My family of 4 visited the Sanibel Island on a Saturday afternoon.
We drove from Weston, FL - took about 2 hours to reach Sanibel.
Though we had looked at Tripadvisor for potential spots to visit, we stopped at the visitor's center to get some pointers on spots to visit and places to avoid.
The person at the desk was very helpful. He asked some probing questions on how many were travelling and what we were interested in doing, upon which he suggested to visit Bowman's Beach. He indicated that we get some refreshments before we head to the beach as there were no eateries in the area. He also gave a few pamphlets on sea shells, which my girls loved collecting, and had fun trying to identify the shells collected with their names. He also gave a few coloring books to keep the kids occupied.
We took his advice, went to a nearby grocery store on Promenade Avenue, stocked up on fruits and water, bought some Subway sandwiches and headed to the beach.
We ended up going to Bowman's beach first. It is a slightly long walk from the parking lot to the beach, so please be prepared for this in case you have to take a lot of things with you.
We had fun playing in the water, and the kids (5&3) had fun collecting sea shells and chasing sea gulls.
The Sea Shell museum was closed, so we could not go there. But we could see the giant sea shell displays from the outside, which was beautiful.
Some general negatives:
There is a $6 entrance fee to the island itself. On top, parking is expensive at the beaches.
The pathway to the beach was full of water from the wayside shower water not able to drain anywhere. Food is slightly expensive within the island, so you might want to stock up before entering the island. There is a Walmart supercenter, outlet malls, plenty of eateries outside the island. For those not carrying a traditional map, the smartphone Yellow pages app does provide a good list of restaurants and places, so keep your phone charged at all times!
Overall, we had a fun filled 4 hours after which we headed back to Weston.
Looking forward to another trip in a few months.
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