Best Food on Sanibel 2019: Taste of The Islands Recipients Announced



Why search websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor when you can dine at destinations hand-picked by Sanibel Island locals? The winners of the 38th Taste of the Islands have been announced and have highlighted several on-island eateries that are must-do dining for Sanibel Island locals and residents.

The 2019 winners include:

Best Appetizer on Sanibel Island: Sandollar Restaurant – Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Best Meat on Sanibel Island: Thistle Lodge – Bone-in Braised Short Ribs with Cucumber Kimchi

Best Seafood on Sanibel Island: It was a tie: The Clam Shack – Lobstah Roll and Sandollar Restaurant – Pina Colada Coconut Shrimp

Best Vegetarian on Sanibel Island: Matzaluna – Fusilli Primavera

Best Dessert on Sanibel Island: Sanibel Fish House – Stuffed Key Lime Cheesecake

Taste of Taste (best overall as voted by the judges): Thistle Lodge

People’s Choice: The Clam Shack

About Taste of the Islands:

Taste of the Islands is an annual food festival and fundraiser on Sanibel Island. Open to the public, attendees enjoy a wide variety of “tastes” from the more than 20 participating Island restaurants that will feature and serve a sample of local fare, along with live music, and entertainment to benefit C.R.O.W (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.).

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW):

Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs, and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine.

November Events on Sanibel: Clyde Butcher Refuge 75th Anniversary Photographic Exhibition


The “Ding” Darling National Wildlife society is celebrating 75 wonderful years on Sanibel, and they are commemorating this anniversary in a big way! Ding Darling will world-famous photography by “the Ansel Adams of Florida, photographer Clyde Butcher.

Starting November 13, 2019, the exhibition will run until February 5, 209 and is completely free to the public. Stop by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Visitor & Education Center Auditorium from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to view Clyde’s iconic black-and-white landscape photography.

About Clyde Butcher:

Considered a legendary photographer and national treasure, Clyde Butcher has spent decades honing his photography skills resulting in award-winning images that are beloved by the masses. The scale and extraordinary clarity of his work sets it apart as exceptional. In the tradition of the nineteenth-century Hudson River School painters, Clyde composes his works at pristine and untarnished locations across the United States, creating arresting compositions that distinctly mark him as the foremost landscape photographer in America today.

Clyde began his career as an architect, but when he discovered that he was unable to draw architectural designs, he taught himself photography. Unable to afford a store-bought camera, he made himself a crude pinhole camera. During a trip to Yosemite National Park, ee saw an Ansel Adams Photography exhibit and was so impressed by Adams’ work that he began to photograph landscapes in black and white. Clyde left the architecture field in 1970 and began exhibiting his black and white photographs at art festivals. After creating a very successful business, Clyde left his professional life behind for a less stressful existence in south Florida.

In 1983 Clyde began photographing Florida beaches, still using color film. During a visit to Gaskin’s Cypress Knee Museum in 1984, a roadside attraction in central Florida Clyde was introduced to a new side of Florida. After strolling on the boardwalk through a primeval cypress swamp, a whole new world was opened to Clyde. Next, he met Oscar Thompson, a Florida native, who showcased the interior of the Florida Everglades by taking Clyde on his first walk into the swamp. After his immersion into the beauty he found so mysterious and primeval, Clyde was then inspired to take black and white photographs of the swamp.

Today, Clyde continues to focus on photography as well as conservationism. He has three galleries located throughout the gulf coast at Florida.

Fresh Seafood on Sanibel

Many of our guests can’t wait to experience the island flavors of Southwest Florida. Fresh seafood is easily acquired and enjoyed when you stay with us at Gulf Breeze Cottages. From local fish markets to farmer’s markets, as well as local grocery stores and restaurants—you’re destined to discover a delicious, freshly caught meal (or two).

Located just 3 miles away from our property, The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market is where locals have been shopping since 1980. The Sanibel fish market only sells freshly caught fish, never frozen. Items for sale may be seasonal, such as stone crab claws, mahi-mahi, red snapper, tuna, etc. Some favorites that are available year-round include shrimp, clams, lobster tail oysters and scallops. On occasion, the local fisherman will haul amberjack, black drum, kingfish, mackerel and more. You never know what you’ll find when you visit the fish market—but that is half of the fun!

Island-based grocery stores like Jerry’s Foods and Bailey’s General Store. Jerry’s not only sell’s fresh seafood, but the in-store café serves up an iconic grouper sandwich that visitors and locals alike can’t get enough of. Daily specials are also available. Bailey’s General Store’s deli has a wide selection of fresh seafood including clams, oysters, mussels, stone crab clubs, shrimp, and salmon. The grocery store also sells homemade fish and lobster dip that is to die for!

If you’re visiting the island during the months of October through May, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market plays host to several seafood vendors plus plenty of other locally owned businesses selling crafts, art, desserts, fresh produce and more! Plus, you’ll meet the fisherman who go out on the Gulf and catch your favorite fish and shrimp.

Bring back your fresh catch and grill your meal at our complimentary barbecue grill out in the open air, located just steps away from the Gulf of Mexico.

If you don’t care to cook, Sanibel Island is home to dozens of restaurants serving up mouthwatering food from the sea. Several award-winning restaurants are located less than one mile from our historic cottages. Discover il Cielo for fine dining, The Lazy Flamingo for laid back bites, and The Jac for local, made from scratch meals.

Book now for your stay dates in July, August and September to enjoy 20% off select units plus delicious local seafood! all and speak with one of our Vacation Experts today at 1.800.388.2842 or 239.472.1626. Please call for best availability and details, new reservations only, not valid with any other offer or promotion or holidays, a two-night minimum restriction applies.

July Events on Sanibel: Events at the Sanibel Community House

Credit: The Sanibel Community House

The Sanibel Community House on Sanibel Island is a long-standing island landmark that is constantly bustling with activities for people of all ages. Established in 1927, the newly renovated community center is Sanibel Island’s main hub for social activities for both locals and visitors.

The Community House is offering a bounty of fun and creative activities all summer long for both children and adults.

Throughout July, island artist Sissi Janku is offering painting classes for children ages 8 and older. The two-hour classes will be available every Wednesday throughout the month and will focus on bright colors, fun techniques, and local wildlife. All materials including aprons will be available to students. Each class costs $50 and will run from 2 to 4 p.m.

Activities for children don’t end there. A children’s cooking camp runs Monday through Friday from July 29 to August 2 from 9 -12 p.m. Chef Jarred Harris will teach budding chefs the fundamentals of cooking to develop their cooking skills. Campers will learn kitchen safety and culinary techniques. Each session will be unique and focus on different topics and cooking styles each day. The cost is $50 for each class or $250 for the whole week.

The Sanibel Community House also offers a slew of activities for adults. Monthly community socials will be held throughout the summer with all events featuring different themes. July 6 is Rib Night, and Greek Night will take place on August 14. Cost is $15 per person and an additional $5 for a sundae bar.

Breathe deep on Tuesdays at Vinyasa yoga starting at 10 a.m. This Sanibel Yoga class is perfect for all levels. An additional Yoga Chi class is held at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Shell Crafting is also available on Monday mornings. Join locals and visitors to participate in one of Sanibel Island’s favorite past times. All ages are welcome but children must be accompanied by an adult. If you are interested in purchasing a beautiful shell craft, all artists will be on site until 1 p.m. on Mondays.
For more information about the Sanibel Community House, visit their website at or call 239-472-2155.

The Sanibel Community House is located on Sanibel’s main thoroughfare at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957.

Daily Mail Names Sanibel Island “Florida’s Best Kept Secret”

Another day, another accolade for our pristine island paradise!, in partnership with Virgin Holidays, has named the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island “Florida’s Best Kept Secret.” states that Sanibel Island is a relaxed island paradise that’s perfect for discovering pristine beaches, outdoor adventures, and amazing wildlife—and we would have to agree!

Though our neighbors in Fort Myers and Captiva were also mentioned, here’s what the writers had to say about our very own quaint barrier island of Sanibel:

“The geography of the island is also unique as the tides of the Gulf of Mexico wash up hundreds of shells each day. This means shelling is a popular pastime and those who partake in gathering these beautiful shells develop what is fondly known as the ‘Sanibel Stoop’. And holidaymakers can walk for miles discovering different shells at every turn on beaches including Blind Pass Beach and Lighthouse Beach Park.”

Now that the secret is out, it’s the perfect time to visit our beautiful island. Also, summertime visitors will experience what locals call “the offseason,” a time where crowds are thin, traffic is non-existent, and restaurant reservations are unnecessary. Summer is a great time to explore, shell, and soak up the sunshine.

Book now for your stay dates in July, August, and September to enjoy 20% off select units! Call and speak with one of our Vacation Experts today at 1.800.388.2842 or  239.472.1626

Please call for best availability and details, new reservations only, not valid with any other offer or promotion or holidays, a two-night minimum restriction applies.

Daily Mail is morning daily newspaper published in London, long noted for its foreign reporting, it was one of the first British papers to popularize its coverage to appeal to a mass readership. It is the flagship publication of the Daily Mail and General Trust PLC, a London media company incorporated in 1922 with holdings in radio, television, and weekly and daily newspapers.

Sanibel Events: Celebrate the Fourth of July on Sanibel Island

Trade your golden sunsets hues for red, white, and blue as we celebrate our nation’s 243rd birthday on July 4, 2019.

Watch as the island visitors and residents flock from the beach to Periwinkle Way for the annual parade. Pick a spot along the parade route, between Donax Street and Tarpon Bay Road and enjoy a steady stream of island-inspired Independence Day celebrations from 9 a.m. through 12 p.m. Parade parking is available at several locations including Jerry’s Shopping Center and Bailey’s supermarket. We highly recommend hopping on a bike and pedaling to and from the action to avoid traffic.

After the parade ends, join us back on the beach for fun in the sun, a lounge in the shade of a palm, and for BBQ on our grill! Enjoy a cocktail, take a nap, and get ready for all of the nighttime action. 

Experience a stunning firework show as they explode over the Gulf of Mexico. Head on over to the Causeway Island’s for the best views in town. Get as close to the action as possible and make the night one you won’t soon forget on a fireworks cruise. Many of our local charter and eco-adventure companies offer nighttime holiday cruises that will place you and your entire family on the water, underneath the fireworks and stars.

Experiencing the Fourth of July on Sanibel is truly a memorable experience. As an island guest, you will get to experience the true spirit of our island community and the people and local businesses that make our destination great.

For additional island activities on Sanibel on the Fourth of July or any other time for that matter, do not hesitate to reach out to our staff for the best local recommendations. We are available at  (239) 472-1626. Our historic, old Florida gulf front cottages are located at 1081 Shell Basket Ln, Sanibel, FL 33957

Tennis Courts on Sanibel Island

In the mood to practice your swing during your time on Sanibel Island? There are several options for tennis-fanatics visiting the island. Soak up the sun and work on your game right here in the heart of paradise.

Located near the Sanibel Causeway, The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club is home to 7 newly resurfaced Har-Tru courts for the best playing experience. The pro shop offers tennis equipment and apparel including footwear, racquets, accessories and racquet stringing. A Tennis Concierge Service is available for anyone who is looking for a partner at their own level, singles or doubles. Private Instruction is offered for all ages and abilities. If you don’t want to purchase or lug your equipment around when you travel? Equipment rentals are available for $5 a day. Court fees for non-members for 1 1/2 hour is $24, and $12 after 1 pm.

Head down Sanibel-Captiva road and visit the Sanibel Recreation Center. Reserve a court ahead of time by using their official website. If you are not a member, a day, weekly, six month, and annual rates are available. Daily rates begin at $22.50. A day pass provides visitors access to the entire recreational complex including youth programs, pool access, athletic programs, full gym with a weight room, and fitness classes like yoga and aerobics.

Hit the beach and play steps from the sand at Sundial’s tennis courts. Awarded Best Tennis on Sanibel & Captiva Islands, six state of the art HydroGrid clay courts offer guests the best playing surface in paradise. With tennis programs, lessons, match pairing and tournaments, Sundial Tennis is perfect for players of all ages and skill levels. Memberships and daily passes may be purchased at the Pro Shop. Sundial’s tennis facilities feature a full-service Pro Shop, open daily from 8 AM-4 PM, offering players access to the most desired selection of upscale athletic gear and equipment, as well as player services including racket stringing and repair.

Play ball!

How To Get To Sanibel From The Airport

One of the most popular questions we receive from our guests is “How do we get to Sanibel from the airport?”

As of May 2019, there is no official shuttle from RSW to Sanibel or to our property, Gulf Breeze Cottages and there are no island-based public buses or trolleys on Sanibel–.it’s all part of our small-town charm!

The good news? There are plenty of options at all price points that guests can select from to transport yourself approximately 30 miles across the city of Fort Myers, over the Sanibel Causeway and down into the heart of our sunny and shell-filled island.

We encourage your family to seek out private transportation, there are multiple options. Rental cars are available from the airport’s Rental Car Service Center is located on the ground level of the parking garage. Arriving passengers should proceed downstairs, exit baggage claim and walk across the street to the rental car facility. Rentals are provided by Alamo, Avis, Budget, and others.

Taxi services are also available for visitors. MBA Airport Transportation, LLC is the provider of taxi service at Southwest Florida International Airport. MBA Airport Transportation taxi rates from Southwest Florida International Airport are defined by zones, not meters. Sanibel Island is located in Zone 8, meaning a fee of $64 will be applied for MBA service from RSW to Sanibel (this includes the causeway toll). MBA Airport Transportation is available to serve all walk-up customers, with no reservations required. Customers in need of an ADA lift-equipped vehicle may make an advanced reservation, but it is not required.

Additionally, ride share services are available from RSW to Sanibel. Both Uber and Lyft are available for pickup at RSW. To utilize these services you will need to download the official apps and follow the instructions to hail your ride.

Many other local taxi and transportation services are available. From large vans for big families or a sleek limousine for those on a romantic getaway, a quick search engine search will reveal many options that are sure to suit your needs.

Would you like more information regarding getting to Sanibel Island from the airport, please reach out to our travel and reservation specialists at (239) 472-1626.


Photography on Sanibel Island

Naturally, our island paradise on Sanibel attracts visitors for sun and sand but also entices photographers from around the world who wish to capture the island’s beauty in a picture-perfect snapshot. Whether you are a novice photographer with a smartphone as your only photography equipment, or an advanced photographer producing National Geographic-style photo content, Sanibel Island is chockfull of beautiful locations to take your next photo.

A few of our favorites include:

The Sanibel Causeway Beaches

The three-mile causeway, known as the bridge to paradise, stretches from the mainland of  Fort Myers to our island haven on Sanibel. Panoramic views of Southwest Florida plus 360-degree views of every sunrise and sunset make the Sanibel Causeway Beaches a wonderful spot to take photos.

Lighthouse Beach Park

Capture the spirit and history of Sanibel in photos taken at Lighthouse Beach Park, located on the eastern end of Sanibel Island. The lighthouse, built in 1884, juts into the sky gracefully as the waves lap at the shell-lined shoreline as colors dance during sunrise and sunset. Can you think of anything more picture perfect than that?

Blind Pass Beach

Natural beauty awaits at blind pass beach, a beach park and popular waterway for sunbathers and onshore fisherman. Visitors and photographers can expect to snap great photos of shorebirds like seagulls and pelicans as well as beautiful beach panorama and spectacular sunset photos.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve

If you’re looking for wildlife, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve is the ultimate destination for wildlife photography. Get great photos of manatees, egrets, alligators, bobcats, and more inside this federally protected preserve.

Looking to shoot something specific? Let us know! Our staff is always available to provide recommendations in regards to local sites and attractions (and the best spots for snapping a memorable shot!) Give us a ring any time at 239.472.1626.

New Attractions on Sanibel Island

Credit: CROW Clinic

Early this month, the island-based Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife unveiled their latest attraction—all-new enclosures for their animal ambassadors. On April 2, CROW held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new exhibit, and ultimately, homes for some of Sanibel’s most beloved creatures.

Work on the new enclosures began in September 2017 but was delayed by Hurricane Irma which limited supplies, increased costs and limited the number of volunteers needed to construct the screen enclosures.

The animals who now call the enclosures home are known as CROW ambassadors. These animals have sustained injuries that prevent them from living in the wild safely. Instead, they remain on-site at CROW Clinic to educate visitors and provide an up-close look at our local wildlife.

Some of the current ambassadors include Mina, a great horned owl; Talon, a red-tailed hawk; Lola, an American kestrel; Billy, a nine-banded armadillo; and Bashful, a Virginia opossum. All of the animals have adjusted to their new homes and are happily enjoying the fresh island air at the clinic located just off Sanibel-Captiva Road. The enclosures also house plenty of shelter from the elements and enrichment items to keep the animals comfortable.

Because the ambassadors are now separate from the animals under the care of the professional veterinary staff, more room is available for new animals in need.

If you are interested in exploring CROW Clinic’s AWC Visitor Education Center, the site of the new enclosures, visitors may partake in the “Wildlife Walk” guided hospital tour. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., with a second tour on Wednesday through Friday at 2 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

CROW Clinic is located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957