Welcome to Sanibel. Some people call our island paradise. Many call it home, or home away from home.
Things are a little different here. The Island is old Florida. It is laid back and not very formal. Nature and wildlife are deeply appreciated – bicycles and walkers have the right of way. Many people visit Sanibel every year. Some of them fall in love with our island and buy a home or condo here so they can come back again and again.
Our small subtropical island is world-renowned and our residents come from all corners of the globe. To get here from the mainland you have to cross a three mile causeway and bridge. You can feel the difference as soon as the causeway ends. While the Island is just thirteen miles long, they are miles of beauty and natural grace.
Sanibel’s building regulations and environmental policies are the strictist in the state. You won’t be driving past any high rises, neon signs or stop lights. The pace of the Island is slow and mild. This is a place to relax and enjoy the gifts of nature. Almost 65% of the land on Sanibel is dedicated as nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries.
Sanibel ranks high in almost all travel magazines as a wonderful location for a family vacation. It is known as one of the best places in the world to find seas shells. Our beaches are covered with soft white sand and over 200 varieties of shells. Shellers from around the world make Sanibel one of their favorite spots. Usually the waters of the Gulf are warm and calm and on most days you can see shellers walking in knee deep clear water digging into the sandy bottom with their feet to find shells buried in the shallow depths.
In addition to the shells, Sanibel has a great reputation for its nature preserves and wildlife. There is very little new development permitted on the island. None is allowed on dedicated lands and wildlife flourishes – especially bird life. Birders can be seen often with their cameras or binoculars studying hundreds of different species, which change with the time of the year. The Island’s largest nature preserve, Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, has a global reputation with birders and is visited by thousands every year.
Tourists come to Sanibel for many reasons. There is fishing, boating, kayaking, sailing, shelling, walking, biking, sunning, shopping, eating and just plain relaxing. The minute you cross the causeway you realize you are in a world different than most others. This is a place of peace and beauty where you can forget the usual trials and tribulations of life. Serenity abounds and it won’t take you long to find your own island lifestyle. That’s why so many come back year after year.
Sanibel incorporated itself in 1974 to protect the island from over development which many other parts of Florida were experiencing. Close by, many parts of Lee County became over developed and the residents of Sanibel did not want that to happen to their beloved barrier island. As a result of this incorporation, Sanibel has one of the most detailed land use plans in the country. This plan has won numerous national awards and is often copied by other municipalities.
Nature was kind to Sanibel. The island is beautiful with many different kinds of ecological variations. With incorporation, the residents decided that nature would rule. The entire island has been declared an ecological zone, which provides many restrictions and limits growth and future changes.
Sanibel is thirteen miles long and three miles wide at its midpoint. There are between 6,000 – 7,000 full time residents on the island. During the winter months this expands to about 25,000 when part-time residents visit their homes and condos.
SANIBEL ISLAND LIVING
The residential choices for people who fall in love with Sanibel and want to purchase a home or condo are endless. There are a variety of neighborhoods, types of housing, price ranges and architectural styles. While a great deal of pre-purchase research can be done on the internet, another trip here just for the purpose of narrowing down your search is important. Here are some general ideas on the types of living you can find on Sanibel.
Single Family Homes
The Sanibel/Captiva MLS shows over 200 single family homes on the market in Sanibel. The price range is currently $300,000 to $14,000,000. All price ranges are represented quite well. We have been in a buyer’s market for the last year and one half. At one recent point our single family home inverntory was over the 300 mark. During this buyer’s market, many home sellers reduced their listing prices mulitple times.
Neighborhood Inland Homes
Inland simply means not on the Gulf, the bay or a canal. These neighborhoods can be very similar to neighborhoods found anywhere in the country. Homes could be on a lake or a small pond. Usually inland construction is a little older and the homes a bit smaller. Prices range in the vacinity of $350,000 to $900,000. On such a small island shopping and the beaches are just a short bike ride from homes in this category. There are some very good buys currently available inland.
Near Beach Homes
This is a descriptive you hear often on the island. It usually means that it is just a short walk from your home to the beach. You can leave you bicycle in the garage if you live in one of these. There are entire neighborhoods that fit the near beach description. Prices in this category can range from $500,000 to $2,000,000.
Canal Front Homes
These are unique and highly coveted. This means that you can dock your boat in your backyard and have direct access, through the canals, to the Gulf of Mexico or San Carlos Bay. Our waterways are some of the best in the world. Boating and fishing are major past times here. Almost all boaters dream of being able to dock their boat at their home. Some of the canals demand limited boat size because of bridges that must be navigated. Other canals have no limits at all and boats can be of any size, limted usually only by the size of the dock. The Gulf is usually calm enough to accomdate small boats even though some of these homes have docks and canal depths which can accomdate sailboats or medium sized yachts. Most of the canal homes are larger, have swimming pools and docks with boat lifts. Prices can range from $600,000 to $3,000,000.
Country Club Homes
There are three county club communities on Sanibel. Two are close to the east end of the island and one is close to the Sanbel/Captiva border.
The Dunes Golf And Tennis Club is a large community near the causeway. It has an 18 hole championship course and a tennis facility with multiple courts and surfaces. In today’s market homes start at $495,000 and end at $1,365,000.
Beachview Country Club is located off Middle Gulf Drive. It is a little closer to the beach than the Dunes. It has a challenging 18 hole course and a strong tennis program. Homes here are a little larger and newer than in the Dunes. Beachview prices range from $799,000 to $2,280,000. Both the Dunes and Beachview have private memberships but they are also open to the public.
The Sanctuary Country Club is further out island close to Captiva. This is a private equity club with an Arthur Hills designed 18 hole course and a mid size tennis facility. There are approximately 350 members and this course is not open to the public. Condo price ranges currently start at $660,000 and end at $890,000. Single family home prices range from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.
Bay Front Homes
You get your first view of these as you cross the causeway from the mainland. They can be found on the east end, mid island and the far west end. Some of them have boat docks, but most of them do not. They have wonderful bay views which highlight passing boats or dolphin playing in the warm waters. Owners can fish from the backyards. Many of these homes are very large and most of them have been renovated. Prices range from $1,400,000 to $4,300,000.
Gulf Front Homes
This is the ultimate location for some buyers. You can walk out your back door, down your private pathway, directly to some of the finest beaches in the state. Usually these homes have great views of the Gulf from multiple rooms. While there are some smaller homes on the Gulf, most of these tend to be larger and many of them are estates with vast grounds and private gardens. Prices range currently from $2,000,000 to $14,000,000.
The inventory of homes and condos on Sanibel offers an excellent selection in different price ranges. Lighthouse Realty of The Islands is one of the primary agencies on Sanibel. We represent buyers and sellers all over the Island. We know every neighborhood and street. Our island experience over the years has made us both knowledgable and successful. We know many of the local owners and the history of their homes. We can answer most of your questions on any condo or home on the island. Please use our “Property Search” function on the home page to really explore all of the current listings on Sanibel.