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.
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.
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.