Sanibel Island has around 25 miles of bike trails. (we recommend this map) They are smooth and well-marked. You can find several water fountains along the trails and there are bike racks everywhere.
You’ll see lots of people of all ages and types on bikes on Sanibel including performance bikers. Furthermore, you can meet locals like Lind Laird (watch the video below) who are getting around the island racing their bikes.
The trails are separated from the roadways, making them safe for families with kids. When you glide around Sanibel Island on its 25 miles of bike trails, you probably think: All of Florida should be like this.
Best time for biking are early mornings as it is still cool and less crowded on the trails.
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“Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Bike Trail
This Bike Trail is a wonderful example of natural Florida. of Sanibel wildlife like birds and alligators.The refuge is famous for its migratory bird populations. Therefore, you will likely see a variety of species on your ride. With a little luck you my spot alligators, marine life and other creatures. The big advantage of this four-mile loop is the fact that it has been paved for good bicycling. Admission to the loop is $1 per bicyclist. You’ll also find a free education center at the refuge. You can visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge at 1 Wildlife Drive. You can also call 239.472.1100 for additional information.
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Meet A Local On Sanibel`s Best Bike Trail
Linda Laird first visited Captiva in the 1970s and fell in love with the island immediately. She lives on the island for 5-6 months a year. During her stay she is a very passionate biker and healthy water and wildlife activist. Her work as the chairman of the Captiva Community`s Sea Level Rise Committee will hopefully prepare Captiva island for the future – even with rising water tables due to global warming.
Ding Darling Bike Trail – Loop 1 extension to Wulfert Point
After exciting the gate of Ding Darling, take a right turn up to Wulfert Road. It is about 2 miles up the quiet road to get to the first Sanibel Settlement at Wulfert Point. You pass the driving range of the Sanctuary Golf Club until you see a little parking lot (restricted to Sanibel residents). Follow the pass North of the parking lot to get to Sanibel`s first settlement directly on the bayside. The Caluusa Indians lived and fished here for 1,000 years.
Many years later in 1887 homesteaders arrived and founded the first “modern” settlement. The little community even had a school and a post office.
Be aware on Wulfert Road: alligators might cross the road! Thus, read our alligator safety tips!
Take A Look at hole number 4 where the first settlement was.
Loop extension 2 on Sanibel`s best Bike trail- Turner Beach with Lunch/Dinner Opportunity
After Visiting Sanibel`s first settlement you bike back down the Sanctuary Golf Club Community. Take a right turn at the end to get back to SanCap Road. Here you can either take a left turn and bike back towards the entrance of Ding Darling or take a right turn to get to Turner Beach and an area called “Santiva”. This community is located at the North end of Sanibel right at the Blind Pass bridge that takes you to beautiful Captiva Island.
Besides visiting the beach you can find a little grocery store to get cold drinks or ice cream or stop for lunch or dinner. There are three different restaurants for lunch/dinner options.
Lunch/Dinner At The Lazy Flamingo
This famous Sanibel restaurant is a must visit. It is unique and has an authentic island feeling. Not every meal fits a healthy lifestyle as many dishes are fried. Eat and peel shrimp, grouper sandwiches and salads are highly recommended and very delicious.
Lunch/Dinner At The Sunset Grill Restaurant
This restaurant has magnificent views on the Gulf of Mexico – especially when sitting on the porch. We recommend “seasonal harvest bruschetta, crab cakes or their Mixed Field Greens Salad.
Dinner On Sanibel Best Bike Trail – Mad Hatter
This fine dining restaurant is located directly on Turner Beach. It opens at 4.45 for dinner and is closed on Mondays. The restaurant has many super healthy options available and is known for their many salad variations and shrimp dishes. Try spiced watermelon salad and the garlic gulf shrimp.
After your break at Santiva head back South on SanCap Road towards Sanibel.
Loop Extension 3 – Quick Stop at Bowman’s Beach
If you are still strong for a little loop (around 1 mile each way), we highly recommend another 2 miles trip to take a look at Bowman’s beach road. This is probably the most beautiful beach on the island as it is wide and very remote. Also great for playing soccer on the beach.
There are signs at the end of the road that will lead you through the trails directly to the beach. It’s a fabulous little ride across a wooden bridge over a freshwater lagoon with spectacular nature views. Bowman’s Beach is one of the best spots for sunsets on Sanibel island.
If you ride a rental bike, keep in mind that most of them do not have bike lights. cross a wooden bridge over a freshwater lagoon.
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