Sanibel Restaurants with a View

Credit: Traditions on the Beach

As the slow days of summer arrive on Sanibel Island, there is no better way the spend your day than lazing away on the sands of this sanctuary island. From sun up to sun down, expect smaller crowds and less traffic—the perfect setting for the ultimate summertime beach getaway. It is during this time of year that temperatures are at their height, but that alone shouldn’t keep you away from the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico available across the island. Why not step out of the sun during peak hours and enjoy a delicious meal along with a million dollar view.

There are plenty of Sanibel island dining options with a view. Grab a cocktail, step out of the sun, and indulge in Sanibel Island’s best waterfront dining.

Mad Hatter Restaurant
Located near the historic and beautiful Blind Pass waterway, The Mad Hatter offers new American cuisine serves with a side of stunning scenery.  Inspired and eclectic menu choices evolve depending on the season, and every meal is always fresh and prepared from scratch. Chef Kurt and Michelle Jarvis bring new life to this cozy, romantic restaurant on the beach with its well-deserved reputation and unbeatable sunsets.
6467 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.0033

Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon
Dine leisurely at the dockside restaurant Gramma Dot’s. Located at the Sanibel Marina, enjoy a full line of “only fresh” seafood, salads, sandwiches and more. Appropriate dress is required. Named for Dorothy Sterns, Dot loved an adventure. As a teenager, she traveled the world by ship with her family. She rode camels in Egypt, rode horses and played billiards in the Wild West. She was an avid sailor who loved the sea and logged many hours exploring Long Island’s Great South Bay. In the late 50’s, her sea explorations brought her to Sanibel. The restaurant was named after Gramma Dot by her son Myton Ireland.
634 N. Yachtsman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.2723

Traditions on the Beach
Located just east of your accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages sits Traditions on the Beach, a quaint and contemporary restaurant directly on the sand. With Live music and dancing every night plus contemporary cuisine served Sanibel style and complimentary valet parking. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Traditions, as the locals call it, offers the most delicious dishes found anywhere in Southwest Florida. Award-winning Chef Aziz uses the finest of local ingredients to create dishes with vibrant visual and taste appeal. In true Island style, the restaurant provides its warmest welcome for the many guests who return year after year for memorable cuisine served in a breathtaking surrounding. Fun fact: Traditions on the Beach is Sanibel’s first dining room and has been delighting its guests since 1895.
3111 West Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-4559

Celebrate the Fourth of July on Sanibel Island

Dusk Ocean Sunset Sea Silhouette Sand Beach

Get patriotic on Sanibel Island on Independence Day 2018! Making plans to visit Sanibel Island in July is simple. Join the Sanibel-Captiva Island community as we celebrate The Fourth of July right here on the sand. From sunrise to sunset, join us as we honor the red, white, and blue during Independence Day on Sanibel Island.

On July 4, 2018, Sanibel Island transforms from a beachside getaway to a full-fledged patriotic city by the sea, hosting events all day long so residents and visitors can celebrate America’s special day in a unique island setting.

Fourth of July festivities on Sanibel kick off bright and early at the Free Pancake Breakfast, presented by Sanibel Community Church. After you’ve filled up on your breakfast favorites, set up camp along Periwinkle Way between Tarpon Bay Road and Casa Ybel Road to enjoy the annual Fourth of July Parade on Sanibel Island. The parade begins promptly at 9:30 AM at Bailey’s Grocery and heads east towards Jerry’s Center. Be sure to bring a beach chair or blanket, plenty of sunscreen, and a bag to collect beads, candy, and more!

Following the parade, participate in the annual Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club Road Rally— Sanibel’s longest-running 4th of July event! Celebrating 38 years of fun for teams and families, join in to puzzle out the clues while following a prescribed driving course around the Island. Prizes will be awarded for time, mileage and for the most correct answers to the quiz about things seen along the route.  A “50/50” raffle will also be available. The Road Rally begins at noon sharp at Timber’s Restaurant, 703 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957.

You must pre-register for the Road Rally event here.

Spend the rest of your day lazily lounging, enjoying beach barbeque, dining at a local restaurant, and of course, watching the sunset dip below the horizon.

The grand finale of the perfect Fourth of July on Sanibel Island includes fireworks over the water at 9 PM. Local Eco tour group hosts a majestic and awe-inspiring boat cruise that provides a one-of-a-kind firework viewing experience from the top of the waves, and underneath the display. For more information, click here.

Join us at Gulf Breeze Cottages for a Sanibel Island Fourth of July experience that is sure to be the cherry on top of your all-American island getaway.

To view our discounted Sanibel summertime rates and to book your Fourth of July island getaway on Sanibel Island, click here.

Join us on Sanibel In June for World Oceans Day

As we slip into a slower summertime routine here on Sanibel Island, events and activities across the island lessen and leave extra time for simply enjoying the natural gifts this sanctuary island offers to all who visit.  

If you are planning to visit Sanibel Island in June, make a date with the sand and sun, kick back, relax, and enjoy this island paradise.

In addition to total gulf side relaxation, plan to celebrate beach life and everything the ocean has to offer at World Oceans Day with J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet, including the Sanibel Island community celebrate and honor the ocean. Coordinated by The Ocean Project join people from around the world on June 8, 2018 to celebrate our natural world.

Locally, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is hosting all of the exciting day-of celebrations. Highlights of the special event include earth-friendly, upcycled crafts to take home and a ranger-led beach walk and clean-up at the refuge’s Perry Tract, accessible from Gulfside City Park. An “anti-plastic film festival” features four free film showings starting at 11 a.m.

Below is the full schedule for ocean-friendly and free fun throughout the day:

9 a.m. – Free Beach Walk & Cleanup at Perry Tract (parking fees apply at Gulfside City Park)

11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Free Make-and-Take Upcycled Crafts in the Visitor & Education Center

11 a.m. – Free showing of the film STRAWS (32 minutes)

12 p.m. – Free showing of the film Addicted to Plastic (53 minutes)

1:15 p.m. – Free showing of the film Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (57 minutes)

2:30 p.m. – Free showing of the film Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? (45 minutes)

To attend the event, park at Gulfside City Park (parking fees apply) on Algiers Lane for the Beach Walk at Perry Tract. Other events at Visitor & Education Center at mile marker 2 on Sanibel-Captiva Road, just a few miles from our front door at Gulf Breeze Cottages!

See you in June!

Sanibel Island Named Top-Rated Vacation Destination

Our beautiful island sanctuary has been recognized by mega-travel site TripAdvisor as one of “20 best places to vacation in Florida!”

TripAdvisor’s Statement:

“On blissful Sanibel, you can spend your days at the beach watching the birds or combing through the thousands of pretty shells that wash up on the sands. There’s also an impressive collection of them at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Don’t miss the wood storks and bright pink spoonbills at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of the area’s most popular attractions.”

Sanibel was listed ahead of the more metropolitan vacation destinations of Miami and Orlando. Our neighboring cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral also made the list.

As we head into summer, the entire team at Gulf Breeze Cottages invites you and your family to soak up the sun and explore Sanibel Island during your summer vacation.

We are offering several specials that will allow you to take the vacation you deserve at prices you can afford.

Enjoy great discounts starting on May 1 through June 30th with rates starting at only $185 for a 3 night stay!

Can’t make it in June? Enjoy rates from $167 for your stay dates between July 20 and July 25 and enjoy more than the holiday, but sunny skies, miles of shell strewn beaches and our Olde Florida Cottages

If you really want to relax, celebrate “National Lazy Day” with us on August 10th. Take advantage of 10% off all of our available units all month long!

See you on the sand!

Rare Turtle Sighting on Sanibel Island!

As you know, Turtle season has begun! And how better to kick off the 2018 season than with a unique and astonishing rare turtle sighting.

Earlier this month The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) discovered a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting right here on Sanibel Island.

This sighting is only the third time a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has nested on Sanibel Island since 1967. These sea turtles are one the most endangered and smallest type of sea turtle in the world.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has often been confused with the larger but similar-looking loggerhead turtle. At adulthood, Kemp’s ridley turtles reach about 2 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds. The Kemp’s ridley can be identified by its yellow bottom shell and broad, gray top shell, which is heart-shaped and filled with ridged scales.

A female Kemp’s ridley turtle can lay up 110 eggs at a time. Some females breed annually and nest an average of 2-3 times in a season at intervals of 10 to 28 days. Hatchlings are black on both sides.

Historically, Kemp’s ridley turtle populations declined due oil spills, beach traffic, beach development and predation on nestlings. Boat propellers as well as trash, plastic, and improperly disposed of fishing line and equipment can also injure sea turtles.

Help us keep our turtle visitors safe. After the sun goes down, please turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach, including closing window blinds. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach.

If you have any questions or concerns about nesting or injured turtles, you’re asked to call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978) 728- 3663.

Turtle Season on Sanibel Begins!

Every year Sanibel Islanders and visitors get all excited at the beginning of Turtle Season on Sanibel… and then the waiting starts. Turtles usually appear overnight to bury their clutch of eggs. When the morning comes the Turtle Patrol, local animal conservation groups and organizations, monitor the activity and place the protective barriers around the new nests. And then we wait!

Later in the Summer is the time where all this activity comes to a head and the newborn turtles make their way out of the sands, scrambling to get up to the surface and out to the water. This is the second half of the critical call to locals and visitors alike to keep the lights off on the beach because the babies are attracted to reflections in the water and may get confused by artificial lighting. If they head towards an artificial light, it may lead them away from the beach and cause exhaustion and distress that may ultimately take their lives before they reach the life giving seas.

Turtle nesting has been monitored on Sanibel Island since the 1950’s making it one of the longest turtle monitoring study in the history of the United States. The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Is the entity that tackles more than 18 miles of beach daily to complete this daunting task!

Please use their helpful list to keep our beaches sea turtle friendly.

  1. Turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach.
  2. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach. If necessary, use amber or red LED bulbs
  3. Do not disturb the screens covering nests. They prevent eggs from being eaten by predators and the hatchlings emerge through the holes without assistance
  4. Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night
  5. Dispose of fishing line properly to avoid wildlife entanglement
  6. Fill in large holes that can trap hatchlings
  7. Do not disturb nesting turtles – please do not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles
  8. Pick up litter

If we all work together to keep our sea turtles safe and comfortable, we’re sure to enjoy this magnificent creature’s presence on Sanibel Island for years to come!

Late March Activities on Sanibel Island – Easter on Sanibel

Spring has sprung here on Sanibel Island! Not only is the island abloom with Pentas, Coreopsis, Mexican Heather, and more, but exciting activities are also abound across the island.

Families on Sanibel Island during the month of March will have the opportunity to attend one of Southwest Florida’s premier springtime celebrations. The Children’s Education Center of the Islands, also known as CECI will host the 24th annual Sanibel Spring Festival on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Held at the Sanibel City Park, next to the Playground on Periwinkle Way, you and your family are invited to join other visitors and locals from 9:00AM to 11:00AM for a morning of springtime activates, island style. The festivities will begin at 9:00 sharp with a free Easter egg hunt for children of all ages.

Following the Sanibel Island Easter egg hunt, games, contests, and crafts will begin immediately and will continue until 11:00 AM. The whole family is sure to enjoy the pony and unicorn rides, a bounce house, giant slide, face painting, and many other crafts and games. Make a memory that will last forever and get your annual photo with the Easter Bunny right here on Sanibel Island! The festival will also include a silent auction with written bid sheets from over 60 baskets to choose from! A $10 armband will allow each child unlimited fun to participate in all activities.

Want to spend the day on the water? Join Adventures in Paradise and hop aboard for their annual Easter Cruise. Cruise across San Carlos Bay surrounded by sun and dolphins! The tour is narrated by a knowledgeable Captain and Naturalist. Bottled water will be provided. The entire tour group will arrive at Picnic Island to search for over a thousand eggs. Easter pails are provided. Egg hunt is for those 11 years of age and under.

Learn more about the tour here.

Sanibel Island Deals 2019

Enjoy a Sanibel Island vacation without breaking the budget!

Imagine, relaxing on the beach, toes in the sand, sun on your skin, without a care in the world—especially because you’re enjoying the best of Sanibel Island without the guilt of overspending on your vacation. Enjoy your well-deserve Sanibel Island vacation with us, right here at Gulf Breeze cottages! Whether you are a long-time return guest, or first-time visitor, we always aim to provide the best Sanibel Island vacation experience at a price point your family can afford.

At Gulf Breeze Cottages, we are pleased to announce our 2019 Pre-Season Spectacular Sale-ebration! Secure your 2019 Sanibel Island vacation NOW at our best possible rates.

Join us in 2019 on the following dates for a reduced rate on many of our units:

– January 2, 2019 – January 19, 2019
– February 1, 2019 – February 9, 2019
– March 4, 2019 – March 9, 2019
– March 18, 2019 – March 25, 2019

Act now to ensure your desired unit is available for you during your time on Sanibel Island. These offers can only be redeemed by telephone. Please call us now to speak with one of our Vacation Experts at 1.800.388.2842 or 239.472.1626.

These Sanibel island specials are not valid with any other offer or promotion, and a 3-night minimum night restrictions applies. Excludes holiday periods.

Additionally, follow us on Facebook for additional “social media only” sales. Our Facebook page is located here.

We hope your family will choose Gulf Breeze Cottages as your 2019 Sanibel Island escape. From efficiency units to gulf-front beach cottages, we are proud to offer a selection of Sanibel Island rentals for your family. What are you waiting for? Book today!

Calusa Shell Mounds on Sanibel

Sanibel Island lies directly in the territory of the ancient Calusa Indians whose empire stretched across the entire southern half of Florida. Unfortunately, there are not much on the surface left of their massive settlements and dwellings built upon the large shell mounds.

The Calusa were the indigenous people who occupied most of Southwest Florida befort the first Spanish Conquistadors arrived on the west coast of Florida. The skilled native tribe lived off of the land and sea utilizing every resource that the surrounding natural environment provided. This includes the shells leftover from fishing, eating, tool making and more. The Calusa would harvest the shells from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, eat the animal within and retain the shells as building material and tools. The shells would be piled in mounds that served as dwellings, temples and the like.

For a closer look you have to take to the trails on foot in a fun and interesting journey of discovery on the Sanibel Shell Mound Trail, located a short drive from our property. The trail shows you the remnants of ancient Calusa homes and by studying the artifacts located within these ancient mounds of shells you will see a highly evolved, stratified social structure, rich in religion and ritual.

Sanibel hosts a couple of these structures and the fine folks at J.N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge offer visitors and locals alike continuous tours free of charge beginning at 1 p.m. meeting at the Calusa Shell Mound Trail parking lot at the end of Wildlife Drive in Ding Darling Preserve.

Bring binoculars, a hat, sunscreen and water to enjoy a fun and informative guided tour on the boardwalk trail. Naturalists will guide you through a world of fantastic island nature and alert you to what is currently there as far as wildlife.

The boardwalk circles the shell mounds themselves on this .4 mile trail through a tropical hardwood hammock habitat where Gumbo-limbo trees mingle with snake plants, sea grape, barbed cactus, poinciana and mimosa. Enjoy exotic bromeliads and the white mangrove which tower 30 feet into the air.

March Events on Sanibel: Getting Shelltacular!

Experience the history, culture, and natural beauty of Sanibel Island at the 81st annual Sanibel Shell Festival. Hosted at the historic and newly renovated Sanibel Community House from Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 4, 2018.

Join Sanibel Island locals, visitors, shell enthusiast and artists from as far away as Canada, the Caribbean and beyond at one of Sanibel Island’s most cherished annual traditions. Spend the day browsing hundreds of exhibits by local painters, crafters, local vendors, wildlife experts, local eateries and more! Make sure to stop at the “Shell Tent” where shells can be bought for as little as 25 cents.

The Sanibel Shell Show is an integral part of the Shell Festival. This judged competition is the longest running and most prestigious shell show in North America. The competition between shell collectors and shell artists is open to everyone from the United States and around the world.

At the Sanibel Shell Show, you will be in awe of the art created by these international artists. Be amazed at the floral arrangements, sailor’s valentines and other magnificent works of art entered in the Shell Show.

Admission and parking is free to all attendees but for just a $5.00 donation to the local Sanibel Community Association and the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club, attendees will be granted access to all areas of the exhibit hall as well as one free admission to The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, an $11 value.

The Annual Shell Festival is the major fundraising event of the year for both the Sanibel Community Association and the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club.

All the funds raised by the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club are given in the form of grants to several local marine education and conservation organizations and for scholarship funds to the University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University Departments of Marine & Ecological Science.

The funds raised by the sale of shells and shell art outdoors on the Festival grounds support the Sanibel Community House.

The Sanibel Community House is located at 2173 Periwinkle Way only an 8-minute drive or 15-minute bike ride from our property at Gulf Breeze Cottages.

Our pro tip? Ride your bike to the festival and skip the hassle of parking and traffic along Periwinkle Way.