girl shelling

Top 10 Kid-Friendly Sanibel Island Activities Everyone Will Love

Planning a vacation for your family is no easy task. Once you’ve decided on a place to visit, you’ve got to come up with activities that everyone will enjoy, despite all of your various interests. This challenge can get infinitely harder when you’re traveling with kids. Not only do you have to find something to hold their attention, but you also have to find activities that the adults in your group will enjoy as well. Luckily, there are tons of Sanibel Island family-friendly things to do!

Here are a few of the most popular activities that you can enjoy just minutes away from our Sanibel Island vacation rentals.

Go Shelling on the Beach

A vacation to Sanibel Island simply isn’t complete without spending some time on the beach. This area is particularly well-known for its shelling opportunities. Since the island is situated in an east-west configuration instead of north-south, there are TONS of seashells that wash up on our shores. Grab your bucket and net, perfect the “Sanibel stoop” to grab as many shells as you can, and make it a contest to see who can find the most shells or who can come up with the most unique find!

Enroll in Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School is an incredible local establishment that gives kids the opportunity to get up close and personal to the ocean and the creatures that call it home. They offer courses and camps for kids and teens of all ages, teaching them about wildlife and conservation efforts to keep our oceans clean and healthy for years to come. If you all want to get involved together, Sanibel Sea School also offers programs for families, so guests of all ages can get in on the fun! These programs provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the most beautiful waters of Sanibel Island.

Explore Sanibel by Bike

What kid doesn’t love riding their bike? Sanibel Island is the perfect place for them to ride around! You and your family can rent bikes and equipment from several local establishments, then head out to local trails like those available at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge or along Periwinkle Way. Biking around the island has tons of benefits; it keeps you active, it’s budget- and eco-friendly, and it gets you from place to place while letting you see the beauty of Sanibel Island at all times. Biking in the area is by far one of the best things to do on Sanibel!

woman and girl kayaking

Kayak Around the Island and Through the Mangroves

Want to spend some extra time on the water? Embark on a kayak tour through the mangroves! Tarpon Bay Explorers offers an amazing Kayak Trail Tour that gives an introduction to the Tarpon Bay area, perfect for paddlers of all ages. Your guide will show you how to navigate your kayak (so no worries if you’re a beginner!) and will teach you everything you might want to know about the area and the local wildlife. Of course, you can also choose to rent a kayak and head out into the waters on your own! 

Visit Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Want to fit a little history lesson into your vacation? Make your way to the Sanibel Island Lighthouse on the east end of the island. This area is popular for beachgoers and fishermen, but it’s also a great place to learn about the area’s backstory. Though the lighthouse is no longer operating, it still stands as a landmark of the area that all visitors should experience at least once. Luckily, it’s centrally located, so you should easily be able to schedule a trip no matter what else is on your itinerary! 

Take a Ferry to Cayo Costa State Park

Families that are particularly fond of nature will want to hop on a ferry and visit Cayo Costa State Park, a stunning destination offering nine miles of untouched beaches. At just $2 per person to get in, this is one of the best kid-friendly activities in Sanibel Island that you can do on a budget! Cayo Costa State Park offers all kinds of experiences like fishing, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wildlife viewing, shelling, cycling, and so much more! This is one of the most expansive state parks around, but it still allows you to escape the rest of the island’s busyness and truly connect with nature. 

Plan Your Next Stay

While there are so many kid-friendly activities in Sanibel, Florida, sometimes all you need is a relaxing day in your vacation rental. You can spend your day or evening enjoying the ocean breeze from your porch or balcony, cooking a delicious family meal within your kitchen, or gathering in the living room to play a board game or enjoy a movie night. In addition to our luxurious Sanibel rentals, we also offer condo rentals in Captiva to provide you with even more options! Ready to plan your next vacation to the Sanibel Island area? Contact us today to get started!

Visit the Shell Museum

Remember earlier when we mentioned how amazing Sanibel Island is for shelling? This hobby is so popular in the area that there’s an entire museum dedicated to it! The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum dedicated to shells and mollusks in the entire United States, so it’s worth a visit just for its uniqueness alone! Inside, you’ll be able to touch mollusks in the touch pool, try a scavenger hunt to win an awesome prize, or watching the breathtaking Giant Pacific Octopus. Between their permanent exhibits and various events throughout the year, this attraction presents a unique experience every time.

Interact with the Animals at the CROW Clinic Animal Rehab

Suppose you’ve got animal lovers in your group. In that case, you can’t miss out on a trip to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, or CROW. This organization rescues all kinds of local animals, from armadillos and opossums to birds and marine life, and nurses them back to health. At CROW, visitors can learn all about the rehab efforts that go on here and even meet some of the animals that are being cared for at that time! A visit to CROW is both educational and fun, which is truly the best of both worlds when it comes to activities near our Sanibel Island vacation rentals

paddle boarding man and boy

Go Paddle Boarding

Sure, you can experience the waters of Sanibel Island by swimming or renting a kayak, but if you want a better view and a bit of a challenge for your balance, try paddleboarding! There are tons of local companies offering paddleboard rentals that allow you and your family to navigate the Sanibel waters as you please. Many companies such as Paddle Board Sanibel will even deliver your equipment to your Sanibel Island vacation rentals! Exploring the area on a stand-up paddleboard not only gives you a great view of the water but also provides an intense core workout and allows you to experience a hobby you might not have tried before!