The island measures about 12 miles long and a few miles across, and is accessible from the mainland by the Sanibel Causeway. It has two key roads: Periwinkle Way, the main thoroughfare, and Gulf Drive, which runs past the shore.
The lifestyle and dress on Sanibel is informal and relaxed. The weather is warm year-round and there are plenty of opportunities to don swim and beach wear. With winter daytime average temperatures in the 70s and 80s, you need only a sweater or light jacket to round out your casual wardrobe.
Sanibel is beloved by shell collectors for the wide variety of seashells that wash up on its beaches. The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum hosts exhibits and educational information about shells and mollusks.
The island has bike trails, golf, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and water cruises. Sanibel is also home to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary.
Visitors can choose from accommodations as simple as a beachfront cottage or as luxurious as a spa/resort. The Casa Ybel Resort was rated one of Top 500 Places To Stay In The World in 2006 by Travel and Leisure. The all-inclusive Sundial Golf & Beach Resort was ranked a Top Family Resort by Away.com.
Meal options range from casual to elegant. Pinocchio's Original Homemade Italian Ice Cream has been around more than three decades serving signature flavors like World Famous Sanibel Krunch and the Dirty Sand Dollar. More upscale dining options can be found at restaurants like Sweet Melissa's Cafe, where dinner entrees range from $25 to $28 and include local seafood.