About Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Sanibel and Captiva Islands offer a truly unique lifestyle. The islands have become a vacation and relocation destination for people from all over the world and all walks of life.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are located off the coast of Lee County, containing the city of Fort Myers, Florida. They are connected to the mainland by a 3.5 mile causeway that provides spectacular views every time one crosses. The Sanibel Causeway is a toll facility offering discounted programs for anyone wishing to use the road on a regular, or extended long-term basis. 

The islands are conveniently located within 20 miles of Fort Myers; 125 miles to Tampa; 150 miles to Miami; 157 miles to Orlando; 270 miles to Key West; and approximately 590 miles to Atlanta. The Southwest Florida International Airport is approximately a 25 to 40-minute drive from the Sanibel toll booth depending upon the time of year and the time of day. 

Sanibel and Captiva Islands enjoy a mild tropical climate with an average temperature of 74 degrees (Fahrenheit). 

Sanibel Island

The overall island land mass is 11,600 acres including the 6,178-acre J. N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge and 1,784 acres of other open-space refuges and conservation lands. Sanibel is one of a few barrier islands that does not have much beach erosion. This accounts for Sanibel's more than 15.5 miles of the best beaches found anywhere in the world. Sanibel is internationally known as an excellent area for shelling. 

The City of Sanibel was incorporated in 1974. In 1976 one of the most stringent land use plans in the United States was adopted by the City of Sanibel. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) reduced the number of allowable dwelling units to approximately 9,000 and has effectively preserved this environmentally sensitive island.

Captiva Island

Captiva Island is about 6 miles long and very narrow, being about 1/3 of a mile wide at its widest point. It is a part of incorporated Lee County. While it is not under the jurisdiction of the laws that govern the City of Sanibel, it is tightly regulated through its own special controls implemented by the county. 

Captiva is essentially three different areas. The southern third of the island is estate zoned. A single-family residence and guest house are typically permitted on a lot. Building sites here must contain at least one acre of land. The middle third of Captiva Island is a mixture of resorts, shops, restaurants, marina, some condominiums apartment complexes and single-family dwelling units. Lots are various sizes with mixed uses permitted. The northern third of the island is South Seas Island Resort. It is a full-service resort facility situated on 330 acres of land. It contains vacation accomodations, shops, restaurants, a marina, a nine-hole golf course, convention facilities, and more. There are also private residences within the gates of South Seas Island Resort.