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.

Live Music on Sanibel

Beat the heat this summer and kick up your feet at one of many of the island’s hotspots for live music. Experience the best local sounds from several of Sanibel Island’s most popular restaurants. From classically trained pianists to rocking acoustic guitar performances, there is always something fun to listen to on Sanibel Island.

Kick the night off with the soothing sounds of Scott McDonald every day (except Mondays) at Il Cielo. Scott is a professionally trained musician and former Keyboardist for The Andy Williams Orchestra. Additionally, the skilled pianist is also the Director of Music for St. Isabel Catholic Church on Sanibel Island and has received Open Table’s “Diner’s Choice Award” for Best Ambiance in Southwest Florida.

Next, head on over to the legendary island eatery, The Island Cow, for live entertainment by Dan Confrey on Friday and Sunday evenings Peter Redpath performs every Saturday night. Dan Confrey has toured both nationally and internationally. He is a Multi-instrumentalist playing Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Tenor Sax, and Steel Pans. Peter Redpath has been playing music since the late 1960’s, up and down the East Coast, in bands, duos and solo acts. His influences include country, folk and rock with strong focus on melody and storytelling.

The Sea Breeze Café hosts live music that changes weekly on Mondays from 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Home to Margarita Mondays, enjoy the music and $5 margaritas from 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.

A local favorite, Traders Gulf Coast Grill and Gifts has live entertainment on Tuesday and Thursday with the Danny Morgan Band. Chris Workman plays on Wednesday nights. The Danny Morgan band has received the Best of Islands award for “Best Local Entertainment” over 15 years in a row. Chris Workman is a highly talented singer songwriter delivering original music with a refreshing blend of Pop/Americana with influences spanning several decades of popular music.

Last, hit the sand at Traditions on the Beach for live music and stunning ocean views! Woody Brubaker and Maravilla Marzan perform on Friday, Dean Winkelmann performs on Wednesday. Woody Brubaker has spent an astounding and productive fifty-eight years in the music business. An accomplished musician on saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano and vocals, Woody was also a composer for U.S. Air Force Bands. Maravilla Marzan is a singer songwriter and is one of the most sought out acts in Southwest Florida. Dean Winklemann performs an astounding variety of classic jazz, pop, and rock music—all in a lighthearted and fun atmosphere!

Get out there and tap your toes to the tunes of Sanibel’s most skilled artists and musicians!

Doc Ford on Sanibel Island in New Novel “Caribbean Rim”

Credit: Penguin Random House

Doc Ford, our very own fictitious local hero, is back in an all new adventure in the New York Times-bestselling series by award-winning writer, Randy Wayne White.

In Caribbean Rim, Marine biologist Doc Ford is once again on a journey help his friends out of jams, but he’s never faced a situation such as the one he encounters on this new adventure.

His old pal Carl Fitzpatrick has been chasing sunken wrecks most of his life, but now he’s run afoul of the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Its director, Leonard Nickelby, despises amateur archaeologists, which is bad enough, but now he and his young “assistant” have disappeared—along with Fitzpatrick’s impounded cache of rare Spanish coins and the list of uncharted wreck sites Fitz spent decades putting together. Some of Fitz’s own explorations have been a little…dicey, so he can’t go to the authorities. Doc is his only hope.

But greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there’s no way the thieves will go quietly—and Doc’s just put himself in their crosshairs.

Randy Wayne White has written nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford, but the beloved series is showing no signs of slowing down. His 25th Doc Ford book, Caribbean Rim, is White’s and most heart racing novel yet.

White has been awarded the Conch Republic Prize for Literature, as well as the John D. Macdonald Award for Literary Excellency. He is one of only four writers named as an Editor At Large by prestigious Outside magazine (Jon Krakauer, Hampton Sides and Tim Cahill are the others). In 2011, White was named a Florida Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Society

He lives on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he was a light-tackle fishing guide for many years, and spends much of his free time windsurfing, playing baseball, and hanging out at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.

Delve into Doc Ford’s world at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, located a short drive from the Gulf Breeze Cottages property. Enjoy all your favorites including Yucatan Shrimp and world class mojitos. If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you! Visit the brand new Doc Fords location at 2500 Island Inn Rd.

Sanibel Island Named as Leading Underrated U.S. Beach Town

Cheetsheet.com has named Sanibel Island as one of the most underrated beach towns in the USA. Sanibel was listed at number 17, ahead of other desirable beach destinations including Siesta Key and Tybee Island.

“The northern half of this island is almost entirely protected by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can enjoy the beach on the southern part of the island, famous for its gorgeous seashells.”

CheatSheet.com provides audiences the information they want in an approachable, entertaining way. The website closely follows, researches, and writes about topics to bring audiences the most up-to-date guides, reviews, lists, and advice. The lifestyle and travel websites aims to save readers time with the purpose of living more.

This summer, we invite you to experience Sanibel Island at its most serene during the underrated time of year for island enjoyment. With the seasonal crowds long gone, the only others on island that might disrupt your island day are local flocks of pelicans or even a manatee lazily enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf.

Celebrate “National Lazy Day” throughout the month of August right here with us. Enjoy 10% off on all of our available units. The longest days of the year deserve some extra lazy down time, so why not spend it on our famous shelling beach?

As we ease into Fall, consider taking advantage of our special rates starting during the month of October. Call today is today for your stay dates from October 24 to November 3, 2018 and enjoy rates from only $165 per night on select units.

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

Sanibel Restaurants with a View

Credit: Traditions on the Beach

As the slow days of summer arrive on Sanibel Island, there is no better way the spend your day than lazing away on the sands of this sanctuary island. From sun up to sun down, expect smaller crowds and less traffic—the perfect setting for the ultimate summertime beach getaway. It is during this time of year that temperatures are at their height, but that alone shouldn’t keep you away from the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico available across the island. Why not step out of the sun during peak hours and enjoy a delicious meal along with a million dollar view.

There are plenty of Sanibel island dining options with a view. Grab a cocktail, step out of the sun, and indulge in Sanibel Island’s best waterfront dining.

Mad Hatter Restaurant
Located near the historic and beautiful Blind Pass waterway, The Mad Hatter offers new American cuisine serves with a side of stunning scenery.  Inspired and eclectic menu choices evolve depending on the season, and every meal is always fresh and prepared from scratch. Chef Kurt and Michelle Jarvis bring new life to this cozy, romantic restaurant on the beach with its well-deserved reputation and unbeatable sunsets.
6467 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon
Dine leisurely at the dockside restaurant Gramma Dot’s. Located at the Sanibel Marina, enjoy a full line of “only fresh” seafood, salads, sandwiches and more. Appropriate dress is required. Named for Dorothy Sterns, Dot loved an adventure. As a teenager, she traveled the world by ship with her family. She rode camels in Egypt, rode horses and played billiards in the Wild West. She was an avid sailor who loved the sea and logged many hours exploring Long Island’s Great South Bay. In the late 50’s, her sea explorations brought her to Sanibel. The restaurant was named after Gramma Dot by her son Myton Ireland.
634 N. Yachtsman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957

Traditions on the Beach
Located just east of your accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages sits Traditions on the Beach, a quaint and contemporary restaurant directly on the sand. With Live music and dancing every night plus contemporary cuisine served Sanibel style and complimentary valet parking. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Traditions, as the locals call it, offers the most delicious dishes found anywhere in Southwest Florida. Award-winning Chef Aziz uses the finest of local ingredients to create dishes with vibrant visual and taste appeal. In true Island style, the restaurant provides its warmest welcome for the many guests who return year after year for memorable cuisine served in a breathtaking surrounding. Fun fact: Traditions on the Beach is Sanibel’s first dining room and has been delighting its guests since 1895.
3111 West Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957