Many of us have fond memories of days spent on beach vacations as children, creating treasured family memories. There’s good reason why beaches have been a popular family vacation choice for decades – and Sanibel Island is one of the best destinations of all, offering beautiful beaches and much more.
The sun-soaked island is brimming with fun, kid-friendly attractions. Going to the beach is always a good option, but there’s even more to do on Sanibel Island with kids. You’re sure to leave the island with some treasured family memories – here are five ideas to get you started.
#1: Learn about the marine world at the Sanibel Sea School
Visiting the Sanibel Sea School is so much fun that your kids probably won’t even realize how much they’re learning! There’s really no better way to learn about the world under the sea than to participate in the Sanibel Sea School’s hands-on events and excursions. There is a regular calendar of events that are suitable for children aged four through to 13 years old. Hands-on classes and activities teach children about the sea while inspiring a love of learning and the outdoors. Kids can learn all about sea creatures such as dolphins, sharks and plankton, and even head out on excursions such as rock-pooling or shelling.
#2: Go on a kayak adventure with Tarpon Bay Explorers
Kayaking is the perfect excursion for the whole family, so why not head out on an adventure to discover the island’s pristine environment? Ride past overgrown mangroves and look out for birds, or perhaps cross paths with fish cruising through the water.
You can simply rent a kayak and head out as a family group, or you may like to join a guided tour. Guided tours are suitable for children five and up, and give you the chance to hear more about the ecosystem and the wildlife that call it home. Plus, kayaks are a very environmentally-friendly way to get amongst the unique landscape.
#3: Ride the Paradise Pathways
Pedal power is the ideal way to get around Sanibel Island, as the island boasts more than 22 miles of sealed bike paths. This means it is safe and fun to wind your way through the picturesque neighborhoods and nature parks of the island. Older children and teens will love to rent their own bikes, while many rental stores can provide kiddy trailers for the little ones.
There are many different trails which will take you past some of Sanibel Island’s most interesting sights. There’s the four-mile Wildlife Drive that takes you on a loop through J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, or for something shorter, try the one-mile Rabbit Road Trail. As the name suggests, you might spot some hopping rabbits along the way!
#4: Visit the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife
Do you have a budding vet or wildlife warrior in the family? Or perhaps just someone who loves animals? If so, drop by the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) to get a heartwarming introduction to their great work.
CROW is a rescue center that’s been caring for injured wildlife on Sanibel Island since 1968. They welcome visitors to learn more about their work and the species they care for. We recommend planning your visit to coincide with the daily introductory talk at 11:00am – not only is it informative, but you’ll have the chance to meet some of the animals that reside permanently at CROW. There’s also an interactive visitor center with lots of fun activities, or visit the live webcams to see the animals in action!
#5: Go on a Segway Tour of Sanibel Island
If you’re visiting Sanibel Island with older children, then heading out on a segway tour is sure to create some amazing family memories. Both the young and the young-at-heart will love exploring the island in this unique way.
Segway tours are on offer from Billy’s Bike Shop, and are suitable for anyone 14 years and older. During the 90 minute tour, you’ll be taken down some of Sanibel Island’s most historic streets, as well as through some of the island’s prettiest scenery. Your guide will even snap some photos that you can keep as souvenirs of your fun-filled family tour of Sanibel Island!