exploring sanibel and captiva islands

A Treasure Island for Shell Hunting

Traveling to Sanibel and Captiva Island deserves to be on your bucket list. Not only because of its beautiful beaches, but also because it’s the best place for shell hunting! Located just 25 miles south of Fort Myers, it is the perfect place to enjoy serene and secluded beaches.

We started out by stopping at the Visitor’s Center. We were surprised at how much shell information they share with you! They give you a complete booklet that lists all the types of shells that can be found on the islands. And you’ll also be notified of the times of low/high tide to help you with your shell hunting.

Sanibel and Captiva Island Visitors Center
Sanibel and Captiva Island Visitors Center

One thing I noticed was that my hands were certainly not enough to catch the shells! I also never thought about shell hunting as something you would actually need tools for. I mean, not that you need it but it certainly helps.

And I’m talking about a seashell sifter scoop which is used to, you get it, scoop up seashells. Hey, I’m a Caribbean girl and this was the first time in my life that I heard such a word! But I guess it’s the perfect tool if you really want to take home some of the best shells.

Points of Interest in Sanibel and Captiva Island

1. Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Although we didn’t get to see it because it was closed when we visited. It’s currently closed for renovations and they’re adding a new aquarium!

Hours: currently closed for renovations. Get construction updates here.

shell museum in Sanibel Island
Image provided by Google

2. Sanibel Lighthouse 

Built in 1884, it’s one of Florida’s first lighthouses on the Gulf Coast.

Sanibel Lighthouse

3. Bowman’s Beach

It’s one of the most popular beaches on the islands and the best one for shell hunting.

Bowman's Beach in Captiva Island

4. JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

It has a visitor center, wildlife drive, and trails.

  • Wildlife Drive Hours: Opens at 7:00 am. Closing hours vary. Please visit their website for info.

Fees: $5 per vehicle, $1 per pedestrian, $1 per bicycle.

  • Indigo Trail

Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Fees: $1 per pedestrian, $1 per bicycle. No vehicles.

  • Visitor & Education Center

Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Fees: Free admission

While You Are Here…Visit Fort Myers Beach!

I personally fell completely and utterly in love with Fort Myers Beach. It’s a quaint little beach town that will leave you with all the vacay vibes you could think of! It’s also the place where I had THE BEST Avocado Tacos! I mean, could you ask for more? It was at Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria that my world changed. As soon as I had the first bite of their incredibly perfect Fried Avocado Tacos, nothing was ever the same!

Fort Myers beach

It was also super nice to see so many people gathering at the pier to view the sunset. I fancy these kinds of things. When all around you seems to stand still for a moment – only for a view of something spectacular. It gives me more than one reason to love Fort Myers Beach.

So the next time you’re looking for a laid-back vibe in one of Florida’s coastal cities, think of Fort Myers Beach!

Fort Myers beach
Fort Myers beach

Visit the Fort Myers Beach website for updates on upcoming events!

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best things to do in sanibel and captiva islands
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About Author

Outdoor travel blogger, photographer, and Vampire Diaries obsessed. I'm passionate about hiking, and exploring the outdoors is an essential part of my life. I also love the ocean and warm sunny days.

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