BeachNuts Beach Guide for:

Sanibel Island

Sanibel IslandA beautiful seashore retreat with 13 miles of white, sandy beaches and some of the best fishing on the east coast.

Located at the mouth of of the Ponce de Leon Inlet, New Smyrna Beach is known as the "World's Safest Bathing Beach."

13.2 miles of New Smyrna Beach are protected by rock ledges located offshore. These ledges eliminate the dangerous undercurrents that are common throughout the United States east coast.

The Beach at New Smyrna is flat and slopes gradually down to the water. During low tide, the beach area is 100-200 yards wide. Driving is permitted on the beach in specified areas.

New Smyrna and the surrounding cities of Ponce Inlet, and Edgewater pride themselves on being untouched and free of the traffic, crowds, and pollution of many of Florida's other beaches.

The beach also features unique low-rise condominiums strategically placed. These condos take up less space than their high-rise cousins, and allows the protective barrier of sand dunes & sea oats to thrive as if there was no development of the beach.

One of the main attractions to the New Smyrna area is surfing. The excellent wave breaks, and limited undertow provide the perfect place to surf for both beginners and experts. Every summer, the American Professional Surfing Association holds one of its premier contests in New Smyrna. People from all over the country come to rip the waves and compete for titles given in several categories.

"Famed as one of the finest shelling locations in the world."

Located north of Naples, and immediately west of the city of Cape Coral, Sanibel beaches are some of the most beautiful in Florida with great shelling, fishing, beachcombing, and sunbathing all readily available.

Sanibel Island still remains a hidden treasure for those who truly want to get away from it all. It's like a little bit of the Caribbean just off the U.S. mainland.

Upon arriving on Sanibel Island, Ponce De Leon named it "Costa de Carocles" - Coast of Seashells.

Sanibel is one of the world's best shelling venues. Although seashells can be found on Sanible's beaches year round, winter is the peak time for shelling. If you are looking for soft, sand beaches you will need to go somewhere else -- these beaches are literally covered with shells. Photography buffs will also appreciate Sanibel's near-tropical splendor.

There are so many shells on the beach, you will have to wear shoes. Although Sanbel is popular with the locals and busy during the tourist season, you can always find a spot where you'll feel like you're on a deserted island paradise.

The best beach for shelling is on the extreme west end of the island, right before the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva islands. Find a place to park, get out on the beach, and head south along the water. Over the last few years, it's become highly eroded due to storms, but if you're adventurous, you'll make your way along the shore and most probably find little spots of heaven, complete with the best selection of shells you could imagine.

Off-season is a great time to visit, though not in the middle of the summer, when even this Florida's natives feels like they will melt in the heat. Try April, or maybe November. Bring a large fine-mesh bag or a lightweight bucket for the shells. You'll need it! There are no bathrooms or stores nearby. At the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva, there's a general store. Stock up on water and food, and using their bathroom before you embark.

Mornings are a great time to run down to the beach. In the afternoons, the beaches tend to be more crowded and the sun harsh, so sunscreen is a must.

Sanibel Causeway Beaches

A long thin stretch of beach that starts just before the toll gate and continues along the Causeway. You have a view of boats, windsurfers and dolphins. The sand is shelly and the water is shallow.

Great for swimming, fishing, windsurfing and picnicking. Bathrooms are available. Pull your vehicle right to waters edge. There is no fee when you park on the causeway beach. Located along both sides of the road. Restrooms are available.

Directions: Either side of Causeway.

Parking: This is the best part, it's free and you can park wherever you want.

Lighthouse Beach & Fishing Pier

This a great family beach. The beach is long and the sand quality is medium. The shelling is good. You get a clear view of the gulf. The nature trail is wheelchair accessible. There are bathrooms, a lighthouse, a shell and animal guide hut as well as a fishing pier.

Lighthouse Beach is the site of Sanibel's historic functioning lighthouse. Located on the eastern tip of Sanibel, wrapping around to the bay side. This is where the t-dock-fishing pier is and a boardwalk nature trail winding through native wetlands. Turn left on Periwinkle Way from Causeway Road.

Directions: Turn left onto Periwinkle Way and go all the way to the end. Look for beach signs.

Parking: Parking is shaded and fairly plentiful. There is a $35 fine for not paying.

Tarpon Bay Beach

The beach has great sand quality and good shelling.Easy parking for recreational vehicles, and a short hike from the parking lot to the beach. Located at the south end of Tarpon Bay Rd. at West Gulf Drive. Mid Island

Directions: Turn right onto Periwinkle Way, then left on Tarpon Bay Road.

Parking: Lots of parking for large vehicles, although it is a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the beach.

Bowmans Beach

Pristine and quiet, you won't find any hotels here.
This is probably the most popular beach on the island. Medium sand quality; great shelling. There are picnic tables available as well as pay phones, bathrooms and bike racks. It's also kind of isolated.

There is an outdoor shower located at this beach. This is the only beach with barbecue grills. Located off Sanibel-Captiva Rd., turn left on Bowmans Beach Rd. Up Island

Directions: Turn right on Periwinkle Way to Tarpon Bay Road. From this road, turn left to Bowman Beach Road. Park and walk over a bridge to secluded white beach. Parking is quite a distance to the beach.

Bunche Beach

This bay beach is no good for swimming. It is an uncommercial beach that is not closely watched. Most of the property here is private and has been used for years by the public. This is a good beach for catching rays without aggravation. There are no bathrooms here.

Directions: Between Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. Take Summerlin Road toward Sanibel, turn left on John Morris Road at the Circle K. Follow to the end.

Parking: Parking is free.

Gulfside City Park/ Algiers Beach

Named Algiers by the locals because of the old steamboat of the same name that was once stationed there as a house. There are tables in the shade for picnics, as well as boardwalk access to the beach. You can also find restrooms here.

Picnic tables and shady pines welcome you, located mid-island on Algiers Lane off Casa Ybel Rd. Mid Island

Directions: Turn right on Periwinkle Way, left on to Casa Ybel Road to West Gulf Road. Turn left on Algiers Lane.

Parking: This hard to find spot has paid parking.

Little Insight
Prepare to pay more than normal for items such as shells, swimsuits, film & suntan lotion. It would be my advice to purchase these items ahead of time, or at a discount store in Fort Meyers.

Things To Do
Rent a boat
Tourist boutiques and small plazas
Great Kayaking
Plentiful Wildlife     
Wake up early and comb the beach for shells (you won't be alone) The shells here are among the most beautiful and diverse.
Relax and escape reality
Find a quiet spot and enjoy the tropical beauty