The west coast of Florida — abutting the Gulf of Mexico, the huge expanse of coastline offers such a variety of environments. The shallow salt waters close to shore and the action of fresh water from the land emptying into the Gulf creates ever shifting patterns of water ways and land — keys, islands, estuaries, swamps, it’s all here, and all bursting with life.
Sanibel and Captiva are popular for shelling beaches and wildlife. A large portion of Sanibel island has been set aside by US Fish and Wildlife as a preserve, the J. N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Preserve. We only spent about an hour midday, and loved the abundance of beautiful birds!
At low tide, the resident and migratory birds take full advantage of the abundance of small fish and other tasties in easy reach — fun to watch and photograph!
Too late for any reasonable hope of shelling, we made our way to the end of Captiva island (note to selves — in high season, if you’re not underway before 10 am, you’ll pay the price with terrible traffic after the causeway and full parking). The beaches are scenic, but the sand is quite shell-y, in contrast to the sugar sand beaches in other areas.
The causeway itself is a fun place to picnic and watch sunsets. The shallow water are popular with the local residents (particularly the pelicans!)
Life in this part of Florida is all about appreciation, appreciating the warmth of the sun, the bounty of the land and sea, the gentle breeze, and of course, the spectacular end of day light display…ta da!