Hike the St. Jude Nature Trail

From the Tampa Bay dolphins to the breathtaking mangrove trails, Florida brings nature lovers from all over the world for its rich and varied wildlife. The St. Jude Nature Trail is a magical, serene walk through the gorgeous trees on Pine Island, just north of Sanibel Island. While the trail is something of a well-kept secret, we think it’s one of the best things to do on Sanibel. Here are some insider tips on walking the St. Jude Nature Trail for the next time you’re staying in one of our Sanibel vacation rentals.

pine island florida

Where is it?

The St. Jude Nature Trail begins on Stabile Road in Saint James City on Pine Island. If you’re traveling from Sanibel Island, it will be roughly one hour’s drive north. You could also look into hiring a boat service to get you from one island to the other. 

The trail leads into the St. James Creek Preserve and all the way to the creek itself. The preserve is an area filled with fascinating wildlife, including Pine Flatwoods and mangrove plant communities.

What to expect?

Expect everything you could hope for from one of the best nature trails near Sanibel. The trail is quiet and peaceful, perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll. The path is dotted with frequent benches, so you will be able to relax and enjoy the idyllic scenery or enjoy a picnic lunch.

There are even a few picnic benches set up near the beginning of the trail if you prefer to sit and eat at a table.

The walk is fairly modest in length, at only 1.4 kilometers long in total. At the end of the trail, you’ll reach a boarded walkway that offers some lovely, picturesque views of the babbling creek, before you loop back to the starting point.

The reserve is known for its wildlife. Keep an eye out for one of the famous bald eagles that nest near the trail or for a few of the crabs that live near the water’s edge. Be sure to bring a camera to capture all of the preserve’s wildlife!

What to wear?

Dress sensibly for the weather and bring a hat to shield your face from the sun. We recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes as the terrain can be uneven. If you’re worried about bugs or plants, wear long trousers that cover your legs.

What to bring?

As you’ll be outside in the sun, we recommend bringing sunscreen and, most importantly, bug spray. The reserve is home to plenty of mosquitos, so be sure to bring extra bug spray along with you. You’ll also want to bring a camera in case you spot any of the preserve’s rare wildlife on your walk. Finally, remember to bring a few bottles of water.

Pine Flatwoods on pine island

Tips on Walking the Trail

The St. Jude Trail is one of the best Sanibel outdoor activities even though it is fairly short, so it’s suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. 

We recommend heading out in the afternoon and strolling along the trail and a leisurely pace so that’s you can take in your surroundings. Because there are so many benches and picnic tables, it’s a lovely spot to enjoy a late picnic lunch. 

After completing the trail, head back home to Sanibel and head out for a delicious seafood meal. There are plenty of wonderful places to eat in Sanibel, and after your hike, you’ll deserve a good meal!

Find the Perfect Sanibel Vacation Rental

If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Sanibel Island, you’ll need to find a cozy spot to call home for the duration of your stay. Our condo rentals in Captiva and Sanibel are perfect for families and couples looking for a comfortable home away from home.

For instance, the beachcomber Sanibel Island property has a range of bedroom and den condo suites, perfect for couples staying on Sanibel for a month or more. With modern fittings and plenty of amenities, you will fall in love with the Beachcomber. 

Book Your Stay

All of our condos are spacious and luxurious, with stunning ocean views and modern, comfortable design. You’ll be so happy in Sanibel, you’ll never want to leave!