Family Vacation Ideas

Sanibel has a treasure of things to do that are interesting and fun for the whole family. You’ll never have to wonder about what will we do today. You know that your island vacation will have all the fun-in-the-sun things to do – the beaches, the bikes, and the boats, but what about the between times. What will you do then? Here are some interesting suggestions.

Entertain the Kids on Sanibel Island

Things to Do with the whole family on Sanibel Island

Breakfast Time at Lighthouse Cafe!
The most important meal of the day deserves an extra serving of fresh eggs and sizzling bacon. We suggest enjoying the slow morning at the Lighthouse Cafe on 362 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel. They boldly state that they serve the World’s Best Breakfast, so there’s no way you can be disappointed with their menu options. Breakfast starts at 7:00 a.m. and is served all day, and lunch is served from 11:00 until 3:00 p.m. Dinner is served from 5-9 p.m. You’ll get your fill of southern-style country breakfast with a few seafood options tossed in there (since you’re at the beach, and all). They also have kid-friendly meals and healthier options.

Sanibel Lighthouse
Only a 4 min. drive from the cafe is one of the most visited attractions on the island. The Sanibel Lighthouse is 120 years old located on the eastern tip of the island in 32 acre, wildlife refuge called, Lighthouse Park. Typically, people spend 30 min to an hour investigating and exploring. Kids love climbing the spiral staircase and running along the beaches looking for shells. The lighthouse is located It includes the lighthouse and dwelling cottages built for the original keepers. The dwelling cottages are open to the public and give interesting insight into how the early lighthouse keepers lived. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes the Lighthouse beach. There is a parking fee of $2 per hour.

Conservation Foundation
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation is the logical next stop on the family tour of Sanibel. A 20 min. drive along the border of the Ding Darling wildlife habitat leads you to San-Cap Road, and the hope of our Nature and Garden Center. The foundation has been an active participant in island affairs for 50 years, and is committed to the protection of coastal habitat by land management and acquisition. The Nature Center is open during the week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and has several great walking trails and a garden of natural flora. What makes this a great place for the kids is the Nature Center’s number of fascinating interactive displays and a touch tank. For more information call 239-472-2329 or go to

Lunch Time! at Island Moo Cow
Serving all three meals a day with indoor and outdoor seating, this is a great place to bring the kids to let them expend energy. We suggest sitting outside in the tropical garden. Play a round of games outside waiting for your meal, and make it a friendly competition to see who gets to choose the flavor of dessert ice cream! Located at 2163 Periwinkle Way and open 8 days a week… wait, what? Open between the hours of 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dessert at Pinocchios
Did we say dessert? That’s because you can stop in for a cool treat of locally made ice cream. There are too many flavors to name, so we feel confident telling you that there is something for each member of the family.

Winding Down in the Park
After a fun-filled day, the little members of your family might start to get fussy. There’s great community parks to unwind in right next to Pinocchio’s, while the kids get their sugar rush from the ice cream. The Community Park and Children’s’ Playground on Periwinkle Way. There are slides,swings and enough kid stuff to make him smile. There’s also Jerry’s Foods on Periwinkle Way which has talking birds in cages just outside the entrance. You shouldn’t feed the birds but if you talk to them they might very well talk back. And then there’s the black swan at Periwinkle Park and Campground on Periwinkle Way. It has a pond on the camp grounds with a big black swan that you can feed for $.25.

Ready for Dinner yet? at RC Otter’s Island Eats
Finish the day on Captiva! Fun and quirky, RC Otter’s restaurant is a great place for an evening of musical entertainment and island cuisine. Depending on where your vacation accommodations are, this might be up to a half hour drive, but it is more than worth it. It has a vibrant, party atmosphere with live music most nights. Their children’s menu (for kids under 12) has several options that only cost $6. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on 11506 Andy Rosse Lane. Before or after dinner, you and the family can walk in the heart of Old Captiva Village where there are plenty of shops nearby.

Do you know where you’re going to rest and relax after the day’s excitement? If you haven’t booked accommodations on Sanibel or Captiva yet, let us help make your decision easier. We work with the best condo complexes to get you a hassel-free vacation rental that’s suited to your family. Start looking for your island lodging today!