6 Sanibel Island Beaches Where Stress Melts Away and Kids Can Play

Sanibel Island captivates nature lovers with its 15 miles of beaches and remote location that sits less than 30 miles from Fort Myers in west Florida. Much of the island remains protected against over development, providing a place for local wildlife and visitors to co-exist. However, there area offers plenty of fun things to do – especially at the beaches. Read about the top Sanibel Island beaches and plan an adventure.

Top 6 Sanibel Island Beaches for Relaxation and Family Time

sanibel island beaches family picnic

Bowman’s Beach

Known as the most popular beach in Sanibel Island, Bowman’s Beach beckons beach lovers who enjoy white sand and lots of shells. This picturesque spot has experienced less development than other beaches in the area and has several amenities for visitors. Guests will find picnic tables, grills, restrooms and bike racks. In addition, visit the fishing pier, go canoeing and kayaking, and hike the nature trail.

Info: Parking fees cost about $5 per hour, and a saltwater fishing license is required to fish from the shore.

Gulfside City Park Beach

Gulfside City Park Beach – known as Algiers Beach to locals – offers a prime spot for picnics under shade trees. Access the beach from boardwalks, and explore the nature trail to see native plants and wildlife. Families also enjoy shelling, dolphin-watching and grilling their favorite foods for lunch or an early dinner. Bicyclers will also find over 27 acres to cruise and storage racks.

Info: Restrooms are located near parking for added convenience. Parking costs around $5 an hour.

sanibel island lighthouse beach

Photo: Larry Crovo

Lighthouse Beach Park

This 32-acre park houses a lighthouse that dates to 1884. Lighthouse Beach Park offers plenty of space to spread out and ranks as a top spot for walking and shelling in Sanibel Island. Other activities include picnicking, pier fishing, sailing and windsurfing. Visitors are also welcome to swim, however exercise caution with currents. While enjoying the beach, watch out for dolphins that can be seen from the shore.

Info: Lighthouse Beach Park also has restrooms and showers, and welcomes pets. Parking is limited and costs around $5 per hour. Due to its age, lighthouse tours are not permitted, but remember to take lots of photos.

Blind Pass and Turner Beaches

Located at the northern tip of Sanibel Island, Blind Pass and Turner Beach offer less popular spots for sunshine, beachcoming and shelling. Blind Pass cuts between Sanibel and Captiva, with a nearby bridge that connects the areas. Other things to do at Blind Pass include shore fishing and relaxing on the warm sand.

Turner Beach provides another small beach area. Visitors will find plenty of shells and places to sit and enjoy the view. Turner Beach also ranks as a top spot for sunsets in Sanibel Island and has restrooms and fishing options.

Info: Both beaches have limited parking, so arrive early for a spot. Plan to pay $5 per hour. After a day at the beach, just cross the bridge and share dinner with the family.

sanibel island beaches family vacation

Tarpon Beach

Families with small children should play at Tarpon Beach, which has small waves and shallow water. Visitors will also find shelling opportunities and can swim and windsurf. This top among Sanibel Island beaches also features a sandy shore for long walks and places to watch the waves and sunset. In addition, find restrooms and outdoor showers.

Info: Parking costs about $5 per hour, and guests are welcome to bike, relax and picnic.

Take the next step and book a family-friendly Sanibel Island vacation rental. Then checkout the top fishing charters.