Sanibel Island is known as a vacation destination but for those of us who live here, it is so much more! It’s a quiet small-town paradise that is perfect for raising a family, a retirement dream, and everything in between. Like everyone, we sometimes find ourselves getting caught up in the hustle of daily life and we forget to appreciate what’s all around us. That is until someone on vacation finds out that we actually live here…then we immediately feel a sense of pride and wonder!

Here are just some of the reasons we feel incredibly blessed to call Sanibel Island home:

The Gorgeous Sanibel Weather

Sanibel Sunshine
We are grateful we gave our winter coats away 20 years ago and never looked back! Sunshine and warm weather is good for the soul, and on Sanibel, we get plenty of both. On Sanibel Island our coldest month of the year is January, where the average low is still a temperate 54 degrees. There’s plenty of heat in the summer, but you can always cool off in a pool or take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico. You can learn more about what the Sanibel climate offers HERE.

Sanibel Seashells

Sanibel seashells
Ranked by Travel + Leisure as one of the 10 best spots for shelling, Sanibel’s location on the globe makes it an ideal place to collect sea shells, both in quantity and variety. The shape of the island and the fact that it’s perpendicular to the coast of Florida means that it literally acts as a ‘scoop’ to catch all of the shells. In fact, that famous bent-at-waist shell collecting position is aptly named “the Sanibel stoop!” Want to learn more about shelling on Sanibel? Check out our recent blog for additional info and insider tips!

Small-Town Island Charm

Sanibel Island is unique in that it offers 33 square miles of sprawling natural beauty while still maintaining a thriving “small town” community. One of the ways Sanibel creates its small town feel is through its famed annual celebrations, the most beloved of which include summer events like the 4th of July parade and festivities (see last year’s parade above thanks to the Tomlinson family), and the Christmas luminary walk in the winter. Planning a trip to Sanibel soon? Check out the Sanibel-Captiva events calendar for fun ways to experience our lovely town.

Award-Winning Sanibel Beaches

Sanibel Beach
If you’ve heard about Sanibel Island, no doubt you’ve heard about our beaches. Sanibel itself has five distinct, beautiful beaches, stretching over its 17 miles of shoreline. Our beaches have won the island many awards, including ranking #7 on National Geographic Travel’s 2017 list of the 21 Best Beaches in the World. Gotta see it to believe it? No problem – just check out Sanibel’s live beach webcams.

Sanibel Sunsets

Sanibel sunset
Going hand-in-hand with our beaches are their sunset views – and Sanibel’s are among the most beautiful. In the winter the most colorful sunsets can be viewed along the southern coast of the island. In the summer, the best views of the sunset are from the Northwest. Having been lucky enough to experience 20 years of sunsets on Sanibel, we’ve put together a list of our favorite spots HERE.

Island Delights Only Found On Sanibel

Sanibel Food
The stereotype of island foods is that choosing anything outside of seafood is taking a risk since many resources must be sent via air or boat. However, since Sanibel is accessible via the 3-mile long Causeway, the food here is fresh and fantastic! Looking for recommendations? Check the Gee Family Team approved USA Today 10 Best article on best restaurants on Sanibel, or click here for a larger list of wonderful restaurants here on the island!

A Nature-Lovers Dream

One thing we never have to be concerned about while living on Sanibel is over-industrialization. This is because of concerned nonprofits like the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), the largest private landowner on Sanibel Island, who own and manage over 1200 acres of nature preserve on Sanibel Island. Just take a look at some of the gorgeous public preserves we have here on the island.

Living With Wildlife

The wildlife Sanibel is famous for is right at our doorstep — over 245 species of birds alone call Sanibel home. However, one of the things that makes Sanibel truly special for wildlife lovers is that it’s home to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge, containing 6400 acres of mangrove forest preserved for wildlife, was established by an executive order signed by President Truman in 1945. As supporters of wildlife, we are grateful to have the refuge as an integral part of our island ecosystem.

Award-Winning Sanibel School

Sanibel Kids

Photo courtesy of the Santiva Chronical

When you raise a family on Sanibel, you don’t have to choose between paradise living and a great education for your children. In fact, the Sanibel School, serving grades Pre-K through 8, has been ranked by Niche as the #1 school in Lee County out of 54 and the 53rd best middle school in Florida out of 944. Academically, Sanibel students score at the top of the state, with an 89% proficiency in reading and 90% in math. Learn more about the Sanibel School here.

Strict Building Codes

Sanibel building codes
Big city living can be convenient, with lots of resources and attractions nearby. However, one of the problems with city living is constant distraction, noise, and sign pollution. Sanibel has found a way to preserve its natural beauty while still fostering economic growth through building code regulation. Current regulations include limiting commercial businesses to one simple wooden sign per building. In addition, there are height restrictions on beach condos to protect views to and from the beach. We love that we never have to worry about losing the beauty we moved here for!

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of why Sanibel’s residents are so lucky to live here. If you find yourself yearning to feel this kind of gratitude for the place you call home, get in touch with us by calling 239-850-0979, or email – you’ll be THANKFUL you did!