What better way to ring in the new year than with a relaxing getaway? Take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and clear your mind for the year ahead. The Sanibel Island, Florida area is the perfect destination to spend some quality time with your family and leave all your worries behind.
One of the best parts about a Florida vacation is that you can enjoy incredible activities even in the wintertime.
Luckily, Sanibel has tons to see and do for every interest, so you can make the most of your time away. Here are three activities you simply can’t miss out on while you’re staying in one of our Sanibel vacation rentals.
Sanibel Island Beach
You can’t have a Florida getaway without heading to the beach! Sanibel and Captiva Islands have some of the most gorgeous beaches in Florida, and you can enjoy them even in the wintertime. The beaches of Sanibel Island are unique in the fact that they have an east-west orientation, as opposed to the typical north-south. Because of this distinction, the island has incredible shelling opportunities on the gorgeous shores. USA Today has even ranked shelling on Sanibel Island 7th for “Best Florida Attractions!”
For more fun beach activities, you can also catch some fish or spend the afternoon birdwatching on any of Sanibel beaches. Bring your sweetheart out to an afternoon picnic or an evening stroll. All public beach access points have basic restrooms, and some also provide picnic tables and showers. Parking costs $5 per hour with free handicap parking spaces. If you bring your furry friend, keep them on a leash and clean up after them. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on public beaches from November through May.
Enjoy Sanibel Wildlife
One of the most fun things to do on Sanibel is explore the breathtaking nature all around you. You can simply head to the beach to try to spot one of the countless bird species or even the majestic dolphin! You can also opt for a charter cruise, where an experienced captain will be your guide and can help you spot the most elusive creatures.
While you’re in the area, you have to stop by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Visit their free visitor and education center to explore the interactive exhibits on refuge ecosystems, including a hands-on area for children! You can also stroll along the nature trail to learn as you get your exercise in, and be sure to grab a birding checklist to keep track of the animals you see as you explore! Look out for all kinds of varieties of crocodiles, turtles, frogs, and more!
Celebrate with a Fancy Meal
You’re sure to get hungry in between all of these fun attractions, but luckily, Sanibel Island is full of delicious eating spots for you to enjoy. If you’re looking for something more upscale, visit the Mad Hatter Restaurant. This waterfront eatery is perfect for a romantic evening out, featuring a carefully crafted menu that highlights the area’s freshest seafood. You can also visit Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant, which provides guests with a wide range of seafood and grill options in a gorgeous historic home.
Another unique option is El Cielo, known for its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and inspired techniques. Come here for handcrafted food and drinks that are adventurous and exciting. Finally, Sweet Melissa’s Cafe gives you the perfect combination between high-end and comforting. The classic American dishes take advantage of the fresh local ingredients, and the porch seating is a welcoming backdrop to your romantic evening.
Plan Your Next Stay
Planning a vacation to Sanibel is the perfect way to ring in the new year, and we have plenty of Sanibel and Captiva vacation rentals for you to call home during your stay. Between all of the fun things to do on Sanibel, you can return to your rental to relax and unwind. Contact us today for more information about all of the Sanibel activities found near our rentals!