Dreaming of a getaway vacation to a beautiful island destination surrounded by perfect blue waters? Start planning your next Gulf Coast trip around all the best things to do in Captiva Island, FL.
Located less than an hour away from Fort Myers, this Lee County barrier island offers everything you can ask for. Sunny days year-round, white sand beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and friendly locals are just a few reasons to put Captiva Island on your Southwest Florida must-visit list.
Captiva Island may be small and a bit secluded, but that makes it the perfect exclusive getaway. Rent a car and drive down to the beautiful beaches. While you’re roaming around, fill your travel itinerary with all of these incredible places to visit on Captiva Island…
Best places to visit on Captiva Island, FL
South Seas Island Resort
One of the best ways to enjoy Captiva Island is to plan your stay at South Seas Island Resort. This serene and exclusive 330-acre island resort has endless things to see & do. With over two miles of private pristine beaches, you can relax with a book and drink in hand or enjoy the perfect white sand and blue water.
The South Seas Resort has poolside cabanas, a private golf course, tennis courts, and delicious food options. The beach resort also offers incredible outdoor activities such as shelling, kayaking, fishing, and cycling.
For even more fun, take advantage of the many water activities available at South Seas. You can book a cruise, go sailing, or take to the skies by parasailing.
While on the water, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of the dolphins and manatees. The possibilities for fun while staying at South Seas Island Beach Resort are endless!
One of the nicest beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Turner Beach is not only gorgeous but truly fascinating. Known for its beautiful shells, this amazing beach is perfect for a romantic date walking the sands and taking in the spectacular sunsets.
Shells cover much of Turner Beach. Shelling here is one of the most popular beach activities in Southwest Florida. Without realizing it, you might end up spending hours searching, observing, and collecting the countless, unique shells found in the sand.
Turner Beach is also great for fishing. Cast out your line from some of the rocky surfaces found along the coast.
Captiva Chapel By the Sea
Once a one-room schoolhouse when it was originally built in 1901, Captiva Chapel By the Sea was converted into a church two decades later. Now a part of the National Register of Historic Places, Captiva Chapel welcomes all visitors.
This quaint and peaceful Captiva Island landmark is a must-visit for a quiet and comfortable moment during your trip. While here, be sure to visit the small cemetery next door which dates back over two centuries ago.
If you are visiting during the holiday season, Captiva Chapel by the Sea is magically decorated in Christmas lights and ornaments. Sitting outside the chapel for its annual Christmas Eve caroling is an unforgettable experience.
Blind Pass Beach
Blind Pass Beach is a beautiful beach with 3,000 feet of shoreline and endless water activities. Often referred to as Middle Beach, Blind Beach is one of Captiva Island’s nicest beaches.
Not only are the sands perfect for relaxing, but Blind Pass has access to a trail that leads to the nearby mangrove forests. The hiking trails and bike paths are perfect for bird watching, a bike ride, or a relaxing stroll.
Blind Beach also has fishing docks, a canoe launch, and picnic facilities for a fantastic family fun day. A picturesque beach with peaceful natural surroundings and abundant wildlife, Blind Pass is a great day trip destination from Fort Myers or Cape Coral.
For a laid-back and casual beach experience, head over to Captiva Beach. With its white sand, spectacular sunsets, and crystal blue ocean waters, this beautiful stretch of shoreline should be near the top of your list of South Florida beach destinations.
Make sure to plan your day carefully around Captiva Beach: parking and amenities are a bit on the limited side. Even so, you can’t beat the natural beauty of this lovely white-sand beach. It’s what keeps locals and tourists coming back year after year.
With incredible weather year-round, Captiva Beach will never disappoint. Pro tip: When visiting this stunning beach, park at Alison Hagerup Beach Park for convenience.
Cabbage Key is an exclusive island on the Gulf Coast, only accessible by a boat ride. You can travel by private boat, but there are ferries available as well. The one hundred-acre island is full of greenery, beaches, and natural wildlife habitats.
There isn’t a single car on the entire island. They don’t even have roads; there are only nature trails and sidewalks to get around the island. But make no mistake: Cabbage Key has everything you’ll need for the perfect island vacation.
On Cabbage Key, you’ll find an amazing restaurant with an open concept atop one of the Calusa Indians’ old shell mounds. There’s an inn for an overnight stay or week-long vacation rentals to go along with a spectacular sunset over Pine Island Sound with Bokeelia on Pine Island peering off in the distance.
Cayo Costa State Park
Another island that is only accessible by boat ride is Cayo Costa State Park, only minutes from North Captiva Island. Once a fishing ground for the native Calusa Indians, the park offers endless water and land activities.
The nine miles of shoreline at Cayo Costa State Park are perfect for beach and shell-seeking activities, including snorkeling, fishing, and swimming.
On land, you can birdwatch, hike or bike the island’s six miles of trails. From the shore, you might even get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the native sea turtles, manatees, or porpoises.
If you can’t bring yourself to leave for the day, stay for the night at one of the park’s cabins or campsites.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
While on your Captiva Island vacation, take a trip over to nearby Sanibel Island to visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. This is the only museum in the entire country devoted to mollusks and shells.
Mollusks are fascinating sea creatures that’ll keep you entertained for hours. Not only will you learn about them, but kids are allowed to feel them with their hands in the touch pools. There are also scavenger hunts for the family to ramp up the fun.
Thousands of shells are featured at the museum, each one unique and beautiful. If that’s not enough fun, you can gaze at the majestic Giant Pacific Octopus onsite.
Sanibel Island Lighthouse
After your visit to the shell museum, don’t leave Sanibel Island before taking a trip to its lighthouse. Sanibel Island Lighthouse covers the entire eastern tip of Captiva’s sister island. The lighthouse is a fan favorite for both locals and visitors alike.
The area around the Sanibel Island Lighthouse has an incredible shoreline and pier where you can shell and fish. The beach next to the lighthouse is also perfect for fun activities. While on the beach, you’ll catch glimpses of the pelicans and ospreys feeding or playful dolphins in the distance.
Lighthouse Beach Park has plenty of amenities for visitors including parking and restroom facilities. Once here, you’ll be in awe of the towering lighthouse that’s been standing since 1884.
2 Islands Gallery
A premiere art gallery on Captiva, 2 Islands Gallery is a go-to for art lovers of all kinds. With works from nearly 30 artists, this gallery will keep you captivated for the entire afternoon.
2 Islands is home to works that vary across the entire artistic spectrum. It features countless pieces including paintings, pottery, photography, ceramics, jewelry, prints, and even decorative baskets.
The artisan shop places an emphasis on local artists. Depending on the day, you are likely to meet some of the artists who have work on display. Meeting the artists can give you the opportunity to ask questions about their work and connect in person.
Andy Rosse Lane
After a day relaxing on one of Captiva Island’s beautiful beaches or fishing from one of its piers, you might be in need of some retail therapy! Andy Rosse Lane is the island’s main street, attracting quite a crowd mixed between locals and visitors.
The infamous street is known for its bright colors, lively atmosphere, and vibrant decorations. The restaurants, bars, and pubs that line Andy Rosse Lane all come to life with live entertainment. The buildings are historic but spunky. Storefronts are colorfully decorated; inside, art galleries display eclectic art.
Be sure to make time in your Captiva Island itinerary to walk Andy Rosse Lane. Take in the boutiques, antique shops, artisan shops, and restaurants. Walk to the end of the street where it opens up to sandy beaches for a relaxing end to your evening.
Jungle Drums Gallery
When you visit Jungle Drums Gallery, you’ll immediately know you’re in for a treat with its exterior decorated in unique and distinct art. Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most captivating pieces you’ll find anywhere.
Gallery owners Kathleen and Jim Mazzotta are artists who set out to raise environmental and wildlife awareness through their art. They started Jungle Drums Gallery to showcase animals and their natural habitats through artistic expression. Here, you’ll find paintings, photography, sculptures, and more.
While visiting, you might even see Kathleen or Jim at work on their latest animal sculpture or nature painting. Make sure to pay Jungle Drums Gallery a visit after a day of shopping on Andy Rosse Lane.
Sunny Island Adventures
Once you’ve had your fill of rest and relaxation, visit Sunny Island Adventures to get your heart rate up with all kinds of fun activities. Sunny Island is a must to explore every land and water adventure you can think of on Captiva Island.
You’ll have the option to rent boats for the ocean, golf carts to get around the island, or bicycles to explore the land. You can also book parasailing adventures or island tours. If you’re looking for some water activities, Sunny Island Adventures has got you covered with kayak and paddleboard rentals.
For some guided fun, book one of the outfitter’s many tours. You’ll follow an experienced and fun tour guide as you kayak, paddleboard, and jet ski around the neighboring islands.
Pine Island Sound Aquatic Reserve
The waters of Charlotte Harbor, the Caloosahatchee River, and San Carlos Bay come together to form the beautiful Pine Island Sound Aquatic Reserve. The preserve focuses on protecting the marine habitats of the wildlife in the waters of the Gulf through preservation efforts.
Visitors can reap the benefits of those efforts through the preserve’s natural beauty. At Pine Island Sound Aquatic Reserve, you’ll find mangrove swamps, salt marshes, mollusk reefs, and seagrass beds—all beautiful and fascinating ocean and marine ecosystems.
After taking the time to admire the beauty, have some fun on the beach with the family. You can even book one of the island’s tours, taking you through the incredible mangroves through a calm and relaxing kayak ride.
The Mucky Duck Restaurant
Once an inn for overnight stays, in 1976 The Mucky Duck was converted into one of the friendliest neighborhood pubs on the island. The popular restaurant & bar sits on the beach, giving diners exquisite sunsets to take in from their outdoor seating.
On your visit to The Mucky Duck, make sure to order the duck fingers, a fan favorite. This delicious entree combines crispy fried duck breast with almond breading and a scrumptious raspberry sauce.
To satisfy your adrenaline rush, head over to Captiva Watersports for all the water fun you can imagine. Here, you can book the longest parasailing flight on Captiva Island. If you want to stay out of the air and in the water, go for one of their boat rentals or try their jet skis.
If the entire family is up for an adventure, book the shark ride. The shark boat is a heart-pumping ride. It holds up to six people for nearly 15 minutes, zipping through the waters at thrilling speeds!
No trip to Captiva is complete without a night at the Bubble Room. The restaurant is eclectic, spunky, and fun with its year-round Christmas theme. All three floors are decked out in Christmas trees, ornaments, and decorations along with fun movie memorabilia.
The Bubble Room serves traditional American dishes with a smile, known for its exceptional service. Make sure you order the best-selling, award-winning, orange crunch cake. It’s a layered yellow cake with almond brown sugar and orange cream cheese icing, a delicious treat.
Before heading out, stop by the Bubble Room Emporium for a gift or souvenir to remember your fun dining experience.