Escape to Tropical Paradise on Florida's Sanibel Island

Posted June 17, 2009 by Kate Hamman

FL-SanibelIsland-Egrets-DEF If you're looking for a quiet alternative to a theme-park vacation, you'll find a tropical Florida escape on Sanibel Island. During your stay, you can appreciate the bountiful wildlife inhabiting the area, or go antiquing in a collector's dream store. However, if you'd rather spend your days shelling or relaxing on the beach, an island-style inn is more than happy to lend a hand.

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society: Since nearly one-third of Sanibel Island is a federally-protected wildlife refuge, it'd be a shame to miss all the natural beauty that exists within it. Catch a glimpse of the numerous bird species, alligators, and manatees, and learn from an experienced naturalist while on a tram tour. The guided ride along the four-mile Wildlife Drive costs $13 per passenger. Or, go at your own pace for an access fee of $5. The Wildlife Drive is closed on Fridays to all vehicles.

Islander Trading Post Antiques: Imagine every item ever featured on the Antiques Roadshow in one place, and you might be prepared for what greets you at the Islander Trading Post. Every nook and cranny overflows with vintage and collectible items of yesteryear, because the shop carries everything from country-style home goods to cultural memorabilia. Pay special attention to the working 1950's-era "original bubble-blowing sign." It's free and entertaining to browse, but be aware that items are priced according to antique value.

Tarpon Tale Inn: Only steps from Old Town Sanibel and the beach, the Tarpon Tale couldn't be a better home base for a vacation on the island. Stay in one of the tropical-themed suites, such as the Sanibel Seashell, the historic lighthouse, or the island sunset, for a truly authentic Sanibel getaway. The inn provides complimentary beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas for a day by the water. Say a quick hello to Edgar, the inn's mascot and resident cat. Rooms start at $90 per night, depending on the season.

To search for flights and compare prices to Fort Myers, which is home to Sanibel Island’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockphoto/cjmckendry)

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