Sanibel Island: A Worthwhile Summertime Family Beach Trip

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Do you like to visit the beach and feel relaxed? Okay, okay, that was a rhetorical question. The real question is, how many times do you visit the beach and actually feel relaxed? Here is your next stop: Sanibel Island. It is located about 2.5 hours via car from South Florida and lies on the West Coast–sunset galore! It is rated one of the top beaches in the nation, which you can learn more about here. However, I will vouch by providing my personal 5 reasons to visit.

A shaded walkway leading to the beach on Sanibel Island

#1 Cleanliness

There is nothing better than visiting a clean beach! Usually when I visit the beach, it is not only hard to see in the water, but there are fish swimming and tapping my feet. Personally, I get too antsy when that happens, so I am not able to enjoy being in the ocean. That’s not the case at Sanibel Island though! From the parking lot, to the entrance of the beach and the actual water, it is clear and free of trash. The staff really goes above and beyond for visitors and they are constantly doing their rounds.

Daniela and her family enjoying the beach on Sanibel
My husband, Hesly, our son, Enzo, and me, in the ocean.

#2 Ambiance

Now, when it comes to travelling with kids, one of the most important things for us is to visit a place with a calm ambiance. In Sanibel Island, the family vibes are alive and well. Our son was able to enjoy every area of the beach: the sand, the shore, the water. He even napped twice during our whole-day stay! I cannot forget to mention the shells at Sanibel Island are like no other shells I have ever seen before. Beautiful! One other thing that helps is the parking lots are sporadic and numbered, which controls the amount of cars/people that visit the lot at a given time. I noticed it makes all of the difference. On that note, I will share: BEWARE. The earlier you arrive, the better to guarantee a parking spot! Our family has left home at 5:30AM and arrived between 7:30-8:00AM, with VIP parking guaranteed. I have included this Sanibel Island parking map for your convenience. 

A little boy playing in the sand
Enzo sitting on on the beach sand, playing with his favorite sand toy.

#3 Other To-Dos

Apparently, there is a really neat boardwalk near the showers and bathrooms where you can enjoy the weather by taking a stroll. So, if someone if your family (your husband, *cough cough*) doesn’t want to sit in the sun to tan or be in the water all day, there is always this trail alternative to keep in mind! Also, enjoy the views of boats docking in the ocean, as they play their beach tunes and make the best of their boat/beach time. There is also an opportunity to rent kayaks, jet skis and even boat tours; however, we have not yet ventured to those areas. Just wanted to mention it is an option!

A tree-lined boardwalk
Sanibel Island Beach Boardwalk

#4 Public Spaces

Maybe I am just very type A, or you can also relate, but the showers at the public beach can be a make it or break it for me. On Sanibel Island, the showers are seriously glorious! The water temperature is perfect for cooling off, and the space allows for you and your family to take a quick sit while one person showers, gets dressed, etc. Very comfortable. This was also a great spot to cool off when it gets too hot on the beach. I literally went back and forth from the beach, to the ocean, to the showers. That rotation kept us happy. And the best part, its free!

Showers at Sanibel

#5 Nursing Spot 

BINGO! This is the jackpot for nursing mamas. Right at the entrance of the beach, there is a little nook with a bench under the trees. Perfect spot for some shade! We found this to be the best area for nursing, cooling down, and cute selfies. Shout out to my husband for pointing it out. Bring your portable fan and you are in for a treat! Oh, just be careful with small, red fire ants passing to and fro along the bench. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Daniela and her son pose for a selfie in the shade
Enzo and I sitting near the shade at Sanibel

My family and I enjoy our day trips to Sanibel Island. Although, I think next time we will opt to stay for a night and explore more of what the island offers. If you’ve stayed on Sanibel Island, comment your favorite places to stay. In the meantime, stay tuned folks!

SN: If you are looking for other places to travel, visit the Miami Mom Collective website, or click this link for awesome ideas to visit with your family (or spouse)!

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Daniella Trujillo, of Colombian descent, was born and lived in Norwalk, CT until the age of 5, then raised in Tampa, FL. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of South Florida, graduating as a first-generation college student, with a B.A. in communication sciences and disorders. In 2014, she was led to Miami, where she attended Florida International University to obtain her M.S. degree in speech-language pathology. Over the last few years, she has dedicated herself to the field of speech-language pathology, working in a variety of settings as a bilingual pediatric therapist, and most recently, with adults. Currently, she works via telehealth. Daniella married her Miami-native husband in 2018, and they welcomed their miracle baby boy in June 2021. She is a woman of faith who enjoys drinking cafecito and exploring So Flo’! She feels grateful to join MMC and build lasting relationships. Connect with her on Instagram at @lalatinaspeechie.

1 COMMENT

  1. We love Sanibel! We also have a toddler girl and she enjoy the beach and shells! We stayed at Casa Ybel twice and it worth every penny! Beach front apartment with kitchenette, very clean and best of all you walk from your balcony to the beach. The hotel have a pool with a pool bar and restaurant. You can rent a high chair and a crib but we prefer to take our 4moms playard. The provide a 5% off for FL residents. If you want to stay at Sanibel, check out casa Ybel!

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