Sanibel Capativa Island Adventure
We just left our friends in Bonita Springs and started our Sanibel Capativa Island Adventure , since we have never been here we were not sure what to expect! But we are always looking forward to seeing new places. Driving on Summerlin Road headed to Sanibel, we see the toll plaza ahead, payment of $6.00 each time you cross over. As we approach the causeway, we caught a glimpse of the beautiful turquoise water. Our panoramic view is the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel, Ft. Myers Beach and Pine Island. Looking to the right is San Carlos Bay and in the distance St. James City. We are proceeding over the causeway viewing the Causeway Beaches, two areas Causeway A and Causeway B that allow picnicking, grilling and swimming and just relaxing by the waters’ edge, parking is free, these island areas are man made during the building of the causeway.
Once we crossed the causeway, the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is on the right. Once you leave the center, you will come to a four way stop directed by a traffic person, he/she quickly directs you thru the four way intersection. If you turn right you are on Periwinkle Way the main road, if you turn left at the stop, you will head to the Sanibel Lighthouse.
Driving along Periwinkle Way we found many restaurants, shops, bike rentals, paddle and kayak rentals and of course realtors. Periwinkle Way ends at Tarpon Bay Rd. turning either left or right you will find an abundance of things to do and places to visit. Turning right on Tarpon Bay Rd you will come to Sanibel Captiva Rd making a left here, we passed the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge (1-239-472-1100 for tours information). The wildlife drive is open Saturday thru Thursday, closed every Friday to all public access. This gives wildlife time to feed along the drive without human disturbance, as well as allowing the staff time for maintenance and the biologist to do surveys and research without interference. Visitors may tour the Wildlife Drive on foot, bicycle, tram and cars. The Drive is a one-way road, 15 mph speed limit and seat belt law enforcement. Check out the do’s and don’ts before going. There are many photo opportunities of the surrounding wildlife.
Continuing on Sanibel Captiva Rd, we passed the Bailey Matthews National Seashell Museum, the Sanibel School, the Sanibel Recreational Center. As we crossed over the Blind Pass bridge we were now on Captiva Island, the street now becomes Captiva Dr. Blind Pass has paid parking on both sides of the bridge for the public beach.
Captiva Rd. follows the Gulf of Mexico with many sharp curves and sights of beautiful small and large homes along with beautiful lush tropical foliage. Going forward we found shops, restaurants, an artistic village and marinas, where cruises can be booked.
We booked a cruise to Cabbage Key using Captiva Cruises located on Andy Rosse Lane, on the Lady Chadwick. The cruise departed around 10 am and returned around 3 pm. A Beautiful day, slow ride to cabbage Key to enjoy “a cheeseburger in Paradise” at the Cabbage Key Inn & Restaurant. Tradition has visitors leaving a dollar bill, taping it to the walls and ceiling. We naturally left our dollar and taped it to the wall; the dollars that fall thru out the year are collected then given to charity. Be amazed by the great food and Key Lime Pie. Afterwards climb the water tower and walk an easy trail before returning to the boat and a ride back to the harbor. Captiva Cruises offer sunset, dolphin, shelling, fishing and dinner cruises along with private charters, you will not be disappointed. Call 1-239-472-5300 for Information.
If you turn left at the stop, you will head to the Sanibel Lighthouse, a working lighthouse to this day. This lighthouse consists of four iron legs arranged in a pyramidal shape around a cylindrical center column, standing 98 feet above the ground. Originally, man operated but now automated since 1949. This area along with the keepers’ quarters became home to the National Wildlife Refuge and their employees. This is one of the best places to search for sea shells.
Add a visit to Sanibel and Captiva island to your bucket list, you won’t be disappointed!
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At Cooking Wine and Travel we like to hear about your experiences. Have you visited Sanibel or Captiva Island? What is your favorite place to eat on Sanibel? Where did you find the best shells? Please leave your comments below