A photo of the Sanibel Island Lighthouse, a piece of island history.While Sanibel Island is known for its sandy beaches and tranquil waters, this little island off the coast of Florida has a rich history and a wealth of attractions. By renting from Sanibel Vacations, you will have a relaxing home base to return to after a day exploring the island or embarking on adventures like a fishing excursion or shelling on a beach. If you’re traveling with history buffs, then be sure to leave plenty of time to learn about the history of Sanibel Island by visiting historical locations and attractions across the island.

Your Sanibel Island Historic Landmark Checklist

It is believed that Sanibel and Captiva islands were once one island when formed by sediment that rose from the sea about 6,000 years ago. Back in 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon is believed to have found Sanibel Island while searching for the Fountain of Youth. Native Calusa Indians inhabited the island at the time. This was the start of the long history that led to the island being what it is today, including several landmarks still standing today. 

  • Sanibel Island Lighthouse: Visit the east end of the island, and you’ll discover the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse was first lit in August 1884 and has been standing ever since. The city of Sanibel was given the lighthouse in 2004 after years of being owned by the Coastguard.
  • Sanibel Historical Museum and Village: Explore a range of historic buildings like a post office from 1926 or a schoolhouse from 1896 at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. Founded in 1984, this development was created to preserve and share Sanibel’s history. Enjoy a self-guided tour, or reserve your spot on a guided tour.
  • Old Town Sanibel: This is the area of the island near the lighthouse. It was once the center of the island’s activity, and today it is a great place to wander and visit local village shops and restaurants. Pick up a map of the walking and biking tour of the area from the Chamber Visitor Center or the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. 

Other notable historical landmarks include Captiva Chapel by the Sea and Causeway Islands Park.

An image of a vacation rental near Sanibel Island history attractions.Soak in the Florida Sunshine with a Sanibel Getaway

Sanibel Vacations has the perfect vacation home for your next Florida escape with a range of condo and vacation rentals to select from. Enjoy a cozy home away from home to return to after exploring the historical landmarks and exciting attractions around the island. To learn more about our properties and which one might be a good fit for your needs, please call us at 239-579-0348.