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Sanibel and Captiva Islands, A to Z

Chelle Koster Walton

Galleries. Inspired by the beauty and nature of the islands, artists fill local galleries with original paintings, photography, sculpture, pottery and art glass. We love Tower Gallery, a co-op enterprise on Sanibel, and Jungle Drums, whimsical and delightfully creative on Captiva.

Herb Strauss Theater. Professional actors perform comedies, dramas, musicals and revues in an intimate setting throughout the winter season. This April-May, catch the musical The Big Band.

BIG ARTS - Herb Strauss Theater - Sanibel Island

BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater

Island-Style Shopping. Stroll flower-lined plazas for unique finds that reflect island life. Some favorites: Pandora’s Box, Island Style, Suncatchers’ Dream, C Turtles, and Congress Jewelers on Sanibel Island; and the Bubble Room Emporium on Captiva.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Occupying about one-third of Sanibel Island, the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge has been harboring wildlife in an easily accessible setting since 1945. The four-mile Wildlife Drive passes wetlands that host flocks of winter birds. Trails for biking and hiking penetrate the wilderness on the main campus. At its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area, visitors can explore by kayak, stand-up paddleboard and nature boat cruises. The trail at the Bailey Tract satellite branch delves into freshwater habitat. Another type of trail at Buck Key off Captiva Island invites paddlers to view birds along its canopy paddling trail.

J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge - Nature tours and bird watching on Sanibel Island
J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge is popular with birders.

Keeper Fish. Whether you choose freshwater, back bays or deep water, you’ll have fishing tales to share after your island visit. From land, cast from the beach or the Lighthouse Park fishing pier. For offshore fishing, check out the islands’ marinas for rental boats and experienced fishing guides. Get your tips, bait and gear from Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop or The Bait Box on Sanibel.

Lighthouse. A beacon of welcome, the Sanibel Lighthouse has been guiding boaters since the cattle-shipping days of the late 1800s. Today it serves as the centerpiece of Lighthouse Park Beach, a popular beach that rounds Sanibel’s southeast end.

Sanibel Lighthouse - Sanibel and aptiva Islands hot spots and vacation sights
The Sanibel Lighthouse is on Lighthouse Park Beach at Sanibel’s southeast end.

Museums. Although most equate Sanibel and Captiva with beaches, the islands offer their share of history and culture. Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum examines Sanibel’s shelling culture with a look at seashells in the context of history, religion, ecology and art. Take a step into island bygones at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, a collection of 10 historic and re-created structures that tell the island’s story. New on Captiva, the Captiva Island Historical Society’s exhibit room in the Captiva Memorial Library peeks into eras of farming, WW II servicemen, Teddy Roosevelt, and other famous visitors.

 

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Event Calendar

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