When you hear the word “island,” you’re likely to conjure images of sun, sand, and saltwater. Sanibel Island is no exception! In fact, Sanibel Island alone offers six beautiful public beaches for residents and visitors to enjoy (learn more about the specific accommodations of each here)! As anyone who has gone to the beach knows, a fun and safe beach day requires a little planning. After 20 years on the island, here are our top planning and safety tips for enjoying a fun day in the Sanibel Sun.

Sun

Sanibel Sun Care

Nothing takes the fun and relaxation out of the day at the beach like a sunburn afterward! We’re fortunate to have beautiful weather nearly year-round, but with the sunshine comes the not-so-fantastic UVB rays linked to sunburn. For this reason, it’s essential to lather up with SPF about 15 minutes before heading outside for maximum protection. Be sure to bring a bottle with you, as you may need to reapply. In addition to skin problems, UV-A and UV-B rays can cause a number of vision problems. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses with UV protection.

Sand

Sanibel Sand Footprints

While have your toes in the sand is fun – unless the sand is burning hot! Consider that when the temperature outside in 90 degrees (not uncommon on the Island) sand can reach temperatures of up to 120 degrees! This is hot enough to cause second to third degree burns on your feet. While barefoot may sound fun, a trip to the hospital to treat foot burns is not! Be prepared with Crocs or flip-flops to protect your dogs from the heat!

While it may not be a safety issue, the other problem with sand is how often it follows you home! One tip for keeping your personal items from getting to sandy is to back an old fitted bedsheet and a couple larger items (think cooler, duffel bag, diaper bag, etc). Flip the fitted sheet upside down and set one object in all four corners to create a small “sand fence” around your possessions you want to keep sand-free!

Wildlife

Stingrays Water

Stingray season runs April through October and often brings these sea creatures right along our shoreline. They bury themselves in the sand, so it’s often impossible to see them before you’re stepping right on top of them. The solution is the “Sanibel Shuffle!” Simply shuffle your feet along the bottom as you enter the water so the stingrays hear you coming. Trust us, they don’t want to sting you as much as you don’t want to be stung! There are other marine animals that pack a punch (or stinger) too — although they are less common. If you are stung by a stingray, follow these tips for cleaning the wound and watching out for adverse reactions.

Heat

Sanibel Beach Umbrella Shade

Our year-round warm temperatures are one of the factors that bring in tourists and keep our residents happy. High temperatures, however, have the potential to cause health problems like dehydration and heat stroke, particularly if you’ll be partaking in an activity like sand volleyball. To prevent this, pack (and drink!) plenty of water, and if possible bring a large beach umbrella. Listen to your body’s signs;  if you feel overheated, take a seat in the shade – and drink more water than you think you need!

Water

Sanibel Water Waves

It is important to note that Sanibel beaches are not patrolled by lifeguards. For this reason, you should take extra caution before entering the water. If you’re not a strong swimmer, it’s advisable to wear a lifejacket or other floatation device. It’s also a good idea to know the condition of the water before heading in, as Sanibel beaches are sometimes subject to rip currents. You can stay abreast of riptide alerts and other beach advisories on the Sanibel-Fort Myers website. For more tips on water safety, check out the United States Lifesaving Association post on the topic.

Want to Stay a While? Let’s Talk!

Now that you know how to have a fun AND safe stay at the beach, we hope you enjoy your time on our lovely island! If you want to become an official Sanibel beach bum, get in touch with us! We have a number of listings just steps from the Gulf Shore. Call Ann Gee at 239-850-0979 to book a home tour and make every day a beach day!