Sometimes the sun gods align and you get the perfect weekend getaway.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel for work and decided to extend my trip to Sanibel Island, Florida for a few days so I could re-charge from my busy schedule. I have a day job that keeps me busy, a side hustle that is my passion (Photography)...and of course all the things in between that keep us living our best life.
My decision to stay on Sanibel was a good one, and the sun gods were especially kind to me. I had 80 degree and sunshine all weekend which is like hitting the lottery when it comes to Florida weather in January.
What I Loved about Sanibel
Sanibel has done a nice job of preserving the island with 67% of the island protected as conservation land. The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see some coastal wildlife, including alligators. The main trail is well maintained and is an easy-breezy 4 miles round trip. I couldn't figure out why this hike felt so easy....no hills! Something I'm not use to living in New England.
I honestly never thought I'd say this, but shelling was pretty damn fun and slightly addicting. I can see why people spend hours combing the beaches. I woke up early each day to photograph the sunrise and on both days the shellers had the jump on me. Armed with nets and bags, these early birds were on top of their game.
Pro tip: Get up early to beat the tourists to find the best shells. I found shells wading in shallow water as well.
The beaches on Sanibel are expansive and remind me a bit of the Rhode Island coast. The water is beautiful and there are shells everywhere. I hit up Bowman Beach and Lighthouse Park Beach during my stay. Bowman beach was less crowded and there's plenty of space to walk along the shore if you want to get lost in your thoughts. Lighthouse Park Beach had beautiful sunsets, a fishing pier, nature trail, and historic Sanibel Island Lighthouse.
Pro-tip: Parking is $5.00 an hour and adds up quick. When looking for accommodations, look for ones with beach access.
Where I stayed
There are A LOT of hotel choices on the Island. I chose The Sunshine Inn on the southeastern part of the island for it's affordability and proximity to the historic Sanibel Lighthouse which made waking up before sunrise that much easier. The inn was very clean, tastefully decorated, in a beautiful neighborhood, and was really well appointed. I appreciated the well-thought out amenities: dishes, silverware, fridge, and microwave. Best of all, this inn had direct beach access which was a quick walk across the street. I would definitely stay here again.
Would I visit again? Absolutely.
To see all my photos from my trip visit my portfolio website.