This heavily visited refuge is reputed to be among Florida's best
wildlife spot. It is located on subtropical Sanibel Island, a
barrier island just off the coast from Fort Myers Beach. There is
an excellent visitor center, several foot trails, two canoe trails,
a five-mile wildlife drive (closed on Fridays), an interpretive
tram, and naturalist-led tours.
The diversity of wildlife at this refuge is staggering. Nearly 300
bird species, more than 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and
some 32 mammals live here for at least part of the year. Sunrise,
sunset, and low tide are the best times to observe resident
wildlife, particularly shorebirds and wading birds, including many
roseate spoonbills. Mottled duck, American swallow-tailed kite,
white ibis, wood stork, mangrove cuckoo, and gray kingbird are
often seen. Look for warblers, vireos, and other songbirds to
migrate through the refuge in the spring and fall.
Alligators (and occasionally an American crocodile) bask in the sun
on the left side of the wildlife drive.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
From Fort Myers, take Sanibel Causeway to Sanibel Island.
Florida Wildlife Sites