Captiva Island

Legends connect the island’s name back to a swashbuckling past.


Welcome to Captiva Island

This sister island to Sanibel combines charm and luxury

Once connected to its Southern neighbor, Sanibel, Captiva Island is a small, barrier island off the coast of Southwest Florida. Legends connect the island’s name back to a swashbuckling past, claiming that notorious Spanish pirate José Gaspar, hid treasure on neighboring Sanibel Island and female prisoners on Captiva — sparking the name “Isle de los Captivas.” 

Much like Sanibel, Captiva is known for its beautiful beaches, premier shelling opportunities, and status as a “sanctuary” island. Captiva, however, is much smaller than Sanibel. Whereas Sanibel spans roughly 12 miles end to end, Captiva only spans 1.64 square miles. Despite its small size, Captiva packs a punch with its natural beauty, charming downtown area, and abundance of luxury homes. 


What to Love

  • Luxurious island living
  • Easy access to both Sanibel Island and Florida’s mainland
  • Stunning beaches known for shells
  • Charming and intimate downtown

Local Lifestyle

Captiva is a small island with a small population. While numbers have been growing since 2020, the total number of inhabitants tops out at approximately 668. Whereas retirees make up the majority of the population in Sanibel, Captiva’s population skews a bit younger, with a median age of 41.3. As one might expect of a petite and exclusive island, Captiva has a relatively high cost of living that’s reflected in the above-average income of its residents. Homes in Captiva range from quaint island bungalows and cottages to luxurious waterfront properties. Part of Captiva Drive, which runs the length of the island, is known for its stunning waterfront mansions, with a nickname of “Millionaire’s Row.’

As a popular tourist destination, Captiva is home to a number of vacation resorts and hotels. However, the community has taken pains to strike a balance between development and ecological preservation.  


Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Don’t let Captiva’s size fool you. The island has plenty to offer when it comes to dining and shopping. Stop by The Mucky Duck, for a cold drink, live entertainment and breathtaking sunsets overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. For a quirky experience you won’t soon forget, The Bubble Room, has to be on your list. Listen to records from the 1920s while taking in the funky mix of kitschy Americana and Christmas decor. 

At the northern tip of the island is Harborside Bar and Grille, a waterfront eatery that serves up fresh seafood and craft cocktails. The restaurant is part of South Seas Resort and Hotel, which owns 330 acres of beachfront property. Some of Captiva’s best shopping is located directly across from the resort at
Chadwick’s Square. The open-air mall features shops like Everything But Water, H20 Outfitters, and REgatta. There’s even a Starbucks for your afternoon pick-me-up.

Things to Do

Captiva Beach and Turner Beach are two of the island’s biggest draws. Turner Beach is popular with shellers and fishermen, but swimming is not recommended due to the swift tide. Captiva Beach is the perfect place to settle in on a towel and watch the sunset. Or maybe you’d prefer to take a dolphin cruise or search for manatees. 

For a glimpse into the island’s history, stop by the
Captiva School and Chapel-by-the-Sea Historic District. If you’re lucky, you may spot a wedding in the 1901 schoolhouse-turned chapel.


While no schools are located directly on the island, neighboring Sanibel Island has an award-winning elementary and middle school. Captiva is served by the School District of Lee County. Top educational opportunities include:


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