Hiking On Sanibel

It’s true, Sanibel hosts top ranked shelling beaches and glorious sunsets, both steps from our doorway at Pelican’s Roost. Sanibel also offers over 24 miles of shared use pathways for biking, strolling, jogging – and miles upon miles of hiking paths?  

Sanibel Island, a gem on Southwest Florida’s coast, is a barrier reef 33.16 square miles total, with 17.21 square miles (just over half) being land, and 15.96 square miles of inland water. Over half of the island is composed of wildlife refuges, the biggest being Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.  Trails for all skill levels and ages meander through this amazing group of habitats. So, both the young and old, trade those flip flops for walking shoes and hit the trails for a brand new perspective of Sanibel Island away from the sand and surf– it’s time to go hiking on Sanibel!

A few of our favorite trails?

Indigo Trail – 4.0 miles – This trail is by far the most popular, as it begins at the Visitor Center.

Bailey Tract – 1.1 miles – Starting off of Tarpon Bay Road, this is a lesser known pathway that loops around impoundments and offers excellent birding.

Shell Mound Trail – 0.4 miles – This wheelchair accessible boardwalk sits near the end of Wildlife Drive inside the refuge.  This trail takes one into the ancient history of Sanibel Island.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) hosts a variety of nature trails throughout the two islands, including:

4 miles of trails at the Nature Center on Sanibel-Captiva Road

6-mile trail in the Periwinkle/Blue Skies Preserves on Periwinkle Way

And two short (around 500 feet) trails on the Bob Wigley Preserve

There are also trails in the Sanibel Gardens Preserve, accessible from Island Inn Road.  A printable map showing locations of all walking trails on Sanibel Island can be found here or an interactive map and information with SanibelTrails.com here.

Whether you are a first time hiker or a longtime hiking enthusiast, you can track your Sanibel adventures easily with this handy app here (Mapmywalk).  

Get out there and go hiking on Sanibel!

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The Best Place To Watch The Sunset On Sanibel

On Sanibel, there is approximately 300 days of sunshine each year—which means 300 chances to catch a spectacular sunset! (The other 65 days also lead to stunning sunsets).

One of the most frequent questions we are asked by our guests is “Where is the best place to watch the Sunset on Sanibel?” Our answer: right here, and a few other locations.

Because of our prime location on the south side of the island, our guests get the chance to witness both the sunrise and the sunset from our beautiful shell-lined beach. Enjoy the show of light from your balcony or from a beach chair or towel on the sand located just steps from your beach home away from home. Don’t forget to bring a cocktail!

Some evenings, our guests report witnessing a phenomenon known as the Green flash.

When the conditions are right, a green spot is visible above the upper rim of the disk of the sun. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. Rarely, the green flash can resemble a green ray shooting up from the sunset (or sunrise) point. Green flashes occur because the atmosphere can cause the light from the sun to separate out into different colors.

If you’re looking to venture to a different location on the island for sunset, consider visiting Blind Pass Beach. This beach is the most western area of Sanibel Island to view the sunset in its full glory. During certain times of the year, crowds can get quite large. For a different perspective and a change of scenery, head to the Causeway Islands Park and enjoy the lightshow as the sun dips below the outline of our beautiful island.

If you’re even more adventurous, hit the road and head even further down Sanibel Captiva Road to our neighboring island of Captiva where most their beaches face west, directly towards the sunset.  

Sunset is also a great time to shell or snap that family photo you’ve been hoping to capture during your time in paradise. You may think you’ve seen beautiful sunsets in your hometown, but trust us, nothing beats watching the day end from the sands of Sanibel Island.

Don’t miss the sunset. Click here to discover the exact time the sun will set TODAY!

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March and April on Sanibel- Ding Darling Film Series

Enjoy the most beautiful months of the year right here with us! Sun, sand, sunshine and so much more await during your late winter getaway. One of the great perks of joining us on Sanibel during March and April is that there are so many seasonal activites and events to enjoy during this time of year. One of our favorites? The Ding Darling Film Series.

Most likely, you have heard (or visited) Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, located just minutes
away from our property on Sanibel Captiva Road. Ding Darling is one of the
oldest wildlife refuges in the U.S. and is open 6 days a week for you and your
family to discover and enjoy. Exploring the 6,400 acre tract of mangroves, seagrass beds and cordgrass marshes that provide shelter for 245 species of birds and other animals is one of those island activities that you can do over and over again and always experience something new. If you’d like to experience Ding Darling in an all new way, or delve deeper into nature, consider attending the Ding Darling Film Series.

 Now in its 5th year, the Wednesday film series hosts eight films throughout the winter months that explore natural facets from ocean noise pollution  to the Federal Duck Stamp program.  

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society hosts the free film showings in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. All films are free and begin promptly at 1 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Please note, this event is bi-weekly.

Seating is limited and on a first-come basis.

The Ding Darling Refuge is located conveniently just 15 minutes from Pelican’s Roost at 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957. Their phone number is (239) 472-1100.

Film Schedule:

Why Just One?

March 15, 2017

The sea turtle documentary film Why Just One? continues the fifth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series on March 15, at 1 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium. A project of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the film addresses the dramatic decline in sea turtles and the organization’s efforts to defend them. It strives to change the way people see sea turtles and those who risk their lives to defend them.

Seed: The Untold Story

March 29, 2017

The award-winning documentary film Seed: The Untold Story continues the fifth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series on March 29, at 1 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind, seeds are becoming one more victim of extinction. In the last century, 94 seed varieties have disappeared.

The Future of Energy

April 12, 2017  

The documentary film The Future of Energy: Lateral Power to the People continues the fifth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series on April 12, at 1 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium. Featuring some of America’s top energy specialists and ecological visionaries, The Future of Energy presents a clear path towards a new energy paradigm while informing how everyone can participate in creating a 100 percent renewable energy solution to the ecological crisis.  


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Traffic On Sanibel

Our island is lovely, but this time of year (February- Early April), congestion on our quaint island streets can put a damper on your relaxing beach vacation. We would like to provide you with the most up to date traffic info so you can avoid the wait and spend your days just as you had planned to, enjoying everything our island paradise offers our guests.

The Sanibel Island Chamber of Commerce has provided the public with a network of tools to keep drivers informed and alert with the purpose of reducing traffic and keeping everyone moving. To begin, the first way to avoid traffic is to, you guessed it, hop on a bike and cruise around the island on our many miles of bike paths. You may bring your own bike or rent a bike from one of the many vendors on island for a minimal fee. We highly recommend using a bike whenever possible. You’ll get an up-close view of our tropical foliage as well as spot plenty of wildlife along the way.

Check out our blog post all about Biking on Sanibel here.

If you are unable to bike, or would prefer to use a car you should remember that traffic is heaviest along our main thoroughfares from 8 a.m. to noon and heavy off-bound traffic between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. On a weekly basis during peak season, Saturday traffic volumes are the highest, and traffic volumes are the lightest on Sundays and Tuesdays. Plan accordingly. The positives? These are prime hours to enjoy our beautiful beach and pool. Shell, soak up some rays and enjoy an afternoon siesta in your beautifully appointed gulf side apartment. If you feel like venturing out during these times, arrive early and stay a while. As you know, Sanibel plays host to hundreds of shops and restaurants with plenty of island flair.

To make managing your time and itinerary even easier, hop on our free Wi-Fi connection and visit www.MySanibel.com to view LIVE traffic webcams that will provide you with a real-time view of Sanibel’s busiest intersections. You can also view these cams from the palm of your hand. Use your smartphone to view the website while you’re on the go.

If you’re tech savvy, download the official Sanibel traffic ap called Sanibel Bound, available for Iphone and Android devices. The app is free and will provide you with one click access to a stress-free Sanibel experience.

To install the either App, simply go to http://www.mysanibel.com/live-street-cams from your mobile device.

To Install the Android App click on the button “Get it On Google Play”.

To Install the Apple App click on the button “Download on the App Store”.

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New Restaurants on Sanibel Island

Though things don’t usually change too drastically on Sanibel Island (one of the main reasons we love it here!), our island community has welcomed a number of new restaurants to the island since your last visit. We know you have your favorite go-to eateries, but we encourage you to give a few of these new establishments a try—you might just be surprised. From the pickiest eater to the more adventurous diner, there is something each and every person you’re traveling with to try! Take a peek at a few of the new restaurants on Sanibel below!

Love Boat Ice Cream: Sanibel

Yes, the legendary Southwestern Florida ice cream establishment has taken up a permanent residency on our beautiful island! Originally established in 1967, Love Boat offers over 50 flavors of the creamiest ice cream, sugar/fat free selections, sorbets, and more! Love Boat Ice Cream Sanibel is in the Jerry’s Shopping Center at 1700 Periwinkle Way, Unit #9.

Totally Baked Bakery and Café

Totally Baked Bakery and Café prepares and serves up an assortment of pastries, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, biscuits, confections and breads. Also enjoy carved on the bone ham, turkey and roast beef as well as homemade salads, soups, specialty items, non-alcoholic drinks. All Totally Baked products are prepared locally, so you know you’re getting the freshest ingredients and the shortest time between the oven and your mouth watering experience! Visit Totally Baked at 2407 Periwinkle Way, Suite 1.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille

You might be thinking… “Doc Fords? I’ve been there before!”

But did you know that Doc Fords has reopened in a brand-new location in a brand-new building just across the street from the Bailey’s Shopping Center? Enjoy all your favorites including those mouthwatering Yucatan Shrimp and those world class mojitos!  If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you! Visit the brand new Doc Fords location at 2500 Island Inn Rd.

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Romantic Dining on Sanibel

Of course, February is a month full of love and romance, and what better way to celebrate than by highlighting the most romantic eating establishments on the the island.  We realize you have a fully equipped kitchen in your condo suite, but a vacation getaway should be carefree and when there’s a special event, anniversary or in this case St. Valentine’s Day, our favorite island establishments comes to the rescue.  

A romantic evening can easily be had at one of the wonderful beach front restaurants:

Thistle Lodge is housed in a white Victorian home with a turret and you will sure to enjoy the excellent service and award winning food served with a beautiful view of the lawn sweeping down to the beach.  

Traditions, also located on West Gulf Drive is located directly on the beach and offers a fantastic menu with live music and great views. Take a walk down the beach for moonlit romance!

Il Cielo is located just minutes away on Periwinkle Way and serves up ”Creative American Cuisine” that will sure to fill the romantic dinner bill. Beautiful ambience, charming waitstaff all combine for a memorable evening out with your special someone.  

And for those extra special events, don’t forget the two premier jewelers on the the island, Congress Jewelers  and Lily & Co. Jewelers. Offering up the finest creations for world class exclusive shopping you can’t go wrong with these two beautiful galleries.

And don’t forget that after dinner stroll on the our own moonlit beach here at Pelicans Roost!

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Sanibel Shell Mounds

Many of our guests will tell you that they have been coming to Sanibel since they were children, are returning after many years away from the island or have fond memories of their annual trips to the island to visit family members. If we only had a quarter for each time someone has mentioned coming over on the ferry before the causeway was built! Anyhow, we completely understand the magnetism of this special place—after all, it keeps us here too!

Though many Island connections date back as far as the early 1900s, there is a forgotten history hidden away on Sanibel that is waiting for you to explore. The ancient shell mounds of Sanibel are a great way to travel back to the very beginning of life on Sanibel. The best part? These ancient structures are hiding in plain sight.

Take a stroll along the Ding Darling Shell Mound Trail located inside J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Shell Mound Trail is the last trail in the park along Wildlife Drive. Travel back in time as you walk down the boardwalk that circles the mounds that were left behind by Calusa Indians thousands of years ago. This 0.4-mile loop is entirely wheelchair accessible.

A little history about the Sanibel Shell Mounds:

Archaeologists have discovered evidence that humans have inhabited Sanibel Island for nearly 3,500 years. The Calusa were one of the first Florida peoples that Spanish Explorers established communication with, though not much passed between the time communication was made and the decimation of the Calusa population. Prior to contact with the Spaniards, it is estimated that this area’s thriving ecological system supported the growth of this culture with a population around 20,000 members and a political influence that reached distant parts of northern Florida.

It is believed that Calusa fishing villages like those on Sanibel were were constructed of long, sturdy pilings, jettisoned down into the sea bottom at the base of shell mounds. Conchs and large surf clams were used to line sidewalls, ramps and causeways. Platforms were fastened to the pilings and on the platforms thatched homes were erected.

While on the Sanibel Shell Mound trail, you will see the remnants of ancient Calusa homes. By studying the mounds and artifacts located from within the mounds, archaeologists have discovered that the Calusa had a highly evolved, stratified social structure, rich in religion and ritual.

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Bait Shops on Sanibel

Vacation on an island means many things to many people.  We all have our idea of the perfect day off or perfect time away from home, some go shelling, some just like to work on that tan. And others of course see water and think of only one thing: Fishing!

Seriously, fishing on the island is a serious pursuit!  And what fishing!  Historically the island from the time of the Caloosa Indians was involved in fishing for subsistence and on into modern times, islanders have been fishing to put something on their plates for dinner.  Sport fishing came about with a seriously larger than life individual in the form of Teddy Roosevelt who spend quite a few vacations here doing nothing but fishing.  He rented a barge between Sanibel and Captiva and spend the day with his favorite hobby.  A jovial and very social person, he invited the public to visit him on the water on only one day a week so as not to disrupt his vacation pleasure.

Today sees the the hot spots for angling either at the fishing pier up by the Lighthouse or at Blind Pass where Teddy fished, but also right in front of your door on our beach at Pelicans Roost.

You don’t need to bring all of your gear with you, unless there’s that one rod that brings you all of your luck!  There are two bait shops on the island that can take care of all your angling needs.

One is the Historic Bait Box located at 1041 Periwinkle Way, open 7 days a week from 7-7.  239-472-1618.  

From charter guides to equipment to bait, they have it all and have been providing it since 1971. Family operated since that time, this business represents 120 years of fishing tradition on Sanibel. They have their own shrimp boat that runs every night providing it’s customers with fresh bait in the form of shrimp, fiddler crabs, pinfish and pass crabs.  Frozen bait includes, ladyfish, mackerel, mullet, shrimp, squid, sardines and chum.

Owned and operated by a local guide and master rod-builder you can’t go wrong at Whitney’s!  

They offer all that you would expect to find at a bait shop and a bit more: passion.  Located at 1554 Periwinkle Way and open from 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (239-579-0399) you will not be disappointed. Along with the bait they offer rod and reel repair, custom rod building and rentals as well.  Hand tied flies, spinning gear, lures, plugs and scented jerkbaits.  All with a friendly enthusiastic attitude.

So, you are in good hands here on Sanibel with all your angling needs from either of these very fine establishments!

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Playgrounds On Sanibel


We are sure that you will find yourself out and about on our Island home, shopping, dining and just looking at the sights and nature of Sanibel.  When you have your kids along you don’t have to do without the amenities to keep them entertained and happy in friendly kid safe areas.  

Periwinkle Place is a popular destination for shoppers, from mementos of Sanibel, to fine Jewelry at Congress Jewelers to fun fashion at Chicos, toys and of course dining at the Blue Giraffe. But what makes this an added attraction is the kids playground and park like atmosphere of the grounds.  Your kids will love the playset and you can take a break as they use up pent up energy!  

Another fun spot for the kids is the Community House which has just undergone a major renovation.  This top rated park is a great stopover between your journeys on the island.  Conveniently located at  2231 Periwinkle Way.

Fun is had by young and old at the Sanibel Recreation Center located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road. This wonderful facility offers up to the public and visitor alike a wide range of healthy activities that the whole family can enjoy.  FromDepending on your length of stay you can join with a membership as a visitor or just pop in with the entire family or singly for a daily fee found here.

The Lighthouse Park is also a great activity, even if technically not a playground, in that you enjoy a beautiful view from the fishing pier and of course you can bring your rod and reel and take in some of our great seafood catches home to your kitchen!  Follow Periwinkle Way all the way to the end towards the East and it will dead end into the park. Open 7 to 7.

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December Shelling On Sanibel Island


Our spot on Sanibel Island offers the idyllic location, with all our condos facing the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.  One cannot help but be captivated by glorious sunsets sitting beachside or from the privacy of the screened-in lanai of one of our comfortably appointed condominiums.  By day, a thrilling and satisfying way to pass the time while vacationing with us is to grab a pail and stroll along our white sand shores hunting for seashells!

Sanibel Island’s unique east-west positioning in the warm Gulf of Mexico, with our beaches being protected by a broad underwater shelf, allows our beaches to be filled with an amazing abundance of sea shells, over 200 different species.  December marks the beginning of the best time of year to engage in the ‘Sanibel Stoop’, as this favored beachcomber pastime is nicknamed here. The more active tides seen from December through April bring in a larger abundance of shells.  

If it’s your first time shell seeking on Sanibel, you may want to learn about them first.  If so, check out the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum where you can learn about shells from Sanibel-Captiva and from around the world.  Then you’re set!  

When you set out to seek treasures from our shores, the best time to do so is at low tides.  If you happen to be here during a full or new moon, the tides recede even further.  In some spots, you can walk out to the sandbar to find handfuls of shells to explore.  Just after a storm, or on a windy day, both great times to be a shell seeker, if you can weather the winds, that is!  

These versatile, beautiful creatures of the sea come in all shapes and sizes.  Just stoop over,  you can find: two different kinds of mollusks – univalves and bivalves, conch, lightening whelk, cockle, tulip, olive and coquina shells. Ours is home to the rare junonia – it’s the jewel of the Island. Within a short bit of time, you’ll have a collection to carry home as a souvenir of your stay at Pelican’s Roost Condominiums.

Gentle Reminder: it is illegal to take live shells, sea urchins, star fish or sand dollars from the beach.  Please be sure to carefully return any live creatures to the sea.

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