The 5 best beaches on Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

The 5 best beaches in and around Sanibel Island

Are you looking for the most beautiful public beaches around Sanibel Island in Florida? Check out our top 5 of the best beaches on Sanibel and Captiva island.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

We love ending a long road trip with a relaxing destination and chose to spend the last 3 days of our Deep South Roadtrip on Sanibel island. We heard this is one of the most beautiful Islands along the Gulf Coast with the best beaches in Florida.

Sanibel is an island located in the Mexican Gulf, west of Fort Myers.  From Fort Myers, you can easily reach Sanibel Island and the equally beautiful, but smaller sister island Captiva, with the car via a long bridge.
Attention: to cross the brigde you need to pay toll.

These islands are known for their gorgeous nature, tranquil atmosphere and vast sandy beaches where you can find the most beautiful shells.

During these last 3 days it was our mission to visit as many beaches as possible so that we could create a selection of the best beaches in Sanibel.

Sanibel & Captiva Island

After an 11-hour drive from New Orleans, crossing the long bridge from Fort Myers, we made our way to the tropical islands of Sanibel and Captiva. We really looked forward to it and were definitely in need for 3 days of rest after this long, busy and varied road trip. We felt it would be nice to do nothing at all for once. Just relax, enjoy the sun, sea and the beaches.

Arriving in Sanibel island we were immediately surprised by the typical island vibe. This was exactly what we had hoped for. There were impressive, tropical palm trees everywhere, brightly colored wooden huts and beautiful sandy beaches. The pace here was clearly slower than on the other side of Florida. And we were more than happy to adjust our rhythm to this.

Even though Sanibel and Captiva are not the largest islands, there is so much to experience and you can easily fill 3 or more days here. The highlights of these islands, of course, are the fantastic beaches. That’s why we made a list with the best beaches in Sanibel and Captiva.

The best beaches on Sanibel Island and surroundings

Captiva beach – Captiva

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

General info:

  • Captiva beach: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: 5 usd per hour
  • Sanitary facilities: none

The first beach that we visited was Captiva beach. This beach is located at the very tip of the island of Captiva. When we arrived it was super busy. There is a small public parking where you can park. We were lucky to find a spot where we could park right away, because another car just left. Behind us there was already a waiting line to park.

When we arrived at the beach, we understood why this particular beach is so popular. It is a beautiful extensive white beach with a stunning view of the azure blue Mexican Gulf. Although it was a bit crowded, we still found a great place to enjoy the sun for a few hours. The sun was burning, so we occasionally took a dip in the water to cool down. We loved spending time here. The only disadvantage is that there aren’t any sanitary facilities or changing rooms here. So we had to return all sandy to our hotel.

Turns out that this one of the best beaches to wath the sunset. I can’t believe we missed that.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

Turner Beach – Captiva

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

General info:

  • Turner Beach: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: 5 usd per hour
  • Sanitary facilities: outdoor shower, toilet

 

  • Blind Pass Beach: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: 5 usd per hour
  • Sanitary facilities: no toilet

There are two beaches on either side of the blind pass bridge that connects Sanibel with Captiva. In Sanibel we have the Blind Pass Beach, and in Captiva, Turner Beach. You can park on both sides.

Turning up the bridge, Turner Beach in Captiva Island appealed to us more than the Blind Pass Beach. It was a wider beach and it was less crowded. Even though the beach consists of one long strip, we still found a place for ourselves where we practically sat alone. This was the perfect moment to test out our new drone, DJI Spark with Remote Control Combo (White) The results you admire below. We were pretty happy with these shots.

This beach is perfect for people who are looking for a spot to enjoy the sun and sea in absolute peace. It’s also the perfect beach for photography.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

The best hotels in Captiva Island



Booking.com

Lighthouse beach & Fishing pier – Sanibel

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

General info:

  • Lighthouse beach & Fishing pier – Sanibel: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: 5 usd per hour, free parking for bikes
  • Sanitary facilities: toilets, outdoor shower

While we were looking for the beach location to witness a spectacular sunrise, we found Lighthouse Beach.

This beach owes its name to the historic, still functioning lighthouse and pier and is especially popular among local fishermen and nature lovers. Besides the lighthouse, fishing pier and stunning beach there is a boardwalk nature trail through wetlands that you can follow.

The beach is rather narrow and there is a lot of vegetation, which means that there are many secluded spots. In short, the ideal beach if you are looking for more privacy or want to spot a romantic sunrise or sunset. We were here very early and it was still quite dark while we explored the beach for the prefect spot. Yet some fishermen were already looking for a place on the pier.

Waking up early was rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise we have seen in ages. This was by far one of our top moments during our road trip.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

Bowan’s beach – Sanibel

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

General info:

  • Bowman’ Beach: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: 5 usd per hour, free parking for bikes
  • Sanitary facilities: toilets, outdoor shower, changing rooms

Bowan’s beach is know as the best shelling beach in Sanibel. When you arrive you see that this beach definitely is equipped for more visitors. There is a big parking and  sanitary facilities such as toilets,  outdoor showers and changing rooms on different locations. From the parking lot it’s still a few hundred meters to the beach.We personally didn’t mind, because we walked via a pleasant forest path in the shade and really enjoyed the scenery. Along the way, we passed picnic tables and barbecues that are also available to use.

The white sandy beach is extensive and the area just before the ocean is covered with a thick layer of shells. Jan and I also went on the hunt for unique pieces and found some exceptionally beautiful onces. Those are now shining as a souvenir on our bookshelf in the living room. This rather vibrant beach is an excellent place for an unforgettable family trip.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

The best hotels in Sanibel Island



Booking.com

Fort Myers beach

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

General info:

  • Fort Myers Beach: Public beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: different parking facilities, price variets depending on how long you want to stay
  • Sanitary facilities: toilets, outdoor shower

Although we enjoyed the tranquility of Sanibel and Captiva island, we often visited Fort Myers Beach in the evening. This beach isn’t located on the islands, but near the coastal town ‘Fort Myers Beach’. This is the perfect spot for enjoying the most beautiful sunsets with a glass of wine.

The beach is much more extensive and wider than the beaches on the islands. Here are also more options to dine or go for a drink close to the beach. The atmosphere here is just a little more vibrant than on the islands and around sunset it can get a little crowded. So make sure you avoid traffic jams and go a little early. You won’t regret it.

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

The best hotels near Fort Myers Beach



Booking.com

Of course there are several beautiful and pleasant beaches in this area. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to visit them all. Of all the beaches that we explored, these five very different, yet unique beaches stood out for us.That’s why we ranked them in our top 5 best beaches on Sanibel Island.

Do you want to explore more in Florida? Be sure to check out 1 day in Miami , find out where to take the best Everglades airboat tours or discover the stunning nature of Florida with a visit to Ginnie Springs.

What is your favorite beach in the world? Let me know in de commentes below.

Yours truly,

Sarah

The 5 best beaches around Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

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The 5 best beaches around the island of Sanibel | Florida | USA
The 5 best beaches around the island of Sanibel | Florida | USA
The 5 best beaches around the island of Sanibel | Florida | USA

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34 thoughts on “The 5 best beaches on Sanibel Island | Florida | USA

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Haha me too! I think we realise just now how happy we should be with our freedom and our ability to travel everywhere we want.

  1. Cris F. says:

    All of these fabulous! My favorite’s when we were there were the lighthouse beach and…maybe it was Blind Pass? Northern end of Captiva. Have to cross a boardwalk to get to the beach. It was empty and a little rough and so much fun!

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Oh yes, the lighthouse beach was also my favorite due to the stunning sunrise we were able to admire. I really love Florida! Can’t wait to go back!

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Me too 🙁 But if the quarantine is over it’s almost time to move 😉 So i will seeing the beach a lot more in the near future 🙂 Come visit!

  2. Mary says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous! Sanibel Island has been on my bucket list for a while now, and this made me want to go even more!

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Thank you! I didn’t know about these islands as well. So happy I found this when looking for a mor quiet area to spend our last days of our Deep South roadtrip. 🙂

  3. Stephanie says:

    I love that you can visit a place like this within the United States and feel like you are so far away! I’m really hoping to make a visit to here soon since it’s only a two hour plane ride from me. These pictures are stunning and fueling my wanderlust for post COVID maelstrom. For some reason I was always intimidated to plan a trip to Sanibel Island, I’ll be using this guide for sure to help me!

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Oh Stephanie I hope you’ll make it after this crisis. Sanibel and Captiva are such stunning islands. I was so happy to spend our last days of our trip there and enjoy some peach and quiet. 🙂

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Haha, me too! This whole situation we are in is so unreal! I hope we get to travel again, soon.

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      It’s so beautiful over there, so I’ll hope you’ll make it there whenever you visit Florida.

  4. Jenny Bhatia says:

    I have lived in Florida my entire life and never been to Sanibel. Once we are allowed out and about, I will head down there (hopefully by the summer). Your images are gorgeous. Be safe.

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Thank you! And Ihope you will visit Sanibel and Captiva.They are both gorgeous islands!

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