If you have never taken the time to go and explore the exquisite natural wonders of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, then you are missing out! Florida is full of beautiful places to explore and adventure within. Plenty of beachcombers love roaming across Sanibel Island in Florida because of how it always has sand dollars to discover.
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are wonderful places to take your family when you decide that you’re ready to explore Florida.
There are tons of impressive Sanibel Island vacation rentals to choose from, so you won’t have to spend too long searching for the perfect place to stay.
Sanibel Island Hikes
One of the most alluring aspects of the Florida island lifestyle is the beautiful nature-infused hikes that you can find throughout the state. If you’re choosing to stay on one of these islands, then there are many hikes to choose from.
Just to make it easy for you, we will explore a few different popular choices you can better understand where it is you might want to travel during your visit.
The world-famous cartoonist J. N. Darling, known by the moniker “Ding,” bought a huge chunk of land off of Sanibel island to turn into an ever-important nature preserve. Nature preserves are necessary to continuation of natural environments across Florida due to overdevelopment. There are a lot of natural ecosystems located here that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and without preserves all over the state, a lot of animals would not have habitats to continue to live and procreate within.
This is why the Ding Darling Preserve is such an important part of local history. Sure, the islands are known for being rich in seashells, but they are rich in natural heritage as well.
The Bailey Tract is a fun one for out-of-state hikers to explore because it isn’t as well-known as some of the others on this list. Therefore, you might not have as many of the typical hikers crowding you.
It’s in the Ding Darling Preserve, and it loops widely around. Another fun fact about this trail is that it is great for those who enjoy birdwatching, so bring your binoculars and your guide book if you have one!
Beach Walk at Blind Pass
When it comes to searching for seashells, your best bet is at the Beach Walk at Blind Pass. If you have children, then this is definitely a trail you don’t want to miss! The Blind Pass is where these two captivating islands meet, right between Sanibel and Captiva Islands. When the currents are just right, they deposit a treasure trove of shells and other fine discoveries to come across.
Another great time to check is just after a storm. So even if the rains keep you tucked in your lovely beach rental, don’t worry; there will be an adventure to keep you busy just after.
Calusa Shell Mound Trail
Sometimes not everyone in the family is able to start trekking across sand. Not everyone is able to arrive back exhausted at their Captiva vacation rentals after a long walk through the sand. Sand is much harder to walk on continuously because it puts a lot of stress on the balls of the feet and ankles.
This is where Calusa Shell Mound Trail comes in, because it is a boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible, which means it’s also easier to push toddlers along in a stroller or easier to walk along for anyone whose feet are already a little tired. It’s located near the end of Wildlife Drive.
Cross Dike Trail
Another relevant trail to visit would be the Cross Dike Trail. It connects Wildlife Drive with the Indigo Trail. It’s a paved trail which means that it is another walk that is easier for families with smaller children, that way they can be pushed along without bouncing every five seconds. It’s just another Sanibel Island family-friendly thing to do.
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Ding Darling is such a fun sounding name, isn’t it? It rolls off the tongue. One of the reasons that J.N. Darling turned half of Sanibel island into the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is because of the diversity of the bird inhabitants.
When it comes to outdoor activities Sanibel Island, the Refuge is actually one of the greatest places in the United States for bird watchers to spot rare birds.
When looking for a well-traveled trail, don’t forget to search out the Indigo Trail on Sanibel island. It is just past the visitor center, so it’s easy to find, and boasts a 4-mile-long round trip that you are sure to not get lost on. Outdoor activities in Sanibel island are a dime a dozen, and this is by far one of the best!
Plan Your Next Stay
There are plenty of Sanibel island rentals to choose from for a place to lay your head. It’s not just about all of the Sanibel island hikes, it’s about where you can come together as a family and talk about all the exciting experiences you’ve had in a day. Luxurious accommodations are available in the white cap cottages of Sanibel island, or you can choose from Captiva condo rentals as well.
Red Mangrove Overlook
Mangroves are one of the natural charms of Florida. They grow dense and thick in Florida waters and are beautiful to observe. They also are the home to plenty of wonderful inhabitants, such as mangrove crabs which can be fun to watch. Be sure to make your way to the Red Mangrove Overlook to get the best views!
Wulfert Keys Trail
Another place to view mangroves is the Wulfert Keys Trail. It follows along a canal where you might even be able to spot a bathing alligator. They love creeping among the mangroves, hunting for their prey. If you’re an animal lover or truly want to connect with nature, this is a great place for you!
Hiking in Sanibel Island
When exploring Florida, there are always a few important necessities to pack in your bag. Hiking safe shoes, like boots or solid sneakers, are important when you plan to do a lot of walking so that your feet don’t start to hurt. Another is sunscreen to keep your skin from blistering and flaking off in the unforgiving sun. Bugs are known to explore in the evenings so bug spray is must to keep from itching. Lastly, pack plenty of water to stay hydrated. You want to be able to stay your whole vacation without feeling sick!
Sanibel Island Vacation Rentals
When it comes to white sands to dig your toes into, these islands have them, but the local rentals and condos are also home to plenty of great occurrences as well. Tennis courts, pools, Sanibel Island biking trails, and more are all available for those adventurous enough to seek them.
You can choose from condominiums, houses, villas, and more. You don’t have to worry about lackluster accommodations for your whole family, or where to find a place to golf. It’s all a stone’s throw from the beach, or any of the trails you are just itching to traverse upon.
Ready to nest with your family for weeks of fun? You’d be remiss not to come to see both the natural wonders of Sanibel and Captiva islands, but the homegrown businesses as well. There’s a reason that there is so much for tourists to discover. Come and find out why!