Bikes On Sanibel: Island Recognized as a “Gold” Bicycle Friendly Community

Last month, the League of American American Bicyclists recognized the city of Sanibel with a “Gold” Bicycle Friendly Community award.

Sanibel Island is one of only two Florida communities that have received this distinguished award, the latter being The Villages in central Florida. The island previously accepted the “bronze” award in 2019 followed by the “silver” award in 2014. 61 total cities across the country were named “Bicycle Friendly Communities” in 2018.

“We applaud these communities for making bicycling a safe and convenient option for transportation and recreation,” League of American Bicyclists Executive Director Bill Nesper said. “We are encouraged by the growing number of leaders who see bicycling as a way to build more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected communities and be a part of the solution to many complex challenges faced at both the community and national levels. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

The Sanibel Bike Bath Committee assembled for the first time in 1972 with the purpose of protecting children using a “hike and bike” trail system. In 1994, the Sanibel Bike Club was founded with a mission to promote cycling for recreation, transportation and health; to advocate for improvements of the safety and infrastructure of Sanibel’s shared-use path system; and to provide an opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to socialize together.

Fast-forward to 2018, our beautiful island is now home to 26.06 miles of bike trails enjoyed by both visitors and residents all year long. Our quaint cottages are located steps to the bike path that runs alongside East Gulf Drive.

Bike rentals are available across the island. Our favorite rental company is: Finnimores Bike and Beach Rental. They truly are 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.

Once you’re out on the trail, expect to see plenty of wildlife including birds, butterflies and tortoises. You can use the island bike trails to reach shopping and dining destinations as well as beach access areas and local landmarks like the Sanibel Lighthouse. We encourage you and your family to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray for your bike adventure! If you have any questions about using the local bike trails, renting bikes, or destinations you can reach on just two wheels, our front desk staff is always available to assist!

January Events on Sanibel 2019

Happy New Year! January has arrived and that means one thing here on Sanibel Island… “Season” has arrived! We would like to warmly welcome all our winter visitors and Snowbird friends who call Sanibel Island home from January through April.

Now that you’ve arrived, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied and entertained during your stay on Sanibel.

Join BIG ARTS, Sanibel’s #1 arts and entertainment destination all month long for a slew of musical acts and performances. On January 17th and 27th, BIG ARTS presents the Bumper Jacksons. Join the center of a party where everyone’s invited and the dance floor never sleeps. Enjoy the seven-piece brassy band as they paint America’s story from the streets of New Orleans to Appalachian hollers from 8:00-10:00pm. Relax on January 20th for a lazy Sunday afternoon in Boler Garden at BIG ARTS and enjoy the tunes of island jazz musicians. Bring a chair and soak up the musical stylings of southwest Florida’s most talented musical acts in the open air from 3:00-5:00 pm.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is offering several free wildlife programs including beach walks and hikes throughout the month. Walk the Indigo Trail, attend a Gator and Crocs seminar, a Bailey Tract walk and more with experienced and certified master rangers and scientists throughout January. Visit J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s official website for a full calendar of events.

Get social and test your knowledge every Monday night at Sanibel Fish House restaurant. Trivia night at the restaurant kicks off at 5:30pm and is open to individuals of all ages. You may join as a single player or bring a team to answer questions asked by the DJ for a chance to win different prizes each week. If you plan on bringing a large group, please call ahead.

For information about additional activities and events on Sanibel Island during January, please reach out to our front desk staff who are always ready to help you find your next favorite event, destination, shop, or restaurant.

See you soon on sunny Sanibel Island!

REMINDER: If you haven’t planned your January escape yet, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of our great deals. Join us from January 2- January 31, 2019 and enjoy 15% off on our most popular units including Efficiency units, the Beach House and Duplex #12! Please note that this promotion applies to new reservations with a minimum of 3 nights and is not available during holiday periods.

Please call for best availability. Speak with our Vacation Experts today at 1.800.388.2842 or 239.472.1626

January Specials on Sanibel Island

Don’t wait to get snowed in to book your January escape on Sanibel Island! As season starts and the snowbirds begin to flock south, rates increase and availability declines. Now is the perfect time to act and secure your January vacation to our very own winter wonderland where sand replaces snow and palms are preferred over pines.

As our holiday gift to you, we would like to offer you a special sale price on all our most popular units including the Efficiencies, the Beach House and Duplex #12.

Call us today to secure 15% off your favorite unit during January. Guests must stay between January 2-January 31, 2019 to take advantage of this amazing deal!

First time visiting? No problem. Our staff is always available to help you select the perfect unit!

On a solo or romantic getaway? Our efficiency units accommodate up to two adults. Equipped with kitchen facilities, a sitting area, satellite TV and a king bed, reserving an efficiency is perfect for those seeking a quaint and practical escape just steps from the sand.

As one of our most desirable units, Duplex #12 is the epitome of beachside living. Perfect for families or groups of friends, #12 comfortably sleeps six. With two bedrooms (the first with a king bed and the other with two twin beds), a fully equipped kitchen, living room with pull-out couch, dining area, satellite TV, and private outdoor porch, #12 is sure to inspire Sanibel memories that will last a lifetime.

Our largest and most spacious unit, the Beach House, is your true gulf front home away from home. Standing alone with million-dollar gulf views, the Beach House has three bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining area, living room with pull-out couch, satellite TV, and private outdoor porch. Located close enough to the Gulf that the sound of crashing waves will lull you to sleep— now what’s better than that.

Please call for best availability and details, new reservations only, no other discounts can be applied, not valid on Holidays, stay must be a minimum of 3 nights.

Is Sanibel Island like the Caribbean? Coastal Living Magazine Thinks So.

Why plan a trip to the Caribbean when you can experience white sandy beaches and glimmering blue seas right here in Southwest Florida! No need to splurge on flights and travel costs, all you have to do is cross the causeway and get cozy in one of our beautiful cottages to get into that “island” state of mind.

Sanibel Island has been named by Coastal Living Magazine on their list of “10 Florida Beaches So Beautiful You’ll Think You’re in the Caribbean.”

Here’s what the the No. 1 online authority for those captivated by the coast had to say about our barrier island:

“Certainly by now, almost everyone knows that Sanibel Island is the undisputed shelling capital of North America. Every collector’s dream, you don’t have to go all the way to the Caribbean to discover hundreds of colorful sea shells. On 15 miles of beaches that wrap around this isle in the Gulf of Mexico, there are more than 250 different kinds of shells. It’s such a popular pastime, that the act of bending at the waste to retrieve a shell is referred to as the ‘Sanibel Stoop.’”

When you make Gulf Breeze Cottages your beach home away from home, direct beach access provides you with the perfect place to soak up the sun and celebrate the natural wonder of Sanibel.

Though Sanibel didn’t make the top five, our neighbors to the north, Captiva Island and Cayo Costa did! Only car or boat ride away from our accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages, guests can enjoy all three beaches that made the list. Our tip: Enjoy the sunrise on our beach and then head to Captiva or Cayo Costa for sunset (or vice versa).

Coastal Living had this to say about our neighboring islands:

“Funky, quirky Captiva Island has a distinct artsy vibe—exactly the kind you might expect to find in the Caribbean—and the beaches are pure perfection. Legend has it that renegade pirate Jose Gaspar built a prison on “Isle de los Captivas” in the early 1800’s where he kept prisoners “captive” for ransom. Today, you’ll wish you had the lock and key to throw away so you can stay in this island haven forever.”

“A former fishing ground for the Calusa Indians, Cayo Costa Island offers a rich history and nine miles of undeveloped shoreline and sugar sand beaches. Dating back nearly 4,000 years, several Native American shell mounds are located on archipelago, which means “Key by the Coast.” Now a Florida state park, the island is only accessible by boat, and it’s completely off the electrical grid. Interestingly, there are about two dozen private homes on the island, three of which you can find on VRBO. The state park also has campsites and rustic cabins available for vacation rentals, the perfect opportunity to unplug and recharge.

This winter, we invite you to join us on Sanibel Island, your very own Floribbean paradise. We are currently offering our “January Early Booker Sale” promotion. Stay with us from January 2 – January 31, 2019 and enjoy 15% off on the Efficiencies, the Beach House and Duplex #2.

Click or call to redeem!

Exploring the Islands Around Sanibel

Think paradise begins at the Sanibel Lighthouse and ends at the tip of Captiva Island

Think again.

Sanibel Island is surrounded by several outer lying islands that offer up even more fun for your family to enjoy during your time on Sanibel Island. North Captiva, Cayo Costa and Cabbage Key are all uniquely different locations that are sure to satisfy easy going day trippers and beach loving adventurers.

Because these islands are not connected to the mainland by bridges, the most popular way to access North Captiva, Cayo Costa and Cabbage Key is with the help of a local charter service. Captiva Cruises is the largest local business that will transport large groups of people to the surrounding islands.

The closest island to Sanibel Island is North Captiva. When a powerful hurricane ripped Captiva Island apart in 1921, it left two islands, divided by a deep pass from Pine Island Sound into the Gulf of Mexico. Sanibel’s more quiet neighbor to the north is host to residential homes and a state park. Plan to spend the day in the sun exploring pristine natural environments while you scoop up shells from the surf.

The next stop is Cayo Costa, heaven on earth for shell-lovers. Cayo Costa State Park’s beaches and shelling are among the best in the state and the 2,426 acre park also features wooded trails for hiking and mountain biking. There is almost no development on this barrier island. Truly, visitors visit Cayo Costa for solitude and the wildness. There just aren’t many places like this island left.

The final island is Cabbage Key. Encompassing 100 acres of under-developed paradise, visitors to Cabbage Key generally travel to the island to dine at the historic Cabbage Key restaurant. Enjoy a meal on the front porch of the open-air restaurant situated atop a thirty-eight-foot Indian shell mound. 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. Dine on fresh seafood just as captains and fisherman have for the past 60 years.

Not sure where to start your island-hopping adventure? Our staff is always on hand to provide you with any information about attractions and activities on and around Sanibel Island. Visit us at the office or give us a call at 239.472.1626  or toll free at 800.388.2842.

Sanibel Island Bathroom Crowned America’s Best

The winner of Cintas Corp.’s annual “America’s Best Restroom” contest has been announced, and the winning location is right here on Sanibel Island.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge was selected as the winner of the 2018 edition of its annual contest. The restrooms were selected from among 10 finalists that were voted on by the public starting August 6  for their sculptures of wildlife that make visitors feel like they’re under water along with messaging about the featured animals and saving the environment.

The wildlife refuge will receive $2,500 in Cintas products and services for restroom cleaning or facility management as a result of the win.

Also known as  “Learning Lavatories,” the restrooms feature sea turtles, osprey, and other sea creatures, stalls decked out with professional bird photographs, and information about wildlife and environmental conservation.

The other finalists in the 2018 America’s Best Restroom contest included:

Barrio – Chicago Bryant Park – New York City Dream Hollywood Hotel – Hollywood, CA Green Bay Botanical Garden – Green Bay, Wis. Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton – La Jolla, CA MI VIDA – Washington, D.C. Morgan Manufacturing – Chicago The Mud House – St. Louis, MO The Progress – San Francisco, CA

We encourage our guests to explore J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, home to thousands of miles of pristine landscapes teeming with wildlife including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, endangered species and more!

Stop by the Visitor & Education Center home to interactive exhibits on refuge ecosystems, the work of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, migratory flyways, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and a hands-on area for children.

Lace up your walking shoes and experience Wildlife Drive, a 4-mile track of trails including Indigo Trail and the Wildlife Education Boardwalk (4 miles round trip), Shellmound Trail, and Wulfert Keys Trail.

Cintas Corporation is an American company with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, that provides specialized services to businesses, primarily in North America. The firm designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, and fire protection products and services.

Sanibel Island Farmers Market Reopens

We are pleased to announce that as of October 7, 2018, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market is officially open!

The market, organized by Local Roots, features an eclectic mix of vendors and products from locally owned businesses.

Food and drink vendors range from smoothies, tea and coffee, and sweets, to roasted nuts from Nuts 4 You, grass-fed beef and wild boar selections and macaroni and cheese by chef Jarred Harris, Spoondrift poke bowls, homemade granola by Laurie’s Pantry and mini-donuts from the Sanibel Deli.

Those shopping to stock up on groceries will find organic produce, exotic fruits, cheeses, breads and bagels, fresh eggs, guacamole and salsa, jams, local honey, pickles and more, along with seafood. There will be vendors for handmade soaps and essential oils, plus flowers and plants like bromeliads.

If you have visited the market in the past, please note that farmers market organizers have made a few changes for the 2018-2019 season. Craft vendors are an added element, driven in part by the number of visitors to the islands. Organizers aim to give those who cant take home

Food or plants a way to to pick up an island-y memento or keepsake to bring home from vacation

The Sanibel Farmers Market is located at  Sanibel City Hall at 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, Florida 33957. The market is open on on Sunday from 8 am- 1pm.

Parking is located in the lots at Sanibel City Hall, Sanibel Library, BIG Arts, Schoolhouse Theater. Bicycles can be parked at the designated area at City Hall. Handicap parking is located at City Hall. Pets are not allowed.

October Events on Sanibel

October is one our favorites months of the year. Seasonal and summer crowds are non-existent and temperatures begin to drop, meaning it is the perfect time of the year for visitors to enjoy “true Sanibel.” Locals also cherish the time where the island is peaceful and access to local restaurants and roads is a breeze.

October also brings one of the island’s best annual events, BaileyFest. Hosted by Bailey’s General Store, this once a year event celebrates the history and community of Sanibel Island.

If you didn’t know, Bailey’s, first known as the Sanibel Packing Company, was founded in 1899 by Frank P. Bailey providing groceries and general supplies to locals and visitors. Over these many years it has continuously served the needs of residents and guests on Sanibel Island and Captiva, doing business as Bailey’s General Store.

Join the Bailey family, one of the oldest on Sanibel, at 2018’s 33rd annual Baileyfest on October 21st, 2018. From noon until 4 pm, enjoy solo singers, bands and groups, dancers, a roaming magician, food and games! Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Many island’s organizations will have a table set up at the festival. Some of the organizations include CROW, Sanibel Sea School and PAWS.

Another draw of the festival is the raffles contributed by Sanibel businesses. Individuals can try their hand at winning a raffle – gift certificates – by visiting the merchant’s store before the festival

Admission is free!

BaileyFest is located at Bailey Plaza on Tarpon Bay Road.

For more information about this October event on Sanibel, please visit www. baileys-sanibel.com

Plastic Straws Banned on Sanibel

The City of Sanibel has united to protect our local environment, including our wildlife friends, by approving a plastic straw ban on Monday, September 10, 2018.

The ban means that plastic straws will no longer be sold on the island at any island establishment, including at popular grocery stores like Jerry’s or Bailey’s.

According to researchers, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

It’s estimated 90 percent of the waste in our waters is plastic and even little pieces of it, like straws, can be deadly to sea creatures. Our community leaders wanted to do what they could to protect our area’s most important residents.

The only exception to the ban is for those who may need a straw for medical purposes, pre-packaged beverages with straws, and straws for disabled people who rely on the use of straws.

Sanibel Island is not the first community to ban plastic straws, our neighbors in Marco island and Fort Myers Beach have also banned plastic straws.

Sanibel recommends using straws made from paper, plants, or other vegetable or natural products.

Expect that during your next visit to your favorite island restaurant or eatery, you may be presented with a silicone or paper straw.

If you would like to prepare, many online retailers offer stainless steel straws, and, word on the island is that Bailey’s is now offering silicone straws at just $1.99 a pop.

If you choose to bring your own plastic straws to the island, you will not be penalized for using them, but we encourage you to dispose of any plastic straws you may use in a responsible manner.

With straws as just the start, the city hopes to pass even more legislation with the purpose of keeping Sanibel Island and it’s native residents happy and healthy for generations to come.

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.