Bicycling on Sanibel Island

Have fun pedaling your way across Florida's favorite Gulf Coast island.


One of the best and easiest ways to navigate the 11-mile-long island is by pedal power, especially in season (Nov. to April) when traffic can move at a snail’s pace. Shared-use bicycle paths crisscross Sanibel Island, so to get the lay of the land visit the Shared Use Path Welcome Gazebo on Periwinkle Way. The open-air wood structure, with a tin roof, has a large map of the island’s 22 miles of bike paths. It’s also a good starting point.

The asphalt paths are similar to sidewalks that run parallel to the roadway; they range from 6 to 12 feet wide and are used by both pedestrians and bicyclists. Since Sanibel has an average elevation of four feet, bike riding is effortless. Anyone, from kids to seniors, can enjoy the outdoors whether on a leisurely ride or serious workout.

Pedal along the main commercial thoroughfare, Periwinkle Way, and stop to check out the shopping plazas tucked behind foliage off the road. Most have bicycle racks. You’ll find jewelry stores with shell-inspired charm bracelets, boutiques with island clothing and outdoor cafes for breakfast, lunch or a pick-me-upper snack. After refueling ride to the Sanibel lighthouse at the eastern tip.

Heading west, the conservation corridor route travels parallel to Sanibel-Captiva Road and passes by J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Pedaling alongside tropical flora you’ll hear birdsong in the early morning and enjoy the natural green surroundings at any hour. Bicycle traffic is light, and there are few driveways to worry about.