12 Best Things To Do In Captiva Island, Florida

things to do in captiva island florida
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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!

Book your accommodation at the top Airbnb vacation rentals in town soon, and read on to find out about the best things to do in Captiva Island, Florida:

1. The Mucky Duck Restaurant

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Mucky Duck Restaurant on Sunday, May 23, 2021

For all your cravings fix, go to The Mucky Duck Restaurant. This neighborhood pub and restaurant is one of the most popular dining spots in town, both by locals and tourists. Their menu ranges from classic comfort food to scrumptious seafood selections. Some of the bestsellers from their menu include steak teriyaki, grilled chicken burrito, shrimp tacos, and of course, the Mucky Duck Pub Burger. The laid-back atmosphere against beach and sunset views will make your dining experience here all the more worthwhile.

The Mucky Duck Restaurant

Address: 11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, FL 33924, United States

Website: The Mucky Duck Restaurant

Opening hours: 11:30am - 3pm, 5pm - 9pm (daily)

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2. Bubble Room Emporium

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Bubble Room Emporium on Thursday, September 5, 2019

Looking for someplace to splurge and have a good time? The Bubble Room Emporium is the ultimate one-stop shop for all your souvenir and trinket needs. From personal accessories to eclectic home decor, this antique store on the island has you covered. Emporium is actually a gift shop that is part of the equally flamboyant Bubble Room Restaurant. Before you leave the island, take a piece of Captiva Island with you and get some cute memorabilia from the Bubble Room Emporium!

Bubble Room Emporium

Address: 1500 Captiva Dr, Captiva, FL 33924, United States

Opening hours: 11am - 3pm, 4:30pm - 9pm (daily)

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3. Chadwick's Square

For all your shopping and splurging needs around the breathtaking Captiva and Sanibel Islands, there’s no better place to shop ‘til you drop than Chadwick’s Square which is located within the premises of South Seas Island Resort. This shopping mall offers various men’s and women’s apparel shops, a luxurious convenience store, and a spa. You can get your caffeine fix at the on-site Starbucks, too. There are also some dining options and wellness centers at this commercial center on the island.

Chadwick's Square

Address: 5400 Plantation Rd, Captiva, FL 33924, United States

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm

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4. Bowman's Beach

Source: Photo by Flickr user Travelmath used under CC BY 2.0

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!

Bowman's Beach

Address: 1700 Bowman’s Beach Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

Website: Bowman’s Beach

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5. J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pat (Cletch) Will... used under CC BY 2.0

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

Website: J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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6. Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Bailey Matthews, Sanibel, Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Invertzoo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

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

Website: Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

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7. Lighthouse Beach Park

Beach view of Sanibel Lighthouse
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eeviann used under CC BY-SA 3.0

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

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8. Turner Beach

Ruddy Turnstone Turner JL
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Lagan used under CC BY-ND 2.0

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 this Captiva Island attraction is one of the less crowded beaches around, so not bad for an early or pre dinner photo op!

Turner Beach

Address: 17200 Captiva Dr, Captiva, FL 33924

Website: Turner Beach

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9. Wild Child Art Gallery

Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed

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

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10. Gulfside Algiers Beach

Algiers Beach (Sanibel Island, Florida, USA)
Source: Photo by Flickr user James St. John used under CC BY 2.0

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

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11. 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 at this commercial center is one of the best things to do at night in Captiva Island.

Dining in Captiva

Bubble Room: 15001 Captiva Drive

Key Line Bistro: 11509 Andy Rosse Lane

Holy Smoke: 5400 Plantation Road

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12. Spend time on the water around Sanibel & Captiva

North Captiva Island_afternoon
Source: Photo by Flickr user Airborne Pilot used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Get out onto the water if you don’t know what to do in Captiva Island just yet. 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.

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Having a great time on Captiva Island?

Captiva beaches
Source: Pixabay

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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Frequently asked questions about things to do in Captiva Island

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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I am originally from New Jersey, went to college in New York City, and have since lived in Chicago, Las Vegas, Sydney, Prague and now Daegu, South Korea. I love exploring new places, learning new...Read more

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