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Sanibel for kids?

1 post
1 review
Sanibel for kids?

Last time I was there, it was 1986 and I was 6... In my memory, the beach had so many shells, you couldn't really play in the sand or walk without shoes on your feet. My family also didn't really have anything to "do" at night. I feel like that's probably changed a lot and we're thinking about taking our 3 and 8 year old there for 4th of July. Any feedback?? The place we're looking at is gorgeous and everything we wanted, but I'm a little nervous to book it for 10 days.... Thanks!

7 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
143 posts
31 reviews
1. Re: Sanibel for kids?

I’m there that week. We have gone for 8 years with children ranging in age from1 to 12. We have never planned activities. All the kids want to do is swim, play in the sand and look for shells. Mine are so tired at night they go right to sleep. They have rented bikes in the past. All we like to do is chill. No one ever wants to do anything else. We play cards and work puzzles at night if we get bored. There is soft sand behind the high tide line that building sandcastles is possible.

Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
14,507 posts
3,417 reviews
2. Re: Sanibel for kids?


Yes, our experiences as well

Sanibel Island...
Level Contributor
1,065 posts
13 reviews
3. Re: Sanibel for kids?

Sanibel is a natural beach great for shelling and beachcombing and birding. There are usually bands (wrack lines) of shells with wider stretches of softer sand in between. If you are looking for groomed beaches with white powdery soft sand and lots of nightlife then sanibel may not be the best choice for you. There are a few bars and restaurants open late, but in general it is an early to bed, early to rise (the early bird catches the junonia ;-) kind of place.

Level Contributor
841 posts
84 reviews
4. Re: Sanibel for kids?

You may want to get them water shoes just in case but the majority of the time we haven't needed them. One of our favorite activities as a family (son is 8) has been biking all around the island. Of course, in July you'll want to do this very early in the morning as It will be quite hot. We also love to go to Jerry's market to see the birds, as well as Periwinkle travel RV park where they have a bird show and also have some small monkeys in large enclosures. If the kids get bored, you could go off island into Fort Myers and play mini golf. We also like to do a day trip to Naples and go to the zoo there. It's really nice.

Gilbert, United...
Level Contributor
187 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: Sanibel for kids?

Absolutely! Island cow is a fun restaurant for kids, but most are very accommodating. Low tide searching for creatures on the sand bar nightly, beach and pool... shelling (we've never used shoes), fishing - we have a charter reserved. We went to sanibel in '15 & '16, tried Anna Maria last year, and will be there next week with our now 10 & 6 year olds. They've loved it every year!!

St. Pete Beach...
Level Contributor
2,112 posts
52 reviews
6. Re: Sanibel for kids?

Our kids loved CROW, care, rehabilitation of wildlife: crowclinic.org, Ding Darling: dingdarlingsociety.org. They also liked the Calusa nature center in Ft. Meyers: http://calusanature.org/ There is a pirate ship out of Ft. Meyers: floridapiratecruise.com For a rainy day, the Imaginarium: http://theimag.org/

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
13 posts
52 reviews
7. Re: Sanibel for kids?

Just got back from 7 days with our 10 and 15 year old girls. We absolutely loved it. We are all tanned and rested. Not one day did I hear "I'm bored" from my kids so I consider that a huge win.

The shells are everywhere so you will step on them going in and out of the water. But we discovered that there are shell "lines" and once you get past them, the sand is nice and soft under your feet (minus the occasional shell that is finding its way to the beach). And there are certain areas with a higher concentration of shells than others that you can make your way through to the water easily. We always wore flip flops to the beach, set up our site and then left the sandals at our beach chairs to play in the water. The first day, I tried to wear my shoes in the water, but all I got was shells under my feet in between my soles and the sandals and I kept having to take them off to shake them out and then I risked losing them in the tides.

As far as stuff to "do" at night, your memory is correct. There isn't much nightlife on Sanibel. That wasn't a problem for us but it could be for others. I know the Island Cow has live music on their patio but it certainly isn't a club.

Here's a rough idea of what our day looked like, almost every day we were there. The times, of course, are just a guess as we were truly on a beach vacation and were looking to just chill out.

6:45 am - Get up and head to the beach for early shelling and turtle nest finding.

8:00 am - Get dressed and go have breakfast

9:00 - Back to the condo, get our beach gear ready, change into swim suits and head to the beach for a few hours.

1:00 pm - Back to the condo and then to an activity. Dolphin cruise, Ding Darling refuge tram tour, shell museum, shopping, etc.

4:00 - It usually rained so we would head back to the condo and take a shower.

5:30 - Head to dinner

7:30 - Back to the beach to enjoy the sunset and look for more shells.

9 pm - Usually getting ready for bed and/or already asleep.

I have friends who would hate this schedule. Not enough to do, not enough to see, not enough nightlife. They don't go to bed until well after midnight on their vacations and not having a nightlife is a non-starter for them.

We, on the other hand, had a blast and by staying for the entire week on the island, really felt like we got to do an see it all...and even go back a few times to thing we really enjoyed.

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