Sanibel Island Beaches
The Gulf of Mexico is well known for its stunning white-sand beaches, and Sanibel Island's beaches are no exception.
Sanibel is approximately 12 miles long, affording ample room for all beach goers.
Sanibel beaches are world-famous for the amazing variety, quantity and quality of shells that they offer up. It's not difficult to bring home literally buckets of seashells.
There are a number of public access beaches which you can visit if you are not staying at a condo or resort on the island. Below please find a list of the beaches and a little information about each one. Restrooms are located at most public accesses but not all. The parking cost is usually 75 cents per hour for visitors without a resident sticker.
The Causeway Beaches
These beaches are located on the causeway between Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island. Plenty of room to fish, swim and windsurf. You can drive your car right up to the ocean and park. Great place to bring a picnic lunch for the day. Beaches are located on both sides of the causeway and the cost is free!! Since the causeway and bridges are being rebuilt there may not be as much space for beach use at the moment. By mid to late summer most of the construction should be completed.
Gulfside City Park
The beach has the most famous landmark on the island, the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. This beach and fishing area has plenty of public parking, bathroom facilities and easy access to beach and fishing piers. Great shelling area. The beach wraps around from the Gulf side to the bay. Great shelling on this beach especially for finding smaller shells. This beach is located at the most eastern end of Periwinkle Way.
This public beach access is located on Algiers Lane off of Casa Ybel Road. They have picnic tables, shady trees and a nature trail. There is a parking fee. This beach does have restrooms. I have never visited this beach so I cannot comment on what it is like.
Tarpon Bay Beach
This is a very popular location and easy to access. There is space for RV parking and during season they have a concession stand. It is a short hike from the parking lot to the beach. You might want to pack lightly if you hike it or have someone drop you at the entrance with all your beach stuff and then park. This beach is located at the south end of Tarpon Bay Road at West Gulf Drive. Parking is on Tarpon Bay Road.
One of the more popular yet secluded beaches on the island. This beach is county-owned and known for its wildlife. Most islanders say this is the best beach for shelling on Sanibel Island. There are no hotels or buildings that overlook Bowman's Beach. This beach has the largest amount of public parking on the island and full facilities such as showers, bathrooms, grills and picnic tables. Located of Sanibel-Captiva Road on Bowman's Beach Road.
One of my favorite beaches located before you cross over the bridge to Captiva at Blind Pass. A very popular place for shellers and fisherman (on the Captiva side). Great place to watch the sunset, just beautiful, bring your camera! The public parking lot on the Sanibel side is very small and easy to miss. As soon as you see the bridge look to your left and you will see the small entrance to parking. You will walk a short distance to reach the beach. In the evening make sure you have bug spray if you plan to watch the sunset. This beach used to be awesome for shelling but since Blind Pass has closed up and the water no longer passes between the two islands, the shelling is not so great anymore. There is a planned project to open up the pass again but it may be a year or two before we see the final result.
There are many signs along the Gulf Drives (East, Middle and West) that are designated accesses for resident parking with resident only permit stickers. Please do not use these areas.