We love ending a long road trip with a relaxing destination and chose to spend our last 3 days on the island of Sanibel. We heard this is one of the most beautiful Islands along the Gulf Coast in Florida.
Sanibel is an island in the Mexican Gulf, west of Fort Myers. From here you can reach the island of Sanibel and the equally beautiful, but smaller sister island Captiva, via a long bridge. 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 our top 5 favorite beaches for you.
Sanibel & Captiva
After an 11-hour drive from New Orleans and paying toll at the beginning of the long bridge, we made our way to the tropical islands of Sanibel and Captiva. We looked really 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 for once, and just enjoy the sun, sea and the beaches.
Arriving in Sanibel 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. We are happy to give an overview of which beaches we found the best and why.
The best beaches around Sanibel & Captiva.
Captiva beach – Captiva
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 for 5 usd per hour. This is also the price for all public car parks around beaches on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. We were lucky to find a spot to 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 busier, we still found a great place to enjoy the sun for a few hours and occasionally took a dip in the water to cool down. At this beach there aren’t any sanitary facilities or changing rooms.
Turner Beach – Captiva
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. Parking is provided on both sides for a fee. Turning up the bridge, Turner Beach in Captiva Island appealed to us more. 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. This beach is perfect for people looking for a spot to enjoy the sun and sea in absolute peace. At the parking there are also sanitary facilities such as toilet and outdoor shower.
Lighthouse beach & Fishing pier – Sanibel
Looking for a perfect location for an unforgettable sunrise, we investigated which beach was best situated for this. That’s how we found Lighthouse Beach. Here you can also park for a fee. And there are sanitary facilities, such as a toilet and outdoor shower provided as well. We were here very early and it was still quite dark, yet some fishermen were already there. They were looking for a place on the pier while we explored the beach.
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. 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.
Bowan’s beach – Sanibel
Bowan’s beach is the most famous beach for finding beautiful and unique shells. When you arrive you see that this beach definitely is equipped for more visitors. There is a lot of parking space, of course for a fee. The’re a lot sanitary facilities such as toilets, 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, picnic tables and barbecues 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 looking and found some exceptionally beautiful onces, which 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.
Fort Myers beach
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. Here too, you can park in various public parking areas for a fee.
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, stood out for us. Hopefully this blog post can help as inspiration when searching for beautiful beaches near Sanibel and Captiva.
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