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Sanibel Vacation Rental

A Sanibel vacation rental is a wonderful way to spend your time on Sanibel Island. You'll have more room in a vacation rental than in a standard Sanibel resort, as well as more privacy.  So, just what kind of Sanibel vacation rentals are available?  You'll find a mixture of houses, condos and timeshares, just waiting for you!

Shelling on Sanibel IslandOn this page I'll tell you a little about each of the following:

  • Sanibel Island Overview
  • Sanibel Condo Rentals
  • Sanibel House Rentals
  • Sanibel Timeshares
  • Things to Do on Sanibel Island .

Sanibel Island Vacation Overview

Sanibel Island is located on Southwest Florida's Gulf Coast.  It's reached by a causeway from Fort Myers.  At the moment, the causway toll is $6.00.  It takes about 45 minutes to reach Sanibel from the airport in Ft. Myers.

Sanibel is what is known as a barrier island, which on the Gulf Coast of Florida, generally means lots of nice beaches (and Sanibel is no exception).  The island itself is 12 miles long by about 4 miles wide, so it's not terribly big.  There is a caveat though -- about 60% of the island is a wildlife refuge, most of which is on the east side of the island.

Click for Sanibel, Florida Forecast

Sanibel is probably best known for shelling.  By a lucky combination of tides and currents, Sanibel has lots (and I do mean lots) of different kinds of seashells that end up on the Gulf side beaches .  So just how many beaches are on Sanibel Island?  Over 15 miles worth, so you have plenty of sand to cover in your quest for the perfect shell!

Hurricanes Charley in 2004 and Wilma in 2005 did some damage to Sanibel.  Charley, the more intense of the two hurricanes, effectively cut the island in two by opening Blind Pass.  However, it took only about a month for the pass to be filled in and restored to the pre-Charley conditions.

Speaking of hurricanes, what is the weather normally like?  Well, the average year-around temperature is 75 degrees....but that's an average.  Think cool-ish in the winter (days in the 60's and sunny) and then in the 80's or 90's in the summer with a chance of rain on any given day (even if it doesn't).  Spring and Fall are the nicest times, with moderate temperatures and only a little rain.

Sanibel Island VacationNote:  The big tourist season is in the winter, November to April. This means that the prices are higher, sometimes almost double the off-season.  If winter is what you want for your Sanibel vacation rental, be prepared to pay; otherwise, think about a Sanibel summer vacation.

Sanibel Vacation Rentals - Condos

One thing Sanibel has lots of is vacation condos. Some people buy a condo and rent it out all year; others stay in it part of the year and rent it out the rest.

Sanibel vacation rental condos are anywhere from efficiencies to penthouses, and everything in between.  The most popular are the two-bedroom units, so if that is what you are hoping for, you may want to start your search way ahead of time.  Speaking of which, Sanibel accommodations of any kind book up quickly.  While you might be able to secure a great last-minute booking...don't count on it.

Sanibel v acation condos can be great, a home away from home...unless the whole complex had the same idea and all the units are rented out (as opposed to owner-occupied)   If that's the case, you may feel more like you are staying in a hotel, without some of the amenities (like laundry and linen service).  On the flip side, how many hotels have a washer and dryer in the unit?

Most Sanibel vacation rental condos require at least a 7-day stay, although I have seen some with just a 3-night requirement.  Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 per week for a 7-day, 6 night stay in the summertime, double that in the winter.  (Yes, bargains can be had for under $1,000/week, but you have to start looking ahead of time for those.)

One more thing -- when you are getting to the point where you want to make a reservation, don't forget to ask if you have to pay for parking, or if it's included as part of the stay.

Sanibel Vacation Rentals - Homes

Sanibel vacation homes follow along with the same idea as the condos -- some are bought solely for the purpose of renting it out all year, and some are owner-occupied at east some of the year.

Vacation home rentals on Sanibel Island are in much smaller supply than the condominiums, probably because there isn't a whole lot of living room on the island.  And they tend to be rather upscale (also known as pretty expensive).

For a Sanibel vacation home rental, expect at least a 1-week minimum stay, with some homes only rented out by the month.  If it tickles your fancy to stay for a month, a vacation home rental on Sanibel makes much more sense than staying in a hotel or even a condo.  You will also have more room to relax.

From the prices I've seen lately, expect to pay between $2,500 to $6,000 to rent a vacation home for a month, depending on the size of the house and the time of year (summer and fall being the off seasons).

Sanibel Timeshares.

There are timeshares...and then there are Sanibel timeshares.  From what I can gather, there are few of the traditional timeshares on Sanibel Island, and more of the condo rentals.  Or maybe they have just merged these days.  At any rate, you can buy a timeshare on Sanibel Island, or you can rent one from someone else.  My suggestion if you want to go the timeshare route and aren't super-familiar with Sanibel -- rent one for a week and decide on what features are most important to you.  While you are on your vacation, you can always check out the offerings in town - after all, you don't want a rude surprise for your hard-earned dollars!

Things To Do on Sanibel Island

Vacation on Sanibel IslandNow your Sanibel Island vacation is not about nightlife (although there is some).  Sanibel is about relaxing on the ocean, shelling, swimming, biking and other kinds of outdoor activities.  There are some wonderful restaurants, though, and if you don't plan to spend every night cooking in your vacation rental, you might want to try one or two.

So, first the beaches -- they are mostly located on the Gulf sides (north, west and south).  They are (north to south):

  • Turner Beach
  • Bowman's Beach
  • Sanibel Island State Botanical Park
  • Gulfside City Park / Algier's Beach
  • Sanibel Beach
  • Lighthouse Park

At the beaches there is plenty of shelling and swimming.  Don't expect to surf, as the Gulf is generally pretty calm.

Biking can be nice on Sanibel; well, parts of it anyway.  Because the island is about 60% nature reserve, that means wonderful biking in those parts.  However, in the town areas...yikes!  There is a lot of traffic to watch out for, and it's very congested.  That  being said, there are over 25 miles of bike paths on Sanibel Island.

The Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is on Sanibel Island, as well as some of the surrounding waters.  Ding Darling has a wildlife drive, hiking and biking trails and canoe/kayak launches.  However, the wildlife drive is closed every Friday, so that the birds and other wildlife can feed in peace.

Other Sanibel Island Accommodations

As you can imagine, there are all kinds of other Sanibel Island accommodations. From beach cottages to hotels to all-out resorts, there are a multitude of choices on Sanibel Island!

Please do keep in mind that Winter is the expensive season, when even the cheapest hotel room could cost you $200 or more per night - yikes!  Expect to pay even more for one of the beachfront resorts.  Summer is your best bet, as far as Sanibel lodging goes; not only can you pay a lot less for your room, but you might locate a really good last-minute deal.

The flip side?  Summer is wetter (chance of rain on any given day, on average) and the "h" word -- hurricanes.  Although after the 2004-2005 hurricane season I think Sanibel (and the rest of Florida) deserves a break!

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