General Information About Sanibel
On Sanibel and Captiva islands, man has had little impact on the beauty of our famous beaches. We’ve let nature do the designing and grooming on these sands, known for their profusion of seashells. No building stands taller than a palm tree. Sanibel is one of Florida’s few barrier islands with a freshwater river, accounting for its inland canoeing and kayaking opportunities. Rated among the Top 10 places to paddle in the nation by Canoe & Kayak and Paddler magazines, Tarpon Bay’s trails lead into the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. More than half of Sanibel is taken up by refuge lands, and “Ding” Darling accounts for the most with more than 6,000 acres of mangrove ecology, akin to the Everglades’ Ten Thousand Islands. “Ding” Darling hosts manatees, alligators, roseate spoonbills, bobcats and other rare creatures.
Nearby, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation operates a nature center with trails along the Sanibel River and interpretative hikes and programs, and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W)., which nurtures sick and injured wild animals. To augment the islands’ reputation for shelling, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the only one of its kind, exhibits local shells and specimens from around the world. To learn the history of the islands, roam the Sanibel Historical Museum Village and Captiva History House. Ride a bike along Sanibel’s 23 miles of bike paths.