We want your vacation to be a comfortable and relaxing one. Here are some tips to help you enjoy our island environment.
Sanibel is world renowned for its shelling. The island’s unusual east/west orientation makes it a natural collection point for an amazing number and variety of shells traveling north on the Gulf current.
The ideal time for shelling is at low tide (look for a posting of tide schedules in our inn office), but you’ll always find something fascinating at the beach. Explore shallow water as well as the shoreline – polarized sunglasses can help with visibility.
Please do not collect live shells, including urchins, starfish and sand dollars. While they are interesting to study, it is important to preserve them by placing them back in the water and looking for other shells. There’s no shortage! The taking of live shells is illegal and the fines are hefty ($500 per shell).
We have buckets, shovels and a shell cleaning station to make your collecting easy. And to help you identify your treasures, there a laminated shell guide in each of our inn rooms.
With twenty-five miles of paved paths, biking is an ideal way to explore Sanibel. Many of the paths are shaded, and the steepest grades you’ll encounter are the bridges spanning the canals.
The Tarpon Tale Inn provides complementary bicycles for all our adult guests, and children’s bikes are easily rented on the island. You can cycle to the lighthouse, the island’s many beaches, the wildlife refuge, and even to Captiva if you’re ambitious! Detailed maps and mileage of the trails can be found here http://www.sanibeltrails.com/sanibel-bike-paths.aspx.
Speed limits are low here and there are no traffic lights. Enjoy our leisurely pace and please keep a watchful eye out for cyclists and wildlife. Traffic during high season can be heavy, but our location at the east end makes getting on and off the island significantly easier. Traffic tends to peak coming onto the island from 8 to 10 in the morning and off the island from 4 – 6 in the afternoon.
Over half of Sanibel’s land is protected from development, making the island a paradise not only for humans, but for wildlife as well. The birding here is incredible with osprey, bald eagle, egrets, herons and spoonbills. There are frequently manatees in the canals, and dolphins are commonly sighted from shore.
The waters surrounding Sanibel offer outstanding fishing opportunities for fishermen of all skills and experience. The Sanibel fishing pier is walking distance from the inn, and surf fishing, back bay and deep sea fishing can be enjoyed here year round.
Raccoons, squirrels, marsh rabbits, turtles and gopher tortoises make their home here, and bobcats may be sighted as well.
Mosquitoes and no-see-ums make their home here, too, and are most common in early evening. We recommend using repellent, especially if you are sensitive to their bites.
Of special note are our alligators. They are fascinating, and while they generally retreat from humans you must NOT approach them and should NEVER feed these wild creatures.
Fishing line, plastic bags and six-pack rings are the greatest threat to our wildlife. Birds become entangled in line, and sea turtles swallow bags. Please dispose of your litter properly – it could save a life!
Should you encounter an injured animal or bird, call C.R.O.W. (Care and Rehabilitation of Wildlife) at 239-472-3644, ext. 222.
There is so much to see and do on Sanibel. We’ve included links on our website and would be delighted to provide advice or suggestions to our guests, either while they are planning their stay or while they are with us on the island.