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The Sanibel Arms Vacation Guide

All things Island News

  • Quarterly Newsletter

    Fall/Winter 2015-2016  


    If You Are Getting  
    Head to Sanibel Arms. Our Pristine Beach is Warm andSunny!

    If you are looking for sandy white beaches, peaceful ocean waves, the most exquisite tropical foliage, incredible native wildlife and the best shelling in the world, LOOK NO FURTHER! Sanibel Arms has it ALL, and so much more! Did we mention average temperatures in the 80's? Bring your bathing suit, flip flops and a good book, we will be waiting to'Welcome You With Open Arms'
     Guest Spotlight!
     The Bourland family has been staying at Sanibel Arms for many years, and their visits have increased to 5 or 6 times a year! This past summer the entire family enjoyed celebrating Independence Day, Sanibel Style! We certainly love our returning guests "Extended Family!"
    Sanibel Arms
    "Starfish Club"
    The Lantz and Whitaker families of Georgia had a wonderful time swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with the starfish this year. Much to the delight of our summer guests, the 9 Armed Millipede were abundant, along with thousands of sand dollars. 
    The Moore's from Kentucky also enjoyed the plethora of sea life and we have decided they should also be inducted into the Starfish Club!  
    Real Estate Update  
    Real Estate is definitely picking up on Sanibel! We have had 2 closings in the past 5 months, currently we have 2 condos for sale (see below) and Unit E8 is under contract! 
    F2 is a 1 bedroom 1 bath direct Gulf Front condo with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. The list price is $599,000.
    B1 is a 1 bedroom 1 bath Dockside unit with a private glassed/screened lanai! There are only four of these particular units at Sanibel Arms, it won't last long! The list price is $369,000.
     If you are interested in these condos or any Southwest Florida Real Estate, please call   
     Monica DeBarr at 239-472-2259





    Dear Monica,

    Welcome to our Sanibel Arms Newsletter! You are receiving this Newsletter because we value our Sanibel Arms guests and consider you our 'Extended Family'. Whether you have been staying with us for 30 years or you just stayed for the first time, we would like to keep you updated and in touch with us throughout the year. Sanibel Arms is a special place where guests return year after year just to be
    'Welcomed with Open Arms!'


    Sanibel Arms Wildlife


    The Monarch Butterfly may be disappearing in many areas of the world, but we certainly have them at Sanibel Arms! Our butterfly garden is a busy place with many varieties of butterflies, Monarchs visit daily. 


    This spectacular hawk was spotted, and posed for the camera in the very top of the Norfolk Pine located right behind the Sanibel Arms office. 


    Fishing at its Best!


    The Short family from Tennessee stayed in two of our canal side units and docked their boat for FREE! It is only about a 15 minute boat ride through the beautiful Sanibel canal to the open Gulf waters. Sanibel Arms canal is also a great place to watch manatee and occasional dolphin swimming by, looking for bait fish. There are fish cleaning stations, grills and picnic tables provided. The dock area is a great place to hang out with loved one's or enjoy some Sanibel solitude. 




    The Short family also sent us a great picture of a Goliath Grouper they caught and released while on Sanibel. What a Cool Catch! Fishing on Sanibel at its finest!




    Check out Sanibel Arms Website:
    Email us at:

    Thank you for continuing to choose  

    Sanibel Arms!


    The Sanibel Arms Board of Directors


      Nancy Wright, Monica DeBarr, 

    Mary Irving and Bill Zeigler



    Save 10%
    Book Now and Save 10% for 
    Fall! Please use Promotional Code: SA Specials when securing your reservation. Book Online at or call 1-800-806-7368.
    Valid from: November to December 19, 2015.


  • Sanibel Island Beaches

    The Sanibel Arms Condominiums are located on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida. The island  is closely acquainted with its sister-island of Captiva. It is uniquely shaped from East to West, which allows Sanibel Island’s beaches to collect thousands of shells every year. Sanibel’s beaches also attract many birds crabs. They all sit elegantly upon the beautiful sands, adding their own touch to the many picturesque beaches surrounding the islands. Each beach is just waiting for you to come and paint your memories with its beauty.[break]

    Which Beach Is Best?

    With fifteen miles of beach to choose from, you are certain to find a beach that suits your liking. All of Sanibel Island’s beaches will supply you with the means for fun. You will find a wonderful array of Sanibel Island shells that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors. Each beach has its own collections of shells and other benefits as well. They are conveniently accessible several different ways. When you’re out for a drive or cruise, taking a walk, or bike ride, running, skating, scootering, however it is you’re getting around, head to one of the many beautiful beaches that Sanibel has to offer.

    • Bowman's Beach has a gorgeous blanket of white sand and is welcomingly quiet and secluded. It’s a perfect place to lay out and undress your stress. The beach features barbecue grills and an outdoor shower. It is only a quarter of a mile from the parking lot with RV and trailer parking accommodations. Parking costs only two dollars an hour and is open from 7AM to 7PM. The beach is located on Bowman’s Beach Road just off of Sanibel-Captiva Road.
    • The Causeway Beaches are free to park and you can even pull right up to the shore. The Causeway toward Sanibel creates such a feeling of anticipation as you drive up and over, that when the view of The Causeway Beaches comes into vision, it calls you in like the Sirens of The Odyssey. These beaches are perfect for picnicking, swimming, surfing, and fishing. The umbrella of trees make ideal shady spots for those who choose to just kickback and relax.
    • Algiers Beach and Gulfside City Park is a very dog friendly beach and park situated right next to a nature preserve. This beach has picnic tables and restrooms available. There is an hourly parking fee from 7AM to 7PM when parking becomes free. It is located at Algiers Lane and Casa Ybel Road.
    • The Sanibel Lighthouse Beach and Fishing Pier is set on a wildlife refuge. The lighthouse is more than 120 years old and is still an important lighthouse for the area. It is a popular beach with two dollar parking from 7AM to 7PM. Located on Periwinkle Way, there is a boardwalk nature trail that winds within native wetlands. The pier at this beach is a wonderful place for fishing, but swimming isn’t recommended because of the currents created by the causeway.
    • Tarpon Bay Road and Beach is found mid-island, on West Gulf Drive, at the south end of Tarpon Bay Road. The beach features high sands and courtesy beach wheelchairs are thoughtfully provided upon 24-hour notice to City of Sanibel Police Department Dispatch. An excellent beach for the whole family, Tarpon Bay is a wonderful place to swim or windsurf. New restrooms have been recently installed and an ice cream truck even occasionally stops by. Parking is available for two dollars an hour from 7AM to 7PM. Tarpon Bay connects the northern part of the island to the southern public beach. There is not a bicycle path north of Sanibel-Captiva Road, however, the road  is pleasant for biking

    Respecting Nature and Her Guests

    Close to seventy-five percent of Sanibel Island is protected nature and wildlife preserve and the island asks that it’s beaches also be protected, by it’s guests. Whether you are visiting with friends, family, or pets, please remember to follow the beach rules when shelling and otherwise enjoying yourself on the beaches.

    1. Pets must be on leashes and owners must clean up after their pets.


    2. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited November through May.
    3. No open fire allowed.
    4. No collecting of live shells. Live shells must be returned to the water and not kept.
    5. Restrooms are located at all public beach accesses.
    6. There is a two dollar an hour fee to park at Sanibel Island and Captiva Island public beaches. Both cash and credit cards are accepted. Paid parking tickets are not interchangeable between Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. All have handicap parking

    Let the Good Times Roll In With the Tide

    It’s time to set up your beach chair, shake off your frisbee, or bait your line. If you’re questioning whether you will enjoy your time at the beach, ask yourself, what’s not to love? Every Sanibel Island beach is sure to make you want to stay. They all invite you to enjoy their raw beauty every minute you can. While Sanibel Arms Condominiums is situated right on the beachfront, we may be partial in our loving opinion of the Sanibel Island beaches, but we don’t doubt that you will love them too. As an added bonus, Sanibel Arms has free chairs & umbrellas for all of our guests

  • Do a Little Shell Searching This Year

    Whether your intent is to soul search, or shell search, you can accomplish both while shelling. “Shelling” is a favorite pastime of many beach goers throughout the world. Sanibel Island in Florida, is one of the World’s top locations for collecting shells, or, as the locals call it, shelling. The unique shape of Sanibel Island makes for phenomenal shell findings. The island is shaped from East to West, unlike the common North to South islands, allowing for the sea to rush in thousands upon thousands of shells every year. People come from all over the world to collect Sanibel shells. The island has been voted as one of the best shelling locations. Shelling is a relaxing and fun activity that you and yours should try today![break]

    Fun AND Relaxing? Might as “Shell”, Give it a Try

    To build a more productive collection of Sanibel shells, vacationers often ask the Sanibel and Captiva locals for shelling tips. Sanibel Island shells are some of the most beautiful of their varieties and many just can’t get enough. The first key to remember is always have fun with shelling. As you’re looking down searching for shells, you will find yourself in a position known to the island as,  the “Sanibel Stoop”. Don’t be too particular or you may pass up a shell with a wonderful history.

    Seashells are divided into six classes, as described by Michelle Wittenberg:

    1. Gastropods
      Gastropods include animals such as snails and slugs and are considered to be the largest class of mollusks. Their shells are spiral-shaped and univalve. Univalve shells are not hinged or joined in anyway; they are one single shell. Gastropods scavenge for food through a siphon, which looks like a foot, thus this siphon is called a stomach foot.

    2. Bivalves
      Bivalves are the most recognizable seashells in the class. This class includes animals such as clams, scallops, oysters and mussels, which are used commercially for food. The bivalve shell is used to identify this organism. It has two shell halves that are hinged together and are used to protect the body.

    3. Polplacophora
      There are 1,000 species of chitons in this class and each one is covered by eight protective plates. The shell is oval and each of the eight plates is held together by a leathery flesh giving it the ability to roll into a ball when threatened. Polplacophora hunt for food in the crevasses of rocks in deep water.

    4. Cephalopods
      Cephalopods include animals such as squid, octopus and the nautilus. The chambered nautilus is the only one in this class with a shell. This class is best identified by its long tentacles with suction cups that are used to capture prey. With the exception of the chambered nautilus, cephalopods have excellent vision and intelligence.

    5. Scaphopoda
      The long, tusk-shaped shell of the scaphopoda has an opening on both ends giving it the name "shovel foot." It is found buried in soft mud or dirt with only one end sticking up to collect food. It has a mouth called a radula that has the ability to grind food.

    6. Monoplacophora
      This mollusk was once thought to be extinct. It is an ancient species that lives in deep ocean waters. It has a single, disc-shaped shell with a mouth located on the underside of its body.

    When and Where To Look

    The best time to look for Sanibel shells is at low and high tide. It is recommended to investigate the times of these tides for the duration of your stay with a tide-chart. When the water is low, the shells become easily accessible for picking. A full or new moon period has the best tides for shelling. Sanibel Arms Condominiums is conveniently located right on the beach. Your chances of finding the “pick of the litter” of coveted Sanibel Island shells is greatly increased by allowing you to get out on the beaches before that days’ deliveries from the ocean have been picked over. Pay attention to the winds, as those from the northwest, are excellent conditions for shelling closer to the eastern side of Captiva; southwest winds are great for shelling near the western portion of Sanibel. posts tips for optimal shelling every day so that you get the best tips for that day.

    Time To Relax

    The best activities are those that involve relaxing and having fun at the very same time. With shelling, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for the perfect two-for. Go on and get to the beach and start your collection today. Don’t forget to take your shelling tips into consideration and have a blast enjoying identifying all of the shells you find. Take in some magnificent scenery while walking your worries away, plucking treasures that nature put there just for you. Once you’ve started your collection, take a walk through The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum to compare what you have and get excited for what you have yet to discover!

  • Outdoor & Nature Activities On Sanibel Island

    There is a plethora of activities to immerse yourself into on Sanibel Island. With plenty of biking and hiking trails, the outdoor activist is due to have a fulfilling vacation. At Sanibel Arms Condominiums, you’ll find that no matter which direction you head out for adventure, you’ll find it. Whether you’re staying in a vacation rental, or visiting one of our guests, when you’re looking for something to do, you may discover there’s so much to see and experience, that you aren’t sure where to start. Sanibel Arms Condominiums hosts a beautiful beach and view for you to enjoy right in our own backyard. when you’re loving the beach and decide you want a more in-depth outdoor experience while you vacation on Sanibel Island, you are welcomed to start your journey at Tarpon Bay.


    The Explorers

    Tarpon Bay Explorers is the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s official recreation concessionaire that offers many guided tours, in many different ways. You can tour The Wildlife Refuge by kayak, canoe, bike, pontoon boat, or even by stand-up paddleboard. This center of discovery will take you up close and personal with an abundance of wildlife. You will admire Sanibel’s splendid variety of birds, dolphins, alligators, manatees, and other intriguing wildlife.

    Tours Offered

    • The Refuge Tram Tour will assist you in spotting wildlife many visitors may never see otherwise. All of the tours are great fun and extremely educational. The tour describes “fascinating tales of the Calusa Indians and the early days of Sanibel and south Florida”.
    • The Kayak Trail Tour is a serene journey along the mangrove forest speckled with wading birds along the shore.
    • The Sunset Rookery Paddle Tour is an exclusive experience for the seasoned kayaker, especially for avid bird watchers. Many species such as egrets, herons, ibis, cormorants, and pelicans, among other birds, can be viewed in abundance on this tour.
    • Standup Paddleboard Ecotours at Tarpon Bay Explorers is simple fun. With the perk of being able to bypass board transportation and launch directly into the waters of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National WIldlife Refuge, you don’t have to waste any time getting into the estuaries to see dolphins, manatees, fish, birds, and much more. Reserve a guide to learn basic paddleboard techniques and about the ecosystem you are so beautifully immersed in.
    • Daytime, Breakfast, and Evening Nature and Sea Life Cruises aboard a pontoon boat, each offer their own unique benefits corresponding to the time of day. All cruises include the interactive Touch Tank Presentation. Visitors can enjoy and learn about live shells like conchs, lightning whelks, tulip snails, and other sea life including horseshoe crabs, oysters, sea stars, sea urchins, hermit crabs, and the list keeps going.
    • ”Free Deck Talks” is a great easy on the budget lunchtime sea life lesson. Nature experts freely offer their knowledge and answer questions in relation to many topics like the habits of alligators, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks, and other interesting subjects.

    Can It Get Any Better?

    Those of you visiting Sanibel Island who just want to get outside and into nature, can’t go wrong when exploring with the experts at Tarpon Bay. While it may be difficult to leave the comfort of your vacation rental at Sanibel Arms Condominiums, we would love for you to have a well-rounded vacation. It would be a shame to not get out and share the beautiful sights and exciting activities that Sanibel Island has to offer with your friends and loved ones. Tarpon Bay is a perfect place to start your fulfilling vacation experience. Not only do you get to be outside and take part in the heart of the wildlife action, you also get to build amazing memories of adventure, to be cherished by all, for years to come.

  • Ding Answers the Call of the Wild

    One of the most amazing amenities of vacation, besides those covered by Sanibel Arms Condominiums of course, is the ability to immerse yourself in your surroundings. When beautiful beaches, fascinating wetlands, enchanting nature trails, and captivating wildlife surround your vacation rental, you’re in for a real treat! The island of Sanibel and sister island, Captiva, have so much to offer outdoors. Sanibel Arms Condominiums proudly supports the efforts of the nature conservationists, who maintain and protect all of the beauty these islands hold. And we encourage you to see and experience it for yourself![break]

    Thriving Island Life

    Beautiful Sanibel Island has evolved immensely from what was once only a sandbar, into the lush and awe-inspiring vacation destination it is today. Native to the island, prior to even the earliest settlers more than 2,000 years ago, is the intricate food web. The island is home to hundreds of species of intriguing animals and plant life. The Sanibel wildlife and vegetation are actually to thank for the magnificent views and delightful nature activities. If it hadn’t been for their purposeful preservation, the island would be a much different, much less soul-gratifying place.[break]

    Roughly seventy-five percent of Sanibel Island is under protection of development, allowing a large majority of the island, to stay purely natural. An astonishing half of the entire island, is the well-renowned J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It is known nationwide and is a must to experience for a fun-filled vacation. The more than 6,000 acre wildlife preserve, has a splendid history and a well-developed Education Center with employees and volunteers eager to share their knowledge. There is even a special tribute full of historical facts dedicated to The Refuge’s beloved J.N. Darling. While you enjoy your stay at your vacation rental, be sure to visit for an intimate endeavor into the wild.

    J.N. “Ding” Darling

    In 1906, a later two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, Jay Norwood Darling, coined himself the nickname “Ding”. He used this signature on his many illustrations to raise environmental awareness. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed “Ding” as the Director of the U.S. Biological Survey. With much concern for the sustainability of wildlife habitats, he founded the Federal Duck Stamp Program. As of the same year, with the addition of the passage of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act, Darling helped changed the future of endangered and threatened species. Hunters aged sixteen years and older, must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar from the sales of Duck Stamps goes to the purchase of wetlands. These wetlands are used for preserving nesting locations for endangered birds.

    With much encouragement from “Ding”, in 1945, President Harry S. Truman endorsed an Executive Order, thereby establishing the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge. The Preserve is located on Wildlife Drive in Sanibel, Florida. In honor of his many years of pro-environmental service, the refuge was renamed the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in 1967.

    National WIldlife Refuge

    Of the more than 550 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States, J.N. “Ding” Darling has the largest population of mangroves. These trees have intriguing tangled roots that twist above ground, making them appear almost magical. Something else beautifully interesting about them, is the microorganisms that feed from their leaves, as well as seagrasses, are just one beginning thread of a sophisticated food web. The presence, or lack of, even one type of organism, can affect the existence and condition of many other species.

    When poisonous DDT was used as a cheap crop pesticide, it would seep into the water and retain in the fat of the fish. The birds that fed on those fish produced fragile eggs and resulted in diminishing populations. One particular type of bird affected was the Osprey, also known as a Sea Hawk. In 1974, two years after DDT was banned, Sanibel and Captiva Island joined forces to build the first-ever nesting platforms for the dwindling Osprey. Those have, to date, been able to increase their population by an incredible four-hundred percent. The refuge is currently one of the top birding spots in the country. Dedication proves results and the  J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge displays this by visibly changing lives.

    Getting In Touch With Nature

    What’s better than a vacation that’s affordable and fun? When staying at Sanibel Arms Condominiums and vacation rentals, you can be confident you’ll have an amazing time, even on a budget. At the nearby J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, there are three wonderful nature trails off of The Wildlife Drive. It is a four mile road that leads you through the heart of a magnificent mangrove forest. Every year the Drive welcomes more than 800,000 visitors. Guests are invited to enjoy themselves via vehicle, a guided tram, on bicycle, and by foot. The trails are accessible Saturday through Thursday. There is a five dollar and one dollar entrance fee per vehicle or person (over fifteen years of age) respectively. Visitors carrying a current Federal Duck Stamp, Senior Pass, Access Pass, Annual Pass or Refuge Annual Pass are not required to pay the entrance fee. A self-guided tape/CD about the Wildlife Drive and a souvenir booklet are available for purchase in the Education Center. Binoculars are available for rental at the information desk.

    Wildlife Education

    According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “272 bird species have been identified utilizing refuge habitats, as well as 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, 33 species of mammals, and 102 species of fish. There are more than 250 volunteers helping to educate visitors and to join in partnership with the residents of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Lee County, and the State of Florida, to safeguard and enhance more than 7,300 acres of pristine subtropical habitat for the benefit of wildlife. The refuge fee program is one of the most successful fee programs in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge concessionaire staffs the collection booth and provides helpful information. The refuge collects over $300,000 annually, of which $240,000 stays at the refuge. Monies from the entrance fee program are used to support the refuge’s environmental education, interpretive, and public outreach programs.

    Visitors can orient themselves with the refuge and receive valuable information at the Ding Darling Education Center. This state-of-the-art Center was constructed with $3 million in private donations from the refuge friends’ group, the Ding Darling Wildlife Society. The Center, opened in 1999, features interactive exhibits on refuge ecosystems, the work of “Ding” Darling, migratory flyways, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and a hands-on area for children. The Center is open January 1 – April 30 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and May 1 – December 31 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and is free of charge. The Center is staffed by the hundreds of volunteers.”

    What You Will See

    At the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the best time for wildlife observation is near low-tide in the morning or evening. Birds will be feeding in the exposed mud flats. The flats are a key part of the life cycle for the birds on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, as it’s the shallow waters that allow for the birds to feed easily on the visible fish.

    The three trails of The Wildlife Drive each have their own viewings to offer.

    • The Indigo Trail departs from the Ding Darling Education Center parking lot with visitors regularly spotting wildlife such as night-heron and alligators.
    • The Wulfert Keys Trail is a short trail following a  power line, accessing Pine Island Sound, which boasts the best fishing and mangrove tunnels. The osprey platforms were also built on top of the electrical poles to avoid shock to the birds. With a phenomenal landscape view and great Osprey and Pelican watching, it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
    • The Shell Mound Trail is a quarter-mile long “interpretive “boardwalk” that starts near the end of Wildlife Drive. The Trail leads through a hardwood hammock growing atop of an ancient Calusa Indian Shell Mound. Migratory songbirds, like Warblers, can be heard amid the spring and fall migrations. The best months for bird watching at the refuge are November through April.

    The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located next to the Florida Power and Light Company's Orange River Power Plant. A dominant wintering area for the endangered West Indian manatee, is the Orange River's outflow. Warm water created by the power plant makes for excellent breeding conditions.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports other threatened and endangered species positively affected by the refuge are “Eastern Indigo snakes, American alligators, American crocodiles, wood storks, Florida manatees, Atlantic Loggerhead sea turtles, Atlantic Green sea turtles, Hawksbill sea turtles, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, Leatherback sea turtles, Piping Plovers, and smalltooth sawfish.”

    See, Learn, Do!

    With so many outdoor activities and the luxury of so much pristine land to enjoy, visitors are handed the recipe for fun on Sanibel Island. The conservation of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is magnificent. It’s on-point concession offerings are the vacation-goer and local resident’s ideal ingredients for a truly enjoyable and educational retreat. Throughout your stay at your vacation rental at Sanibel Arms Condominiums, we encourage you to head over and take in the scenery and let out the stress from your daily life. Take time now to breathe in nature and help support a wonderful cause. Just like Sanibel Arms Condominiums, if you haven’t been there yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

  • Unique things to do on Sanibel Island

    The first one is so obvious we feel kinda silly saying it but… go shelling on Sanibel! With Sanibel Island being the third best shelling destination in the entire world, you will you find hundreds of varieties of conch and other beautiful shells walking our beaches. Need help identifying them? Stop by the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and view their exhibits! If you take the time to head out and comb the beaches during low tide you will have a true basket of natural treasure. In not time you will master the world famous “Sanibel Stoop.”

    Next up on the list, we can’t say enough about the joys of kayaking. There’s just something peaceful about kayaking through the mangrove kayak trails of Tarpon Bay and Buck Key off of Captiva. You can also give standup paddleboarding a try. We recommend Finnimores Cycle shop. They’re knowledgeable and have nice rental prices.[break]

    Third thing on the list to do is to take an eco-tour with Tarpon Bay Explorers.They offer breakfast and evening cruises. They also have a fantastic touch-tank at Tarpon Bay where the kids can join a naturalist to see what lives beneath the water.

    Next up we recommend the Sanibel Thriller Cruises. We’re talking speed, nature and exotic wildlife all wrapped up in one. Everyone in your party will find something to love about this cruise. You can check them out at

    If you are feeling ambitions, you may choose to tour Sanibel via bike on the 28 miles of pathed Sanibel bike trails. For more info go to

    Finally, we recommend you take one day to wing it. Just grab a copy of the Treasure Islands Guide map and explore the best of Sanibel and Captiva. They do a great job of laying out restaurants, art galleries, and everything else there is to see and do on Sanibel Island.

    Let the adventure begin!


  • A Sanibel Island history lesson this summer

    The perfect vacation for both Florida residents and National vacationers may involve a history lesson on Sanibel Island, which is just off the coast of Ft Myers, Florida. Think of the untampered, pristine beaches like in Gilligan’s Island or Cast Away that are littered with beautiful sea shells. Think history!

    While much of Florida’s coastline has been razed and covered in high rises, that is not the case on cozy, intimate Sanibel Island. Sanibel was settled by the Calusa Indians over 200 years ago. They built their homes on foundations of shell mounds and when you and your family visit Sanibel, you’ll see why. The variety and number of beautiful seashells is famous worldwide.

    In the 1800’s the U.S. government placed a lighthouse on Sanibel Island, which quickly became a homestead for Floridian families.

    If you want to combine a lazy get-away with the backdrop of a rich history, then Sanibel is the place for you and your family. Aside from shelling and swimming you can enjoy some great day cruises with companies like Santiva Salt Water Fishing Team where you can go fishing, shelling and snorkeling. You can also get out to watch the dolphins. Captains Jimmy Burnsed, Rob McKay and Jim Burnsed are well known on Sanibel for their local knowledge and guide expertise.

  • Sanibel Island, Florida Voted 3rd Happiest Seaside Town!

    Life in this South Florida island town just west of Fort Myers is a pastel dream, combining pale blue skies, white-sand beaches, and millions of seashells that have literally built the island on which it sits. When locals dig in their backyards on Sanibel, they turn up conch, scallop, and clam shells—intact.

    As for the quiet, away-from-it-all life that Sanibel offers its 6,469 residents, consider that there are no stoplights, nor buildings taller than the tallest palm tree. And the shell-seekers know that Bowman's Beach, a natural stretch accessible only via pedestrian bridge, is one of the best for shelling (and birding).

    Original Article Appears on Costal Living


  • Travel & Lesiure Ranked Sanibel Island #1 of the Top 10 Best U.S Shelling Beaches

    Sanibel Arms Guest With A GREAT Find!

    Shell-lovers from all over the world make pilgrimages to tiny Sanibel Island’s Gulf Coast, considered the best shelling spot in North America according to Travel & Leisure Magazine. Sanibel’s beaches, protected by a broad underwater shelf perfect for gently receiving deliveries from shell-laden currents, are carpeted with tiny, perfect pastel coquinas and false angel wings.

    Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce


  • Property Tour

    The Entrance

    From direct Beachfront to Beachside to Dockside with FREE boat dockage), our well maintained and updated condos offer the best of Sanibel Island. View our photo gallery to see what Sanible Arms Condominiums has to offer. [break]

Coastal Living Names Sanibel Island Beaches Best For Shelling

rental condos

With no shortage of sunlight, surf, and sandy beaches, it's no surprise that 1,000 new people move to Florida every day. Many of those who have booked our Sanibel Island rental condos in the past know that Sanibel Island beaches are unparalleled for their superior shelling opportunities. And now, Coastal Living has made it official: their readers have named Sanibel Island as the world's best beach for shelling!

Sanibel is unique in that it's home to more than 250 different varieties of shells, making it particularly attractive to avid shell hunters. We even have an entire museum dedicated to our shells, along with a yearly shell fair and show. Whether you like to pick up unique specimens on your morning beach walks or you're seeking a specific type, it's likely you'll bring home something beautiful here.

If you're looking to go shelling during your stay in our rental condos, here are just a few tips:

  • Be prepared: For best results, you'll want to use a bucket or net bag and scoop. You'll also want to wear shoes while shelling to protect your feet and expose shells that may be hiding under the sand.

  • Look at low tide: The best time for shelling is at low tide, particularly during the spring and after storms. That's when it's easiest to spot shells. Although it's possible to go shelling at any time of day, you'll likely have the best luck during these times!

  • Leave the live shells behind: Florida has very strict laws pertaining to the collection of living specimens. It's important to inspect shells and other beach treasures carefully before bringing them home with you! Any shell or exoskeleton that contains an inhabitant, whether or not you think it's alive, is protected by law. That means that any shells, sand dollars, starfish, and sea urchins you find need to be thoroughly examined. Even if you don't find anyone inside, be careful about bringing too many shells home with you.

Of course, there's much more to see and do when you stay at our vacation rentals. You can swim, fish, and explore the island in dozens of different ways. And with all of our fantastic restaurants, you'll have a memorable meal every night of your stay. If you're just looking for some rest and relaxation on your vacation, you'll be sure to get plenty of that, too.

Interested in finding out more about staying at our rental condos this summer? Be sure to contact Sanibel Arms today!

A Few Excellent Things Sanibel Island Has to Offer

island fishingThere are more than 1,300 golf courses in Florida, but why spend a whole vacation on a green when you can spend it exploring one of the state's most beautiful hidden paradises? Not only is Sanibel Island tucked away into a quaint, quiet part of Florida, it's filled to the brim with amazing treasures. Here's why you need to consider Sanibel Island for your next vacation.


If there's one activity that can entertain the whole family, it's hunting for seashells by the seashore. And considering that over 250 species of shells have been identified on Sanibel Island alone, this is the perfect place to do it! Discover shells you never even knew existed and bring them home along with a jar of beautiful sand. There's no better keepsake for a vacation to the island!

Vacation Rentals

Forget about hotels when you're on Sanibel Island. Instead of staying in a corporate environment with hundreds of other people, Sanibel Island condos for rent offer a much more comfortable atmosphere for the whole family. Not only that, but the selection of beautiful beachfront condos for rent is simply stunning. Enjoy warm mornings in a full kitchen and then head straight to the beach!

Island Fishing

For the fishers at heart, Sanibel is perfection. There may not be a huge lake to fish in, but the island has countless hidden fishing holes all around it. If you came to Florida with the hope of peaceful island fishing trips, Sanibel Island is going to be the perfect place for you to be. Whether it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you'll find fishing here as peaceful as anything you've ever known.


If there's one thing Florida knows best, it's beaches! Get ready for some fun in the sun and a whole lot of sand, because Sanibel Island is home to almost 15 miles of pristine beaches. And because Sanibel is so small, even peak season doesn't affect the beach space negatively.

There's nothing better than a good Florida vacation. If you're ready for an amazing adventure in a true hidden paradise, don't wait to book your next trip to Sanibel Island.

Sanibel Sea Turtle Nesting Season Starts in May -- Here's How You Can Help

condo rentals

When you spend your vacation at our Sanibel Island condo rentals, you'll get to experience all of the natural beauty of Florida. Due to Sanibel's strict building code, we have only 6,000 year-round residents and our 15 miles of white beaches always feel private. But vacationers and townies aren't the only ones spending time on the beach this season. Starting in May, some sweet little slowpokes will start to emerge from their eggs and head towards the Gulf.

Of course, we're talking about sea turtle hatchlings! From May through October, these baby sea turtles will hatch on our beaches and make their epic journey towards the ocean. While Sanibel residents recently had the chance to watch the release of a rehabbed sea turtle, baby turtles are a much rarer sight. However, their tracks are frequently spotted all over the sand -- sometimes on the beaches right outside our condo rentals!

Although our beaches and climate are ideal for these tiny terrapins, they are extremely vulnerable. Unfortunately, many hatchlings don't make it to the Gulf at all. But there are ways you can help them while you're staying in our vacation condos. Here are just a few, recommended by the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation:

  • Turn off or shield all beach lights during nesting season, especially those that point toward the beach rather than the Gulf. Flashlights and artificial building lights can confuse both hatchlings and nesting females. Hatchlings may become disoriented and may not be able to find the water on their journey.

  • Keep beaches free of litter. Plastic bags, balloons, and styrofoam can easily be mistaken for food.

  • Sand castles and moats may be fun to make, but be sure to leave the beach as level as you found it at the end of the day. These little sculptures can be big obstacles for nesting mothers and hatchlings and can keep them from getting to where they need to go. Fill in all holes and make sure turtles have a clear path to the water.

  • Remove beach umbrellas, furniture, and other items from the beach when you're done for the day. Not only can they keep a hatchling from getting to the water, but they may even cause a mother to return to the ocean without making a nest. Making sure there's nothing in the way of these creatures can help them survive.

  • All dogs must be kept on a leash while at the beach. Not only will this keep both your dog and other families safe, but it will ensure no turtle nests are disturbed.

  • There's plenty of beach to enjoy when you reserve our condo rentals, but you need to steer clear of both sea turtles and marked nesting spots. Disturbing or interfering with turtle nests is a federal offense. Even using lights or noise to do so is illegal! Sea turtle hatchlings are endangered, so if you see a sea turtle, enjoy their presence from a distance.

  • If you come across lost hatchlings or a stranded turtle, call the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. An adult sea turtle with orange shell markings is already being monitored by the foundation. Lost hatchlings should be placed in a dry container with a bit of moist sand and kept in a shaded area. A licensed volunteer or the program's sea turtle coordinator will handle it from there. If you cannot get in touch with them on the weekends, call the Sanibel Police Department.

If you're lucky enough to spot a sea turtle or hatchlings during your stay at our condo rentals, you'll have a memory that will last forever. But even if you don't get to see one, your assistance can ensure this species survives for the foreseeable future. For more information on all of the wildlife you'll be sure to enjoy during your stay -- or to get started on booking your trip -- contact Sanibel Arms today.

Bask in the Sunshine of Sanibel Island In Our Island Condos

island condos

Have you been looking for the perfect summer (or winter) getaway? Consider looking at vacation rentals on Sanibel Island, which is known for dreamy island condos, oceanfront views, and plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. And if you're looking for a smaller complex of island condos that are family oriented and quiet, yet still offer plenty of accommodations and activities, you've come to the right spot.

Our island condos offer free boat dockage, bike rentals, shelling, and plenty of picnic tables, grills, and fishing spots. We also offer WiFi and a heated pool. Plus, our condos in Sanibel Island are only 1.5 miles from the historic Sanibel Lighthouse, if you're interested in seeing a historical spot! Simply put, for vacation rentals, you can't beat our welcoming and friendly condo complex. Many of our guests also have made friends here with whom they return year after year. Simply put, you can create the perfect mix of relaxation and sightseeing when you book our vacation condos.

Why are Vacations So Important?

Feeling guilty about taking time off? Don't, you deserve it. Here are some reasons you need to escape to these gorgeous island condos in Sanibel Island.

  • R and R

    Rest and relaxation is incredibly important -- 75% of executives believe that vacations are necessary to keep them from burning out. Over half of people feel more refreshed and relaxed -- and better rested -- when they get back from a vacation. Four-fifths of affluent leisure travelers say that vacations are important to their well-being.

  • Romance

    A vacation can help boost the romance levels too -- more than 40% of travelers feel more romantic during their vacation, so if you and your sweetheart want a getaway, come escape to our beautiful island for some much needed time alone.

  • Family Time

    Vacations can also be a great time for families to spend quality time together, away from the pressures of work, school, and any extracurricular activities. Try unplugging and enjoying a swim, birdwatching, or even fishing as a family. It's a time to reconnect and enjoy each other's company.

Why Come to Sanibel Island in Particular?

Florida is a popular destination spot for tourists and the top travel destination in the world, with about 87 million visitors recorded in 2011. The tourism industry contributes more than $65 billion per year to the state economy. Whether it's for the sun, the parks, the sea, or the golf (there are over 1,300 golf courses in Florida), millions flock to the Sunshine State. Given that the average yearly temperature in South Florida, where Sanibel Island is located, is around 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68.5 in the winter. The attraction isn't hard to figure out.

Sanibel is a barrier island on the southern Gulf coast of Florida with no traffic lights and plenty of natural attractions, such as birdwatching, shelling, and fishing. It's small, only 33 square miles, but there are over 250 types of shells that have been identified here (so far), and searching for shells at dawn is an activity that many early-rising visitors enjoy.

There's also a strict building code, which keeps plenty of room on the island by controlling tourism flow. There are only 6,000 locals who live on Sanibel year round, and there are 15 miles of beautiful white sand beaches for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. That leaves plenty of room to roam, even during peak tourist season. Additionally, the building code on Sanibel Island keeps buildings low (there are only two buildings that are over three stories tall), which allows for pristine views of the sunrise and sunset.

Boating and fishing enthusiasts will love Sanibel Island and all it has to offer, while nature enthusiasts can enjoy local flora and fauna to their hearts' content. If one doesn't feel like exploring, simply enjoy the beaches, the clubhouse, or take in the sun by our heated pool.

If you're thinking about booking your next vacation spot, choose our Sanibel Island condos. It's impossible not to feel relaxed in our amazing condos, with plenty of amenities, sunshine, and activities.

3 Reasons to Visit Florida This Fall

sanibel island accommodations

Typically, we wait until dull and frigid winter arrives to start thinking about escaping the cold in favor of a beachfront condo. But in reality, autumn is one of the best times to take a trip to Florida. Staying in Sanibel Island accommodations can be amazing during the fall. Here are three reasons why you might want to consider a Floridian vacation rental in Sanibel this fall.

  1. The temperature is perfect
    Summertime in Florida can reach high temperatures, but fall brings some of the most idyllic weather around. You can go island fishing or swimming in pure comfort. The state of Florida has more than 1,300 golf courses, and because Sanibel Island has a few of its own, you'll be able to fully enjoy your favorite outdoor activity; the only sweat you'll be breaking will be because of the game, not the weather. Since you won't overheat, you'll be able to take in the beauty of the Florida scenery for much longer periods of time. Your vacation rental will truly feel like Paradise.
  2. Avoid the crowds
    Even during peak season, Sanibel Island is one of the best-kept secrets in Florida. However, if you're really looking for peace and quiet for your next vacation, book your condo stay for the fall. Winter and summer bring big crowds to any Floridian beach, so it's optimal to visit before the freezing weather hits the northern part of the country. You can enjoy a perfectly restful stay without dealing with a flood of other visitors -- and it may be more cost-effective to visit during a less popular time.
  3. Celebrate holidays on the beach
    In many parts of the country, fall holidays have to be celebrated indoors or with a lot of warm layers. But when you book your Sanibel Island accommodations for the fall season, you can spend Halloween or Thanksgiving right in the water or on the sand! Because our condos come equipped with a kitchen, you can even have the whole family come down to celebrate with a big meal together. Or you can incorporate your swimsuit into your costume idea for a beachfront spooktacular event! You won't be limited to weather restrictions, and you can make your fall holiday celebrations truly special with a Floridian getaway.

Don't wait until wintertime to enjoy a stay at one of our vacation rentals. The beauty of fall in Florida will take your breath away! Contact us today to book your reservation.

Quarterly Newsletter

Spring 2016  


Sanibel Arms Now Has the
Longest Beach Boardwalk on Sanibel Island! 

We are very proud to introduce our newest property improvement, a 290 foot beach boardwalk! The summer rains will no longer be an issue, and the elevation allows guests a stunning view of our Sanibel beach as well as the native vegetation and wildlife.
Guest Spotlight!
Gretchen from Michigan has been staying with us at Sanibel Arms for about 12 years. She comes down every winter with her brother and family. Gretchen especially enjoys sitting by the pool chatting with new and old friends. This year Gretchen bought, and proudly wore one of our colorful new tie-dyed t-shirts! We certainly love our returning guests "Extended Family!"
Bring Your Boat or Rent One!
Sanibel Arms is one of the few properties on Sanibel with FREE boat dockage. You will also find grills and picnic tables along our 300 feet of dock space. Many of our guests who stay in our Dockside condos say it is because of the quiet and peaceful dock where manatee and dolphin play. 
Abundant Wildlife
Stan and Emily from Maryland shared some fabulous pictures of Iguana they photographed on Sanibel in March.
Check out Sanibel Arms Website:
 Email us at:
Thank you for continuing to choose  
Sanibel Arms!
The Sanibel Arms Board of Directors
  Nancy Wright, Monica DeBarr, 
Mary Irving and Bill Zeigler






Welcome to our Sanibel Arms Newsletter! You are receiving this Newsletter because we value our Sanibel Arms guests and consider you our 'Extended Family'. Whether you have been staying with us for 30 years or you just stayed for the first time, we would like to keep you updated and in touch with us throughout the year. Sanibel Arms is a special place where guests return year after year just to be
'Welcomed with Open Arms!'


"Snowbird Gatherings"


Our winter guests (Snowbirds) once again enjoyed the opportunities to mingle and get to know each other through continental breakfasts and picnics. David and Nancy from Pennsylvania provided the hot dog cooking and world famous beans while other guests brought pot luck dishes to share. A great time for all!
Sanibel Shell Art
 Glenna from Virginia began shell doodling last year while staying at Sanibel Arms.  She loved making people smile with her beautiful designs which are all related to Sanibel vegetation and wildlife. Other guests were so inspired by her artistic designs so she began teaching . Bobby, also from Virginia, has always liked shells and unusual artwork, so when Glenna showed him what she had created last year, he was hooked. Together they created lots of original shell art to share with friends at Sanibel Arms this year! In fact, they are already planning a demonstration and maybe a class in shell art for next season at The Original Sanibel Arms! We cannot wait to see what our wonderful guests come up with from year to year.


Real Estate Update  
Real Estate is definitely picking up on Sanibel! We currently have the following condos listed for sale:

F2 is a 1 bedroom 1 bath direct Gulf Front condo with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. The list price is $559,000.
B1 is a 1 bedroom 1 bath Dockside unit with a private glassed/screened lanai! There are only four of these particular units at Sanibel Arms, it won't last long! The list price is $369,000.

E2 is a lovely 1 bedroom 1 bath Beachside condo located near the clubhouse and pool and only steps to the beach path. The list price is $375,000.

If you are interested in these condos or any Southwest Florida Real Estate, please call   
 Monica DeBarr at 239-472-2259

Save 10%
Book Now and Save 10% for 
Spring and Summer! Please use Promotional Code: SA Specials when securing your reservation. Book Online at or call 1-800-806-7368.
Valid from: April 23 - August 20, 2016.


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