Getting to Sanibel Island Sanibel Island is located in southwest Florida, on Florida's Gulf Coast. Miami is 235 miles southeast; Orlando is 175 miles northeast; Tampa is 145 miles north. Easily reached by car via Interstate 75 which leads to Ft. Myers Sanibel Island is connected by a toll bridge ($6.00 toll) to the Florida mainland at Ft. Myers.
Shelling Sanibel and Captiva Islands are famous throughout the world for their excellent shelling beaches. Because of the islands' east-west geographic orientation, the beaches collect shells that have been stirred up after storms. Tides push the shells up onto the beach where avid collectors can find many different types of shells.
Low tide is generally the best time to hunt for seashells. More beach is exposed, so there is more area to cover … and potentially more shells to find! Also, a new or a full moon tends to cause a lower low tide, so even more beach is available for shelling. For a current tidal chart, click here.