Still on our quest to find the best spot for beach combing, we headed to Sanibel and Captiva Islands to spend a day searching for shells & shark's teeth. The beaches of Sanibel & Captiva Islands are known to be the best shelling in Florida. We were going to find out. If we were lucky, we might find one of the prized Junonia shells.
Sanibel is almost a 2 hour drive south of our resort on Manasota Key. We set out early. It was a beautiful day. The view from the bridge to Sanibel was spectacular.
A pelican escorted us across the bridge. He rode the air currents keeping pace with us at 35 mph the entire length of the bridge!
After breakfast we decided to head to Captiva Island first, then work our way back to Sanibel. We didn't see much of the Gulf but the houses were beautiful.
"I told you we should have fixed the air conditioning before we left."
We found a spot in the (almost full) parking lot, grabbed our gear & headed for the beach. That's when we noticed the sign. The parking fee on Captiva was $20 for the first 2 hours! That's a little rich for our blood considering all of the beaches we had visited so far were free or required a $3 daily parking fee.
Back to Sanibel!
We caught a few glimpses of the Gulf on our way back to Sanibel. There are several public beaches on Sanibel Island. To be honest, I'm not sure which beach we visited. Wherever we were, the parking was much more reasonable. Still an hourly fee with a $5 minimum. We paid $7.50, grabbed our gear & set out to find seashells.
Sanibel & Captiva are both known for great shelling. Beach combers can find Conch, Junonia, Coquina, Murex, Lightning Whelk, Tulip, Olive, Conckle & Scallop shells. Sand Dollar & Starfish too. You're allowed to collect them all providing the critters that inhabit them are no longer alive. The beach we visited on Sanibel was also beautiful but... we didn't leave with a single shell! I suspect the lack of seashells was temporary & due to the recent beach reclamation projects.
First Venice, now Captiva and Sanibel Islands. Three strikes & we're out! We spent enough time in the car looking for the best spots for beach combing. Turns out, it was in our front yard the entire time! All of the beaches on Manasota Key are full of beautiful seashells, fossilized corals and our latest obsession - shark's teeth!
On the way back through Fort Myers we passed the Edison Ford Winter Estate. We didn't realize until much later that the Edison Ford Winter Estate contains historic homes, a museum, laboratory & gardens open to visitors. We would be interested in those tours. Next visit.
So, I've been gushing over the beaches on Manasota Key but haven't shared many of our photos yet. (Saving the best for last!) In our final few posts, we'll share the best part of our exciting Florida adventure. Stump Pass Beach State Park on Manasota Key in Englewood, Florida. Our favorite spot to wander, wade, beach comb & bird watch. Stay tuned!