Sanibel Island

Sanibel is connected to sister island Captiva by a short bridge over Blind Pass.


Welcome to Sanibel Island

Small town vibes & harmony with nature on this stunning barrier island

Directly West of Fort Myers Beach you can find the beautiful, shell-dotted shores of Sanibel Island. Known for its iconic lighthouse and plentiful sand dollars, Sanibel is a popular tourist destination. However, Sanibel also has a thriving local population that is quick to sing its praise. Both an island and a city unto itself, Sanibel has been careful to strike a balance between human development and ecological preservation. The east side of the island is considered the hub of the city, with a number of beachy restaurants & shops, but more than half of the island is actually a protected wildlife refuge for everything from marsh rabbits to osprey to American alligators. Sanibel is connected to sister island Captiva by a short bridge over Blind Pass, and is connected to mainland Florida by a 3-mile causeway that spans the San Carlos Bay. 

What to Love

  • Island living meets small town USA
  • Easy mainland access
  • Award-winning island school
  • Premier shelling beaches

Local Lifestyle

Many people are drawn to Sanibel for the relaxed, island lifestyle and the warm, small-town feeling. The island has a population of approximately 7,400, with 50% being 65 and older. The island is a popular place for second homes and vacation getaways. However, a number of families call Sanibel home, enjoying the plentiful outdoor activities and excellent public school. Sanibel is often described as quiet and tranquil -- no doubt due to the community’s dedication to preserving the island’s natural wonders. 

Housing options on the island range considerably, with everything from charming beach cottages to gulf-access luxury properties. 


Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

On Sanibel, Periwinkle Way is the true heart of the city, home to all of the island’s shops and restaurants. For a quick bite before hitting the beach, you can’t go wrong with Paper Fig Kitchen. Locals enjoy grabbing a coffee and pastry from the bakery in community staple Bailey’s General Store.

Dinner options include
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille, famous for their island mojito, and MudBugs, which features delicious cajun and creole-inspired cuisine. For something a little more elevated, you might try popular French bistro Bleu Rendez-Vous or Traveler’s Choice Award Winner, Cielo, which serves locally sourced food in a chic setting. 

Island shopping doesn’t get much better than
Periwinkle Place Shops, home to the original Chico’s store. Stroll past water fountains and banyan trees as you shop from 26 different retailers.

Things to Do

Sanibel island invites you, nay implores you, to come outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. 

The island is home to J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a third of the island. Whether you’d prefer to bird watch, fish, kayak, or picnic, you’ll be sure to enjoy taking in this breathtaking ecological site. Those hoping to search for Sanibel’s famous seashells can visit Bowman Beach. After, a trip to
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum can help you identify what you’ve collected -- and of course, inspire your next shelling adventure. 

One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is the Sanibel lighthouse. Constructed in 1884, the iron structure is 98-foot above sea level and located in scenic Lighthouse Beach Park. 

For an exploration of the island’s history, you’ll want to visit the Sanibel
Historical Museum & Village, which traces the island’s story from its earliest inhabitants, the Native Calusa, to the pioneer families who settled on Sanibel in the 1800s.


Sanibel Island is served by the School District of Lee County, and has its own award-winning elementary & middle school on the island. Top educational opportunities include:


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