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Sanibel Island for Kids?

Nassau, New York
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Sanibel Island for Kids?

Hi, looking for some advice. It sounds like Sanibel Island is more of a romantic getaway type of place. Is it OK for kids? Anything to keep them interested?


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1. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

I think they would enjoy Ft. Myers beach better. Just my opinion--my kids really liked it!

Lake St. Louis...
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2. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

I started traveling to Sanibel when I was 12 & our family fell in love with the island. I currently have a 17 year old daughter who has been traveling there every summer since she was 2. We have brought many cousins boys & girls with us through out the years.

I will tell you that there is nothing commercialized on the island. The island does not have a stop light to be found. The island does not have much of a night light although that is getting better there are a few places. I'm too tired to go myself from a day at the beach.

For the kids there is plenty of good old fashion fun.....Gulf side there is the sand, surf & swimming pools have kept our kids busy. There is building sand castles with a mote for high tide, shelling, kayaking (which you can take a guided tour), gulf fishing, 26 miles of flat paved paths on Sanibel for bike riding or roller bladeing, if you want to rent jet skis & have the boys ride on the back you can do that. You have to have a drivers license to drive one alone. Parasailing is also available from Yolo.

There are trips to Ding Darling, CROW animal shelter, you can rent a small boat & fish in Tarpon bay and hopefully a manatee will swim by. You can go to Jensens marina & see manatees depending if they have migrated yet.

Captiva cruises has day trips to outer island, and guided tours. You will usually have dolphin follow the boat some.

You can go to Tween waters for the Monday night crab races. Get there early for the first one better for kids.

Save for a rainy day shell museum, the library has a shell display that is free and nice.

Go see the parrots at Jerry's shopping center....they talk more when it's not real hot.

Go to She Sells Sea Shells and the kids love to look at all the shells. The boys love the shark jaws & little petrified sharks in a jar.

For the evening, there is one small movie theater, and 2 video store rentals on Sanibel. Plenty of ice-cream places.

Depending on their age some places have activities for kids. The more commercialized Sundial resort has volleyball nets that the kids gather at. You will see more kids there....so I stay clear :) Pointe Santo has kids activities as well I believe. Casa Ybel used to have a huge slide in a rather large pool with kids activities.

There are restaurant that in my opinion are more for kids liking. Everyone can join in on their opinions. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, Island Cow etc.

In Ft. Myers you can drive to some putt putt amusement type things I'm unfamiliar with because we just Love the island and are not interested in that, but I'm sure others could answer that.

So to sum it up in my opinion if you have kids who don't like the outdoors & get bored easily then they may not like it. But I think if you have boys who love to be outside it's great. Our nephews were usually so tired by dinner they could barely keep their red eyes open from a day of fun!

If the kids like electronic games we used to make sure we had everything to hook up to a spare TV for rainy days should they happen. I packed in their back pack for a carry on.

For our family & extended family we have some great family vacation memories on the island with all ages of kids. Diapers on up!

upstate NY
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3. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

There's one thing I'd like to add to Steinbecke's great reply.

We had been visiting Sanibel for years before we discovered

that Periwinkle Trailer Park/Campground has a whole zoo of

birds and monkeys that people can come in and see FREE.

Some of the birds speak readily. In the spring, the lemurs have

young ones with them. They also have little machines where

you can buy a quarter's worth of bird food.

The Bakery
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4. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

Sanibel has been voted one of the top 10 family vacation destinations in the US every year for a long time. Though I prefer Captiva, which is quieter and mostly house rentals, Sanibel is where I, and many others, started. It is an ideal spot, providing you're not looking for the type of entertainment you'd get at a Disney or arcades and rides like you'd see along the Jersey shore. It is very nature oriented and you can see by the other responses, activities are fairly limited. It's an outdoorsey, beach, shelling, sailing, fishing, kayaking, birdwatching place. The majority of visitors are families, including extended families from grandparents to the youngest ones. In the winter, many of the condos are occupied by snowbirds and retirees along with the families.

I have sent many friends with young kids there and they've been going back for years. If your kids are older and want to go hang out someplace, probably not the best choice. Daytona, or even ST Pete would be better for those who want entertainment along the beach. Ft Myers Beach is a much smaller version of those two.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

There are already three great replies posted here and I heartily agree. All my now grown children bring their children (my grandchildren)to Sanibel now. It is great to see the transformation and famiy togetherness they enjoy. Transformation meaning...these children are quite fortunate. They have all the electronic gadgetry (computer games, ipods, cell phones), are busily involved in sports, music, and other activities through school (etc.) On Sanibel they just kick back and behave like KIDS! Beach time, bike time, exploring time, fishing time and now that they are older add in kayaking and tennis, but no set schedule. The point is...everyone de-stresses and just enjoys being together with no pressures. I think it would be well worth trying Sanibel if the above sounds like a vacation your family would appreciate.

Nassau, New York
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6. Re: Sanibel Island for Kids?

WOW!! It looks like I was totally off the mark with this one!! Thanks for the GREAT responses. Makes the decision much easier!