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Things to do in Sanibel

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Natural Feature
“If you want to go to quiet beaches then Sanibel is it. Long beaches with lots of shells, great views. Also the drive over the causeway to Sanibel is also beautiful.”
  • 94 locals recommend
Nature Preserve
“Go early before heat and traffic. Normally 45 min. drive but in season, it can take up to 60-90 minutes as there is one way and one way off island.”
  • 55 locals recommend
Beach
“Lighthouse of the Infamous Sanibel Island. This is a simple paradise getaway with Stunning Sunsets”
  • 12 locals recommend
Beach
“Another great beach for shelling and relaxation! If other beach parking is full, Bowman's Beach will probably still have parking with their main and overflow parking areas. This is the longest area of beach both to the north and south so you can be sure to find a place to set up your beach chairs and sunbrella for the day! Great shower and restroom facilities located between parking and the beach. Enjoy!”
  • 18 locals recommend
Beach
“Located at the Eastern tip of Sanibel is Lighthouse Beach Park. Plenty of beach for great walks and shelling. Early morning shell hunting we have found to be excellent! (And when we say "Early Morning" we mean get to the beach before sunrise! Great local eateries nearby for breakfast. Shopping close by as well.”
  • 20 locals recommend
New American Restaurant
$$
“Arrive earlier for less of a wait. There is a $6 bridge toll to get to Sanibel. I would recommend packing the car for the beach and making a day of it. ”
  • 16 locals recommend
Grocery or Supermarket
“Delicious food in the cafe located in Jerry's supermarket. Their benedicts are delicious and enjoy it in the well-forested area around the supermarket.”
  • 11 locals recommend
Museum
“For everyone who has ever picked up a sea shell and wondered, "where did this come from?". Or, "what kind of creature made this?". Located on Sanibel Island, (not Pine Island): check drive times, depending on how busy tourist season is. Note: the Shell Museum is not far from Sanibel's Bowman's Beach. Arrive early AM for a parking spot. ”
  • 13 locals recommend
Shopping Centre
“Periwinkle Place has a variety of shops to browse through. I love going through all the shops, they have lots of cute things. There is also a restaurant there,The Blue Giraffe.”
  • 6 locals recommend
Bar
“Great place for a fine dinner out. Featuring local seafood catches and an extensive menu. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to try the "Doc Ford Yucatan Shrimp" AMAZING! ”
  • 11 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
“This restaurant is less than a block away from Villa Key West...however there is a canal to hinder your journey if you were walking. The drive around the canal is a little more than a mile and well worth it. You can dine on the water or inside. The daily special are always worth checking out.”
  • 11 locals recommend
Travel Agency
“Awesome kayak and paddle board tours. Paddle through the mangroves and discover another side of nature. Boat rental and guided boat tours available. Touch tank available for your enjoyment! Great shopping in store. Fishing guides also available.”
  • 12 locals recommend
Bar
$$$
“This is an island favourite right on the beach. Definitely make a reservation for this waterfront New American spot executing upscale plates in a white-tablecloth, beach cottage setting. ”
  • 6 locals recommend
Veterinary Care
“I really enjoy the educational aspect of the wildlife rehab clinic...where you get a real feel for the impact a human has on wildlife. You may see anything from raptor (owls, falcons, hawks, eagles) to foxes, to turtles, to snakes, rabbits, to song birds. It's an experience that you carry with you all your life.”
  • 7 locals recommend
Food
  • 2 locals recommend
History Museum
“On Sanibel Island, near the library and town offices. (Not Pine Island.) Featuring numerous small historic buildings. The story of Sanibel Island is told from the Calusa and Spanish eras, to the early pioneer families who settled on the island in the 1800s. Note: depending on local traffic, arrive early AM for activities on Sanibel. We recommend driving before 8 AM if you are going over from Pine Island. ”
  • 4 locals recommend

Top restaurants

New American Restaurant
“Arrive earlier for less of a wait. There is a $6 bridge toll to get to Sanibel. I would recommend packing the car for the beach and making a day of it. ”
  • 16 locals recommend
Restaurant
“This restaurant is less than a block away from Villa Key West...however there is a canal to hinder your journey if you were walking. The drive around the canal is a little more than a mile and well worth it. You can dine on the water or inside. The daily special are always worth checking out.”
  • 11 locals recommend
Bar
“Great place for a fine dinner out. Featuring local seafood catches and an extensive menu. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to try the "Doc Ford Yucatan Shrimp" AMAZING! ”
  • 11 locals recommend
Bar
“This is an island favourite right on the beach. Definitely make a reservation for this waterfront New American spot executing upscale plates in a white-tablecloth, beach cottage setting. ”
  • 6 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Great dining spot and great food! Outdoor seating while picking out the boat you are gonna buy! Awesome desserts!”
  • 10 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
“This is a really fun place to go for drinks & Live Music. The Plantain Nacho's are awesome too!”
  • 6 locals recommend
Café
“Treetop restaurant featuring american fare, live music & a full bar. An island favorite!”
  • 6 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“Posh golf-club bistro & bar serves steaks, salads & other American fare. Popular for delicious dinner specials, reservations are recommended ”
  • 6 locals recommend

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