May Events on Sanibel Island


There is never a loss for things to do on Sanibel Island. The month of May brings warmer temperatures, a major holiday (Memorial Day), and plenty of island activities to keep you and your family busy all month long!

Starting on May 2nd, the Sanibel Historical Village will switch to its off season hours and will be open 10am through 1pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Spend an afternoon celebrating Sanibel Island’s history and rich culture. Step back in time and explore the story of Sanibel from Calusa and Spanish eras to the pioneer days of the 1800s. Get to know our local warriors, adventures, fishermen, farmers and proprietors. The Sanibel historical village is home to seven historic buildings that were moved from their original island locations and restored to their original state.

Attention anglers! The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge partners with Doc Ford’s for their 6th Annual “Care, Catch and Release” Tournament on May 19.  This celebrates the first time in 1885 when a Tarpon was caught by rod and reel. Don’t forget to pack your angling gear if you will be here with us that weekend and join in the fun. The prize is a cool $33K!

Shelling is the one activity that is always fun on Sanibel! Join the National Shell Museum for guided beach walk alongside an expert Marine Biologist. Explore the world of shells while learning new and interesting facts about your favorite beach treasures! The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 5-17). Parking at Island Inn is free for beach walk participants. Space is limited so book online now or by calling (239) 395-2233 to make a reservation. All participants receive a coupon for half-off Shell Museum admission.

Want to try something new? Join wine educator Tom Uhler at the newly renovated Sanibel Community House on May 5, 12 and 26 from 7pm to 9pm for An Introduction to the Pleasures of Wine. Sample over a dozen wines paired with food from Sanibel Catering Company by Bailey’s. There are only 30 participants per event, so sign up before the experience is no longer available.

May is chock full of local events that the whole family is sure to love. For more information about May events on Sanibel, reach out to our staff at (239) 472-1626.

Easter on Sanibel

Spring fills the balmy breezes on Sanibel, with sunrise coming earlier and our glorious sunsets a bit later each day. At Gulf Breeze Cottages, our guests enjoy these delights from our private beach, just steps from our Old Florida cottages!  

We invite you to join us for your next beach getaway, and especially hope that you are Island bound for the upcoming Easter weekend!

For a casual brunch experience, the Sanibel Island Farmer’s Market will be open Easter Sunday, offering a large assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh made breads, local honey, flowers and much more! For a more formal affair, stop by for a visit early, perhaps en route to enjoy a uniquely flavor-filled, most memorable Easter Brunch at the Waterview Restaurant.. With 4 seatings (9 am, 11am, 1 pm and 3 pm) you’re certain to enjoy an exquisite dining experience on the Gulf of Mexico!

This Year’s Menu Features










MADE TO ORDER PASTAS ( 1 and 3 pm)










Please find the full menu here.  Reservations are required and you will want to make yours early to get the seating of your choice.  Please call 239.395.6017.

There are even island activities for the more adventurous! Join Adventures in Paradise for an Easter egg hunt and dolphin cruise with the Easter Bunny from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Search for eggs like only islanders could, on the isolated barrier island of Picnic Island! Tickets are $39 per person.

How To Avoid Sanibel Traffic?

Sanibel in April. Sun is shining, the weather is sweet and traffic is…. congested?

On average, there are more than 20,000 cars traveling both ways on the Sanibel causeway every day during high season. We are relaying this information to you so you can manage the congestion and take full advantage of our island paradise. Increased traffic has been an issue on Sanibel for a while, but it doesn’t need to affect your time on Sanibel Island.

The Sanibel Island Chamber of Commerce has provided the public with a network of tools to keep drivers informed and alert with the purpose of reducing traffic and keeping everyone moving. The chamber recommends using a bike whenever possible to get around the island, after all, there are miles of safe and well-maintained bikes paths spanning the island. Bring your own bike or rent a bike from one of the many bike rental companies located on the island for a minimal fee.

Not in the mood to ride a bike? A car is still an option! Traffic is the most congested from 8:00 a.m. until noon on the island and for those heading off the island, avoid crossing the causeway from 2:30pm until 6:30pm. Saturday is the busiest day for traffic on the island and lightest on Sunday and Tuesday. Plan your day accordingly and spend the first half of your day soaking up the sun, shelling next to the surf or de-stressing under a palm. Life moves slowly on Sanibel, there’s no need to race to the roadway. If you feel like venturing out during these times, arrive early and stay a while. With hundreds of shops and restaurants, it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring our quaint Sanibel village.

To make managing your time and itinerary even easier (and without ever leaving the sand) visit to view LIVE traffic
webcams that will provide you with a real-time view of Sanibel’s busiest
intersections. If you’re tech savvy, download the official Sanibel traffic app
called Sanibel Bound, available for Iphone and Android devices. The
app is free and will provide you with one click access to a stress-free Sanibel

To install the either App, simply go to from your mobile device.

To Install the Android App click on the button “Get it On Google Play”.

To Install the Apple App click on the button “Download on the App Store”.

Sanibel In March and April- CROW Speaker Series

Credit: The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife; www.

If you’re an island regular or visiting for the first time I’m sure you’ve seen logos and stickers everywhere for something called “CROW”.  But what does this acronym stand for?  CROW, short for The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is a most important part of Sanibel Island and represent one of the best aspects of who we are as a community. The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine. The doctors and volunteers at CROW save wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine. The non-profit organization is funded by individuals, visitors, businesses and foundations.  

Every year, CROW hosts an event called the “CROW Speaker Series.”  Join locals and visitors for a series of lectures presented by environmental professionals from Southwest Florida with topics ranging from wildlife photography to conservation medicine. All lectures are approximately one hour and begin promptly at 4:15 p.m. in CROW’s Visitor Education Center located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Rd. Click here for directions from Gulf Breeze Cottages to CROW.

Advance registration is required to attend the CROW speaker series lectures. Admission costs $10 for adults; $5 for children aged 3-17; free to children under 12.

Rachel Rainbolt, Education Coordinator 239-472-3644 ext. 228 Advanced registration required


Upcoming lectures:

March 20: Soaring into the Future of Conservation Medicine

Presented by Heather Barron, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-avian, Hospital Director for Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)

CROW has a growing responsibility and commitment to the one world, one health concept which emphasizes a cooperative approach to the interrelated health of animals, people, and the ecosystem. Conservation medicine addresses these growing disease challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration and CROW plays an integral part. Come talk with Dr. Barron about what CROW has done for wildlife health lately and what this could mean for the health of you, your children, your pets,  your food supply, and the earth.

March 28: Story of Ospreys

Presented by Claudia Burns, Volunteer for International Osprey Foundation

Ospreys are large brown and white raptors who breed in southwest Florida from December through April and can be seen diving for live fish in shallow waters throughout the area. Because they build their nests right out in the open, their behavior is easy to observe, but not always easy to understand. This presentation uses photos, videos and recorded vocalizations to explain osprey behavior.

April 3: The Feather Wars

Presented by Jim Powers, Research Historian for Southwest Florida Museum of History

A 50-year War was fought in South Florida 1870-1920 with unfathomable casualties. The world beyond South Florida was slow to recognize the one-sided belligerency fought in the swamps and wetlands of the expansive Florida Everglades. Cracker settlers grabbed their shotguns and professional hunters and wealthy tourists eagerly joined exporters to form an army of profiteers. Initially, the opposition army was avian alone and could only scatter or fly away because their plumage was considered fashionable and was of greater monetary value than an equal weight of gold.

April 11: Story of Ospreys

Presented by Claudia Burns, Volunteer for International Osprey Foundation

Ospreys are large brown and white raptors who breed in southwest Florida from December through April and can be seen diving for live fish in shallow waters throughout the area. Because they build their nests right out in the open, their behavior is easy to observe, but not always easy to understand. This presentation uses photos, videos and recorded vocalizations to explain osprey behavior.

April 17: Snakes of Sanibel & Captiva

Presented by Chris Lechowicz, Director of Habitat Management and Herpetologist for Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

Sanibel and Captiva islands are home to over a dozen native snakes (plus one exotic). Many rumors and hearsay about snakes can cause fear in people (sometimes resulting in unwarranted killing of snakes) and cloud the importance of the snake’s role in the ecosystem. This lecture will focus on identifying all of the snakes known from the islands, as well as correcting some common misconceptions about snakes. Chris will bring a few live examples of Florida snakes.


Sanibel Shell Fair

One of Sanibel Island’s premier events—The Sanibel Shell Fair returns to the island March 2-4, 2017.  The 80th annual shell festival, held at the Sanibel Community House, is one of the most beloved community events held during the high season. This year, to commemorate 80 years the event’s theme is officially “Around the World in 80 Shells.”

For just a small donation to our local Sanibel Community Association and the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club, you will gain access to all areas of the exhibit halls as well as One Free Admission to The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum (an $11 value).

Spend an afternoon enjoying the beautiful works of art created by both experienced and amateur shell crafters. You’ll be in awe over the detailed sailors valentines and floral arrangements created by artisans from both near and far.

Within the festival is the “The Sanibel Shell Show”, 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.

Take a piece of Sanibel Island home with you. A selection of the displayed artwork is for sale and makes for the perfect island souvenir that you will cherish for years to come.

2173 Periwinkle Way

Tel: (239) 472-2155

Hours: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm Thursday & Friday

9:00 am -4:00 pm Saturday

* Free Parking


Golfing On Sanibel Island

Credit: The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club

There is no better place to tee off than our beautiful island paradise of Sanibel and Captiva islands. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather one of the many world-class golf courses located just a few minutes from your quaint beach cottage. Whether you’re an experiences golfer or an amateur that wants to experience the greens for the first time, Sanibel and Captiva has something to offer for everyone!

The Sanibel Island Golf Club is located just 2 minutes away from the Gulf Breeze Cottages property. Enjoy a morning, afternoon or evening on this 18-hole course tucked away in an upscale residential neighborhood. Highlighted by natural challenges and stunning views, the Sanibel Island Golf Club will satisfy every desire a golfer would look for in a golf course located in the heart of paradise. The course is also home to one of the most popular restaurants on Sanibel Island, The Blue Coyote Supper Club.

Find the Sanibel Island Golf Club at 1100 Par View Drive or give them a ring at 239-472-2626

Sanibel Island’s other golf course is The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club. The course sits on a preserve sanctioned by the Audubon Society and believe us, this stunning 18-hole championship course is simply a golfer’s delight. Though the course is considered challenging, all who want to soak up the spirit and beauty of Sanibel are more than welcome to play a round on their stunning greens. Need a bite after a round? Enter the clubhouse and indulge at the on-site restaurant and bar for gourmet cuisine and cocktails you can enjoy inside or outside overlooking the course.

Find The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club at 949 Sand Castle Road or give them a ring at 239-472-3355.

Take a drive to the northern tip of Captiva island and experience the finest golfing experience in the area at The Sanctuary. The Sanctuary Golf Course was designed by the nationally acclaimed golf course architect Arthur Hills, who describes the course as “my island masterpiece” and the property as “elegant, exquisite, and rare.”  Bordering the world-renowned J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the course stretches 6,657 yards around nature preserves and lakes, providing panoramic views of the Pine Island Sound and mangrove forests. Golfers often encounter the wide variety of birds and wildlife.

Visit the Sanctuary at 2801 Wulfert Rd or give them a ring at (239) 472-6223

Valentine’s Day on Sanibel Island

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year and you will have no end of things to choose from on this day on Sanibel Island. Our natural world beckons with many great things to do on the 14th so get ready to be amazed by the island’s wild side.  From early morning nature walks to dolphin cruise to romantic evening dining, Sanibel delivers for Valentine’s Day 2017.

With so much to choose from on Valentine’s Day here’s a breakdown on some of your activities for an exciting day of discovery and fun!

Start your day with a free bird tour at Ding Darling at 8:30 a.m. Meet at the main flagpole and be guided by a trained naturalist identifying our vast birdlife through the nature park.

Join the Ding Darling crew for yet another birding tour with the Free Shorebirds of the Refuge Program from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at the park. You see them all over the beach and wonder what they’re called, well wonder no more, take the tour and learn all about their magical world.

Who doesn’t love Alligators and Crocodiles?  Well, even if you don’t you will at appreciate them by attending the Free Gators & Crocs Program from 1- 1:30 p.m. Join another fascinating part of island life with the experts at Ding Darling!  

Wander back in time with the free Calusa/Shell Mound Trail Tour from 12 to 2 p.m.

The first inhabitants of our island paradise will be the focus of this fascinating tour led by naturists who teach you about the plant life and history that you will not soon forget.

Artistically inclined? BIG Arts offers up the  “The Itty Bitty Art Exhibit Miniature Art” Juried Exhibit from 9- 4 p.m. Explore the world of tiny art with this gorgeous display of highly detailed art work will certainly capture your attention and fantasy.

BIG Arts also hosts the  “The Petticoat Painters of Sarasota” from 1 to 4 p.m.. Enjoy the oldest continuously exhibited women’s art groups in the U.S. Women’s art is showcased and what a wonder it is to behold!

End your day with a fantastic Valentine’s Day Sunset Dolphin Cruise!  Start time is 5:30 and runs to 7:30 p.m.  Adventures in Paradise serves up a beautiful evening on the water with complimentary soft drinks, bottled water and cupcakes on their 45. ft catamaran in search of frolicking Dolphins.

Sanibel In January: Join us!

The cold winter sting of Jack Frost has arrived to most of the country. We’re here to provide you and your family with a little bit of relief—island style.

This month, we’re offering some great specials and deals that won’t break the bank, and will also warm your toes.  At Gulf Breeze Cottages, we are your favorite kind of winter wonderland. Soak up the Sanibel sun as the warm Gulf breeze picks up any of your post holiday stress or wintertime worries and whisks them far away.

Now is the time to plan for 2017. Make this your year and treat yourself, your family or your sweetie to an unforgettable island escape. On Sanibel Island, the possibilities for fun are endless all year long! Go shelling, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, shopping and more— from January to December. Remember, our island paradise is truly home to the “eternal summer”

Sanibel in January, or any other time of the year is the escape you deserve and we’re here to make your dreams become a reality. Join us on the beach in your very own Old Florida style condo that will make you feel a million miles away from those chilly wintertime blues.

Feeling spontaneous? Book a stay with us before the end of the month (January 2017) and enjoy 10% off! On top of that, our January rates start at just $213 a night.  Remember, the memories you make in the tropics are priceless!

Can’t make it this month? We know it’s not always easy to get away at a moment’s notice. Don’t fret. Plan to visit us later in 2017 and still save! Book your private bungalow between May 1 and December 22, 2017 with rates starting at just $155.

We can’t wait to see you in 2017!

View all of our specials here. If you would like to speak with one of our reservation specialists, please call 1-800-388-2842.

Sanibel Island Day Cruises


As you may know, Sanibel Island is one of many islands located off what is known as “Florida’s Island Coast”. We know you enjoy exploring Sanibel Island, but have you ever considered taking a day cruise to one of our neighboring islands? Hop aboard a number of day cruises departing from Sanibel and spend the day exploring brand new historical, dining and shelling locations. The best part? You’ll be back to your cottage in time for sunset. Learn a little more about our surrounding islands below:

Useppa Island

Useppa is a truly private Island Club dedicated to the pure art of relaxation and recreation of our members, owners and guests. Useppa Island is situated within the famous tropical isles of the Southwest coast of Florida. Useppa is only a fifteen-minute boat ride from the of the mainland while the world seems a million miles away. On Useppa, There are no bridges, no traffic, no crowds and no stress. Barron Collier, a wealthy publisher, built a beautiful, large home on Useppa in the 1920’s. His wealthy friends loved Tarpon fishing and his home served as home base for their fishing passion. He was host to the Rockefellers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Duponts, as well as Hollywood celebrities and political bigwigs.

Cabbage Key

Take the ferry across Pine Island Sound to Cabbage Key. There, you will discover secluded natural beaches that are perfect for relaxation and a romantic getaway. Cabbage Key encompasses 100 acres of under-developed paradise. Visitors can reach the island only by boat, seaplane or water taxi. The island features Old Florida style and a rustic feel that will appeal to nature lovers. The main attraction is The Cabbage Key Restaurant.

Located in the Old House, the “Open-Air” restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year. You’ll notice that there are thousands of dollar bills covering the walls and roof of the restaurant. Previous visitors have taped thousands of one-dollar bills to every surface. Ask your server for a black marker and tape to add yours to the collection.

Cayo Costa

With nine miles of beautiful beaches and acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps, this barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise. Cayo Costa is accessible only by private boat or ferry. Visitors may see manatees and pods of dolphins in the waters around the 2,426 acre park, as well as a spectacular assortment of birds. On the island, visitors can swim or snorkel in the surf, enjoy the sun and picnic in the shade. Keep your eyes peeled as you stroll along the beach, especially during the winter months. The nature trails that crisscross the island provide opportunities for hiking and off-road bicycling. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf. An amphitheater provides educational programs about the island’s ecology and history.

The best way to reach any of these islands is with Captiva Cruises, take a peek at their website and decide where your next adventure may be!

Stand up Paddling Boarding on Sanibel!

Why not try out one of the most fun sports and outdoor activities available on the island during your time at Gulf Breeze Cottages?  

Certainly you’ve spend time on the water, but why not try out the sport of Paddleboarding?  Now, you may have some reservations about how difficult it may be to actually get on the board and go– but don’t worry, paddleboarding is easy for both the young and elderly, skilled and novice! Just rent a board from a Sanibel Island paddle board rental shop like Finnemores. After you get up on the waves, you will no doubt find your new favorite Sanibel activity! Family owned and operated since 1985 Finnimores also rents bicycles and other services.  

As a sport it has a long history but only recently has it taken off in the United States, but we are not losing any time making it truly one of the most popular activities we have seen in years.  Finnemores serves up a wide variety of board sizes for every age and skill level.  You are actually standing up on what looks like a traditional surf board and paddling with a canoe type paddle.

You glide along the water quietly and without chasing off the nature that abounds in the waters around our island. And should you wish to capture this for your friends and families or share on your favorite social media outlet they offer up GoPro cameras as well.

Enjoy a Sunset Lesson and Tour on the Sanibel Causeway on Wednesdays. Taken in groups of 5 you will enjoy the quiet and peace of this fantastic sport.  Call 239-472-5577 to for pricing and to schedule.