ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sanibel Island Vacations, with Photos and Videos

Updated on August 30, 2013

Sanibel Island vacations = paradise!

Sanibel Island is located in Southwest Florida, just off the coast of Ft. Myers. It's below Tampa and is situated in the Gulf of Mexico.The barrier island is rich in natural beauty and wildlife, providing a peaceful respite, unlike the hustle and bustle of many vacation destinations. Sanibel is a place to kick back, soak up the sun, splash in the gentle waves, and dine on delectable seafood, fresh from the gulf. It's almost like being on a Caribbean island without needing a passport or leaving the U.S. There’s a fascinating history, too, which can be explored during Sanibel Island vacations.

Sanibel Island vacations mean awesome beaches!
Sanibel Island vacations mean awesome beaches!

Sanibel Island history


The island’s first inhabitants were the Calusa Indians. They survived largely from seafood caught in the fertile waters, including oysters, whelk, clams, and conchs. They made excellent use of the shells, too, turning them into tools. They also used mounds of the shells as foundations for their huts in an effort to avoid flooding tides. Some of these ancient shell mounds are still visible.

The first European to discover Sanibel Island was Ponce de Leon, in 1513. He named it “Santa Isybella.” For years, the Spanish battled the Calusa for the isle, resulting in Ponce de Leon’s death. Though the Spanish were unsuccessful in their bid, they all but wiped out the Calusa by introducing measles and tuberculosis to the endemic population, who had no natural immunities to the diseases. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Calusa were almost completely obliterated.

The next visitors to Sanibel were the pirates, in the early 1800s. It was one of the favorite haunts of the infamous buccaneer, Jose Gaspar, until he was captured by the U.S. Navy in 1812. Even so, the island was still largely avoided by settlers because of frequent raids by the Seminoles.

The Civil War brought an increased military presence to the area, and after the war, the island was safe for settlers and fishermen. The Sanibel Lighthouse was completed in 1884, and by 1889, almost fifty families were living on the island. Most grew grapefruit and vegetable crops, and most supplemented their income by fishing.

By the end of the nineteenth century, industrialists like Henry Ford had discovered Sanibel, and the Casa Ybel Resort was built. In 1928, docks were constructed, and a ferry service was added. More and more visitors flocked to Sanibel Island, including the famous political cartoonist, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. The Sanibel Causeway was completed in 1963, making the island more accessible to tourists.

Sanibel Island shelling


Sanibel is much more than a history lesson. Sanibel Island vacations offer beautiful pristine beaches with dazzling white sand and clear turquoise water. It’s one of the best places in the whole world for shelling because of its unique placement in the gulf. Sanibel Island shelling will reward collectors with many different types of shells, including some rare finds.

Fishing and Sanibel Island vacations


The fishing here is legendary, too, and is a popular aspect of most Sanibel Island vacations. Inshore and bay fishing will produce catches of redfish, snook, trout, black drum, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, pompano, whiting, ladyfish, and tarpon. Artificial reefs and hard shell bottoms make for excellent offshore fishing for grouper, snapper, shark, cobia, king mackerel, permit, amberjack, and barracuda.

Enjoy gorgeous water on Sanibel Island vacations - perfect for snorkeling and diving!
Enjoy gorgeous water on Sanibel Island vacations - perfect for snorkeling and diving!

Sanibel Island vacations for snorkeling and diving


Sanibel Island vacations also provide great places for snorkeling and diving. The water is warm and clear, with lots of artificial reefs that attract marine life. Expect to see moray eels, nurse sharks, jacks, cobia, and huge grouper.

Find great accommodations for Sanibel Island vacations!
Find great accommodations for Sanibel Island vacations!

Sanibel Island accommodations


Visitors to Sanibel will discover numerous lodging choices, along with a wonderful year-round climate. Sanibel Island accommodations include oceanfront condos, resorts, quaint cottages, cozy inns, hotels, motels, and other beach rentals. There are also several campgrounds and RV parks, which help make Sanibel Island vacations affordable for everyone.

Ahhh...Sanibel Island vacations are totally relaxing!
Ahhh...Sanibel Island vacations are totally relaxing!

Other things to do on Sanibel Island vacations


Shoppers will be giddy with excitement on Sanibel. They’ll find a wide selection of swimwear, children’s clothing, sunglasses, sports equipment, gourmet foods, jewelry, men’s apparel, women’s clothing, toys, books, pottery, furniture, and art. The boutiques also carry a fascinating array of unique gift items and unusual souvenirs to serve as treasured mementos for Sanibel Island vacations.

Dining on Sanibel and nearby Captiva is an adventure in itself. Choose among bistros, grills, cafes, sandwich shops, delis, burger joints, pizzerias, seafood shacks, ice cream parlors, and beachfront restaurants with live entertainment. Some of the dining venues on the islands are even pet friendly! Even better, free online coupons are available for restaurants on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island vacations!

What else is there to do on Sanibel Island vacations? Plenty. Ride a bike, see the parrots at Jerry’s Supermarket, play golf on two island courses, go for a hike, bird watch, visit the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum, visit the Shell Museum, canoe, swim, kayak, or take a cruise to nearby Cayo Costa. In just a few minutes, you can be at the fabulous Naples Zoo, too!

One of the must-sees on Sanibel Island vacations is the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It offers a four-mile scenic drive, walking trails, bike paths, canoe trails, and an observation tower on over 6,000 acres. Visitors to the preserve can see thirty species of mammals, fifty species of reptiles and amphibians, and 238 bird species. A few of the stars include endangered and threatened species like indigo snakes, bald eagles, American crocodiles, American alligators, wood storks, Peregrine falcons, loggerhead turtles, and manatees.

Sanibel Island vacations are unforgettable. The tropical atmosphere is totally laid back, and there’s something fun to do and see for every age group. Since Sanibel and Captiva Island are really practically one island, a trip to Sanibel is like getting a two-for-one vacation deal.

So what are you waiting for? Search online for a great package deal or Sanibel hotel rates today. You won’t regret it!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)