History and Spectacular Natural Beauty Intertwine at Our Florida Beach
The Calusa Indians may have been the first inhabitants of Sanibel Island, but they weren't they last to fall under its alluring tropical spell. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon named it Santa Isybella for his queen in 1513 and buccaneers like Jose Gaspar reportedly made the island their hideout in the early 1800s.
Permanent settlers began arriving in the years following the Civil War, and by the late 1880s Sanibel's first resort began welcoming travelers. In the 1920s and ‘30s, famous Americans like Charles Lindbergh, President Teddy Roosevelt and Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling created a buzz about Sanibel Island that continues to this day.
The Florida island's pristine beaches, shelling, fishing and wildlife proved irresistible to travelers. Ferry service to the island began in 1928 and in 1963 the Sanibel Causeway opened for automobile traffic. In the ensuing decades, Sanibel Island residents chose to protect their invaluable natural resources by enacting land use policies to guide growth and development in harmony with the Florida island's magnificent setting.