You wouldn’t think there is much of a difference between the east end of Sanibel Island vs the west end. After all, the island is only 12 miles long. How much change can really happen in that short of a distance?
Take The Drive
I encourage you to drive from the lighthouse on the east end of Sanibel, to Blind Pass on the west end of the island. You’ll notice a change. This “change” is not negative in either direction. It’s simply a difference in preference, especially when it comes to choosing where on island you’d like to live.
While most agree on a general classification of what is considered east vs west vs mid-island, there is not an official line diving the three areas. For us, the east end encompasses anything from the lighthouse to Dixie Beach Road. The area between Dixie Beach and Rabbit Road we call mid-island. And the anything form Rabbit Road to Blind Pass we consider the west end. Again, this is our classification amongst varying opinions.
East End Sanibel
The east end of the island is mostly residential, with a good number of canal front homes that either have direct access to the gulf if on the north side of Periwinkle Way, or one bridge to cross under if on the south side of Periwinkle.
There are a few small condo complexes on the bay and Gulf, with the larger condo complexes starting along East Gulf Drive and extending to Middle Gulf Drive. The only commercial properties are the shops along Periwinkle Way that are west of the causeway, and the Sanibel Marina, which is just east of the causeway bridge.
Overall, I consider the east end of the island to be pretty quiet, especially the areas east of the causeway since there aren’t too many folks using these roads to get on or off the island. The east end is a great location for families with kids that attend school off-island or those who work off-island and make the commute every day. Below I’ve listed a few of the communities found on the east end of the island.
Sanibel East End Communities
The Dunes – Click to see Homes for sale
Shell Harbor – Click to see Homes for sale
Sanibel Arms West (Condos) – Click to see Homes for sale
Beach View CC Estates – Click to see Homes for sale
Sundial Resort (Condos) – Click to see Homes for sale
The mid-island stretch of Middle Gulf and West Gulf Drive has a number of beachfront condos and a few lakefront single-family home communities. Most of the island’s shops and businesses are located mid-island along Periwinkle Way including our supermarkets, banks, restaurants, shopping centers, and attractions. We refer to this as the heart of the island! While it’s busy, there is still a good amount of conservation land on either side of the main drag.
In my opinion, mid-island is the busiest part of Sanibel, which of course, is nowhere as busy as the larger, more populated areas off-island. Sanibel mid-island also the most convenient location in terms of proximity to restaurants, shops, and businesses. I admit, it sure is nice to be able to bike to the supermarket for milk, or out to dinner, especially when traffic is heightened in season. Below I’ve listed a few communities that are located mid-island.
Sanibel Mid-Island Communities
Gumbo Limbo – Click to see Homes for sale
Island Woods – Click to see Homes for sale
Gulfside Place (Condos) – Click to see Homes for sale
Sanibel Highlands – Click to see Homes for sale
Lake Murex – Click to see Homes for sale
West End Sanibel
Along West Gulf Drive, you’ll find beachfront homes with amazing gulf views, and even a few lakefront homes. Near Blind Pass, there are a few more canal front homes that have direct access to the bay, or gulf access under Bling Pass Bridge.
The bulk of Sanibel’s conservation land is on the west end of the island, including Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Sanibel School, Rec Center, SCCF and CROW are also located on the west end.
Quiet and peaceful is how I describe the west end since it’s surrounded by conservation land and is away from the main shops and businesses along Periwinkle Way. With this serenity comes a longer drive to get on and off-island, especially during season when traffic is heavier. Still, I believe it’s the best spot for those nature-lovers who do not need to commute off-island every day. Below are a few west end Sanibel communities.
Sanibel West End Communities
The Sanctuary – Click to see Homes for sale
Del Sega – Click to see Homes for sale
Heron’s Landing – Click to see Homes for sale
East Rocks – Click to see Homes for sale
Sea Gate & Sea Oats – Click to see Homes for sale