By Marsha Waters
Florida’s Sanibel Island is an ideal destination for families, with plenty of great activities for the kids to enjoy and safe beaches for wading and swimming. It is completely different than the busy party zones that are known for their Spring Break nightlife. The primary attractions of this peaceful family vacation spot are the sunsets, seashells and beautiful bird life.
Here are some tips for what to do when you bring the kids to this summer hotspot.
|Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons|
Search for Shells
The beaches of Sanibel Island are perfect for shell collecting, and hundreds of people come here to wander up and down the beach, their eyes glued to the sand looking for beautiful treasures. Little children love picking up beautiful shells and examining them, and it’s a great way to teach your kids about nature.
If you wade out a little farther into the water, you’ll be able to see all sorts of beautiful underwater creatures including nine-legged starfish and crabs in shells. Your children will be endlessly fascinated by these strange and beautiful sea creatures. The beaches of Sanibel island slope very gradually into the sea, which means that small children can wade out several yards without you having to worry about deep water or sudden drop-offs. This makes playing on the beach a lot more relaxing and fun for families.
Go on a Family Bike Ride
Sanibel Island has over 25 miles of protected bike paths, which are fantastic for exploring. You can rent a bike for the day or the week from one of the many local companies that provide bikes and accessories for children and adults. You could even rent a tandem bike so that your child can ride along behind you.
Why not pack a picnic and set off on bikes for the day, exploring the beautiful island, stopping somewhere peaceful to eat lunch together?
On Sanibel Island, as long as you have a license, you can fish from the shore. Or, you could hire a fishing charter and head out to sea on an adventure. You’ll be able to catch tasty whiting on the beach in front of your vacation condo.
Cook and savor some of the best and freshest fish you can imagine. If your kids think that they don’t like fish because all they have ever tasted is frozen fish sticks, it’s time to show them what real fresh fish tastes like.
Explore the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
The J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is considered one of the top 10 birding spots in the nation. This is a lovely place to hike with your family, and young and old alike will enjoy the peaceful natural environment. This estuary provides shelter for several fish, birds, reptiles and other animals. On a sunny afternoon in the winter, you might even catch a glimpse of an alligator or a crocodile.
Visiting during low tide between October and April is a great time to see the mudflats covered in thousands of wading and swimming birds, including great egrets, wood storks, great and little blue herons, cormorants, ospreys and bald eagles. This is a popular resting place where the birds eat to build up the energy required for their long migratory flights.
The Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is a perfect place to go for a peaceful walk with your kids and reveal to them the beauty of nature. Make sure to bring the camera with you to capture some of the beautiful birds that you see.
These are just a few ideas of what you can do on a relaxing family holiday to Sanibel Island. This quiet and laidback destination seems like it was designed for families, with such beautiful natural surroundings, a quiet pace of life and so many great active and outdoor attractions to enjoy.
About the Author: Marsha Waters is a travel writer who has visited Sanibel Island several times with her husband and their girls, aged 4 and 7. She books her travels using the Expedia travel service.
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