One of the many great things about the Fort Myers/Cape Coral Area are the beaches, almost all are within a stones-throw away from wherever you might call home. One of the oldest and most well known beaches in SW Florida is Sanibel, and the Sanibel Causeway. My family occasionally goes out there as a treat, or when we have family in town, it being so different and original. The beaches are so white, shells are very plentiful, and even for Florida, it feels like another world.
Sanibel Island, and the island next to it, Captiva Island, are both sandy islands that make up the furthest westerly portion of Lee County. You can get to Sanibel and Captiva by the Causeway, a series of small bridges strung together, recently rebuilt in 2006. 75% of Sanibel is still uninhabited , mostly covered by regional laws and preserved by state parks. One in particular, Ding Darling, is the largest island state park in Florida, and a great tourist attraction here. The rarest orchid in the world, the Ghost Orchid can be found here.
Chain restaurants are forbidden on Sanibel, as are neon lights, signs, billboards and anything not “Island-like in appearance”. No, I’m not kidding! The only commercial dining on the island is a Dairy Queen, built there and grand fathered in before the laws were put in place. Roads are all one lane with, intersections are staffed with city workers who direct traffic, and wave at cars passing by.
Before Sanibel was a tourist attraction and place to be when you want to relax, the Bailey family settled out there in the 50’s, and opened a small general store and bought some parcels of land. The only grocery store, movie theater, and hardware store is still owned by that family to this day, and most of the streets are named after them. Sanibel has its own light house, Point Ybel, golf courses, and country clubs. If you are interested in some truly different, give it a try. You wont be disappointed.