Destination guide

Fun in the sun at Sanibel vacation home rentals

Nature-lovers looking for a great escape from the concrete jungle's bright lights and city noise will find it in Sanibel, an idyllic hideaway in southwest Florida. Connected to the mainland at Punta Rassa via the Sanibel Causeway, the island is only 15 miles long and 5 miles wide, tops, but the selection of fun activities is anything but small. A Sanibel vacation rental is an ideal base as you tick off the island's offerings one by one. Hop on a boat or kayak for a close encounter with various wildlife, tee off on 1 of the many golf courses, and explore the island on 2 wheels—Sanibel has 22 miles of scenic bike paths.

Things to do

Tourist attractions near Sanibel vacation rentals

No doubt rivaling The Little Mermaid's treasure trove, the exquisite exhibits at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will have you singing, "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat?" Visit after you go shelling—it'll be fun comparing your seashell swag with the museum displays. Pop into Sanibel Historical Village, where the old buildings, including a schoolhouse and cottage dating from the late 19th century, will give you a glimpse of a simpler time, back when Calusa and Spanish pioneer families settled on the island in the 1800s. Don't forget to swing by Lighthouse Beach for a snapshot with Sanibel Island's metal lighthouse, built in 1884.

Activities

Things to do near vacation homes in Sanibel

If you don't have a shell collection yet, this is the place to start one. Beautiful seashells of all shapes and sizes wash up on Sanibel's shores from the Gulf of Mexico. Combing the shore for these souvenirs is such a popular activity that bending over while shell-hunting has come to be known as the Sanibel Stoop. After a morning on the beach with your bucket and shovel, shell-ebrate your prized finds with a big lunch back in your Sanibel vacation rental. You'll need to fuel up before an afternoon session of watersports, from canoeing to jet skiing to parasailing.

Weather

Climate for your stay in Sanibel vacation homes

It's no wonder snowbirds flock to Sanibel from December to February—the island destination's subtropical climate means winters are mild and lovely, with temperatures from the mid 50s to the high 70s. On the other hand, temps can climb to the 90s during the summer months of June to August, although tempered by breezes from the Gulf of Mexico. Sanibel vacation rentals are easier on the pocket from June to September, but expect downpours to join you on your holiday, and there's a chance you'll have an unwanted guest in the form of a hurricane.

Natural features

Sanibel—a buffet of beaches, bike trails, and bird sightings

Sanibel's impressive ecology is protected by a few wildlife refuges. The largest on the island is the J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which you can explore by walking, biking, driving, or kayaking through the mangrove forests. Bird watchers are in for a treat, as this is home to more than 220 bird species. Sightings of herons, egrets, and pelicans aren't uncommon even outside the wildlife refuge (such as on the beaches, or even near your Sanibel vacation rental), but to get the most from your bird-watching and wildlife-spotting endeavors, it's best to have your binoculars within reach. If you'd rather pass the time on a kayak or canoe, try the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail.

Beaches

Beach locales near Sanibel vacation rentals

The beaches of Sanibel are one of its biggest draws. Vacation homes are available near places like Sanibel Island, an inhabited island with white-sand beaches and tranquil waters, and Bowman’s Beach, a popular beach with seashells for beachcombing and calm waters for swimming. You'll also like Lighthouse Beach Park, a scenic bayfront park with a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a fishing pier.

How to get there

Traveling to and around Sanibel

Fly into Fort Myers, FL (RSW-Southwest Florida Intl.), the closest airport, located 21.6 mi (34.7 km) from the city center. If you can't find a flight that's convenient for your trip, you could also fly into Naples, FL (APF-Naples Municipal), which is 28.8 mi (46.4 km) away.

Family friendly

Family fun near Sanibel vacation homes

Kids will love the unique attractions in Sanibel. Vacation rentals are close to places like Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, a facility with a nature and garden center with educational programs, and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, a wildlife rescue facility with exhibits and demonstrations for education. Kids will also like Everglades Day Safari, a safari tour of cypress forests and fresh and saltwater swamps to glimpse native wildlife.

Where to stay around Sanibel?

Our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 5,464 vacation rentals near Sanibel. From 2,226 Houses to 2,569 Condos/Apartments, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Sanibel for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What is the best area to stay when traveling to Sanibel?

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, here are the areas with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Sanibel:

  • Tradewinds: 23 vacation rentals
  • Gulf Shores: 30 vacation rentals
  • Del Sega: 54 vacation rentals
  • East Rocks: 44 vacation rentals
  • The Dunes: 449 vacation rentals

For other neighborhoods, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when traveling to Sanibel?

HomeAway offers a large selection of vacation rentals near lovely places in Sanibel. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Sanibel and Captiva Island Visitor's Center: 7,502 vacation rentals
  • Sanibel Island Lighthouse: 9,711 vacation rentals
  • Sanibel Island Golf Club: 9,395 vacation rentals
  • Dunes Golf and Tennis Club: 9,219 vacation rentals
  • J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge: 7,471 vacation rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Sanibel listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Houses in Sanibel?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 2,226 Houses in Sanibel. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in Sanibel include:

  • Condos/Apartments: 2,569 rentals available
  • Cottages: 116 rentals available
  • Villas: 358 rentals available

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Bungalows and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in Sanibel?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 4,607 vacation rentals with pool available in Sanibel. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

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