Sanibel Island Nature Walks – Captiva

One of the most delightful discoveries awaiting you on your visit to Sanibel and Captiva Islands is the number of things you can do “beyond the beach” including fabulous nature walks! Our Florida islands are dotted with numerous natural, historical and artistic attractions, all guaranteed to provide a day of family fun and education. See a full list of nature tours and historical walks on Sanibel and Captiva Island.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands has large variety of Florida Wildlife including birds, alligators and dolphins. Our islands provide a nature vacation for the entire family from the avid nature lover to the budding naturalist.

Nature Activities

Wilma the Alligator on Sanibel Island

Learn How To Respect and Protect Florida Wildlife.  See our poster provided by CROW animal rehabilitation center. We have 2 coloring books for kids you can download and print for free. Download the Sanibel-Captiva Wildlife Coloring Book or the All About Alligators Coloring Book or the Sea Turtle Coloring Book. Let your children have fun while learning about the local wildlife.Take them for a nature walk and let them see real-life nature on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.

Nature Walks

Chapel by the Sea

11580 Chapin Lane, Captiva
(239) 472-1646

Originally built in 1901 as a schoolhouse that doubled as a church on Sundays, this charming chapel now serves as a seaside meditation site, an interdenominational church (November through April) and popular wedding spot. Trimmed in lattice fencing, the cemetery next door guards the graves of many early settlers who came to Captiva in the late 19th century to homestead and farm.

C.R.O.W.

Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife
3883 Sanibel-Captiva Road
(239) 472-3644

Dedicated to restoring the health of Florida islands’ wildlife, this well-respected facility for injured and orphaned birds and animals treats more than 3,400 patients each year. C.R.O.W. offers an educational presentation, appropriate for ages 5 and up, year-round Monday through Friday at 11:00am. The program is also available Sundays at 1:00pm from Thanksgiving through Easter. $5 requested donation for visitors 13 and older.

J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

One Wildlife Drive (off Sanibel-Captiva Road)
(239) 472-1100

This 6,354-acre Florida wildlife refuge, named for Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and pioneer environmentalist Jay Norwood Darling, is – at latest count — home to 220 species of birds, more than 50 types of reptiles, and 32 different kinds of mammals. The refuge features wonderful bird watching spots, bike and walking paths, winding canoe trails and a four-mile scenic drive, all of which are lush with seagrape, wax and salt myrtles, red mangrove, cabbage and sabal palms, and other native plants. A booklet available from the refuge Education Center highlights points of interest, including an observation tower where naturalists will obtain the best view of flora and fauna. The educational value of “Ding” Darling’s helped make Sanibel Island one of Sherman’s Traveler Top 10 Family Beaches, click here to learn more.

Every year the Refuge has a week long event called the “Ding” Darling Days. One can explore nature, listen to talks and participate in a nature photography competition. This year, in October, will be the 25th anniversary, click here for more information on the event.

The drive is open Saturday through Thursday from 7:30am to a half-hour before sunset. Closed Friday. Low tide, when birds feed, is the ideal time to visit. The Education Center is open daily. Hours are 9:00am to 5:00 pm from November through April, and 9:00am to 4:00pm May through October. Fees are $5 per car, or $1 per cyclist or pedestrian; ages 15 and younger bike and walk free. Interpretative tram tours of the sanctuary are scheduled through Tarpon Bay Explorers; $13 for adults, $8 for children 12 and under; reservations required at 239-472-8900.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF)

3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road
(239) 472-2329

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. SCCF manages over 1300 acres of land on the islands (and owns an additional 500 acres on nearby Pine Island). SCCF offers a wide array of educational programs for people of all ages, from beach walks to trail walks, boat tours, wading trips and kayak tours plus classroom-based activities. At our Nature Center on Sanibel, we have four miles of trails (with an observation tower), exhibits, a touch tank, butterfly house and Nature Shop. We invite you to come explore our natural world. CLICK HERE for a map and description of the walking trails on Sanibel Island.

Old Town Sanibel

Old Town encircles the east end of the island near the Sanibel Lighthouse. Historically, it was the center of much of the islands’ activity; today, it is a place to stroll quaint village shops, inns and restaurants. The Sanibel Historical Society has produced a walking and biking tour to “yesteryear” that is approximately 2 ½ miles long. You can pick up a map at the Chamber Visitor Center or at the Sanibel Historical Village.

Sanibel Historical Museum and Village Inc.

950 Dunlop Road
(239) 472-4648

This collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings brings early Sanibel back to life in a beautifully serene setting. Dedicated to the pioneer families of Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, the Village includes “Uncle” Clarence Rutland’s home, Bailey’s General Store, “Morning Glories” (a Sears/Roebuck catalog home), Miss Charlotta’s Tea Room, the 1926 Post Office, the Burnap Cottage, the island’s original schoolhouse — transplanted in late 2004 from its former Periwinkle Way location where it served as a theater for years. All of the buildings are furnished with items from the early 1900s.

A handicapped-accessible boardwalk and shell paths take visitors past a pioneer garden, antique Model T truck, and a replica of a packinghouse with farm equipment. The Village relates the history of the islands beginning with the days of the Calusa Indians up to the mid-1900s. The Historical Village and Museum is open November through mid-August, Wednesday through Saturday, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Closed mid-August through October. Admission of $10 per adult are welcomed. School children and younger are free.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse (Point Ybel Light)

Perhaps the most photographed structure on Sanibel Island, the Sanibel Lighthouse was first lit in August 1884. In 1972, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it would extinguish the light, but then abandoned the plan when faced with public outcry. The Florida Coast Guard continues to maintain the lighthouse, which is not open to visitors, but the City of Sanibel now manages the surrounding property, including the keeper’s quarters, fishing pier and beach access.

Guided Botanical Tour – Sanibel Moorings Resort

The Botanical Gardens at Sanibel Moorings Resort is overflowing with many native, tropical and unusual flora and fauna.
Join our gardener, Anita Marshall for an open to the public 2 hour walking tour.A must see for plant lovers and Garden Clubs.
Every  Wednesday at 9am.  RSVP required $5.00 fee per person.Call for reservations and/or info 239-472-4119 or visit http://www.sanibelmoorings.com.

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