Sanibel And Captiva Are Sister Islands With Distinct Differences

It’s an amazing fact of life that two small barrier islands in such proximity can have their own distinct identity. But then again, even “identical” twins can be very different so perhaps it is not so amazing that Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, only minutes from one another, can be compared on their differences.
And people coming to the area should certainly take advantage of the two islands as they both offer something of value.
Sanibel is the larger of the two islands and home to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.
Five thousand acres of Sanibel Island are preserved lands. The Refuge was named for J. Norwood Darling, a man who was a Pulitzer prize winning political cartoonist and who used his art to support conservation. For many years, Darling had a winter home in Florida on Captiva Island but it was Sanibel that had the land that was acquired for the Refuge. The Refuge is probably the most distinguishing characteristic of Sanibel Island, as well as its saving grace in the face of any threat of development.
Of course one could stay on Captiva and bike or drive over to the wildlife refuge, but there is something particularly immediate and attractive in staying on Sanibel within an easy walk to the Refuge.
Both Sanibel and Captiva have some great restaurants, but Captiva has a greater feeling of village center. It’s not a large center, but it is a definable geo area, quaint and charming, as opposed to Sanibel where the stores and restaurants are scattered through out the island.
Sanibel offers a greater variety of accommodations and a greater spread in price range. So families, couples or singles seeking lodging will find both less expensive options and more variety in their housing alternatives on Sanibel.
There are more shops and a greater diversity of shops on Sanibel and both of the larger grocery stores, Jerry’s and Bailey’s, are on Sanibel. One charm for Captiva, however, is the easy access to boating adventures.
So before choosing your island, maybe it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of each. Either way, you’ll be happy.

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