Introducing Sanibel & Captiva Islands
By preference and by design, island life on Sanibel and Captiva is informal and egalitarian, and riches are rarely flaunted. Even Captiva's mansions are hidden behind thick foliage and sport playful names such as 'Seas the Day.' Development on Sanibel has been carefully managed: the northern half is almost entirely protected within the JN 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge. While there are hotels aplenty, the beachfront is free of commercial-and-condo blight. Plus, public beach access is limited to a handful of spread-out parking lots, so there is no crush of day-trippers in one place.
There is no 'downtown.' On Sanibel, businesses and restaurants are spread leisurely along the inner-island corridor: Periwinkle Way, which becomes Sanibel-Captiva Rd. On Captiva, the tiny village is confined to a single street, Andy Rosse Lane. There are no traffic lights and the preferred mode of transport is the family-friendly bike.