- Fine Dining A list of restaurants from Cooper’s Cuisine scene with sample menus to browse through.
- Tour the J. N. “Ding” National Wildlife Refuge, with its five mile nature drive and trail, visit the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Center or the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.
- Cruise to the upper islands of Cayo Costa, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island or Boca Grande. Enjoy morning nature cruises, sunset cruises, shelling cruises and/or dolphin & wildlife adventure cruises.
- Join a fishing charter and fish for tarpon, grouper, mackerel, redfish, snook, or flounder. Or do a little surf casting right off the beach.
- Take the Sanibel Island Trolley for a narrated tour, or for transportation to nearby shops, restaurants or attractions.
- Canoe or kayak through the unspoiled waterways of Tarpon Bay, where you can watch for Manatee and hundreds of varieties of birds.
- Enjoy art galleries, live professional theater and shopping. The island’s restaurants, shops, and boutiques are framed by pines, palms and flowers.
- Do the “Sanibel Stoop” as you search for seashells along miles of unspoiled beaches. Known for the “best shelling in the Western Hemisphere”, over 275 different kinds of shells wash up on island beaches.
- “Sanibel and Captiva define a world all their own, free of snow shovels, smog indexes and fast lanes. Here, life moves at a comfortable pace, reflecting the warm, easy-going attitude of the islanders and the flourish of nature around them.”
- (Above quotes are from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Guide, 1997)
Simply put, Sanibel Island is a birder’s paradise. The crown jewel of birding areas is the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, over 7,000 acres of mangrove estuary, tropical hardwood hammocks, beaches and inland freshwater marshes that are home to local and migratory birds. Birds that may be seen within the Ding Darling NWR are herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, ibis, cormorants, osprey and many other species. The best time to see birds in the NWR is at low tide, early morning or late afternoon.
Late afternoon is also a good time to see shorebirds darting in and out of the surf, looking for an easy dinner. The birds that can easily be seen along the water are gulls, royal terns, pelicans, sanderlings and many others.
Tram tours are available at the Ding Darling Visitor Center and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. We can also help you arrange for private guides within the NWR. These guides are quite in-demand during season, so we suggest booking with us well in advance!
For a preview of what you might find, please take a look at some beautiful photographs courtesy of the Refuge Reporter.