Where To Go For A Run on Sanibel Island

Does that run you take every day sometimes seem like a chore? Well, it won’t be on Sanibel. You’ll even think it’s fun! There are so many different trails available. You could take a different route every day and each will be a new experience. You can have a city or country run, a long or short run – or you could just walk a quiet path. And you can probably add a little distance or go a little longer than usual because there’s no challenging elevation to deal with. However you go, Sanibel will keep you safe and happy in a pretty and natural setting.

Before getting on the trail you should do the same kind of prep work you do at home – good shoes, comfortable clothes, a little stretching and maybe a small snack. But, be sensitive to the sun – it’s hot in Florida. Take a hat, sun screen and plenty of water. Now you’re ready for the trail.

sanibel island running trails

Sanibel Island is a Good Place to Explore

There are trails on Sanibel that are short or long and with varying levels of challenge. Depending on your status – training, maintaining or just enjoying – you can use as much or as little of these trails as you need.

  • The Indigo Trail – is in the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This is a nine-mile loop trail that starts at the Visitors Center, goes about 4 miles into the refuge then joins with Wildlife Drive and loops back to the Visitors Center. There is a $1 fee and parking at the Visitors Center is free.

  • The Beaches – There are 15 miles of white sand beaches on Sanibel that are wonderfully fresh and exhilarating to run or walk on. If you’re staying in a condominium you probably have your own beach. If not just go to whatever beach you like and go as far as you want. We suggest you stay down near the water where the sand is firmer. There may be a parking fee of $2 per hour, depending on the beach.
  • The Bike Paths – The island has 24 miles of bike paths (shared-use paths) that provide a safe and pretty route for either running or walking. There have been 14 sections of the paths identified and measured in miles. Find them at www.SanibelTrails.com. You can use these sections to make your own route – one that meets your need and is convenient to where you’re staying. You may encounter bikers or other users on the paths so stay alert.
  • The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation – manages over 1,300 acres of land on Sanibel. Included are a number of preserves. Two of them have lovely, quiet trails. The Periwinkle Preserve on Periwinkle Way, across from the Community Church, has a 6-mile wooded trail. The Bob Wigley Preserve on Casa Ybel Road near Periwinkle Way has three fairly small trails with woodland and water views.
  • Mapped & Measured Trails – These are the running experiences of many different visitors to the island that they have recorded on the MapMyRun program over the years. Some trails have as little as 1.5 miles and some are courses with 20 miles or more. You can access them all at http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/sanibel-fl/ where you will find a simple map, distance, and elevation for each trail. You can get more detail for each trail if you join the mapmyrun program, which is free and easily done.

Running on Sanibel Island

Many condominium complexes have plenty of walking trails on their grounds or are close to the beach or wildlife areas. We know that few people plan on exercising while on vacation, but who doesn’t want to go for a walk to take in the natural beauty of Sanibel Island? You’re on a paradise island, in direct contact with a pretty world of sub-tropical vegetation, spacious water views and natural wildlife habitats, particularly for birdlife. You will get the satisfaction and exercise value but you’ll also get that special Sanibel feeling – the “this is the way it’s supposed to be” feeling. So, get your gear together and take a run or walk on Sanibel.