Pictures from Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida

Pictures from Sanibel Island.

Sanibel is one of the barrier islands on the lower Gulf Coast of Florida, 125 miles south of Tampa. Sanibel Island and it's sister, Captiva, are known widely for their pristine beauty and unspoiled landscapes. Encouraging commercial interests to design and build relative to the island's charm, residents have created a modern tropical splendor for themselves and visitors alike. On Sanibel, one feels the call of the tropics and the inclination is to stay forever in this island paradise. Lost in the swaying palm trees and gentle gulf breezes is the fact that the mainland and city bustle is about 10 minutes back across the causeway bridge.

 

Approximately one-half of the island is in conservation and the six-thousand or so permanent residents work hard at keeping the other half in tune. It is a place where bike and foot trails abound (over 20 miles), none of which includes the 15 miles of beach. If you intend to tour the island by car, parking can be a problem. Walking and biking in Sanibel is the preferred method of locomotion. However, the public beach areas have adequate parking facilities, even if it does cost (or maybe because...). Speaking of public beaches, Bowman's Beach is a Sanibel favorite. You can easily spend the day here. It has big, wide sandy beaches, restrooms, showers, fresh water fountains, picnic tables, grills for cookouts and plenty of shady areas off the beach to escape the sun. Just walking through the nature areas is a relaxing adventure.

 

Nature lovers MUST tour the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This can be by car, biking or hiking. By car one can view or photograph wildlife and never leave the car seat because of the cleverly constructed roadway. You can also drive from point to point, leaving the car for short walks to constructed viewing platforms. It's about an eight mile trip and, if you plan to take photos, will take a while.

 

Please note that most of the pictures shown on this page are of Sanibel Island  before the ravages of Hurricane Charley (view post Charley pictures here). The hurricane exacted a strong measure against the wrong, weak and feeble on Sanibel and consequently a great deal of the landscape has changed. Since Sanibel was famous for its lush undergrowth, it now looks different. While it will be years before the heavy growth is again established in some locations, Sanibel is sporting a new look. The island now features the more resilient native vegetation, formerly covered and hidden by many of the intrusive species of plants which were wiped out by the hurricane. Twisted hulks of damaged and destroyed plants can be seen in some areas and will remain as a testament to nature.

 

Visitors to Sanibel can easily tour the southwest Florida cities in the area. Crossing the causeway bridge, you'll have close access to Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.  Pine island including Matlacha, Bokeelia and St. James City are closer by water than roadway. North Captiva, Useppa, Don Pedro and Little Gasparilla islands are all just north of Sanibel-Captiva but must be reached by boat. A 30 minute drive south will find Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach) and Bonita Beach. Naples is about an hour's drive south on US Highway 41 or Interstate  75. The Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte area is 45 minutes north. The Southwest Florida International Airport is 20 minutes east of the city.

 

Pictures from Sanibel Island, Florida. Photos copyright.

 

 

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Sanibel Light Tower -Keeper and Assistant Keeper Quarters

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Public beach at Sanibel's Lighthouse Beach Park

 
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Sanibel Causeway toll bridge looking towards mainland. Sunset from the causeway.
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Views back across the causeway toward Punta Rassa.
   
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Pictures show the causeway drive into Sanibel is one of the prettiest around. Coconut palms, seagrape trees, dune grass and miles of beach seem to be provided as appetizers. Stop anywhere and look around or picnic.
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The Big Arts Center, Historical Museum and City Hall. The lighthouse (circa 1880) is no longer used but working.

Osprey on nest. The baby was shy and hid.

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Pictures of parking area and boardwalk entrance at Sanibel south point. A public beach access area with eco trails, lighthouse and pier. One of the many boardwalk trails. Heavy tropical growth.
 
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Wide beach area with lighthouse in background.

Part of the natural charm of the lighthouse point beach is the old, fallen trees and driftwood. Pier for looking or fishing.

 

Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge 

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This outstanding nature tour (above & below) can be accomplished completely by car with stops at "drive-bys" for looking and photos. Upper left shows a viewing area from roadway; center, a boardwalk area and right, an Anhinga drying (seen from road). Lower left shows mangrove tangles, spoonbills in center and pelicans nesting, lower right (make messy trees!)

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Not a typical beach house but many beautiful homes here.

Sanibel condos on the beach w/shell-top driveway.

Detached condo group.

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Sanibel has many shell-topped streets - very tropical looking.

(Bikepath pictures) One can walk or bike almost anywhere in Sanibel. Bike paths shown here are paved, some are shell.

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Bowman's Beach Park! Pictures show nice deep, un-crowded sandy beaches with shallow water shore. Changing area, showers, restrooms, picnic, grill  and nature areas. 

 

Hurricane Charley Before and After Comparisons

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The picture top, left of the lighthouse area pre-Charley shows horticultural growth in foreground and background. The new Sanibel Lighthouse look is shown at upper middle & right. 

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The picture above, left of a trail at the Lighthouse area is pre-Hurricane Charley. The same trail 3 months after Hurricane Charley in the two photos to the right shows considerable change. 

 

Miscellaneous

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New look of Sanibel after Charley features more native vegetation like Gumbo Limbo and Seagrape trees. Anhinga drying feathers after an underwater swim. Light tower and caretaker buildings (pre-Charley).
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Boardwalk to Bowman's Beach One of the many shell trails through the Lighthouse beach. Fanciful image on lighthouse beach - delightful for strollers.
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Ding Darling Tricolored Heron

It's Osprey dinner time!

Marked bike route through Ding Darling.
     
Things to do in the Sanibel Island, Florida area? ...activities, attractions and adventures...

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