Base City: Tampa
- Tampa, FL
- Sanibel, FL
- Captiva, FL
- Tampa, FL
Car: Toyota Camry
Est Total Miles : 326 miles
Est Total Travel Time: 5 hours 48 mins
Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida are the perfect choice for your vacation whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family trip or a nature vacation. Frommer’s Travel Guide ranked Sanibel Island the #1 top tourist destination in 2011. Govand find out why Sanibel Island ranked ahead of Bali, Indonesia and Paris, France.
Sanibel and Captiva islands provide for the perfect vacations. Enjoy 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 22 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 types of shells and 0 stop lights.
Sanibel and Captiva formed as one island about 6,000 years ago. The first known humans in the area were the Calusa, who arrived about 2,500 years ago. The Calusa were a powerful Indian nation who came to dominate most of Southwest Florida through trade via their elaborate system of canals and waterways. Sanibel remained an important Calusa settlement until the collapse of their empire, soon after the arrival of the Europeans.
The many attractions on the islands including our nature preserve, Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and many outdoor activities including biking, shelling, fishing, bird watching, boating, golfing, and snorkeling just to name a few. Sanibel Island & Captiva Islands also feature cultural offerings in the area of the Arts, Theater, and Music.
The island’s curved shrimp-like shape forms Tarpon Bay on the north side of the island. It is linked to the mainland by the Sanibel Causeway, which runs across two small manmade islets and the Intracoastal Waterway. A short bridge links Sanibel Island to Captiva Island over Blind Pass. The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel is the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the study of shells. The Gulf-side beaches are excellent on both Sanibel and Captiva, and are world-renowned for their variety of seashells, which include coquinas, scallops, whelks, sand dollars, and many other species of both shallow-water and deeper-water mollusks, primarily bivalves and gastropods.
Sanibel beaches attract visitors from all around the world, partly because of the large quantities of seashells that frequently wash up there. One of the reasons for these accumulations of shells is the fact that Sanibel is a barrier island which has an “east-west orientation when most islands are north-south. Hence, the island is gifted with great sandy beaches and an abundance of shells.” It is also due to the fact that Sanibel is “part of a large plateau that extends out into the Gulf of Mexico for miles. It is this plateau that acts like a shelf for seashells to gather.” Many sand dollars can be found as well.