Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park is Back in "Business"
Knowing what is going on around Sanibel and Captiva Islands is important for those who live here full-time, those who live here part-time, those who are considering a move here, and those who are hoping to vacation or visit soon. This is, especially true since Hurricane Ian hit last fall and the island has been through many different phases of revitalization.
One of the most anticipated reopenings after the hurricane was that of the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park. The lighthouse is an iconic landmark of Sanibel Island and in a way is another beacon of hope and reassurance of the resistance of Sanibel Island and its amazing community.
The beach has been closed to the public for nearly eight months since Ian swept through and almost took the lighthouse out. But the lighthouse, just like the people of Sanibel itself is strong and withstood one of the legs being taken out from under it. Luckily the leg was found and restored to preserve the lighthouse for many more years to come.
The Opening of Lighthouse Beach Park
The park is scheduled to open for all access on June 16th. This news was shared at the opening of the Sanibel Island Visitors center which also took a fair hit from the hurricane last fall. The visitor center sustained significant flooding and wind damage but is now fully operational and hopeful to see many visitors in the coming days and over the summer.
Currently, there are still barricades and a gate and fence, and plenty of signs blocking the entrance to the beach but these will be gone next week. Public parking will also be open again near the lighthouse beach park.
A little history of the Sanibel Island historic lighthouse
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.
Parking information for Sanabel beaches
Public parking lots near Sanibel Island public beach access all require a fee to park. Many of the parking lots are self-pay and charge five dollars per hour for up to a 24-hour period. If you plan to frequently visit public beaches in Sanibel and utilize the parking lots there are parking permits that you can apply for with the city of Sanibel to save from paying at the pay station each time you park.
There are five different types of permits in total each with its own letter to describe the permit type. Different permits are available for permanent residents, property owners of secondary homes, and those visiting who do not own a property. Fees for permits range anywhere from three dollars to $399 depending upon the length of validity for the permit itself. To check out the permit types and requirements of each permit you can look at the application for parking permits at mysanibel.com.
For more information on living on Sanibel Island including all available Sanibel Island real estate please contact us anytime. We are more than happy to help you find a Sanibel Island home you will love.