How Many Beaches Does Sanibel Island Have?

How Many Beaches Does Sanibel Island Have?Sanibel Island is most popular for its white sugar sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. This small barrier island is big on beauty and notoriety yet remains relaxed and uncrowded. The beaches are some of the best in southwest Florida for good reason. A big question about Sanibel is how many beaches it has. 

How Many Beaches Are There on Sanibel Island?

 Sanibel Island alone has six public beach access points. The smaller neighboring sister island of Captiva is often also included in the beach count for Sanibel. Captiva has two public beach access points. Some public beaches have plans for refurbishment from hurricane washout, but all will be open and running soon. 

Sanibel Public Beach Access Points

Causeway Beach Parks

Also known as the Causeway Islands Beach Parks, they are a rare chance to enjoy the beach without a parking fee on the island. This is the first beach you will encounter as you come to Sanibel. It is located at the end of the Causeway bridge that connects Sanibel Island to Ft. Meyers The beach is beloved for the ability to pull your car right up to the waterline and watch the sunset. This spot is also great for swimming, windsurfing, fishing, and picnics. These beaches are not open quite yet as ongoing repairs are made to the Causeway bridge. 

"Depending on the weather, you get some great views of the sunrise. You can park, swim and hangout with FREE parking. Very well maintained area. Can be tricky pulling out into traffic, you have to time it just right. Worth the stop." -review from TripAdvisor.com

Lighthouse Beach Park

The most iconic park on Sanibel Island because it is home to the landmark YBel Lighthouse. This lighthouse is a historic powerhouse, it has been standing for many years. Though Hurricane Ian tried to take it out, it only managed one leg. The lighthouse stood through the hurricane. 

Here is a small overview of the lighthouse history written in a previous Bell Team Blog:

"The Sanibel Island lighthouse is also called the Sanibel Island Light or the Point Ybel Light. This lighthouse is truly iconic not only as one of the first structures on the island but as one of the first lighthouses on Florida's Gulf Coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas. This lighthouse stands 98 feet above sea level in an iron skeleton tower and it was first lit on August 20, 1884. The light in the lighthouse is accessed through a central spiral staircase that begins 10 feet above the ground. It was built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay and help ships sailing at the Punta Rassa port across San Carlos Bay from Sanibel Island.

The residents of Sanibel Island petitioned for the placement of a lighthouse in 1833 but little attention was given to this request until 1856. At this time the Lighthouse Board recommended that a lighthouse be placed on Sanibel Island however Congress ignored the recommendation. In 1877 the area was surveyed by government workers and the eastern end of Sanibel was then reserved for the building of the lighthouse. In 1883 funds were allotted through Congress to build the lighthouse and the foundation was completed in 1884.

An interesting fact about the lighthouse construction is that the ship bringing ironwork to build the tower for the lighthouse sank in the middle of delivery just two miles off the shore of Sanibel Island. When the ship sank a crew of hardhat divers came in from Key West to recover the pieces of the tower and they were able to retrieve all but two pieces. This lighthouse was strategic in the safety of ships carrying cattle from central Florida to Cuba. In 1974 iconic Sanibel Island lighthouse was officially placed on the National Register for Historic Places. This lighthouse is still operational under US Coast Guard control and is owned by the city of Sanibel.

The historic lighthouse was first lit once again on February 28, 2023, after Hurricane Ian had damaged it giving a breath of hope to all those that live in and vacation on Sanibel."

Gulfside City Park

Gulfside City Park is located in the middle of the Sanibel Gulf shore. You can find ti located off Casa Ybel Road. it is popular with humans and nesting turtles alike. There is plenty of shady trees and picnic tables. 

Tarpon Bay Beach

Located at the end of Tarpon Bay Road near West Gulf Drive. This is an ideal spot for the famous activity of shelling on Sanibel in the soft white sands. It is also a great spot for swimming. There is a bit of a trek from the parking lot to the beach.

Bowmans Beach

Bowman's Beach is one of the most popular on the island. It is located off of Sanibel-Captiva Road. There is a playground and picnic area and its a great spot to observe wildlife. This beach also has a good hike from the parking lot to the shore. 

Susan G shares this about Bowman's Beach on TripAdvisor:

"It’s like any beach, timing is everything. I have found some of my best shells here!! I was shocked to read a review saying no unique shells. Sand dollars, lightning whelks, tulips, shark eyes, and much more. I even saw a shark swimming near shore one day. It’s my favorite beach!"

Blind Pass

Blind Pass is the last beach you come across when traveling from end to end on Sanibel Island. It is the beach at the body of water with the same name separating Sanibel from Captiva. The shoreline of Blind Pass is great fro shelling and fishing but it is not recommended to swim in BLind Pass as the current is strong. 

Captiva's Two Public Beach Access Points

Turner Beach

Turner Beach is located on Captiva Island on the other side of Blind Pas it is also a popular place to enjoy shelling and fishing on the other side of the water across the bridge. Again it is not a recommended destination for swimming because of the current in BLind Pass.

Alison Hagerup/ Captiva Beach

The beach is most popularly known as Captiva Beach but is officially named Alison Hagerup Beach. It is the only other public beach access point on the island and is popular for watching a sunset. 

If you are looking for a home on Sanibel or Captiva Island I am here to help. Contact me any time with any Sanibel area real estate needs. 

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