What are Activities for Kids in Sanibel, Florida?


The island of Sanibel, located off the Gulf Coast of Florida, has become a favorite family vacation destination, particularly since the completion of the bridge built in 2007 which links Sanibel with Captiva Island. The island is primarily known for its subtropical weather and its eco-conservation projects. Children will enjoy learning about the island’s ecosystem through various outdoor activities that Sanibel has to offer. From watching back-flipping dolphins to visiting alligators in the wetland to collecting one-of-a-kind seashells, Sanibel Island is a natural playground for families.

Thrill Riding with the Dolphins

  • The exciting Sanibel Thriller cruises along the shores of Sanibel in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The speed-loving motor yacht takes its passengers on a thrill ride and adventure to find the dolphins that inhabit the area. Lucky passengers will have the opportunity to see a school of dolphins playfully jumping in their natural habitat.

    Sanibel Thriller
    634 North Yachtsman Drive
    Sanibel, Florida 33957

Exotic Birdwatching at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

  • Established in 1945, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge occupies more than half of Sanibel, with 6,300 acres of jungle mangroves and its wildlife of migratory birds, gators, otters and others. More than 230 birds have been spotted, and children will revel in the chance to see flocks of white pelicans, herons and spoonbills up close. To explore the park by land, visitors can drive or bike along Wildlife Drive, or ride the open-air tram with a naturalist guide. For more of an adventure, families can take short hikes along marked trails or explore the waters by canoe or kayak.

    J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
    1 Wildlife Drive
    Sanibel, Florida 33957

Crocs to Sea Turtles at Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

  • The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation oversees an impressive 1,800 acres of wetland, primarily protecting and preserving the natural environment. Visitors are encouraged to walk along the four-mile walking trail and take part in the variety of events that are offered. ‘Take Me to the River’ is a program specifically designed for children aged 5 to 12, where they explore and learn about the wetlands. The 'Touch Tank' is also a kids’ favorite, where they can see crabs and turtles in an aquarium and watch the hermit and spider crabs feed.

    Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
    3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road,
    Sanibel, Florida 33957

Seashell Collecting at Bowman's Beach

  • There are many beaches on Sanibel but Bowman’s Beach is an especially popular beach due to its pristine landscape. Families can spend an entire day on the beach, searching, collecting and comparing the wide variety of sea shells. Shells of all size and type like the cockle, sand dollar and conch shells can be found along the shores of the beach. Bring a bucket and visit during low-tide when more shells are exposed.

    Bowman's Beach
    Located off of Sanibel-Captiva Road

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