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Sanibel Island Named “Florida’s Best Kept Secret”

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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.

June on Sanibel: National Seashell Day

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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!

 

Sanibel on a Budget

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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.

Easter on Sanibel

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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.

Sanibel Island March Events

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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

Adventures in Paradise Trolley Tours

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Credit: Adventures in Paradise

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.  

https://www.adventureinparadiseinc.com/sanibel-trolley-schedule/

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.  

https://www.adventureinparadiseinc.com/cruises/

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.  

Pet Friendly Sanibel !

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Dog Friendly Sanibel Island

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!

Review our pet policies on our pet friendly accommodations on Sanibel page.

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.

Sanibel Beaches

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.

Island Cow:

2163 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957

(239) 472-0606

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!

Over Easy Cafe:

Olde Sanibel Shoppes, 630 Tarpon Bay Rd #1, Sanibel, FL 33957

(239) 472-2625

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.

Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream:

362 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957

(239) 472-6566

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!

Holidays on Sanibel Island

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Spending the Holidays on Sanibel Island is always a great experience, one that you and your family will not soon forget.

 

We celebrate in a completely different way down here, certainly with no winter wear clothing!  So drop the boots and scarves and bring out your favorite sandals for some beach time and sunsets.

 

To start the month off you will enjoy the 33rd Annual Luminary Festival on Sanibel and Captiva islands, the first of December will find Sanibel aglow with luminaries brightening up the night for an evening of fun shopping, dining and experiences. Enjoy the decorated shops, a visit from Santa, a live Nativity Scene and live music from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Sanibel Community Church. The second night finds the Luminary on Captiva Island. Visit the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce website for more information.

Theater is serious business on Sanibel Island but certainly not so serious as the holiday hit Elf. The musical finds its stage at the Sanibel Community House Theater on December 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. which gives you plenty of time to join the Luminary festivities afterwards. Elf runs to December 5. Learn more here.

Two great cruises are offered up by Adventures in Paradise on December 24 where you can join Santa in the morning for Santa’s Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise to Picnic Island from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The cruise will let you experience our rich marine wildlife ecosystem while letting your little ones meet Santa on the deserted island and get their photo made with him!

That same evening, Adventures in Paradise are running a sunset cruise out at 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The Sun Princess sails out to where the dolphin frolic and you get a magical sunset experience that will not be soon forgotten!

Check out more events and view the  nightly entertainment guide for more fun activities here on Sanibel!

Best Places for Live Music On Sanibel

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Quiet peaceful lazy days are the hallmark of your stay at Signal Inn.  Our secluded paradise away from the rest of the world is what many of our guests expect and what they also get year after year.  Long beach walks and restful evenings are standard here at Signal Inn.

 

But what if you want to get out and enjoy some of Sanibel’s nightlife?

 

We’ve got you covered! Live music is just what the evening was made for and Sanibel boasts several great spots for you to relax with some cool beverages, great food and even better live music.  

 

First off would be the Jacaranda on Periwinkle Way. Open ‘til 10 p.m. and serving up live music every night, you can be assured of having a great evening out on the town. The Jacaranda frequently has offers on steaks and seafood, so you can get your share of island cuisine while you party with the locals. There is always something for everyone here!  

 

George & Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille is owned by two of Sanibel’s most beloved local celebrities. Open 7 days a week until midnight, they offer up some of the best seafood on the island in a great tropical atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining options. Make sure to check out their events when you’re here, we’re sure you will find something really fun to enjoy including karaoke!  Weekly specials mix things up along with their regular delicious fare.

 

Traditions on the Beach is a fun hangout run by star Chef Aziz with 35 years of cuisine history on Sanibel. This is known as Sanibel’s oldest dining room opening up in 1895 at Island Inn.  Totally renovated years back, you will enjoy great gulf views, fabulous food and of course fun entertainment in the form of visiting groups such as The Dusk Duo, Woody Brubaker, Barbara Smith, Kathy Buda and Barbara Dexter.  This is also a great local hangout open until 9:30 p.m. nightly.  

Ding Darling Days 2017

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Every year, the buzz around the island returns to one of the largest sanibel events of early Fall, Ding Darling Days. We invite families and friends from near and far to join us and our island community to celebrate our area’s largest preserve, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, with a weeklong family-friendly event that will allow you to soak up Sanibel’s beauty and wildlife nonstop.

Ding Darling Days, a truly a unique Sanibel experience, starts off on October 15 and lasts for one whole week that is chock full of eco-activities where guests will be treated to complimentary tram tours, wildlife presentations, kid crafts, hot dogs and more! Don’t forget about the numerous opportunities to birdwatch, boat, paddle board, kayak and more to keep visitors both young and old entertained, but with a healthy dose of fun education along the way.  This week will culminate on Saturday, October 21, also Conservation Art Day which celebrates the Federal Duck Stamp Winners.  Additionally, other artists, cartooning and a very special refuge photography tram tour will highlight the life and works of the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Ding Darling, the namesake of the refuge itself.  

J.N. “Ding” Darling was the force behind the creation of the refuge and is celebrated through the work of the park. He actually blocked the sale of the property in 1945 and lobbied to get Harry S. Truman to sign the executive order creating the refuge. In 1967, the refuge was renamed to honor Darling. The park is comprised of 6,400 acres of mangrove forest, marsh, hammocks and submerged seagrass beds– all of which creates the perfect eco-system for native flora and fauna of Sanibel.

Take a peek and review the fantastic list of activities that you and your family can do throughout this great week. Each year, Ding Darling Days gets bigger and better as more visiting guests discover just how much fun and varied the week’s activities really are!