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Times of the Islands Magazine

Top 16 Spots To Take The Kids Around Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Jun 27, 2018 06:36PM ● By Kevin
Are you constantly trying to find something to do with/for your kids here on Sanibel and/or Captiva Island(s)? If so, you know that the summertime can make it more difficult to keep your children occupied. From learning opportunities and museums to quirky places to eat, we put together a list of some of the best spots on the islands and the surrounding area to keep the kiddos from bouncing off the walls (at least in your own home).

Below is our top 16 list broken out by venue category, which includes educational, exploration and wildlife, food spots, and places in nearby Fort Myers/Fort Myers Beach. As always, if we're missing any of your favorites, tell us in the comments below!


There are so many different ways to educate our kids. From visual representations, like museums, to interactive lessons; there are a wide variety of options on Sanibel Island to teach your kids all about history, local sea shells, and much more. Here are our top picks.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum - Sanibel FL

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum - Sanibel, FL

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island is the only museum in the United States that is solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them. Ours is a natural ... Read More » 

Sanibel Historical Museum  Village - Sanibel FL

Sanibel Historical Museum & Village - Sanibel, FL

Sanibel Historical Museum and Village was founded in 1984 with a mission to preserve and share Sanibel history. The story of Sanibel is told from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early ... Read More » 



J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Visitor & Education Center - Sanibel, FL

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, the non-profit Friends of the Refuge organization, supports environmental education, services, and conservation at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildli... Read More » 

Sanibel Sea School - Sanibel FL

Sanibel Sea School - Sanibel, FL

Our Vision and Mission At Sanibel Sea School our vision is a world where all people value, understand and care for the ocean. Our mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person a... Read More » 

Sanibel Public Library - Sanibel FL

Sanibel Public Library - Sanibel, FL

The Sanibel Public Library enhances the quality of life of Sanibel residents and visitors by providing opportunities and experiences that encourage discovery, inspiration, and enrichment ... Read More » 

Exploration & Wildlife

If your child prefers the great outdoors, why not try one of these cruise/adventure options? There's a lot of wildlife to be seen out on the waters off of the islands, especially dolphins. Here are a few of our picks that have specialty options/kids programs.

Captiva Cruises - Captiva FL

Captiva Cruises - Captiva, FL

Captiva Cruises is located at 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, on beautiful Captiva Island, Florida. Founded in 1986, Captiva Cruises is an excursion boat company, which operates a fleet of vessel... Read More » 

Tarpon Bay Explorers - Sanibel FL

Tarpon Bay Explorers - Sanibel, FL

Welcome to Tarpon Bay Explorers! We are the licensed concession to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We provide fun, low-impact, educational & recreational opportuniti... Read More » 

Adventures in Paradise - Outfitters - Sanibel FL

Adventures in Paradise - Outfitters - Sanibel, FL

Owned and operated by the Stewart family on Sanibel Island since 1986, we hope to bring you our love of the sea; dolphins, manatee, sea otters, seahorses and shelling throughout the water... Read More » 

Food Spots

Every kid gets hungry after a day out exploring and learning. These quirky food spots each have their own taste and flare. You can choose a view of Sanibel's famous lighthouse, or find entertainment in decor and interesting menu options. There's even a fun spot to satisfy junior's sweet tooth. Check out these top picks!

Lighthouse Cafe - Sanibel FL

Lighthouse Cafe - Sanibel, FL

We boldly state that we serve the World's Best Breakfast and we mean it. Next time you are vacationing or visiting Sanibel Island, we invite you to stop in and see for yourself! Read More » 

PinocchiosGepettos  - Sanibel FL

Pinocchios/Gepettos - Sanibel, FL

The Pinocchios Sanibel Store is an island vacation destination. Many say Pinocchios is the first place they come to on the island when they arrive and the last place they visit before hea... Read More » 

Island Cow  - Sanibel FL

Island Cow - Sanibel, FL

Voted a “Top 5 Breakfast in Florida!” by Southern Living Magazine Voted “Best Lunch” by the Best of the Islands • Voted “Best Family Dining” by the Best of the Islands What’s better... Read More » 

Blue Giraffe - Sanibel FL

Blue Giraffe - Sanibel, FL

A day spent at the shops of Periwinkle Place is sure to work up an appetite. Compliment your relaxing day of shopping by treating yourself to our many food and drink options. Dine outside... Read More » 

Nearby in Fort Myers/Fort Myers Beach

If you're willing to venture off of the islands, Fort Myers/Fort Myers Beach have some great options, as well - in any of the above categories, plus one really cool marina and resort to check out, which we've listed below.

IMAG - History  Science Center - Fort Myers FL

IMAG - History & Science Center - Fort Myers, FL

The IMAG History & Science Center is a family-friendly destination offering fun and educational interactive exhibits, aquariums, history displays, and a 3D theater. The mission is to ... Read More » 

Pink Shell Beach Resort  Marina - Fort Myers Beach FL

Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina - Fort Myers Beach, FL

With 12 lush acres our Fort Myers Beach resort includes all the conveniences and amenities you’d expect from a family-friendly resort. Enjoy close proximity to an array of activities and ... Read More » 

Salty Sams Pirate Cruise - Fort Myers Beach FL

Salty Sam's Pirate Cruise - Fort Myers Beach, FL

Step into a 90 minute interactive comedy adventure aboard the Pieces of Eight, a 65ft replica Spanish galleon. Ye will be sworn in as pirates, have live cannon rounds, a mutiny against th... Read More » 

Mound House - Fort Myers Beach FL

Mound House - Fort Myers Beach, FL

Estero Island’s oldest standing structure at the Mound House has recently been restored to its 1921 grandeur and is now open as a cultural and environmental learning center. Mound House i... Read More »