Visiting Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is one of the 100 islands off the Lee County Coast of Florida. Located near the city of Fort Myers (120 miles south of Tampa) it is accessed by a three-mile-long scenic drive across a causeway from the mainland. Sanibel is known worldwide for it’s shelling and the associated posture referred to as the”Sanibel Stoop.” More than 400 varieties of shells decorate the beaches, particularly after an especially high or low tide.
For most visitors, however, shelling is a delightful excuse to enjoy hours of sun worshipping along some of the most beautiful shoreline in North America and to absorb the unspoiled island atmosphere the natives so effortlessly maintain. Sanibel Island is two-thirds nature preserve, providing visitors with an experience of Florida the way it used to be. Hundreds of species of birds, rare and colorful tropical flowers and trees, and an abundance of marine mammals and fish make our islands. Island resorts offer a wide variety of activities including golf, tennis, fishing, kayaking, nature walks and swimming.
If you enjoy nature you will want to visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. You can tour the refuge on foot, bike, car or tram on a five-mile scenic drive, or by canoe and kayak on the many water trails. Also in the area is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Bonita Springs, that has two miles of boardwalk trails through the Bald Cypress forest, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve located in Fort Myers, and Manatee Park, where visitors can view the endangered West Indian manatee which increases in population during the winter months, and the Edison & Ford Winter Estate.
Travelers From Outside US
For travelers from countries not part of the visa waiver program, please allow plenty of time for your visa application process. According to the webpage, you should allow for at least 30 days. Note: a supporting letter is no longer required from the conference.
Some tips on transportation while on the island:
*Cabs on Sanibel Island are scarce. If you need to get one for the airport, ask the front desk at the hotel to book you one on the day before.
*Renting a car is cheaper. It is cheaper to rent a car for 4 days than it is to take a taxi to and from the airport. Airport to Sundial is $64 each way. Cars can be rented for about $22-$30 per day plus taxes (4 days would be about $120).
*Other modes of transportation also work. Bikes can be rented on the island and there is a trolley that goes from hotel to hotel.
Local Arrangements Chair
Mark Pendergast of the Florida Gulf Coast University