Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sanibel Island - Florida - Au Natural All the Way

By Jennifer Weiss

SUMMARY: Banking on its stunning and beautifully preserved natural beauty, Sanibel Island is the place to go for recreational adventures and waterfront pursuits that need no cosmetic attention.

Just offshore of Fort Myers, Florida, you can find a little barrier island that has left the glitz, glamour, and tourist attractions to the rest of the state. Banking on its stunning and beautifully preserved natural beauty, Sanibel Island is the place to go for recreational adventures and waterfront pursuits that need no cosmetic attention.

The beaches of Sanibel Island are always the main attraction with their 12 miles of stunning blue waterfront that are sure to surpass even the wildest expectations for sheer elegance and pristine beauty. World-renowned for their excellent shelling, visitors can explore miles and miles of unobstructed white sands at the popular and secluded Bowman’s Beach. At the Sanibel Causeway Beaches, sightseeing is always the order of the day as dolphins frolic around the bay and sunset brings spectacular views and gorgeous colored skies.

While the beaches offer scenic beauty and recreational pursuits such as swimming and windsurfing, the waterfront is more than just a place to soak up the warm Florida sun and explore the depths of the Gulf. At Lighthouse Park Beach, the Sanibel Lighthouse is a picture-perfect attraction that towers over the land at 94 feet. Also available are a nature trail, where you can enjoy a hiking excursion whenever you need to stretch your legs, and a fishing pier with surprisingly excellent reeling opportunities.

Occupying more than half of the island and known as one of Florida’s best refuges, the J.N. ("Ding") Darling National Wildlife Refuge along Sanibel-Captiva Road is the perfect place to soak in the unfettered beauty of the island. Off Wildlife Drive, which is not open on Fridays, visitors can hike the Indigo Trail in search of alligators, white ibis, or night heron or stroll the Wulfert Keys Trail for a view of Pine Island Sound. The Bailey Tract offers biking along a 100-acre tract that is teeming with wildlife and freshwater plants, while canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, and boating can also be found throughout the wildlife refuge.

After exploring the natural wonders of the island, punctuate your stay with a little history by stopping by the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. Here you will find displays that highlight and recreate the island’s history, from its Calusa tribal era all the way up to its pioneer days. The turn of the century clothing is always an interesting sight, as are the various pieces of memorabilia, but Pioneer Clarence Rutland’s original home from the early 1900s and the Burnap Cottage, the oldest building on the island, are can’t miss favorites.

Due to its prime location just off the mainland, Sanibel Island is also a convenient jumping off point for numerous other Florida excursions. Visitors can cross the bridge to Captiva Island, which offers 6 miles of unspoiled beaches in a secluded and sparsely populated paradise. For those who want a little more action, the nearby Fort Myers area is a bustling wonderland of sights and attractions such as Manatee Park, the Edison-Ford Estates, and Lover’s Key State Park.

For a vacation filled to the brim with the sun, sand, and surf of this lovely barrier island, consider the waterfront convenience and the many amenities of Sanibel Island vacation rentals. Sandy adventures and seashell-hunting expeditions lie just steps out your backdoor, while the comforts of home offer a much needed reprieve from the untamed amusements of the great outdoors. To experience an island getaway without any of the hassles that can crop during a family vacation or a romantic retreat, book your Sanibel Island rental today.

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