One of the best and most interesting ways to see Sanibel and learn about the abundant pleasures and adventures is to tour the island. You’ll find it’s a lot more than beaches, bikes and boats. There are places of stunning beauty and fun adventures. Here is a suggestion for a tour you can take on one of Sanibel’s bright, sunny days of endless pleasure.
Perfect Way to Spend Your Vacation Day on Sanibel and Captiva
Start with an Utterly Great Breakfast
We’ll go to the Island Cow at 2163 Periwinkle Way to start the day. It opens at 7AM so we can get a nice early start. The Cow is a friendly place where you can get a delicious serving of eggs (any style), sausage, potatoes, toast or whatever you want. They offer a pretty wide choice. And you can have your breakfast either inside or on the outside patio. Either way, eat hearty for you have a big day of adventure coming.
“Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
After breakfast we’ll go to the end of Periwinkle Way, turn right onto Tarpon Bay Road and go 100 yards to The Sanibel Captiva Road. Turn left and follow it to the refuge at 1 Wildlife Drive. There is a sign that lets you know you’re there. The refuge itself is accessed by a 4 mile drive that meanders through these protected lands. You can take the drive by car, bike or walking. You will see teems of wildlife in their natural setting – shore birds, alligators, rabbits, raccoons, otters and other fun-to-watch creatures. Along the drive are volunteers with binoculars and a spotting scope to show you unusual sights and answer any questions you have. There is a visitor center with interesting interactive displays which is free and worthwhile to visit before going through the refuge. The entrance fee to the refuge is $5 per car or $1 per person or bike if walking or biking.
Lunch at Lazy Flamingo
We’ll exit the refuge onto the Sanibel-Captiva Road. To the right, about 10 minutes away, is the Lazy Flamingo Restaurant at 1620-C. Pine Avenue. They are open 7 days a week starting at 11AM. The Lazy Flamingo is a down-home casual eatery where the food is consistently good and their flamingo-pink menu offers sandwiches, burgers, fish platters and a range of food that will make anyone happy. There is indoor and outdoor eating and a fun game of “hang the metal circle on the peg”. Good Luck!
Shell Museum in the Afternoon
After lunch we’ll drive about a mile to the Bailey- Matthews National Shell Museum at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road. This is the only museum in the country that is devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them. It has the widest variety of shells you can imagine – in fact there are more shells than in the Smithsonian Institute. It’s open 10AM to 5 PM daily with an entrance fee of $13 for adults and $9 for children over 12. The exhibits are varied and fascinating and explain the historical nature of shells and their uses in art, commerce and fishing. The museum volunteers are knowledgeable and friendly and eager to answer your questions. And visit their gift shop. It has some wonderful examples of shell creativity. You’ll love it and it’s a fun and interesting way to cap our tour.
Time for a Rest
We’ve had a busy day. We’ll go back to home-base to ease down a little – maybe take a swim in the pool, play some cards, read a little – have a quiet, restful time – and get ready for dinner. If you haven’t booked your vacation rental, then browse our list of great condo complexes with a variety of amenities and ocean views.
Dinner at Doc Fords
Doc’s is located just a short hop from your home-base. It’s at 2500 Island Inn Road right across from Baileys. Hours are from 11AM to 10PM. Its formal name is Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille – but it’s also known as the local joint – a casual eating establishment that gets really good reviews and is fun to be in. The food is delicious. They specialize in seafood with a Caribbean flavor but the menu goes well beyond that. If you want chicken tostados, rib eye, Yucatan shrimp, fresh grouper or prime rib it’s there and it tastes really good. And its kid friendly with a good kid menu. There is a popular bar and lots of craft beers. Seating can be inside or outside on the patio, depending on the weather. It’s a great way to end the day!