Lifestyle on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, a community description |

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Lifestyle on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, a community description


Sanibel and Captiva are highly sought after resort barrier islands off the lower Gulf Coast of Florida, 157 miles south of Tampa. Sanibel and Captiva are widely known for their pristine beauty and unspoiled landscapes. Joined to the mainland and the city of Fort Myers by a three-mile causeway, these world-renowned islands stretch for a total of 20 miles along the beautiful green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Sanibel Island Light House

Sanibel Lighthouse


The City of Sanibel was incorporated in 1974 to protect itself from the massive development schemes that were being carried out on much of the prime coastal areas of Lee County. Sanibel has one of the most stringent comprehensive land use plans in the United States. It has won several awards. You might say we have been 'green' before it was fashionable. The entire island has been assigned as an ecological zone, which limits growth and provides many other protective restrictions. With over half of the islands acreage permanently reserved as nature and wildlife sanctuaries, the unique ambiance they possess will remain for generations to come. Please click here for a view of the islands, move your cursor over the blink spots to identify locations. After months of public meetings in 1995 and 1996, the citizens of Sanibel reaffirmed their commitment to the preservation of natural resources by adopting The Sanibel Vision Statement. The City of Sanibel projects that Sanibel will reach build-out by 2025, with a total of 9000 dwellings. 


Sanibel Luxury Home

From simple to luxury homes, Sanibel and Captiva have a home for everyone


The population was 6,470 full-time residents at the 2010 census and is estimated to be 7363 in 2018. The Sanibel School teaches 325 children from Kindergarten through grade 8 and is a blue ribbon school and is rated as a national school of excellence.  

Sanibel and Captiva are visited by over a million vacationers every year. 

Sanibel has large residential areas with almost 100 subdivisions and presents a more permanent life style. It is a true tropical paradise with almost 4000 single family homes placed at the gulf, at the bay, in Golf communities, on canals which lead to the bay, or inland.

In January 2017,  184 single family homes are listed from $440,000 to over $22 million. Only 4 list above $5 million.

In February 2018, 197 single family homes are listed from $419,000 to $19,975,000 (listed previously for $22 million). 6 list above $5,000,000. 

Most condominium complexes are found on the Gulf side or bay side. With 3100 Condominiums in 105 condominium developments, in Janury 2017 condos list from $319,000 to just shy of $2 million. In February 2018, the list prices vary from $310,000 to $2,195,000.

It seems that we have something for everyone. No matter where you make your home on either island, you are never far from theGulf or Bay. Bird watchers from all over the world travel to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Nature photographers visit the islands all the time for stunning subject matter and natural lighting. Many celebrities and corporate CEO's have purchased second or third homes here.                                      


Bird Watching Man at Ding Darling on Sanibel Island

Sometimes we wonder who is watching whom


Sanibel Gulf front condos on the East End

Sanibel East End Condos


Sanibel View of Gulf from condo


Sanibel Island is about 15 miles long and three miles deep at its widest point, totaling 17.5 square miles altogether. The Sanibel beaches face from east to south to southwest. You can walk uninterrupted from the lighthouse, along the shore line, to Blind Pass, for fifteen miles on white, sandy beaches, before crossing over to Captiva, where you can walk another six miles on the beach. The beaches are laden with over 250 varieties of sea shells. Bird watchers may encounter some of 230 kinds of birds that make Sanibel their home permanently or while migrating during the winter months. Sanibel has 22 miles of bike paths, no traffic lights and no building here is higher than four stories. Over 60% of Sanibel is a declared nature preserve and will never be developed.  


Sanibel boardwalk to Gulf beach


There are condos and houses available to buy. Many of the homes are hidden behind thick tropical landscaping. Some of the homes are right on the beach. Others are on canals and still others deep in the woods. Exquisite condos are for sale which many people buy as second homes. We also have property management companies ready to care for seasonal homes when the owners are elsewhere. The average condo can earn from $40,000 to $70,000 rental income per year. From 10% to 20% of this rental income is charged by the management companies for their services. The remainder helps the property owner to pay for taxes, condo fees and repairs and more. Some owners lease their homes privately. With just 700 dwellings in hotels, Inns and Resorts, privately owned condos are highly desired vacation rentals. 


Sanibel Home surrounded by lush landscaping

Sanibel Home


Sanibel Canal Home

Sanibel Canal Home

Captiva is much smaller and has only 380 permanent residents. Most single family homes on Captiva are vacation homes and available for rent to visitors on a weekly basis year round. Captiva seems to be one large dynamic vacation resort. Captiva Island is only six miles long and very narrow, totaling 1 square mile altogether. You are never more than a quarter mile away from either the Gulf or Bay. A large part of Captiva is owned by South Seas Island Resort with its executive golf course, marina, single family homes and condos. These homes and condos are mostly privately owned and available for purchase with potential rental income. Many of the beaches on Captiva have been designated as the most romantic beaches in the world. Families love to plan their reunions here and even weddings take place in our Gulf front vacation homes. Single family homes and condos on Captiva can gross well over $100,000. 


Captiva homes with Gulf and Bay access

Captiva Homes


Captiva South Seas Island Home

South Seas Island Resort Home


In January 2017, single family homes on Captiva Island list from $879,000 to $8,500,000. The most expensive home on Captiva sold January 2016 for $16,300,000. Condominiums list from $244,000 to $2,250,000. 

In February 2018, single family homes on Captiva Island list from $865,000 to $10,000,000. The most expensive home on Captiva sold January 2016 for $16,300,000. Condominiums list from $409,000 to $2,895,000

Captiva South Seas Island Resort with view of gulf


Sanibel and Captiva have four golf courses for all levels of play. There are several marinas where you can dock your boat after a shelling or fishing trip. We have over 60 restaurants, great boutiques, several art galleries, a local cinema, a theatre and much more.  

You will find all sorts of wildlife on Sanibel. It is an important part of the island's eco-system and demands our respect. If you encounter any of our wilder friends, please give them the right of way.              


Captiva plant     


For a personal tour, please click here