Located on Florida’s Sanibel Island, the resort has direct access to a mile-long stretch of white sand strewn with swaying palms and colorful shells. You can rent kayaks and catamarans from the front desk.
The hotel just completed renovations in April. One-bedroom and two-bedroom suites have fully equipped kitchens and plenty of room for families. Some even have screened-in balconies or patios.
Guests at Sundial Beach Resort have access to the Sanibel Island Golf Club, an 18-hole course nestled in a tropical wildlife preserve.
Kids and adults alike can interact with marine life at the onsite coastal observatory, which boasts a 180-gallon aquarium and a 450-gallon touch tank.
You have a choice of al fresco dining options on the resort grounds. On Saturday afternoons, the staff grills burgers, hot dogs, and mahi-mahi at an outdoor barbecue with live music (extra fee).
Sanibel, Florida: Shelling and Wildlife Watching on White Sand Beaches
Sanibel is a barrier island famous for its stretches of white sand beaches, swaying palms, and turquoise waters. To get here, you can either take a boat or drive across the causeway that separates it from Fort Myers on the mainland. Searching the beach for colorful shells during low tide is a popular pastime among visitors and locals, particularly along the island’s southern shore, where the Gulf of Mexico deposits unbroken shells and sand dollars. Travel + Leisure called the beaches here a “shellers’ mecca.”
To the north, large populations of migratory birds and other native wildlife live at the JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Kid-friendly tours and activities include exploring a tidal zone inhabited by crabs and sea stars. On neighboring Captiva Island, you can set out on dolphin-watching tours to see the friendly marine mammals frolic in the calm waters of Pine Island Sound.
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