On vacation in South Florida and looking for where to spend your time? Head to Captiva Island, one of Florida’s less populated and touristy islands. With easy access to get there and a lot to do, it’s a no brainer!
Read on to find out about the 9 best things to do in Captiva Island, Florida:
1. Bowman's Beach
A quiet, serene and beautiful tropical paradise awaits you at this natural treasure. It is open from dawn until dusk, and it only costs 4 USD to park your car for the whole day! It is most popular for swimming, sunbathing and picnicking; this beach is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing and afterwards you can explore the rest of Captiva Island!
Address: 1700 Bowman’s Beach Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
Website: Bowman’s Beach
2. J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
White pelicans are back and need our 4 satellite #wildliferefuges to rest and feed. Even though not seen in large...Posted by J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge (Official) on Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Into wildlife? Want to see them up close and personal? Then head to the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge! This refuge has been helping save animals since 1976, which is no easy feat, and is open from 7am to 7pm everyday of the week. Here you can visit dolphins, various birds, manatees and alligators! Take a boat tour to get some animal facts, or to entertain young ones on an exciting adventure through the park!
J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
3. Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
If you have always loved sea shells and collected them as a child, this museum is for you! This unique museum is devoted to every aspect of seashells, from malacology, and conchology, to the paleontological and archeological aspects of the shells. If you are wondering, yes they scour the beach as well to collect shells and study them too! They are open 10am to 5pm, every day except major public US holidays, offer free parking for all guests and even offer free admittance for active military. If you aren’t in the armed forces it only costs 15 USD for the day to enjoy unlimited fun at the Shell Museum. Everything you could ever want to know about seashells can be found here!
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
Address: 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
4. Lighthouse Beach Park
Goooood morningggggg! 🌞 #sanibel #island http://www.adventureinparadiseinc.comPosted by Adventures In Paradise, Inc. on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
A great place for family outings, and romantic dates, the Lighthouse Beach Park is known for its ‘ugly’ metal lighthouse, but don’t let that be a turnoff! Plenty of locals come here to sunbathe, jog, swim or just relax in the 32 acres (13 hectares) of nature with a stunning view of the ocean. Bikers flock here for the multiple bike paths in the area with unobstructed views of the ocean. This park and beach are a great find for any sea shell collector as well, since the seashells on this beach are incomparable to most! Come for the view, but stay for the shells!
Lighthouse Beach Park
Address: 110 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
Website: Lighthouse Beach Park
5. Turner Beach
If you are visiting Captiva, Florida without a car, this is a great beach to head too. Parking is limited, but it’s one of the nicest beaches in the area as well as rated number one for shelling, fishing and for the views. The sunset and sunrise are said to be stunning from this beach, and it is one of the less crowded beaches around, so not bad for an early or pre dinner photo op!
Address: 17200 Captiva Dr, Captiva, FL 33924
Website: Turner Beach
6. Wild Child Art Gallery
Love art and hanging out in Captiva Island for your vacation? This art gallery was voted the best in the area, and for good reason! Peggy McTeague is the founding artist of this gallery and studio, and established Wild Child Art Gallery in 2000. It is considered a contemporary art gallery which contains her works as well as the creations of 115 different Florida artists. The original fine art, canvas art, paintings and jewelry have become very popular with art lovers in the area. The idea behind Wild Child was to bring together art lovers, with local artists. Peggy wanted to make one place where they could come together and share their love for creating, painting, building, and sculpting.
If you are a local Florida artist you can also check out their website to submit your art to the gallery! Nowadays this gallery also functions as an event venue, holding various functions, as well as workshops and offers classes. To get an idea of what they have to offer: creating fish out of clay, wood or paper mâché, jewelry making or designing (baskets from pine needles), painting classes, and pottery classes. If you are interested in trying a class while on vacation, just head to their website below and you can book one online! They also offer small group classes, such as bridal parties, painting parties or birthday parties, just in case you are traveling in a group.
Wild Child Art Gallery
Address: 4625 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL 33993
Website: Wild Child Art Gallery
7. Gulfside Algiers Beach
Another amazing beach in Captiva? Who would have thought! This one makes our list because it is consistently rated the cleanest and least touristy by locals, and because it’s dog friendly! Traveling with your four legged friends? Then head to this beach where you can have a nice relaxing day on one of the nicest beaches around!
Gulfside Algiers Beach
Address: 2001 Algiers Ln, Sanibel, FL 33957
Website: Gulfside Algiers Beach
8. Do some retail therapy along Andy Rosse Lane and Captiva Drive
If you love to shop, why not spend a few hours strolling around the shops at the top end of Captiva Drive? Peruse some gift shops, fashion boutiques and antiques in Andy Rosse Lane. There’s more, of course, so check out Jungle Drums Gallery, Beach Stuff, and the Island Store. Why not end off your shopping experience with a meal and a cool beverage?
You’ll find the Bubble Room in Captiva Drive and the Key Lime Bistro in Andry Rosse Lane. You might like to try out the menu at Holy Smoke in Plantation Road.
Dining in Captiva
Bubble Room: 15001 Captiva Drive
Key Line Bistro: 11509 Andy Rosse Lane
Holy Smoke: 5400 Plantation Road
9. Spend time on the water around Sanibel & Captiva
Get out onto the water. Whether you enjoy kayaking, sailing or diving, there’s much to choose from. Fish on the beach or from the pier. If you prefer, there are plenty of fishing guides and charters to take you out offshore for some deeper fishing.
Perhaps a sunset cruise is your thing? Take along the binoculars and camera and keep an eye out for wildlife like dolphins and birds. Charter a private boat for a day or a half day and explore the best inlets and waterways. If your budgets tight, take a surfboard and play on the waves.
Having a great time on Captiva Island?
We hope so, thanks to our list of favorite past times and unique experiences! If you have already had too much fun at the wildlife refuge and the museums, remember there are always more secluded beaches to be discovered all over the island!
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