The Ultimate Itinerary for Your Trip to the Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Sunshine, salty air, beautiful beaches, and most importantly – relaxation. Sanibel and Captiva Islands offer all of these and then some. While a trip to the beach should definitely be on your list of things to do, there is so much more waiting for you on the islands!

We get it, planning a vacation can be hard. Summertime on Sanibel and Captiva Islands opens the door to a variety of things to do. Sometimes, trying to do everything in one trip can lead to more stress than it’s worth – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled the ultimate itinerary to make sure you spend your time on the islands correctly.

Fun things to do on Sanibel and Captiva Islands

When you’re on Sanibel and Captiva Island, the list of fun-filled things to do is endless. For the past 34 years, Adventures in Paradise has helped show people from all over the world how amazing the islands of Sanibel and Captiva truly are.


  • Dolphin Cruises: If you’re looking to start your trip off in full swing, book a morning Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise with Adventures in paradise. Spot dolphins taking their early morning jumps out of the water as you snack on some donuts and sip some coffee. If you’re not an early riser, that’s okay, the dolphins aren’t going anywhere. Enjoy the Afternoon or Sunset Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise when you’re a little more awake and ready to adventure.
  • Sea Life Encounter Excursions: Want to be a little more up close and personal with the Sanibel and Captiva wildlife? Embark on the Adventures in Paradise Sea Life Encounter Excursion to interact with sea creatures you’ve never seen before! Guided by expert marine biologists, the hands-on boat tour allows you to interact with Sea Horses, Puffer Fish, Starfish and so much more!
  • Lunch Cruises: If you’re looking for something a little more laid back but still jam-packed with things to do, then the Adventures in Paradise Shelling and Lunch Cruise is for you. This boat tour brings you to a remote barrier island with miles of uninhabited beaches and shelling. This is the best way to truly immerse yourself in island life!
  • Fishing: Do you love to fish? Then you’ve come to the right place. Many people come to the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva for some of the best fishing in the country. If you’re one of those people, enjoy the Adventures in Paradise Backwater Fishing Cruise. This cruise offers a Sanibel fishing experience for everyone, from beginners to experienced fishermen!
  • During July, Tarpons are still in full swing, Snook can be found along the shoreline, and schools of Redfish can even be found among the flats – there is certainly plenty of fish in these seas!

Where to eat on Sanibel and Captiva

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are home to many delicious, unique restaurants. There’s certainly something for everybody on these islands, but we would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t at least point you in the direction of some of our favorites.

Enjoy all Island Time has to offer by having a tasty evening meal at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grillelocated on both Sanibel and Captiva Island. Dive into local seafood bursting with Caribbean flavors and sip on a refreshing Doc Ford’s Mojito – after all, it’s five o’clock somewhere!

Famous author Randy Wayne White wrote the Doc Ford series after being inspired by these islands and the people he came to know on them. Just as White’s inspiration for his novels came from the islands, so did his inspiration for the spirit of Doc Ford’s restaurant.

yuca shrimp - what to do in sanibel and captiva

Doc Ford’s provides customers with only the freshest seafood and ingredients available – you have to try their signature Yucatan Shrimp. Their delicious daily specials and full menu are prepared fresh in-house every day! 

Enjoy signature cocktails and an extensive Premium Rum selection at either location. Whether you’re looking for a casual dinner with family or a fun night out listening to live music at the Captiva location with friends, Doc Ford’s is the place to be.

While Sanibel and Captiva are best known for their seafood dishes, we would be foolish not to mention the delish craft beer, pizza, and pasta Matzaluna restaurant brings to the islands.

Opening their doors in 1994, with its true Italian roots  Matzaluna quickly became known as “Sanibel’s Italian Kitchen.” This homey Italian restaurant is actually the only wood-fired pizza oven on Sanibel Island.

fresh pizza - what to do in sanibel and captiva

Traditional Italian favorites like Veal Marsala, Chicken Puttanesca, and Eggplant Parmesan are cooked to perfection every single time at Matzaluna. Weekly specials feature local seafood, a choice of steaks, and the Chef’s creations!

You can never go wrong when choosing to spend your evening at Matzaluna, aka Sanibel’s Italian Kitchen. Enjoy a casual night out on the islands with some fresh Wood Fired Pizza and delicious craft beers – you can thank us later!

Where to stay on Sanibel and Captiva

tween waters resort - what to do in sanibel and captiva

There are many places to stay on the islands, but there really is no better option than staying at a true Island resort-likeTween Waters. Located on Captiva Island, ‘Tween Waters is the perfect place to sit back and relax and enjoy several different outdoor activities.

Get the full Island experience by renting one of the Nostalgic ‘Tween Waters Cottages. Cute, quaint, and bright you’ll surely be living your best life enjoying the island breeze in your cottage, just steps away from the beach.

If a cottage doesn’t seem like the best fit for you and your family, don’t worry! You can still get the full island experience from any of their guest suites and rooms. Enjoy beautiful views and beachy vibes in any of their guest suites.

If you’re vacationing with your family, we understand that some days may be more stressful than relaxing, but when staying atTween Waters Island Resort & Spa, you’re guaranteed to have at least one whole day of pure relaxation spent in their beautiful spa.

Whether you’re looking for a facial, mani-pedi, or a full body massage the licensed professionals and massage therapists at The Spa at ‘Tween Water will pamper you beyond your wildest dreams.

Bonus! Right now through October 28, when you stay three nights at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island — and the fourth night is free! A glorious 24 hours in Captiva paradise, absolutely free. Plus, receive a $250-value Island Rewards Coupon Book. Book today for the best rates.


There’s no time to waste when staying on Sanibel and Captiva, the salt air and fresh breeze are waiting for you! We hope this helps you navigate your stay here to ensure that no second is wasted during your vacation. But, there are even more activities waiting for you – we’ve only scratched the surface! Need extra time to squeeze in every fun activity? Extend your stay by checking out accommodation deals – because you deserve to stay in paradise a little longer.