Once a place used to captivate young and beautiful woman by a pirate named José Gaspar, the Captiva Island in southwest Florida still captivates but because of the nonchalant way in which the life operates here and because of its closeness to an uncomplicated way of living, one that we have left far behind in the 21st century.
J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife RefugeNamed after the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon artist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge came into being as a solution to the problem of preserving America's largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems. Spread over 6400 acres, the park boasts of over 245 species of birds, including the migratory birds that visit here between January and April. For visitors, much of the attraction of the park lies in kayaking through Tarpon Bay, bicycling one of the many natural trails in the park and exploring the education centre that features videos and lessons on conservation of flora and fauna.
Bowman's BeachLocated on the Sanibel Island, Bowman's beach is for travellers who like access to the remotest corners. Visible upon crossing a wooden bridge over the freshwater, the beach is an excellent place to relax and enjoy some sunshine all by yourself, and to collect the sea shells to be preserved as souvenirs from your vacation. The place also offers excellent opportunities for sailing, windsurfing and swimming.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell MuseumA paradise for shell enthusiasts, the museum preserves an enviable collection of different types of shells from around the world. A place of great interest for students, scientists and general visitors, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum features a total of 34 exhibits.
Lighthouse Beach ParkIdeal for picnicking, beach strolls, fishing, sailing and windsurfing, the lighthouse beach park is a place for family recreation on the Sanibel Island's southern corner. The lighthouse that was constructed here in 1884 lends a quaint appeal to the area.
Gulfside Algiers BeachIf you are visiting the Captiva Island with your pooch, you and your furry friend will have a great time at the Gulfside Algiers Beach, considered the most pet-friendly here. There's a natural preserve nearby that gives you and your pet a scope for taking a walk amidst the greens. The dogs, however, must be kept on a leash at all times.
North Captiva IslandHidden behind the barrier mangrove island, the North Captiva Island is just five miles from the coast of Fort Myers Beach. A paradise hiding away from the keen eye of the tourists, travelling to North Captiva Island is like travelling back in time when there were no crowded beaches, when tourist places were not lined with restaurants, and gave more privacy and calm to their visitors. You can find an eco-park where hiking and wildlife watching is common. Two clubs find space on the island that has otherwise shied away from touristy in favour of natural. Don't leave the island without visiting Barnacle Phil's.
Sanibel IslandA barrier island in the Lee County, Florida - Sanibel Island is an ideal place to spend some leisurely hours amidst nature. Popular for its wildlife refuges, white-sand beaches as well as collection of seashells, Sanibel Island gives its visitors time to sit back and enjoy the little joys of life.
Captiva IslandPopular in history as a place where the young women were kept by their kidnapper José Gaspar, Captiva Island entices the tourists of the Sanibel Island with its eclectic restaurants and quiet beaches that are perfect for watching sunsets. Popular for the Gulfside Algiers beach which is one of the few dog friendly beaches around as well as its many natural reserves, the Captiva island is a great place to take a half-day excursion to in the Sanibel Island.
Periwinkle WayIt's difficult to leave Sanibel Island without visiting the Periwinkle Way. Located in one of the busiest areas on the island, Periwinkle Way is a park-like shopping complex boasting 26 shops. Considered one of the top attractions in not just Sanibel Island but the whole of Lee County, the complex is spread over 40, 000 square foot in area. One of the popular places for souvenir shopping in the Periwinkle Way is Tiki Jim's, famous for beaded jewellery. Periwinkle Way is also home to Blue Giraffe Restaurant, an award winning restaurant.
Bowman's BeachBowman's Beach is also one of the most isolated of all beaches here. Equipped with facilities like picnic tables, barbecue grills, pay phones, bathrooms as well as bike racks, the beach is a great place to spend some quiet time with family. The beach offers excellent nature and fitness trails for those willing to explore. If fun by the water is on your mind, there are ample opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
Schoolhouse TheatreThe Schoolhouse Theatre is one of the places to visit on the Sanibel Island if you like live music concerts, comedy shows and other Broadway productions. A one-room school, constructed in 1896, used to be where the theatre stands now; hence, the name. Catching up on a show in this theatre is one of the most recommended activities on Sanibel Island. There's also a gift shop inside the 90-seat, pink- painted walls of the theatre. The information about the latest shows is updated on the official website of the Schoolhouse Theatre.
J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife RefugeSprawling over 6400 acres, the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a natural park dedicated to the preservation of flora and fauna in the area. Over 245 species of birds, 60 types of reptiles, and 35 mammal species call it their home including herons, ospreys, mangrove cuckoo, raccoons, otters, alligators as well as American crocodiles. The 4-mile long Wildlife Drive can be explored on foot as well as on a bicycle. Kayaking and Canoeing opportunities are also available for the enthusiasts.