Biking, Walking, Jogging & In-Line Skating
On Sanibel, paved bike paths run alongside most roads, including the length of Periwinkle Way and along Sanibel-Captiva Road to Blind Pass, making the island a paradise for cyclists, walkers, joggers, and in-line skaters. You can also walk or bike the 5-mile, one-way nature trail through the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. There are no bike paths on Captiva, where trees next to the narrow roads can make for dangerous riding.
The chamber of commerce's visitor center has bike maps, as do Sanibel's rental outlets: Finnimore's Cycle Shop, 2353 Periwinkle Way (tel. 239/472-5577; www.finnimores.com); Billy's Rentals, 1470 Periwinkle Way (tel. 239/472-5248; www.sanibelsegway.com); and Tarpon Bay Explorers, at the north end of Tarpon Bay Road (tel. 239/472-8900; www.tarponbayexplorers). On Captiva, Jim's Bike & Scooter Rentals, on Andy Rosse Lane (tel. 239/472-1296; www.yolowatersports.com), rents bikes and beach equipment. Bike rates range from about $8 to $14 for 4 hours to $16 to $22 a day for basic models. Finnimore's and Jim's also rent in-line skates. Billy's rents Segways and conducts Wildlife-Eco tours on Segways. Call tel. 239/472-3620 for pricing.
Boating & Fishing
On Sanibel, rental boats and charter-fishing excursions are available at the Boat House, at the Sanibel Marina, North Yachtsman Drive (tel. 239/472-2531), off Periwinkle Way east of Causeway Road. Tarpon Bay Explorers, at the north end of Tarpon Bay Road (tel. 239/472-8900; www.tarponbayexplorers.com), rents boats with electric trolling motors and tackle for fishing.
On Captiva, check with Beach Bums Rentals, at the 'Tween Waters Inn Marina (tel. 239/472-6336); Jensen's Twin Palms Marina (tel. 239/472-5800; www.jensen-captiva.com); and McCarthy's Marina (tel. 239/472-5200; www.mccarthysmarina.com), all on Captiva Road. Rental boats cost about $200 for a half-day, $350 for a full day.
Many charter-fishing captains have boats docked at these marinas. Half-day rates are about $250 to $350 for up to four people. The skippers leave free brochures at the chamber of commerce's visitor center, and they're also listed in the free tourist publications found there.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Tarpon Bay Explorers (tel. 239/472-8900; www.tarponbayexplorers.com) has guided canoe and kayak trips in the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Do-it-yourselfers can rent canoes and kayaks. They cost $20 for the first 2 hours, $10 for each additional hour. Captiva Kayak Co./WildSide Adventures, at McCarthy's Marina (tel. 877/395-2925 or 239/395-2925; www.captivakayaks.com), rents canoes and kayaks on Captiva for $15 per hour, $35 for 4 hours, and $55 for 8 hours, as does 'Tween Waters Inn Marina (tel. 239/472-5161; www.tween-waters.com), for $20 to $30 per 2 hours and $5 to $10 per additional hour.
Tarpon Bay Explorers also offers naturalist-led kayaking trips through the mangrove forest along the Commodore Creek water trail. Learn about the rich back-bay ecosystem and the wildlife that lives there. You'll be surrounded by red mangroves, wading birds, and more for $30 per adult and $20 per child (tel. 239/472-8900). Captiva Kayak Co./WildSide Adventures, based at McCarthy's Marina, on Captiva (tel. 877/395-2925 or 239/395-2925; www.captivakayaks.com), has day and night back-bay ecology trips for $45 for adults and $35 for children (add $10 for sunset/twilight tours). The company will customize tours, including camping on Cayo Costa for advanced kayakers. Adventure in Paradise (tel. 239/472-9443; www.adventureinparadiseinc.com) offers eco-nature canoe and kayak tours through the wildlife-studded Engine Trail and Ibis Isle. Cost is $30 adults, $15 children. Reservations are essential for all operators.
For information on the 40-mile Great Calusa Blueway paddling trail,
Golf & Tennis
Golfers may view a gallery of wild animals while playing the 5,600-yard, par-70, 18-hole course at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, 949 Sandcastle Rd., Sanibel (tel. 239/472-2535; www.dunesgolfsanibel.com), whose back 9 runs across a wildlife preserve. Call a day in advance for seasonal greens fees and a tee time. The Dunes also has seven tennis courts.
You can also play 18 water-bordered holes at Beachview Golf Club, 1100 Par View Dr., Sanibel (tel. 239/472-2626; www.beachviewgolfclub.com).
The South Seas Island Resort, on Captiva, has tennis courts and a 9-hole golf course, but they're for guests only.
If you want to learn how to sail or polish your skills, noted yachters Steve and Doris Colgate have a branch of their Offshore Sailing School at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva (tel. 800/221-4326 or 239/454-1700; www.offshore-sailing.com). Clinics range from a half-day to a full week. Also ask about the popular women-only, father-son, and mother-daughter programs.
Also based on Captiva are two sailboats that take guests out on the waters of Pine Island Sound: the 30-foot Adventure (tel. 239/472-5300; www.captivacruises.com), a sailing sloop offering private tours for up to six guests, at $125 per hour with a 2-hour minimum, or group tours at $45 for adults and $35 for children; and the New Moon (tel. 239/395-1782; www.newmoonsailing.com), a 40-foot sloop carrying up to 40 passengers from the 'Tween Waters Marina, on 3-hour half-day and 7-hour full-day and sunset charters. Half-day and sunset trips for up to six people cost $300; full-day trips are $600. Reservations are required well in advance, but Captain Mick Gurley tells us "don't be afraid to try last minute."
Do-it-yourselfers can rent small sailboats from Captiva Kayak Co./WildSide Adventures, based at McCarthy's Marina (tel. 877/395-2925 or 239/395-2925; www.captivakayaks.com). Prices start at $35 an hour to $100 for a half-day, depending on the size of the craft and number of sailors.
Sanibel prohibits motorized watersports equipment on its beaches, but Captiva doesn't. Yolo Watersports (tel. 239/472-9656; www.yolo-jims.com) offers parasailing and WaveRunner rentals on the beach in front of the Mucky Duck Restaurant, at the Gulf end of Andy Rosse Lane.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.