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Sanibel Island Attractions
Believe it or not, your Sanibel Island vacation can consist of nothing more strenuous than lying back and enjoying our beautiful tropical island setting with its wonderful climate. Some island vacationers are content to just escape the rhythm of everyday island life. Others seek more activity. At Sanibel Arms West condo resort, you can enjoy both.
SANIBEL’S HISTORIC VILLAGE AND MUSEUM
For a trip back in time, visit Sanibel’s Historic Village and Museum located off Periwinkle Way on Dunlop Street. Original homes and buildings within the village, some dating back to 1898, have been carefully restored by volunteers. They stand as testament to a group of early pioneers who who began the migration of residents and visitors to this popular island escape called Sanibel. The Historic Society’s volunteers are have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to walk these historical footsteps with you, while enriching your Sanibel vacation experience with tales from the past.
Among the sites are the Old Bailey’s Store (1927), the Rutland House (1913), ShoreHaven House (1924), the Old Post Office (1926), the Burnap Cottage (1898), the Packing House (1900), the Old Schoolhouse (1896), the Morning Glories House (1927) and Miss Charlotta’s Tearoom (1926), all of which take you back to a different way of life. Each is filled with numerous legends that add dimension to your Sanibel vacation memories. Don’t be surprised if you hear stories of shipwrecks, pirates and yes, even buried treasure!
ADVENTURES IN PARADISE
Offering affordable family fun-filled cruises and excursions! Cruise with Adventures In Paradise for fishing, shelling and lunch excursions, sea life encounters, dolphin watches, and sunset dolphin cruises. You can even hop on the Adventures In Paradise trolley for the Historical Trolley Tour of Sanibel Island! Adventures in Paradise also offers private charters on Sanibel and activities whether your group is large or small Sanibel Island Trolley Tours, Sanibel Wedding Cruises, and more!
SANIBEL LIGHTHOUSE AND PIER
The historic 1800s Sanibel landmark lighthouse continues to draw visitors. Originally lit in 1884, it continues to help sailboat and yacht captains to navigate today. It’s maintained by the United States Coast Guard. The lighthouse is located adjacent to another family memory-maker, the Sanibel Island fishing pier. Drop a hook in the water off the pier and another photo subject may emerge. The lighthouse beach and fishing pier are an easy hike from your Sanibel Arms West vacation headquarters.
RIDE A BIKE
Locally owned and operated, Billy’s Rentals has provided quality bicycle, surrey, scooter, & beach chair rentals to Sanibel & Captiva Islands for 15 years. Riding Bikes on Sanibel is the perfect activity for everyone. With over 27 miles of paths you can discover the wildlife preserves, explore the beaches, or just cruise around the island. Beach Wheelchairs and Beach Stuff available.
**Rent Your Billy’s Bike Directly At Our Front Desk.
Shell-lovers from all over the world make pilgrimage to Sanibel Beaches to enjoy one of the best shelling ecosystems in the united states. Sanibel Island is renowned for its shell-attracting beaches. Exquisite seashells, once called “gifts from the sea” by author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wash ashore along the 14 miles of beckoning sand hugging the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This miracle of geography is fitting for a place with so many inspirational aspects.
J.N. “DING” DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is known for its abundant bird life.
“Ding”, as Sanibel Island regulars know it, includes a massive part of Sanibel Island, physically and emotionally. Almost half of Sanibel’s land are and estuary are dedicated to the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This is the ideal place to experience nature on Sanibel. Wading birds, raptors, alligators and other wildlife populate the Refuge. You can walk, bicycle, or drive through it. For an even more up-close engagement with Sanibel nature, rent a kayak to paddle through the mangrove tunnels that weave through the backwater.
If you want to sit back and enjoy a tour of “Ding” Darling without effort, however, take the tram and allow your Sanibel nature guide to point out the sights that many people pass without seeing. 6,300 acres of Nature Refuge contain more than 293 species of birds, more than 50 different types of reptiles and 32 species of mammals. You’re sure to come away with a good sense of “Ding” Darling’s mission to preserve and provide human access to the wonders of Sanibel’s natural island setting. Access to the Refuge, parking and an interpretative center operated by the Friends of Ding Darling is at One Wildlife Drive off Sanibel-Captiva Road.
BAILEY-MATTHEWS NATIONAL SHELL MUSEUM
The only museum in the United States that is solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them.
Sanibel Arms West’s own private strand of Sanibel beach has its own reputation for some of the best shelling in North America. If you’ve often marveled at those glistening gems that adorn the beaches, set aside time for a visit to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum located at the west end of the island at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road. It’s a must for shell enthusiasts.The museum is truly unique, as it is home to thousands of local and fossilized shells from all over the world, and the layout design is of a nautilus shell! You’ll come away with tips on what to look for, how to preserve a collection and a powerful incentive to start your collection here and now on Sanibel, the shell capital of North America. Admission is only $6 for adults 17 and older, $3 for children 5-16, and free for ages 4 and under.
C.R.O.W. (CLINIC FOR THE REHABILITATION OF WILDLIFE)
Another jewel in Sanibel’s nature crown is C.R.O.W. (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). It is the location of Sanibel Island’s wildlife rehabilitation hospital. More than 3,400 native animals, including 160 different wildlife species, have received treatment there. Its mission is not only to care for sick and injured wildlife, but also to educate the public on the importance of preserving wildlife and living in peace with the animals of Sanibel and Captiva. Injured creatures from all around South Florida are brought to CROW for treatment and rehabilitation, with the objective to return them to the wild when possible. The center offers an educational presentation Monday-Friday year-round at 11:00 am and Sundays at 1:00 pm from Thanksgiving to Easter. The center requests a $5 donation from visitors 13 and older, which is used for funding and feeding. C.R.O.W. is located at 3883 Sanibel-Captiva Road.