Things for kids to do on Sanibel & Captiva Island! Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are full of family-friendly activities to explore! There is never a dull moment between the beautiful beaches, extensive bike trails, watersports, museums, wildlife, and more!


 

girls on the beach on Sanibel Island
national shell museum
kid with shelling net on sanibel island
ice cream cakes on Sanibel Island

Shells!


Shelling

One of the many ways to entertain kids on Sanibel & Captiva Island is shelling! Kids can spend hours searching the beaches for these plentiful, natural treasures. A great follow up to a visit to the Shell Museum and, the kid’s shell bounty will be great for arts and crafts!

Read about the best shelling, shelling tools, types, and rules HERE.

Family shelling on Sanibel Island

Bailey – Matthews National Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-395-2233

Visit The Shell Museum Website

This impressive shell museum provides education and entertainment for the whole family. Kids go wild for the touch pools as they learn all about the importance of the environment and the magic of the ocean.

Sanibel Island Golf Club Entrance Sign

Beaches!


The Beaches

Every beach has stretches of amazing white sand and clear water which makes them a powerful tool to entertain kids on Sanibel & Captiva Island. The beaches are great for kids to play, shell, try watersports or fish!

Visit The Guide To Sanibel & Captiva Beaches

girls on the beach on Sanibel Island

The Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park
110 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-0345

Visit The Lighthouse Beach Park Guide

Located at the East End of Sanibel, this iconic 130-year-old lighthouse is surrounded by a boardwalk, nature trails and a beautiful beach. There are plenty of things to do and there is an ice cream shop nearby.

Sanibel Island Lighhouse

Wildlife!


J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-1100 

This wonderful wildlife refuge boasts an interactive and educational visitors center, 3 nature trails and places to kayak and fish.

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

Ding Darling Welcome sign on Sanibel Island

C.R.O.W Visitor Center – Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife
3883 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-3644
Visit The C.R.O.W Website

C.R.O.W has a wonderful visitors center that features cool displays, interactive exhibits and live camera feeds into the animal hospital. Kids go wild for the animal encounters and interaction with the fluffy C.R.O.W Ambassadors! A great way to entertain kids on Sanibel & Captiva Island and, to also educate kids about nature.

Blue Bird on Sanibel Island

Outdoors!


Tarpon Bay Kayak Trails/Rentals
900 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-8900

Tarpon Bay Explorers rent boats, kayaks and more for various guided nature tours. They also have charter fishing boats and very popular with the kid’s is the touch tank exploration which teaches all about the ecology of ocean life!

Visit Tarpon Bay Explorers Website

Tarpon Bay Explorers on Sanibel Island

Bike Trails

With over 25 miles of bike paths on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, it’s no wonder that on such a small Island biking is so popular. Biking is one of the easiest ways to get around and is the best way to truly soak in the island’s vibe. Though some resorts will offer bicycles to their guests, there are numerous options to rent a bike either hourly or weekly from the numerous rental outlets.

Visit The Guide To Biking On Sanibel Island

Finnemore's Bike Rental, Sanibel Island

By The Water!


Fishing

There are great places to fish all over Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Net fishing, fly fishing and kayak fishing are some of the popular choices and there are several establishments that will rent you all the equipment you need. Fish all day and stick around for a beautiful sunset

Visit The Guide To Fishing

kids fishing at the lighthouse on Sanibel

Sunset
Both Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are known for their incredible sunsets. Visit any choice of beach and you will not be disappointed, it is a wonderful family experience, creating a lifetime of memories.

Visit The Guide To Sunset & Sunrise

People watching sunset on Captiva Island

Educate!


Sanibel Library
770 Dunlop Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-2483
Visit The Sanibel Library Website

The Sanibel Library has many opportunities to keep kids entertained, with over 12, 800 books, audiobooks, CD’s, DVD’s, interactive programming and technology, the Sanibel Library is a great place to bolster your kids love for literature.  The library is also right next to the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village!

Genes Book Store Sanibel Island

Sanibel Historical Museum & Village
950 Dunlop Rd #4017, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-4648
Visit The Sanibel Historical Museum Website 

This charming and insightful step back into the history of Sanibel tells the story of the island through nine historical buildings. Each has been restored to its original state providing education and preservation.

Sanibel Historical Museum on Sanibel Island

Community!


Sanibel Community House
2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-2155
Visit The Sanibel Community House Website

The Sanibel Community House is a place where friends and guests come to gather and share learning experiences. There are a plethora of classes available and something for the whole family from kids cooking classes, arts & crafts and yoga. Check out the schedule HERE!

 

Sanibel Community House on Sanibel Island cooking class

Sanibel Community Playground
2231 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
Visit The Sanibel Community Park Website

A great playground next to the Sanibel Community House. Highly reviewed by visiting families as a relaxing and shady place for parents and a fun place for kids to burn some energy.

Sanibel Community park on Sanibel Island

Crafts!


Three Crafty Ladies 
1628 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-2893

Visit Three Crafty Ladies Website

Full-service arts and crafts store for those seldom rainy days! Providing fun craft projects for all ages and skill levels. 

For shell crafting also check out She Sells Sea Shells!

Three Crafty Ladies on Sanibel Island

Fun Souvenirs 

Check out some of the fun souvenir shops!  Mango Bay and Winds are a must and there are several fun stores at Jerry’s shopping center, most notably Sanibel Surf Shop, also at Jerry’s are several awesome parrots to hang out with!

Make sure to also stop by the Bailey’s General Store that has 2 great souvenir stores.  Periwinkle Plaza is also fun to shop at and has a small playground on the grounds! 

Visit The Guide To Sanibel Island & Captiva Island Shopping

 

Three Crafty Ladies on Sanibel Island

Fast & Thrilling!


Sanibel Thriller 
634 N Yachtsman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-2328

Referred to as “Sanibel’s most exciting boat tour” The Sanibel Thriller is a beautiful, fast and safe yacht offering narrated tours and private charters. Fun and thrilling, kids love to spot the dolphins and have a whirlwind tour of the Island’s circumference.

Visit The Sanibel Thriller Website

Sanibel Thriller on Sanibel Island

Watersports/Rentals
You can participate in just about any watersport at the beaches. Paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and kayaking are just a few of the choices. 

Sunny Adventures
5400 Plantation Rd, Captiva, FL 33924
239-312-4094
Visit Sunny Adventures Website

YOLO Water Sports
11534 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, FL 33924
239-472-9656
Visit YOLO Website

YOLO Watersports, Captiva Island

A Thirst For Adventure!


Sanibel Sea School
455 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-8585
Visit Sanibel Sea Schools Website

Sanibel Sea School offers daily classes and weekly camps for kids and adults. Their mission is to teach everyone about the marine ecosystem, its importance and how to care for the ocean. This is a great education and also, fun for the whole family.

Sanibel Sea School on Sanibel Island

Adventures in Paradise
2019 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-8236

Visit Adventures In Paradise Website

Adventures In Paradise offers numerous exciting cruises and tours including shelling tours, dolphin tours and paddleboard tours. They also have a store full of all your beach needs!

About The Sanibel Captiva Island Guide

Fun Food For Thought!


Kid-Friendly Dining 

There are many family-friendly restaurants on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Most highly recommended for kids would be the Bubble Room on Captiva which has incredibly fun decor and huge desserts. On Sanibel, the Blue Giraffe and the Island Cow are also very kid-friendly with quirky and colorful decor.

Visit The Guide To Family-Friendly Restaurants 

American cuisine kid friendly

Ice Cream Shops

What kid doesn’t like ice cream! There are several options on Sanibel Island including homemade ice cream, indulgent custards and yummy shakes. 

Visit The Guide To Something Sweet

ice cream cakes on Sanibel Island

Arts & Culture!


Big Arts
900 Dunlop Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-395-0900
Visit The Big Arts Website

Sizable arts complex featuring galleries, music & dance performances, lectures & other activities.

Big Arts on Sanibel Island

Parks & Recreation!


Sanibel Recreation Center
3880 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-0345

The Sanibel Recreation Center is open all year round and features a large, heated swimming pool, tennis courts, gym and weight room.

Rec Center on Sanibel Island

Pick Preserve 
3333 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957

Visit The Pick Preserve Website

The Pick preserve located opposite the Sanibel Rec Center, is 26 acres of preservation maintained by the Sanibel- Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. Utilized by the Sanibel school to educate kids about nature and the environment, it has multiple walking trails and is enjoyed by all ages.

ding darling trail on Sanibel Island