Sanibel Island Activities & Attractions
Ding Darling: J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a 5,000+ acre sanctuary that offers hiking, biking, canoe trails and excellent opportunities for birders and photographers. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera! The Refuge is open Saturday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 1/2 hour before sunset, closed every Friday to all access.
Birding: Sanibel Island is one of the United States most popular bird-watching destinations. The island is a natural flyway terminus as well as a stopover for migrating birds, so you won’t be surprised when we tell you that over 240 species of feathered friends can be found here. In addition to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, there are many trails and birding spots to be found throughout the island.
Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing and Windsurfing: Would you believe that Sanibel is also famous for water sports? Watch when you go across the Causeway – chances are good that you may see professional windsurfing teams catching some air during practice sessions. No matter what your choice of water sports is, at the front desk of Gulf Breeze Cottages we can put you in touch with leading experts, all of whom make their this area their home base.
Sport Fishing: Shore fishing or from the Pier? Maybe Pine Island Sound or the Gulf? So many choices and decisions to make! Our fishing action is hot and you can take your pick of a wide variety of highly prized game-fish. Consider hiring a fishing guide…just tell them what you’re interested in going after and chances are excellent they can find it for you.
Day Trips: From the Edison and Ford Winter Estates to Sun Splash Water Park to an Everglades Safari we have enough fun filled activities within 50 miles to excite every member of the family. There is virtually no chance of wondering what you will do on vacation.
The Arts: A dedication to the arts is apparent at every turn and has led to the nickname, “Island of the Arts.” One prominent organization, Barrier Island Group for the Arts (BIG Arts for short), offers everything from world class musical concerts, literary discussion groups, classes on pottery, drawing and more.
The Sanibel Music Festival brings additional world-renowned performing artists to the island in the month of March. Festival-goers are treated to string quartets, award-winning pianists and operettas, on a weekly basis.
The Schoolhouse Theater is open year round with tickets available daily onsite. House performers and special guests stage musical reviews and recreate masterful plays.
Local restaurants like Ellington’s Jazz Club and The Jacaranda have regular evening performances. Schedules are available at our front desk.
Bicycle Rentals: Finnimores Bike and Beach Rental is the place for all your biking and beach needs. Family owned and operated on Sanibel Island since 1985, They pride themselves on providing courteous, professional service along with low rental rates.
The Library: Both Sanibel and Captiva libraries have a wealth of books, audio recording, free videos and children’s toys to check out. You can also stop in and browse the internet.
Shelling: Seashells are plentiful on Sanibel, our beaches are literally covered in them! One visit and you’ll understand why we’re considered to be among the top 3 shelling beaches in the world! To truly get hooked, be sure to buy a shell identification guide.
Our shells aren’t just on the beach. Visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum for an eye-opening, fun experience. You’ll learn about Sailors Valentines and see amazing collections of shells in colors you can only imagine. Children are welcome and there is an entire section set aside just for them to explore. Stop by the gift shop before you leave, its the perfect place to pick up that I.D. book.
Cruise the Waters: Adventures in Paradise combines the best of both worlds – cruising and fishing! They even takes care of the transportation for you with their free Trolley that will pick you up (and return you!) right to Gulf Breeze Cottages. What could be easier?!
Captiva Cruises operates a fleet of vessels out of world-famous, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. A Dolphin Cruise or a trip to the Out Islands is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Guided Fishing Tours: Local Sanibel Island Fishing Guide Captain Noah Serving Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
Bait & Tackle: Norm Zeigler’s Fly, Bait and Tackle Shop is located on Sanibel Island, Florida, the site of some of the world’s best saltwater fly fishing .
Step Back in Time: History buffs will want to be sure to spend time at the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. Visitors can trace footsteps from the past as they stroll along the Village trails that skirt a mangrove bordered pond. The Village opened in 1984 and is composed of eight separate buildings, each fully restored to its original state. Their collection of photographs and newspapers is fascinating.