Avoiding Traffic Jams on Sanibel During Season

Winter is coming. But our shortening days and cooling temperatures foretell the coming of another Season, Sanibel’s Tourist Season and the Great Snowbird Migration!

Soon our quiet, sleepy island will be abuzz with activity. Following the peaceful days of early Fall our calendars fill up with activity: charity events, BIG Arts performances, social activities at the Community House, and houseguests from cooler climates to name a few.

These great events coupled with our unparalleled, natural, white-sandy beaches brings a wave of folks across the Causeway every day. Who could blame them? I’m certainly jealous of the carefree vacationers with no real responsibilities except working on their tan.

When To Avoid Periwinkle Way

It’s no secret that the influx of visitors on island can sometimes turn Periwinkle Way into Periwinkle Wait as traffic directors do their best to guide the procession of beachgoers on and off the island.

So how do we deal with the traffic, you ask?

We don’t! Most residents on island will avoid the traffic dense times of the day and plan our schedules around it. It’s all about timing. Here’s the scoop…

The Causeway bridge and all lanes going westbound on Sanibel slow down in the morning hours as the day-trippers come on island to go to the beach. So from 9:00-11:30am, know that coming on island will take a little longer than usual.

The traffic reverses in the late afternoon and early evening hours when that same group of day trippers have had enough sand and sun for the day and head off island at the same time all of the daily commuters get off work at 5:00pm. You can imagine how this might cause a few delays trying to get off island between 3:00-6:00pm during peak season. 

Traffic Workarounds

Now that you know the times to avoid Periwinkle Way, you can better plan your trips to Costco off-island such as mid-day or later in the evening. If you have a high-schooler, you will be fine since you leave the island early in the morning, and are against the traffic on your way back to the island late afternoon. We know all about this with two kids going to two different high schools in Fort Myers.

Living on the east end of the island helps if you are making frequent trips in town. It also helps to know a few of the back roads or traffic workarounds if you do find yourself traveling off island at 5:00pm. You’ll learn these as you become more familiar with the island and chat with your neighbors. 

Another great means of getting around the island during season is biking! With the shared use path, you can easily access any of the restaurants and businesses along Periwinkle Way. You might even get there faster than if you chose to drive!

The traffic is nothing to stress about. It’s a natural part of any seasonal or tourist town. Hopefully, these few tips and details helps you to avoid it all together. It’s certainly a sign of how  unique and desirable the island is. In fact, we are thankful for the seasonal traffic that keeps our island businesses thriving!

Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.