Sanibel, Florida

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Sanibel, Florida

Introduction to Sanibel, Florida

Sanibel, Florida is 9 miles SW of Cape Coral, Florida (center to center) and 107 miles S of Tampa, Florida. The city is in Lee county, and is part of the Fort Myers - Cape Coral metro area. The population of Sanibel is 6,064.

Sanibel History

The city of Sanibel is located on Sanibel Island. Around 6,000 years ago, Sanibel and Captiva formed as one island, and the Calusa Indians lived in the area until the arrival of the Europeans. In 1768, a Spanish map labeled the island "Puerto de S. Nibel" which is probably how the area received the name Sanibel. However, another tradition claims that the community was christened "Santa Isybella" by Juan Ponce de Leon, a famous explorer believed to have discovered the island and to have named it in honor of Queen Isabella. Though the Spanish failed in their efforts to set up an establishment, they left behind a host of diseases which nearly wiped out the Calusa population in the 1700s. The Sanibel Lighthouse was constructed in 1884, and gradually a settlement began to form around it. In the 1900s, Americans started visiting the island as tourists. In 1963, the Sanibel Causeway was completed, and in 1974, Sanibel was incorporated as a city.

Sanibel and Nearby Attractions

  • Museum of the Islands
  • Thomas Edison Winter Estate
  • Bailey Matthews Shell Museum
  • Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  • Stump Pass Beach State Park
  • Naples Zoo

Things To Do In Sanibel

Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, and the Museum of the Islands showcase exhibits which reflect local history and nature. The Thomas Edison Winter Estate, the Henry Ford Estate, and the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium are also close to Sanibel. Naples Zoo, and Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are two other popular attractions in the area. Because the city is on Sanibel Island, the parks offer facilities for various water sports. The Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Cayo Costa State Park, and Gasparilla Island State Park provide amenities for swimming, fishing, boating, scuba diving, canoeing, camping, and picnicking. In addition, the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park offers visitors the opportunity to view wildlife like sea turtles, and manatees.

Sanibel Transportation

The closest major airport is Southwest Florida International Airport.

Sanibel Higher Education

Colleges near Sanibel include the Edison Community College, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Manatee Community College.

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High Points

Sanibel strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Florida):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 3% trophy Sanibel Walking and Biking to Work
People in Middle Class or Better
(vs. State)
Top 4% trophy Sanibel People in Middle Class or Better
Short Commute Times
(vs. State)
Top 4% trophy Sanibel Short Commute Times
Well-Paid Single Men
(vs. Peers)
Top 4% trophy Sanibel Well-Paid Single Men
Low Rate of Poverty
(vs. State)
Top 4% trophy Sanibel Low Rate of Poverty
Well-Paid Single Women
(vs. Peers)
Top 6% Sanibel Well-Paid Single Women
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 6% Sanibel College Educated Adults
Median Family Income
(vs. Peers)
Top 7% Sanibel Median Family Income
Low Violent Crime
(vs. State)
Top 7% Sanibel Low Violent Crime

Comparative Profile of Sanibel, Florida

Comparing Sanibel to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Florida (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Senior Citizens 10 10
Age of the Population 10 10
Well-Paid Single Men 10 10
Well-Paid Single Women 10 10
Female Share of the Population 7 7
Male Share of the Population 4 5
Racial Diversity 3 1
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Portion of People Married 9 10
Average Household Size 1 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 10 10
Median Family Income 10 10
People Above Poverty 9 10
People in Middle Class or Better 9 10

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Working at Home 10 10
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 9 10
Public Transportation Use 4 5


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 10 10
Housing Recently Built 10 9
People Living Alone 5 4
Affordability of Property Taxes 1 1
Affordability of Rents 1 1
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 1 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Violent Crime 9 10
Low Property Crime 6 8

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Sanibel Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 9 miles SW of Cape Coral, Florida (center to center)
Nearest Large City 107 miles S of Tampa, Florida
County Lee
Metro Area Fort Myers - Cape Coral
Standard Zip Codes 33957
Phone Area Codes 239
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 26.448
Longitude -82.022

Sanibel Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 13.4 miles
Jan Temp 55 to 75 F
Apr Temp 63 to 85 F
Jul Temp 74 to 92 F
Oct Temp 69 to 86 F
Annual Precip 54.1 inches
Distance 36.5 miles
Jan Temp 50 to 75 F
Apr Temp 58 to 84 F
Jul Temp 71 to 91 F
Oct Temp 66 to 86 F
Annual Precip 50 inches
Distance 54 miles
Jan Temp 48 to 73 F
Apr Temp 57 to 83 F
Jul Temp 71 to 91 F
Oct Temp 64 to 85 F
Annual Precip 49.3 inches
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Sanibel Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 6,064 100%
Male 2,883 47.5%
Female 3,181 52.5%
Under 18 610 10.1%
18+ 5,454 89.9%
65+ 2,427 40%
Median Age 60.5
Average Family Size 2.33
White 5,942 98%
African-American 57 0.9%
Asian 20 0.3%
American Indian & Alaskan 5 0.1%
Other 7 0.1%
Mixed Race 30 0.5%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 84 1.4%

Estimated Sanibel Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 6,072
Growth 8
Growth % 0.1%

Sanibel Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
English 19.1%
German 16.6%
Irish 11.9%
Italian 7.9%
US/American 7.8%
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 5.5%
Polish 2.9%
Scottish 2.9%
Scotch-Irish 2.8%
Swedish 2.7%
French (except Basque) 2.6%
Norwegian 2.4%
Russian 2.2%
Dutch 1.8%
Welsh 1.3%
Lithuanian 1%
Hungarian 1%
British 1%
French Canadian 0.9%
Danish 0.9%
European 0.6%
Swiss 0.4%
Romanian 0.4%
Greek 0.4%
Canadian 0.4%
Czech 0.3%
Austrian 0.3%
Lebanese 0.3%
Slovak 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.2%
Czechoslovakian 0.2%
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Sanibel 6,064 $92,455
Bonita Springs 32,797 $53,436
Cape Coral 102,286 $47,503
Fort Myers 48,208 $32,477
Fort Myers Beach 6,561 $62,000
North Fort Myers 40,214 $39,907

Sanibel Public Libraries

Sanibel Public Library
Sanibel, Florida
(239) 472-2483
Library Web Site

library logo

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Featured Colleges in the Sanibel Area (QuickSchools™)

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Sanibel Colleges

(List of Florida Colleges)

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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Marco Island, Florida 92   23.5% 38.4% 37% 19 $68,979 2.5% 1.9% 14,879 5.4% 19.2 48.8% 0.5
2. Elm Grove, Wisconsin 85.1   24.5% 22.5% 65.1% 18 $108,209 5.1% 2.9% 6,249 3% 15.2 1.1% 0.2
3. Indialantic, Florida 85   28.8% 24% 51.7% 20 $76,109 4.5% 2.7% 2,944 2.3% 26.8 5% 1
4. Punta Gorda, Florida 84.9   23.5% 46.4% 32% 22 $54,879 2.1% 5.4% 14,344 6.5% 32 13.7% 2
5. Ladue, Missouri 82.5   22.6% 22.8% 71.8% 19 $179,328 4.6% 3.2% 8,645 2.1% 18.6 1% 1.4
6. Weaverville, North Carolina 81   26% 23.5% 28.8% 22 $52,731 4.2% 3.3% 2,416 4.4% 40.2 1.9% 0.4
7. Linwood, New Jersey 78.2   22.6% 18.8% 37.9% 23 $71,415 5.2% 4.8% 7,172 3.9% 13.4 1.4% 0.8
8. Bridgman, Michigan 71.8   29.5% 18.6% 26.4% 20 $56,466 5.5% 3.7% 2,428 6.9% 28 8.9% 1.2
9. Warren, Rhode Island 67.7   30.6% 17.9% 22.9% 23 $52,824 5% 3.2% 11,360 7.3% 17.1 1.8% 1.6
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