There are four top spots on the Sanibel Captiva road that should not be missed. When you are driving from Sanibel Island to Captiva Island, you will cross Tarpon Bay Road and drive a mile and a 1/2 stretch of road where all four stops are located.  Each stop will provide a fascinating insight into the amazing wildlife that lives on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

PLEASE NOTE: The SCCF nature center building is temporarily closed for refurbishment. The trails behind the building are open for exploration.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The First of Four Top Spots on The Sanibel Captiva Road

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957

Visit The Museum’s Website

From its humble beginnings in 1984, the world-class Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the ONLY museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. There are 30 permanent exhibits and a living gallery that gives visitors a chance to see and touch some of the creatures that create the shells. There is a gift shop. They also offer daily off-site beach walks among other programs.

Shell museum on Sanibel Island
national shell museum

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF)

The Second of Four Top Spots on The Sanibel Captiva Road

3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

Visit The SCCF Website

Founded in 1967 SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources. Today, SCCF is the largest private landowner in Sanibel. They manage more than 1,200 acres on Sanibel plus more than 600 additional acres on Captiva. SCCF has two main education sites, one on San-Cap Road and one on Periwinkle Way. The main building is a nature center, and behind the center is the Erick Lindblad Preserve which comprises 212 acres. There are four miles of interlocking trails on the preserve called the Sanibel Slough trail. Five other preserves open to the public can be found on the island.

SCCF Welcome sign on Sanibel Island
SCCF on Sanibel Island

J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The Third of Four Top Spots on The Sanibel Captiva Road

J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957

Visit The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1945 due to the efforts of Sanibel Island residents and famed editorial cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling. The best place to start your adventure is the FREE Visitor & Education Center. The Center is full of educational displays, videos, and interactive programs. There is also a wonderful gift shop. Wildlife Drive should be your next stop. It is a four-mile-long road adjacent to the visitors center that is teaming with wildlife. You can drive your own car, bike, walk, or take a guided tram tour with a naturalist. The Drive is open every day, except Fridays. In addition to Wildlife Drive, there are three other trails to explore.

Ding Darling Welcome sign on Sanibel Island
Ding Darling Bird on Sanibel Island

CROW Clinic (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife)

The Fourth of Four Top Spots on The Sanibel Captiva Road

CROW Clinic
3883 Sanibel Captiva Road
Sanibel Island, FL 33957

Visit The CROW Clinic Website

This wonderful organization was started in 1968 when islander Shirley Walter found a Royal Tern that had been hit by a car. Finding no services available for injured wildlife she took the bird to her Sanibel home. Fast forward to the present day, the superb facility you see before you is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife. Approximately 3,500 wildlife patients cared for each year. The Visitor Education Center offers behind-the-scenes views into CROW’s animal care through live camera feeds, interactive displays, and daily presentations.

Blue Bird on Sanibel Island
Arial view of CROW on Sanibel Island