Features to Note:
On the Gulf of Mexico just off Ft. Myers, Sanibel Island has wonderful unspoiled and beaches (shallow-- great for tots), and is known as one of the world's top shelling spots. (Read how to clean seashells and use them for decorations and crafts.) Other fun activities include biking, bird aviary, boating, and weekly crab races-- read more at Best of Sanibel Island for families.
Sanibel island is beautiful and determined to remain so: for example, no multi-storey hotels or condominiums are allowed; and the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, covers nearly a third of the island's total area.
Sanibel Island has several resorts that suit families, grouped together as the "Sanibel Collection", which includes the Sanibel Inn, with 8 acres of tropical garden, and the Sundial Resort, which has condominium suites with kitchens, 5 heated pools, and kids club (seasonal). The Sanibel Sunset Beach Resort has secluded 4 acres; affordable rates; guests can explore miles of shoreline, and have free use of bikes to explore miles of paved trails on Sanibel.
Not on the island but overlooking it is Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa, an 80-acre resort with a kids club for ages 5 to 12.*
On Captiva Island, the South Seas Island Resort has dock fishing and other family activities, kids club, kayaking among mangroves, and of course the white-sand beach.
More about Sanibel and Captiva Islands
This brief profile is meant to introduce this destination to family vacationers; please note that the writer has not visited in person.
*Always check destination websites for updates!