Are you thinking about owning a vacation home in Florida? If so, you have probably dreamed of walking on the warm beaches of Miami or Tampa Bay. What if there was a place where you could have this experience away from the usual hustle and bustle in a setting of great natural beauty?
Just off the coast of Fort Myers is Sanibel, Florida. This little gem of an island, easily reachable by causeway, is brimming with miles of sand beaches, diverse wildlife, and an abundance of seashells that have attracted people from all over the world.
Sanibel Island is as rich in history as it is in beauty. Sanibel was first settled by the Colusa Indians over two millennia ago. These highly skilled craftspeople were known for building shell mounds that they used as a protective base for their huts and for religious ceremonies.
In the mid 1500s, Spanish explorers discovered and began regularly visiting Sanibel Island. Ponce de Leon and Hernando de Soto were just two of several that unsuccessfully attempted to form settlements there before they were driven away by the Colusa. The European explorers brought diseases that eventually killed most of the native population, leaving Sanibel largely unpopulated.
When Florida achieved statehood in 1845, the U.S. government established a lighthouse station on Sanibel Island. This became the center of permanent residency for a number of families. By the late 1800s, industrialists and entrepreneurs had arrived. The Casa Ybel Resort opened, and a ferry service was provided, drawing visitors to the island.
The causeway, built in 1963, made the commute to the island more convenient but brought with it the possibility of overdevelopment. By 1974, Sanibel became its own city. Residents enacted land use restrictions that succeeded in preserving the island’s natural environment.
There are many reasons to visit Sanibel Island aside from enjoying its sheer beauty. One of the most popular activities is shelling. Visitors can learn about the vast array of seashells at the Sanibel Island Shelling Center and sift through them at a number of beaches. Other nature activities include wildlife viewing, nature walks, and scenic drives.
You will also discover many opportunities for water sports on Sanibel. Fishing, boating, snorkeling, and parasailing are all popular activities. Be sure to check some of best deals around on our Sanibel Waterfront Condo Page as well.
Top off your day with a great meal at one of Sanibel Island’s charming bistros. Enjoy live music, visit a casino, or take a luxurious dinner cruise.
With so much to offer in such an unusually pristine environment, Sanibel Island is the ideal place for a Florida getaway.
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