spend the whole day here even on a budget!
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
Speaking of shells, Sanibel Island is so proud of their seashells that they have an entire museum dedicated to them! This museum not only educates visitors about the beautiful shells but also teaches them about the area’s most fascinating marine life. You can touch a live mollusk, watch the amazing Giant Pacific Octopus, and even go on a scavenger hunt! Kids are particularly fond of the interactive exhibits inside this museum, but it’s an awesome attraction for guests of all ages and will truly help you feel connected to the beaches of Sanibel.
The Sanibel Causeway actually has multiple beaches where you and your family can watch the waves and have fun in the sun. These Sanibel Island beaches are some of the best for spotting dolphins, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled and have your camera ready! Whether you journey to Causeway A or Causeway B, you’ll have opportunities to swim, picnic, sunbathe, canoe, kayak, and a host of other activities. If you’re traveling with your pet, you can even bring them to these shores!
Sanibel Island Lighthouse
It’s worth learning a bit about the history of Sanibel Island while you’re in town, and one of the best places to do that is at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. This landmark on the eastern end of the island was originally built in 1884, and it became automated in 1949. It was given a full facelift in 2013 and still stands as one of the most prominent landmarks of the island. This lighthouse is a wonderful place to learn about the early days of Sanibel Island and get that perfect family photo.
Blind Pass Beach
Want more options for Sanibel Island beaches? Don’t miss out on Blind Pass Beach. This stretch of shoreline is particularly popular for those wanting to fish, though shelling is a popular hobby here as well. Blind Pass Beach actually stretches from Sanibel Island onto the neighboring Captiva Island, and you can access the beach from either side of the Blind Pass Bridge. Be aware that the Sanibel side does not have restrooms, and swimming is not recommended because the currents are often quite swift. Still, this is an amazing location to get some sun and try to cast your line for the big catch.
Lighthouse Beach Park
When you’ve got a day on Sanibel Island that offers the perfect weather, don’t miss out on a trip to Lighthouse Beach Park. This park is located just off the end of Periwinkle Way, conveniently situated near almost any other attraction on the island. Here, you’ll find every amenity you’d need for an incredible afternoon with the family, from barbecue grills and picnic areas to a fishing pier and outside showers. You’re sure to find a place to park in the 170-space parking lot, and a visit here is budget-friendly at just $5 per hour for parking.
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife
The animal lover in your group will be absolutely thrilled by a visit to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, or CROW. This teaching hospital and visitor education center cares for over 5,000 patients every year and has been serving the area for over 50 years! You can check out the exhibits in the Visitor Education Center, get to know the animals at the daily presentations, and even meet incredible species like the Florida box turtle, ball python, American alligator, and more! They also hold frequent programs and presentations, so you can visit again and again and will always find something new.
Sanibel Moorings Botanical Gardens
One of the Sanibel Island things to do that’s a bit more tranquil is taking a stroll through the Sanibel Moorings Botanical Gardens. Their collection of tropical plants and trees has been constantly growing since the Gardens first opened in 1974. You’re welcome to stroll through the area on your own or embark in a 90-minute Garden Visit or a public tour! Either way, be sure to bring your camera; this location is actually one of the best places for Florida birdwatching!
Plan Your Next Trip
As you can see, Sanibel Island truly offers something for every guest. From the world-famous beaches of Sanibel Island to the fascinating historical sites, picturesque nature, artistic venues, and so much more, this little slice of Florida is perfect for a family vacation where everyone will have the time of their lives! But before you can head down here, you’ll need a place to stay! No matter how big or small your family is, we at Schuldenfrei are happy to accommodate you. Contact us today to learn more about our rental properties!
Big Arts Sanibel Island
Want to learn a bit about the art scene in the area? Head to Big Arts Sanibel Island, a staple in the community since 1979. Big Arts aims to educate and inspire artists and visitors from around the world, and they work daily to showcase the best local talent. You can check out the rotating visual and performing arts presentations, participate in a lecture with nationally renowned thought leaders, or even participate in a class to hone your own skills! Big Arts is one of those attractions that you can visit every time you’re in town, since there’s always something new to explore.
Pond Apple Park
If you’re looking for a great place to get some exercise with a stunning view of the Sanibel waters, head to Pond Apple Park. This park opened in 2014 and features a 1.6-mile loop taking you through some of the most breathtaking nature on the island. As you walk or bike along the trail, you’ll get a beautiful view of the water, as well as a one-of-a-kind look at native birds and wildlife in their natural habitats. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll with your family or get in some early morning exercise, Pond Apple Park is simply a “must do” activity.