There is so much to do and see on the serene and beautiful Sanibel Island. There are amazing restaurants, gorgeous white sand beaches, shell collecting, incredible wildlife, cruises and other attractions. Spend a day at the beach finding some of the most unique shells or biking the trails at a wildlife preserve. Sanibel is for lovers of nature, adventure and relaxation.

We selected the top 11 things you will want to do the next time you are visiting this magical island. If you haven’t already booked a trip – what are you waiting for?

Best of Sanibel Island – Top 11 Things to Do

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

This natural history museum is the only one accredited in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. They have amazing programs, collections, aquariums and much more! If you are looking to learn and have an incredible experience with nature this is the museum for you! You will learn how everything connects – shells, animals, the ocean and how to continue to preserve the environment. This museum is a must-visit when in Sanibel!

Captiva Cruises

Captiva offers many types of cruises including sunset cruises. The views are breathtaking and the Captains are knowledgeable and happy to accommodate requests. You will learn so much about the nature around you, local history and more. These cruises made our list for good reason and should be on your vacation list too!

The MAD Hatter Restaurant

The MAD Hatter is well known for its fresh ingredients and creative dishes. They offer an American style menu with a twist and presentation is everything of course!

Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)

This inspiring wildlife clinic offers lots of educational programs while helping local wildlife. Their education center is a main attraction. Make sure to check their event calendar before visiting. This place does so much good and is a great cause to support, every visit and donation counts!


BIG ARTS brings community and culture together in a picturesque location. They proudly offer a wide variety of quality entertainment, arts and educational programs. Broadening your horizons and finding hidden talents has never felt so good!

Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

If you are looking for some history – look no further! This museum and village opened its doors in 1984 and strives to provide history and education about the island to locals and tourists alike. They offer guided and self guided tours of the historical buildings and heritage trail, as well as various events and a museum store.

Sweet Melissa’s Cafe

Sweet Melissa’s offers a tremendous menu with some of the freshest seafood on the island. You will be taken on a culinary journey here. There is a 5-course wine dinner to choose from or go a-la-carte. Either way you can’t go wrong!

Sanibel Fish House

If you are looking for local seafood at a fun local place – you have found it! This quaint spot has all the vacation feels. They have won many awards for their fantastic food. The service is also some of the best around.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

This special place not only helps to conserve Sanibel and Captiva Islands, but also offers a glimpse into what that requires with a beautiful nature center. They have nature trails, a butterfly house, a souvenir shop, and many other cool things to check out.

George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille

This well-known restaurant that goes by both George & Wendy’s or Sanibel Seafood Grill offers impeccable service, fantastic food and a great atmosphere. Everything on the menu is fresh and local. The drinks are handcrafted with many tropical cocktail options. The patio has a true vacation feel and a variety of live entertainment is offered nightly.

The Sandbar

This steak and seafood restaurant offers a fresh tasty menu and full bar. The oysters are super fresh and the seafood trio is a local favorite. Check this place out for a fantastic meal and great service.


Hi, I'm Jen and I love to travel, go to the beach and write about all the places I have visited. I also have a bucket list of places I can't wait to try! I've visited Cape Cod every summer since I was a kid and now enjoy traveling to all great beach destinations, including Florida! I have worked in the travel industry for all of my career. I love sharing my experiences of different restaurants and places and helping travelers find the best fit for them!

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