Treasures from the sea
Renowned for its shelling, Sanibel Island is the perfect place for couples to while the day away. Secluded stretches of sand and stunning sunsets seduce many couples, making it a top destination for a Florida beach wedding or resort honeymoon. Just bring your betrothed, and one of Sanibel Island's many beach wedding planners will take care of the rest. Eco-tourists, snowbirds and families will be drawn by its wildlife and range of more than 200 shell types scattering the shores.
Collect shells along the shore, lounge on the beach, or partake in water recreation that won't disturb the natural environment. Highlights include:
- Eco-friendly watersports: Motorless is the way to go in this wildlife refuge - windsurf, sail, canoe, kayak or kite board your way around the island.
- Turtle and wildlife watching: Unlike many Florida beaches, Sanibel's sandy shores are left ungroomed. While these beaches might not look as tidy as neighboring shorelines, undisturbed sand draws a variety of birds and wildlife, and makes the area a prime location to view nesting sea turtles.
Take a trolley to Periwinkle Way to sample the unique shops, art galleries and restaurants - or, if you're the romantic sort, simply watch couples get married on the beach. Other highlights include:
- Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum: With an exhibit hall shaped like a shell, this unique museum has 30 displays from around the world, rare specimens, books and kids' activities.
- J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge: Part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the country, this refuge is famous throughout the world for its spectacular migratory birds.
- Annual Sanibel Shell Fair (March): For seventy years this annual fair has featured shell displays and crafts. Consistently ranked as one of the top events in southern Florida, this must-see shell-fest is also one of the largest.
Enjoy a night of song at Sanibel's Schoolhouse (Music) Theater or a who-done-it at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in Fort Myers. The Big M Casino, which departs at Fort Myers Beach, offers casino gambling aboard a luxurious 162-foot yacht.
Sanibel has accommodations for every price range - full-service resorts, romantic inns, intimate bed and breakfasts, secluded cottages, efficiency hotel / motels, condos and RV camping. Try the Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce for more ideas.
Need to Know
- Gulf Coast or Lee Island Coast Bullet points.
- Average annual temperature is about 75 F.
- Dogs are allowed on all Sanibel beaches if they're leashed and the owner "stoops and scoops."
Shells and shorebirds make Sanibel Island a romantic delight. If you'd like to exchange vows or simply collect shells, a Sanibel Island escape might be right for you.
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