Like a gulf breeze, many of our favorite island establishments, restaurants included, come and go. With most sticking the test of time and earning status as a “legendary” island restaurant, there are always a few new restaurants that pop up on the island during the off-season, ready and waiting for the seasonal crowds to descend on the all-new eateries. A few of the newest Sanibel Island restaurants have been outlined below. If you decide to visit—let us know what you thought about your experience!
One of Sanibel Island’s most iconic restaurants, The Jacaranda is all-new and under new ownership. The tropical carpeting and trellises are gone and replaced with rustic coastal flair—and all new menu that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From burgers to tacos and a to- die-for grouper basket The Jac is sure to hit the spot. With the help of new chef Chef Phillipe Schroeder, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, those who loved the old Jacaranda are sure to enjoy the all-new experience for those who want to embark on a culinary journey. For more information, visit thejacsanibel.com or call 239-472-1771.
Paper Fig Kitchen
Owned and operated by Jeramie and Debra Campana, Paper Fig Kitchen is Sanibel Island’s newest quick-order eatery. Sourcing ingredients from local farms, the duo work together to create hand-crafted recipes including a fully-stocked cold case of ready to eat food and oven-ready hors d’oeuvres. There is also a made-to-order board with sandwiches, salads, soups and more. For more information, visit paperfigkitchen.com or call 239-887-0050.
The Paper Fig Kitchen is at 2003 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.
Beloved island restaurant, Traders, has opened a second location further down on Periwinkle Road, dubbed T2. Adopting a fresh and preppy vibe, the two restaurants share Chef Mike Patnode whose Traders offerings bleed over into T2. Nibble on oysters, gazpacho, and more offered on a one-page menu—a curated selection from the larger Traders establishment. Cocktails are to not be missed during a visit to T2. Try a blood-orange margarita or a gin and tonic with elderflower liquor and key lime juice—yum! For the Traders experience you know and love, but with a modern twist, stop by T2 located at 2340 Periwinkle Way. For more information, visit t2traders.com or call 239-558-8919.
Sanibel’s largest arts organization, BIG ARTS, has announced that tickets for their 2019 season are officially on sale!
The 2019 season will feature 17 main stage performances as well as several exhibits, a film series, lecture programs and more. The 2019 Schein Hall series runs from January 2019 through March, kicking off on January 5th with Beginnings, a Chicago tribute band that has previously performed at Disney’s EPCOT Center and throughout Las Vegas since 2002.
Acts following Beginnings include classical acts like the Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet with Sharon Isbin, Oboe Fusion, American virtuoso pianist Jonathan Biss, and seven piece brass band Bumper Jacksons.
With events highlighting pop, contemporary, bluegrass, classical and more, there truly is something for everyone who attends one of the exciting Big Arts shows.
In addition to main stage shows, a weekly film series takes place every Monday night from November to march. The series, chock full of foreign and independent documentaries from around the world, kicks off on November 5th at 7pm. The film shown, Itzhak, delves deep into the life of Itzhak Perlman.
There will also be a FORUM lecture series, host to some of the most highly anticipated events of the season. These lectures typically sell out very quickly, we recommend securing tickets as soon as possible. One of the lecturers this year is Lynn Povich, author of Good Girls Revolt.
New this year, BIG ARTS, has plans to host lectures focused on the theater as well as an expanded series of staged play readings.
Can’t wait until November to start attending? In October, both the Phillips Gallery and Founders Gallery will open to the public. Each gallery showcases one exhibit per month. Each showcase will begin with an artist’s reception that is also free and open to the public.
Though you may only spend a week or two on Sanibel Island during your stay with us here at Signal Inn, we highly recommend attending any BIG ARTS events for the opportunity to not only experience great music, performances, lectures, films and more, but also to mingle with the Sanibel Community and support the local island art scene.
Learn more and purchase tickets at bigarts.org.
BIG ARTS is located just 2.8 miles away from Signal Inn at 900 Dunlop Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957.
You’ve explored the sand, and maybe even picked up a few shells on the way. Now, introduce yourself to the waves and waters of the glistening Gulf of Mexico.
Experiencing life on the water is easy on Sanibel Island, especially with more watersport activates than you can count on two hands. Whether you prefer smooth, easy sailing or adrenaline-inducing fast paced fun, watersports on Sanibel island are fun for everyone, regardless of age or skill.
Cruise on top of the waves (or explore the Sanibel River or Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge) from the comfort of a kayak or paddleboard. There are several shallow and calm local waterways that allow people of all skill levels to kick back and enjoy an afternoon on the water. Kayaking and paddle boarding is one of the best ways to get up close and personal with our area’s local wildlife residents. It is not uncommon to catch a dolphin swimming nearby or a manatee gracefully drifting underneath your feet.
If you prefer high energy excitement on the water, head on over to Captiva to hop aboard a wave runner and skim across the coast for the most thrilling watersport activity on Sanibel-Captiva. Please keep in mind, all wave runner drivers must be 16 years of age and provide identification with a birthdate present.
If you’re a boater, Sanibel Island is host to several local rental companies that will get you and your family on the water in the perfect vessel for your needs. Whether you’d prefer to laze the day away on a sturdy pontoon boat or head off shore for a little bit of fishing in a state-of-the-art fishing boat, there truly is an option for everyone.
If you are interested in participating in any watersport activities on Sanibel Island, do not hesitate to reach out to our front desk staff. They are always happy to guide you towards a watersports rental company that suits your specific needs and budget!
Great news from across the pond! British daily broadsheet newspaper, The Telegraph, has named The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel “Florida’s Best Kept Secret.”
As described by The Telegraph:
“With 100 subtropical islands and a wealth of outdoor activities and sights to choose from, it’s easy to see why Florida’s secret heart lies in the unspoilt paradise Fort Myers and Sanibel.”
Recognizing Southwest Florida’s low profile and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration it’s easy to see just why our island destination of Sanibel was selected
“It is a place where you can find yourself spotting manatees and dolphins, then soaking up the sunshine at a charming open-air beach eatery. A place where you can immerse yourself in nature, gaze in wonder as glorious sunsets turn the sky a rich red, or simply wander off to collect some of the dazzling array of shells that wash up on the soft sands,” writes Sarah Gordon, the author of the expose.
Local attractions highlighted by the article include Bowman’s Beach, D.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, local kayak and bike trails, and the many opportunities for observing wildlife.
At Signal Inn, we invite and welcome visitors from around the world to join us right here on the pristine sands of Sanibel Island. Experience pure paradise from your very own private gulf side villa, steps away from world-class beaches littered with one of a kind shells. Exploring the island is a breeze when Signal Inn is your home away from home. Our perfect location provides access to bike trails, and a bounty of unique island boutiques and restaurants.
As we enter the summer months, we are pleased to announce that we are offering “off-season” discounts all summer long. If you’d like to join us and experience our “secret” island for yourself, please make your reservation on www.signalinn.com or give our travel experts a call at (800) 992-4690.
To read the article by The Telegraph, click here.
On June 21st, National Seashell Day returns to the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and we are inviting you and your family to celebrate this special day with us, right here on the sands of Sanibel Island.
On the nationally recognized holiday, join shelling enthusiasts and master naturalists will come together on this special day to host a slew of events and activities for those who would like to shell, learn, and enjoy the company of others in attendance.
In the past, this event has drawn national attention including a visit from Good Morning America.
“Our beautiful shells have long attracted writers, artists and innovators to our beaches for creative inspiration and a connection to nature. National Seashell Day is a celebration of the gifts from the sea that make our area so special,” said the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.”
The latest addition to this annual event is the 2018 quest to break the world record to create the Largest Human Seashell. Shell Oil Co. currently holds the record with 855 participants.
To participate, head on over to our neighbors on Fort Myers Beach, specifically at 6200 Estero Blvd. The event is free to participate in, but interested record-breakers must pre-register, as the free t-shirts will be provided to the attendees to color-coordinate the shell image. Pre-registrars will also receive a free bus pass, as there is no on-site parking in the area around the beach.
Participants can use the free Park and Ride LeeTran Beach Trolleys (Route 400), which run every 10-15 minutes. The trolleys leave from the Beach Park & Ride at 11101 Summerlin Square and Lovers Key Park & Ride at 8700 Estero Blvd., on the east side of the road.
Check-in begins at 6:30 a.m.to 8:30 a.m. and the photo of the shell created by the outline of the participants will begin at 9 a.m.
To register visit www.leevcb.com/events/2018-national-seashell-day.
If you would like to celebrate National Seashell Day and stay right here on Sanibel, activities and events will be hosted on-island all day long.
Visit www.nationalseashellday.com for more information.
Can’t make it to Sanibel Island in June? The fact of the matter is that every day is National Seashell Day on Sanibel! Cruise the surf all day, every day to find beautiful and unique shells crafted by Mother Nature herself.
See you at Signal Inn!
Your Sanibel vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. Explore all of the attractions Sanibel Island has to offer with a borrowed attractions pass from the Sanibel Public Library.
The library now offers passes to four of the island’s popular attractions, The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples and CROW’s Visitor Education Center.
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the United States that is solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them. The natural history museum that exhibits beautiful shells from around the globe
Explore and discover the rich history of Sanibel up close and personal at The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. Experience the story of Sanibel is told from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled on the island in the 1800s.
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is a brain-building powerhouse and Southwest Florida’s first museum devoted for children and families to learn through play. With hands-on exhibit galleries, the accessible museum invites visitors of all ages to journey through the swamps of the Everglades, weave through a maze, climb a two-story banyan tree, or experiment with the water play station.
At CROW’s Visitor Education Center, guests learn about CROW’s history and day-to-day operations through displays, interactive exhibits and video. The center also features live animal
exhibits, special children’s areas and live camera feeds of the hospital intake room and several
outdoor rehabilitation enclosures.
Cultural passes may be reserved to check out for one week using a current Sanibel Public Library card.
To purchase a visitor’s library card for the Sanibel Public Library, please visit the library and pay a fee of just $10. A visitor’s library card is good for one year.
The Sanibel Public Library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the country. Library Journal named it a 5-Star Library in its annual America’s Star Libraries survey.
Sun, sand, and Easter eggs? Celebrating Easter on Sanibel is truly a one-of-a-kind island experience that your family is sure to enjoy and never forget.
Start your very special Easter Sunday on Sanibel Island at the outdoor, non-denominational Christian Easter morning sunrise service on the Sanibel causeway. Hosted by the Sanibel Community Church, the service starts at 6:30 am sharp and will include a full praise band, a youth presentation, ministry from Teen Challenge and a declaration of the Word of God. Arrive early for complimentary coffee and donuts.
Next, head over to the Sanibel Island Farmers market. Browse through the marketplace that is chock full with local vendors offering baked goods, live plants, honey, pasta, cheese, sausages, fresh fish, fresh organic produce, and more. The Sanibel Farmers Market is open every Sunday, October – May at City Hall from 8am to 1pm. It offers a large variety of fresh and original products from locally grown fruits and vegetables to fresh caught seafood and homemade salsas and dips. The vendors are local businesses and farms who come every week to contribute to this unique experience on the island.
If the kids are looking for a local Easter egg hunt, you’re in for a treat. Hop aboard the most unique Easter egg hunt experience in Southwest Florida. Adventures in Paradise is prepared to whisk you away to Picnic island for a one of a kind egg hunt on the sand. Easter pails and water are provided. Egg hunt is for those 11 years of age and under. Keep an eye out for dolphins!
End the perfect Easter Sunday on Sanibel at one of our local gourmet restaurants with a delicious Sanibel Island Easter Dinner including Thistle Lodge, Traders, or Il Cielo.
Feel like staying in to end your day? Watch the sunset from our beach or from the comfort of your lanai. At Signal Inn, an island-inspired Easter celebration has never been easier or more memorable.
Visiting in March? You’re in luck, March marks the most popular time on the island for community events and fundraisers. One of the most popular events is the Lion’s Art Fair, held at the Sanibel Community House on March 16th & 17, 2018.
Join locals, visitors, and over 100 traveling artists and vendors from across the country for an outdoor event you won’t want to miss. For a $5 donation, spend the weekend shopping and socializing at the indoor/outdoor event.
Don’t miss over 100 silent auction items plus raffle items that include art, sculptures, local services, restaurants, vacations, and more! Raffle tickets will be available for purchase on site.
Your donation for admission will benefit various Sanibel Island charities, vision and hearing based charities and local scholarships.
Parking for the event is free and available across the street and at other nearby locations.
Learn more about the Lion’s Art Fair at www.sanibelcaptivalionsclubartsandcraftsfair.com
The Sanibel Community House is located at 2173 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957
One of the most pleasant ways to enjoy our Island Paradise is taking a leisurely ride on a Trolley! Adventures in Paradise offers you just that experience and we are happy to be one of the stops for all of their great adventure tours on the island and off our coast.
Treat you and your family to this unique way to explore the island’s key historical and scenic views in an open air, fun filled atmosphere, as they glide through the island.
There’s a multitude of other tours and adventures to choose from, such as the Shelling Cruise (with lunch!). Billed as a vacation within a vacation, they transport you to another beach world complete with beach chairs, umbrellas, snorkeling equipment and, of course, a great lunch to refresh yourself! The great team takes you for some hands on encounters with seahorses, starfish, pufferfish and other creatures of the sea.
Who doesn’t love to see dolphins in action? We do, too! Sanibel is blessed with loads of opportunities to see dolphins and the best way is on a Dolphin Cruise. The staff takes you out at the best times and places where they tend to congregate, giving you a great up close and personal view of our dolphin friends! Offered Mornings, Afternoons and Evenings as well. Post these videos on your Social Media favorite and thrill your friends. And don’t forget they offer fishing cruises for the anglers in your family. Their guides take you out to where they’ll bite!
Every holiday offers up special themed cruises such as: Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas. When you book with us at Signal Inn, remember to book a cruise and make your experience with us all the more exciting!
Extra bonus! The trolley will pick you up close to Signal Inn, so no need to get in your car at all.
Sanibel Island is the perfect paradise for pet lovers. As you know, at Signal Inn, we welcome your furry friends of all shapes and sizes! When you stay with us, you don’t have to sit on the sand and wish your best buddy was by your side. Cats and dogs of shapes, breeds, and sizes are free to enjoy a vacation on Sanibel Island when you book a stay with us at our beautiful gulf side beach property!
As a pet lover, you may be concerned that you won’t be able to explore the island with your fur baby by your side. You will be pleased to hear that much of our island is pet-friendly, more so than many other beach destinations in Florida.
First things first, all of Sanibel Island’s beaches are pet friendly! When many of our guests arrive, they assume that only our area of the beach is pet friendly. This is not the case as all of our beautiful, shell-strewn beaches from Algiers to Blind Pass and beyond will welcome your pet with open arms. Remember, please bring your own doggie bags to pick up any “presents” your pet may leave behind AND to keep your pet on a leash, it’s required by the City of Sanibel. Our insider tip: bring your pet a towel, plenty of fresh water and a water bowl to keep them hydrated, the beach can get warm for humans and dogs!
Pet Friendly Attractions on Sanibel
Want to delve deeper into the island life with your pet? Visit Sanibel’s pet friendly attraction, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Explore miles of trails that weave through award-winning conservation areas chockfull of native flora and fauna you and your pet will enjoy! Keep an eye out for birds like herons and bald eagles, raccoons, otters, squirrels, lizards, and yes… alligators! Please keep your pet away from water, and all wildlife, to ensure the safety of all animals.
Pet Friendly Dining on Sanibel
According to www.bringfido.com, there are currently 14 pet friendly restaurants on Sanibel. We have outline a few of our favorites in our blog post Pet Friendly Restaurants on Sanibel.
2163 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
Every destination has that one restaurant you must visit while you’re in town. On Sanibel, it is The Island Cow. You can’t miss the sign as you drive West on historic Periwinkle Way, and you can’t miss the chance to order from their delicious and large menu. Offering your favorites, along with a little bit of local flavor and a lot of seafood – of course- there is something available for everyone in your party.
The dining room is lined by an outdoor patio, perfect for you and your pooch. Well behaved dogs can enjoy the Island Cow experience, too!
Olde Sanibel Shoppes, 630 Tarpon Bay Rd #1, Sanibel, FL 33957
For the ultimate island breakfast, stop in to The Over Easy Cafe. Dine on your morning favorites like skillets, scramblers and the infamous “stuffed” french toast. Lunch items are available as well, but be sure to get there before they close at 2:30pm! Dogs are more than welcome on the outdoor patio in front of the restaurant.
362 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
What good is a beach vacation without a trip to the local ice cream shop? Pinocchio’s, located on the east end of the island, is a Sanibel Tradition- especially after a long day enjoying the sun and sand. Offering 37 homemade flavors every single day, the flavors rotate from their menu of over 120! Indulge in a World-Famous Sanibel Krunch, Dirty Sand Dollar or Key Lime Frozen Yogurt with your furry friend out on their front porch!
Additional info about Pets on Sanibel
Looking for more tips about traveling with pets? Check out Tips for Traveling with Dogs, our blog post all about maintaining your pets health and wellness in the heart of paradise.
Need a vet while you’re on Sanibel? Check out a few veterinarians on Sanibel island here.
See you and your pet on Sanibel Island soon!