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

April Events on Sanibel: Beer in the Bushes

Credit: SCCF

If you enjoy cracking open a cold one or consider yourself a craft beer connoisseur, The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s (SCCF) annual “Beer in the Bushes” is the ultimate springtime event for you.

The fundraising event and beer garden will host 10 local micro-breweries at the event on April 20th from 6 to 10 p.m. Participating breweries include Naples Beach Brewing, Momentum Brewhouse, Fort Myers Brewing Co., Bury Me Brewing, Millennial Brewing, Palm City Brewing South Cypress Brewing Coastal Dayz and Big Blue Brewing.

In addition to beer, local food trucks will be onsite to keep guests satisfied as they sip. Live music by Langhorn Slim and the Law as well as Tameca Jones will also be on-site.

All-white attire is requested for a night celebrating positivity, community, and music.

Tickets are available at www.beerinthebushes.com. All proceeds generated by the event will support SCCF’s mission of conserving coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. All tickets include $10 in TruxBux redeemable for dinner choices from any of the trucks.

The smoke-free rain-or-shine event is open to ages 21 and older. SCCF requests that attendees dress in all white attire to celebrate a night of positivity, community, and music.

The event takes place at the SCCF Nature Center, located at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road on Sanibel. Parking is limited – please carpool to the event if possible.

About the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation:

Founded in 1967, SCCF (The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. From the earliest days, SCCF has been known as a land trust with an impressive acquisition record. The story of SCCF’s land conservation efforts spans almost five decades on the islands on Sanibel, Captiva, Buck Key, Albright, York, Coconut and the Long Cut preserve on Pine Island.

Today, SCCF is the largest private landowner on Sanibel Island. The group manages more than 1,200 acres on Sanibel plus more than 600 additional acres on Captiva and other islands. SCCF also facilitated the acquisition and fundraising for an additional 470 acres currently managed by the State of Florida or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This environmental success story has been made possible by the generous support of conservationist donors and public sector partners, particularly the City of Sanibel and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Over the last 50 years, SCCF program areas have grown to include Wildlife & Habitat Management, Sea Turtle Research, and Monitoring, Environmental Education, Natural Resource Policy, a Marine Research Laboratory, and a Native Landscapes & Garden Center.

Sanibel featured on MSN’s list of “The best beaches in the U.S.”

Credit: www.msn.com

Last month, Sanibel Island was recognized by MSN on their “The best beaches in the U.S.” list.

Here’s what MSN had to say about our beautiful island:

“Collecting shells along the beach is a popular pastime in Sanibel, located in the Gulf of Mexico along Florida’s southwest coast. Sanibel sits right alongside Captiva Island, and together they share more than 15 miles of some of the best beaches in the U.S.”

Other beaches on the list include Poipu Beach in Hawaii and Venice Beach in California.

If you are unfamiliar with our beautiful barrier island, Sanibel is known for our shell filled beaches, historic 19th-century lighthouse and fishing pier, the sunny causeway islands, miles upon miles of bike paths and the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge that covers approximately half of the island.

Located 22-miles from Southwest Florida International Airport, Sanibel is an isolated, nature-lovers’ paradise sitting on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Only 12 miles long and three miles at the widest, exploring every inch of the island is easy and fun.

Currently the only buildings on the island taller than two stories date before 1974, and there are no fast food or chain restaurants allowed on the island except a Dairy Queen and a Subway, which were on the island before the laws were enacted.

It is our pleasure to welcome all visitors to our special island. Our historic gulf front cottages are the perfect destination for those seeking the ever elusive “Old Florida” experience. Gulf Breeze Cottages, forget the stresses of everyday life and soak up the sun, live on the sand, and relish the feeling of the warm gulf breeze on your skin.

We would love to speak with you about your next getaway. Please give us a call at 1.800.388.2842 or 239.472.1626 to discuss your upcoming Sanibel Island vacation.

Sanibel Shell Festival – Events on Sanibel

Credit: Sanibel Shell Club

The Sanibel Shell Festival turns 82 when the annual event opens on Thursday, March 9th. Located at the Sanibel Community house at 2173 Periwinkle Way, this event is one of Sanibel Islands biggest attractions and attracts thousands of visitors and guests each spring.

The three-day festival, also known as one of the longest running shell shows in the world will be open all weekend (March 7-9) and feature judged artistic and scientific displays, local vendors and organizations and more!

According to the Sanibel Shell Club:

The first Community Fair was held in 1928 on the porch of the Old Island Inn and was a miniature county fair with baked goods, “fancy work,” and homemade gifts offered for sale by the ladies of Sanibel to help the community. It was considered quite a success. As a matter of adding interest the ladies brought boxes of their pretty Sanibel shells to show the visitors. This had so much appeal that the next year when the Fair was held on the porch of Casa Ybel Hotel, more shell displays were added and people began to come across on the ferry from Fort Myers to see them. They also came to take home some of the toothsome fresh coconut pies and cakes that the island ladies baked for the sale. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were among the more distinguished visitors at this Fair. Pictures taken of them on the porch of Casa Ybel viewing the shells are still in existence.

By the next year, the Fair had grown in size and popularity to such proportions that the men of the community got together and decided to build the existing Community House to take care of this, by now, annual event. Francis Bailey remembers that at one of the early fairs they had produce and poultry shows because he recalls getting a ribbon for his Bantam chickens, although he isn’t sure whether it was first or second place award.

The judges for the 82nd Annual Sanibel Shell Show 2019 are as follows:

Scientific Division: David Green, Houston, Texas; Duane Kauffman, Sarasota, Florida & Goshen, Indiana.

Artistic Division: Marci Chamberlin, Palm Beach, Florida and Andover, Massachusetts Linda Koestel Green, Houston Texas. 

Parking is free and a $5 donation includes admission to the exhibit halls plus one free admission to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Spring Events on Sanibel – Ding Darling Film Series

Excited to explore J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge during your stay? There is so much to experience if you will be visiting the park in March or April of 2019.

The sixth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series kicks off its bi-weekly showings this winter with a schedule of seven films that explore facets from pollinators and coral to wild Florida and the war on coal.

Join the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society for free film showings in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center with sponsorship from Sanibel-Captiva Beach Resorts. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis.

The following films will be shown throughout the event:

March 6- JANE

This film tells the story of Jane Goodall, using never-before-seen footage.

March 20- Invasion of the Giant Pythons

Pythons, originally from southeast Asia, escape from pet shops due to hurricanes or they are released into the wild of Florida by irresponsible keepers. The documentary shows how Florida’s native wildlife deals with this problem. Additionally, host Nigel Marven meets a group of scientists studying and catching Burmese pythons in Florida.

April 3- Saving Atlantis

Produced by a team of award-winning filmmakers and researchers, Saving Atlantis follows those who are fighting to uncover the causes of coral decline and find solutions before it’s too late. Combining the ecological impacts and human toll of hundreds of millions of people worldwide who depend on coral reefs for their very survival, Saving Atlantis charts an emotional exploration of some of our planet’s greatest natural wonders at a tipping point in their ecological history.

In addition to the Film Series, “Ding” Darling also plays host to the 2019 Lecture Series.

Join locals and visitors for free lectures and book signings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Auditorium.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or they will be assigned to the next people waiting in line. All lectures are approximately one hour.

For more information, call the Society at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org. Speakers marked with an asterisk will have book signings following their lectures.

*March 1- Warner Shedd “Owls Aren’t Wise and Bats Aren’t Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies about Wildlife”

March 8- Yve Morrell- “The Big Year: A First for Women”

March 15- Jeremy Conrad, “Sea Level Rise: Globally & Locally”

March 22- Dusty “Wildman” Crum, Robbie & Geoff Roepstorff, Mike Kirkland, “Pythons: The Hunters, the Science”

March 29 – Lauren Blickley, “Drastic Plastic – Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution”

April 5- Dr. Jerry Lorenz, “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine”

*April 12- Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound”

Island Hopper Songwriter Festival Returns to Sanibel-Captiva

Get ready, this month, all your favorite songwriters are hitting the beach right here in Southwest Florida! The fifth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is returning to Captiva Island on September 21- September 23. Enjoy live, free performances at your favorite beach establishments by 60 of your favorite songwriters.

Selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2018, the 2018 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest comes to the Fort Myers area September 21 – 30 with performances on Captiva Island, in Downtown Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach.

With performances at Cantina Captiva, Doc Ford’s, RC Otters and other beachside establishments, this one of a kind event provides attendees with world-class performances in the heart of one of Florida’s top vacation destinations..

Some of the 2018 Island Hopper singer/songwriters include Earl Bud Lee (“Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks), Dylan Altman (“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen), Lee Thomas Miller (“Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton), Wendell Mobley (“There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney) and many more.

This year, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are rolling out the Island Hopper app designed to help Island Hopper fans plan their trips, find resort and hotel deals, learn about songwriters and venues, locate in-app maps, customize schedules and more. Also, iHeart Radio is launching Island Hopper Radio, a channel that includes music written by artists featured at the music festival.

At this moment, our Sanibel Island cottages are offering great rates during the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival with rates starting at just $145 per night for our efficiency units.

View all our specials and packages here.

For additional information, including scheduling and ticket sales for select concerts, visit islandhopperfest.com.

August Activities on Sanibel: Sanibel Library

Great news for August visitors on Sanibel! The Sanibel Public Library has reopened after extensive renovations and improvements.

The island hub for indoor learning and fun reopened on August 1st and is officially open to visitors and residents. The library closed temporarily to complete phase two of the “Your Library Reimagined” project. Phase one kicked off in May 2017 and was completed in January.

New to the library is the introduction of more natural lighting and updated, modern décor, an improved open concept, and shelving to improve the flow of traffic inside the library.

The kids area is tucked away in a corner and is jam packed with puzzles, games and youth storybooks for the little ones to enjoy. Adjacent to the kids area is a brand new sitting area with new furniture, reading material and computer stations.

Other improved features are not as visible and include electrical improvements to enhance online experiences and a suped-up A/C system that will keep patrons cool during the dog days of summer.

The project is not one-hundred percent complete, as the old circulation area is still under wraps. The work is expected to completely done by mid-September 2018.

Still, all of your local favorites and classics are available to read. Get lost in the Doc Ford series, based right here on Sanibel Island. Delve deep into the action-adventure series penned by local author Randy Wayne White, the author of nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Doc Ford’s Restaurant located on Tarpon Bay Road to sample local favorites like Yucatan Shrimp and the delicious Doc Ford mojito!

Explore our surrounding areas in Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic believed to have been inspired and written directly from our sands.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is located at 770 Dunlop Road.