Hidden Gems on Sanibel Island

Hidden Gems on Sanibel IslandIf you are considering a move to southwest Florida and are determining where in the area you want to settle you might come across Sanibel as you're searching. When you first look at it Sanibel seems like a very sleepy little town. Sanibel Island is small and quiet with a city municipality of the same name. There is only one town on the island and it is an amazing dream-like place to settle into if you are hoping for somewhere quiet and close to the most amazing Gulf beaches in southwest Florida.

If you don't know much about Sanibel let us help you discover some of the best-hidden gems of the island to help you really get to know this actually world-famous barrier island full of some of the world's best beaches.

Sanibel Island's Hidden Gems

The Wildlife Refuge

This one is not so much hidden as it is just a gem. But it does get overlooked if you are seeking out larger adventures on the southwest Florida coast. This is one of the most beautiful and impressive natural spots in Southwest Florida and it takes up a good portion of land on the island. The refuge is officially named the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge makes up over 6470 acres of mangrove forest, port grass marshes, seagrass beds, and subtropical hardwoods. It is home to countless native animal species and the perfect place to really experience unspoiled southwest Florida. You could spend hours on end in the refuge and still not have experienced it all. There are several great places to kayak or paddleboard, there are many amazing trails, there are guided tours, and much more.

Mini Zoo at Periwinkle Park

Not many people realize that Sanibel has an unofficial zoo attraction. It is located at Periwinkle Park and Campground in his home to some fun exotic animal displays that include rescue birds, monkeys, swans, turtles, lemurs, and more. The bird display at Periwinkle Park is one of the busiest and most popular places with several impressive species including macaws, toucans, and a very handsome Snowbird. The aviery as it is known to some took a hit during the hurricane and is in a different area. It is slowly rebuilding but still worth a visit.

The Farmers Market

A fairly newer business that has popped up on the island is the farmers market which is incredibly popular with locals. At the farmers market a great collection of local vendors come together to sell the freshest goods and most unique products from produce and plants to crafts and unique freshly made foods like baked goods. On average there are around 40 local vendors gathered on the weekends and this is the ultimate place to shop and get a feel for Sanibel island culture. The farmers market runs from the first Sunday of October to the last Sunday of May. So get in and experience it before it closes up for the summer.

Sanibel Moorings Botanical Garden

This miracle garden is 6 acres of tropical lush vegetation including orchids, jasmines, citrus, bromeliads, hibiscus, Palm trees, fruit trees, and more. It is located at 845 East Golf Dr. and is the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll through a lush tropical environment. The gardens are beachfront and in the most amazing gorgeous scenery but are often overlooked. Those who know the garden often regard it as the best botanical garden in Florida. Take a tour with the head horticulturist and learn all about everything in the gardens to enjoy it even more. Guided tours are 90 minutes long and run from November through August.

Observation Tower at SCCF

Take some time to get up high and see Sanibel and Captiva from a new perspective. This observation tower is hidden behind the nature center at SCCF which stands for Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. It is a great spot for birdwatching and anyone just looking to see the island from up high. The top view of the tower gives you a sweeping view of the beach below and the amazing blue waters through the horizon. It is not the only tower on the island but it is more of a hidden gem as fewer people come to this location to experience the observation tower as compared to the nature reserve tower. It is located at 3880 Sanibel Captiva Rd.

Shipley Trail

Sanibel has a great system of trails to walk and explore and Shipley is one of the less traveled. The trail spans 18 acres through restored tropical habitat and is home to amazing wildlife. The trails are of perfect length for visiting and strolling without feeling like you need to get into a full-on hike. The trail leads you through a stream, an oak grove, a large meadow full of poppies in the spring, and a staircase that leads to an elevated viewing spot on the top of the hill. If you have not been on the trail before we suggest grabbing a trail guide at the entrance of the interpretive building near the entrance to the trail.

If you're interested in learning more about living on Sanibel Island please feel free to browse through our blog with great local tips about the island and home ownership. If you would like to learn more about neighborhoods on Sanibel Island please check out our communities page. For more information on available homes on Sanibel Island, I am here to help. Contact me anytime with any of your Sanibel Island real estate needs including buying and selling homes whether you are making a full-time move to the island, just looking for a vacation property, or are looking to sell your dream Sanibel property.

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