Going to Sanibel and Captiva and going to the beach is practically the same thing! No matter if you want to go for a walk, a swim, to spend a day or simply enjoy sunset. Sanibel and Captiva Island have several public beaches and definitely one for you.
Beaches Sanibel – Causeway Beach Park
The causeway beach park is located on both sides of Causeway Road on the causeway bridge between Sanibel and Fort Myers. These beaches are very popular for picnics with friends and families as there are lots of tables and you can park your car right on the beach. Bring your kayaks, surfboard, jet skies or fishing (check license requirements) equipment. This beach gives you endless opportunities while enjoying the convenience of your car at your site. Need some equipment? Ace Performer is close by and even offers windsurfing lessons.
There are facilities, picnic tables, and no parking fees. But keep in mind that there is a $6 fee to get on the causeway bridge.
Tip: Come for the sunsets.
Lighthouse Beach Sanibel
The Lighthouse Beach is located at the east end of Periwinkle Way. Therefore it is a quick drive for off island visitors that want to avoid island traffic on Periwinkle Way. This is especially important after a day at the beach when the traffic can be very dense and slow.
This popular beach is home to Sanibel’s Historic Lighthouse which is he still operational under U.S. Coast Guard control..The Lighthouse is a historic landmark and was one of the first lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
This beach is popular with shellers, boaters, families, and fishermen. Lighthouse beach offers nature trails, facilities, fishing pier, and two parking areas.
Tip: Go fishing on the pier.
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Gulfside City Park Beach on Sanibel
The Gulfside City Park is located on Algiers Lane off of Casa Ybel Road. Thus it is very central and you can walk into Sanibel as well. Parking is currently $5 per hour. In the busy afternoons you can leave the island via Middle and East Gulf drive to avoid the slow traffic on Periwinkle way. This beach offers picnic tables, nature trail, and facilities.
Tip: Walk up the road to visit Doc Fords for lunch and dinner (book a table a few days in advance to avoid waiting for a table). Great salads for take outs are at Sanibel Spool Drift!
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Tarpon Bay Beach on Sanibel Island
Located at the south end of Tarpon Bay Road at West Gulf Drive, this beach has parking and public bathrooms. In addition, it gives you quick access to the beach from the public parking lot. It is highly recommended for shelling and because it has a nice and wide beach it is great for walking. Tarpon Bay Beach appears a little more urban as there are a lot of resorts and condominiums situated back aways along this beach. Parking is about half of the size of Lighthouse beach so you might want to come early or take your bike. There are bike racks, outside showers, drinking fountains and picnic areas available. Parking fee is $5 per hour.
Tip: Consider bringing sandals or beach shoes due to all the shells which could be hard on your feet.
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Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island
Bowman’s beach is located on Bowman’s Beach Road off of Sanibel-Captiva Road. This is probably the most beautiful beach on Sanibel island as it is secluded and very natural. Be aware that the parking lot is quite a walk from Bowman’s Beach. Therefore one needs to carry beach equipment and take a walk to get to changing rooms and restrooms that are located close to the trails. For fitness enthusiasts bring your gear to hike the trail and use the fitness equipment. It is great for shelling, bird watchers, and wildlife enthusiasts but there are no restaurants or stores close by.
Many years ago, The Northern part of Bowman’s Beach was known as the nude beach on Sanibel Island. For a while there even used to be a sign that reminded people that nude bathing is prohibited.
Tip: Great for nature lovers and people who love to walk the beach
Read our post on Sanibel Island Parking Permits!
Beaches Sanibel – Blind Pass Beach also Known as Turner Beach
Important Update – Feburary 2023: Blind Pass Beach is open and has muchbetter conditions than before the hurricane. Turner Beach on Captiva is still closed also Captiva island had done a beach renourishment project before the hurricane!
Turner Beach is located on both sides of Blind Pass on both Captiva Island and Sanibel Island. The beach is very narrow as the strong currents have been dragging the sand away. Parking is also limited but there are some great highlights that need to be mentioned. There is a little grocery store and three restaurants close by. In addition shelling is fantastic and the beaches are stunning for fishing as the beach is close to Roosevelt channel. Try the beaches under Blind Pass bridge for fishing!
Downside: strong currents are a safety risk. Check the local news before entering the waters!
Tip: Come here for sunset and stay for dinner. (reservations highly recommended)
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Alison Hagerup Beach Park on Captiva – Best Captiva Beaches
Alison Hagerup Beach Park is located at the North end of Captiva. This means that it is a very long drive and parking is limited. Due to its loation it is definitely one of the best Captiva beaches. Watersport rentals are nearby. Sunny island adventures also rents boats but reservations should be made in advance! The sunsets at Alison Hagerup beach beach are breathtaking. Please note the parking fees: $25 hours for two hours and $40 for the day. A picnic area and restrooms are available.
Tip: Walk through the pretty village of Captiva and grab a Starbucks Coffee! Or try dining with a sunset at the Mucky Duck!
Nude Beaches On Sanibel and Captiva
Be aware that there are NO official nude beaches on Sanibel or Captiva Islands. But – long time residents can assure you that occasionally people on the South end of Turner Beach interpret these local rules differently. There are two reasons for that. First of all, this part of the beach used to be a favorite spot of the nude community. Secondly, this end of the beach is very remote and has vegetation that turns it into a private little spot. But i you want to enjoy yourself without clothing on the beach, you might want to check other places like Haulover Nude Beach in Miami.
One day while we were moving a little boat from the Bayous across the beach into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico we ran into a problem due to high waves. All of the sudden a couple showed up to offer help. The lady was nude……
Staying Healthy on the Beaches of Sanibel and Captiva
Staying healthy is the most important thing. To stay healthy on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva you might consider the following tips.
- Sunburn – More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. Therefore bring enough sun protection to the beach.
- Water Safety
- Rip currents are common on Sanibel and can be dangerous. Check for official warnings before going swimming and pay attention to warning signs!
- Watch kids on floaties. Read how this family had to be saved.
- First Aid kit – Shells are sharp and can cut the skin easily. Be prepared.
- Red Tide – check here for official water quality of the Gulf of Mexico
- Drinking Water – Bring enough water to the beach to prevent dehydration
- Emergency numbers – never hesitate to call 911 in case of emergency. Police on the islands are here to help!
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