U.S. News & World Report has named Sanibel Island on its list of “Best Family Beach Vacations in the U.S.A.” The magazine cited factors such as safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, overall accessibility, spacious accommodations, dining options, and multi-generational appeal. Sanibel Island, a family beach destination on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico, ranked #3 overall behind the Outer Banks and Maui.
For destinations across the U.S. that are considered ideal for family vacations, the list was compiled by U.S. News & World Report and based on satisfaction by readers and travel experts. Sanibel Island received kudos for its wide beautiful beaches filled with seashells and sand dollars. Additionally, hotel room deals are fairly easy to come by. The Gulf waters are alluring, and beach weather is idyllic on this southwest coast of Florida. Fifteen miles of sandy beaches are covered in seashells, which makes for a fun family activity of spotting and gathering these beautiful seashells. Beachcombers engage in the “Sanibel Stoop,” where folks bend over to gather seashells. Sanibel, by its geographic design, catches more seashells because the island runs in an east-west direction. Shelling is best just before low tide or after a burst of rain.
The peak time to visit Sanibel Island is December to April. The secluded Gulf Coast area is quiet, charming, and pretty low key compared to other beach destinations. Dress code is casual, and an overall bohemian chic/ laid-back lifestyle is felt along the Periwinkle Way art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants. Seafood, especially stone crabs and grouper, is popular in Sanibel Island restaurants. A locally grown fruit that’s filled with a chocolate pulp is on the dessert menus in restaurants. Children can also learn about eco-tourism at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, with more than 300 species of birds, including bald eagles; mammals; and reptiles. Adults life the educational component but there are also adult activities on Sanibel Island, such as golf, tennis, biking and shopping.