Family Vacations on Sanibel Island

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By Shelly Sanders

Spring Break is always something that brings back memories of school. As a kid, it didn’t matter if it was a holiday or a teacher work-day; any day off of school was celebrated. Spring Break was especially a favorite because it meant family vacations for many people, including myself. Trust me, there is nothing that provides more relief to a Chicago Winter than escaping to somewhere closer to the equator!

With Spring Break here, I decided that I should share my top picks for family vacations on Sanibel Island. I organized the categories the same way that the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce website sorts them and narrowed it down the businesses my family calls favorites.

Where to Stay

Sundial Resort of course!

Sundial Resort

Sundial Resort

Where to Play


J. N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge

Big Arts – From performances to art exhibits, Big Arts offers a wide variety of cultural entertainment

Bailey–Matthews Shell Museum – When you’re on an island known for its shells, its always fun to learn about the treasures you’ll find along the beach

MLB Spring Training – Just over the bridge in Fort Myers, you can see the Red Sox and the Twins get ready for opening day (through the end of March)

Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouse Beach

Where to Dine

Sundial Resort’s on-site dining options are all delicious: Waterview, Sea Breeze Café and Turtle’s Beach and Pool Bar

Mad Hatter Restaurant – “New American cuisine” that never disappoints

Sweet Melissa’s Café – Delicious choice for lunch or dinner, see the menus

Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream – Your MUST visit destination for ice cream


Pinnochio’s Icecream

Where to Shop

Bailey’s General Store – You’ll find a little bit of everything here, including tons of fresh produce and even gluten free products

Jerry’s Foods – This is the go-to spot for locals and visitors for all of your food, drink and even some beach supplies

Congress Jewelers – Their Sealife by Congress line is a great celebration of the island and any of the pieces would make a wonderful gift

Three Crafty Ladies - Amazing specialty craft store that specializes in batiks and tropical prints

Periwinkle Place – Called “the granddaddy of Sanibel shopping,” this collection of over two dozen retailers is the place to go for your vacation shopping

Periwinkle Place

Periwinkle Place

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This post was written by sundialmgr