About Sanibel Island


We’ve gotten to know Sanibel pretty well having lived here for more than a decade now. There’s so much to say about our 16 square-mile barrier island, as you can tell by the 280+ blogs we’ve written so far!

But for those unfamiliar with Sanibel, we thought you’d enjoy this Quick Start to Sanibel, an overview of the island. So let’s start with the basic stats.

Getting To Know Sanibel Island

Sanibel Basic Stats:

Sanibel Population: 7,363 (2017 Census)
Land Area: 16.12 square miles
Water & Land Total Area: 33.25 square miles
County: Lee County
City Incorporation: 1974


How dense are we on Sanibel Island compared to other Florida beach towns? You might be surprised to learn that St. Augustine, Marco, Naples, and Venice are 3x more densely populated than Sanibel! Click here to read our full blog “How Dense Are We On Sanibel.”

Preserving Our Island

Did you know Sanibel is more than 60% conservation land? You’ve likely heard about the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which is a great place to see unique migratory birds, alligators, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. But there’s also the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), which owns 1,800 acres of land on the islands, preserving it in its natural state.

The founding fathers of Sanibel we’re a huge part in establishing this conservation effort that has kept the island free from high-rise condos and over-development. The building restrictions and regulations around vacation rentals have preserved both the land and the small town appeal of Sanibel, which most people describe as “simple, natural, and friendly.”

Island Community

The Sanibel community is what drew us to live on island and raise our family of four kids. It’s also what’s helped our family-owned real estate practice to be successful, with an abundance of support and collaborations between the businesses on island.

Annual events such as the 4th of July parade, Sanibel Luminary Night, and events at the Sanibel Community House paint a good picture of the community spirit. The numerous non-profit organizations such as CROW, BIG ARTS, the churches on island are a big part in what makes the community special, and how island residents get involved in the community and meet one another.

As I said, I could talk about Sanibel for days. This is just skimming the surface! Below are a few other articles I think you’ll like. If you have questions about a topic I didn’t mention, feel free to reach out! Team@SanibelRealEstateGuide.com or 239-472-1950.

More Blogs About Sanibel Island

Sanibel 4th of July Parade

Sanibel 4th of July Parade

By Susan McCallion | Jul 5, 2019

One of my favorite island celebrations is the Sanibel 4th of July Parade! Here’s a glimpse at the Sanibel community pride in action.

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Sanibel Kids Living The Good Life

By Susan McCallion | May 8, 2019

While thinking about Mother’s Day this year, I was flipping through a bunch of photos of my kids enjoying island life that I just had to share.

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Getting To Know Sanibel

By Susan McCallion | May 1, 2019

We’ve written more than 280 blogs about Sanibel! But for those unfamiliar with our island, here’s a quick guide to Sanibel.

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Sanibel Wins “Gold” as Bike Friendly Community

By Susan McCallion | Dec 29, 2018

Sanibel Island received the “Gold” Bicycle Friendly Community Award by the League of American Bicyclists in December 2018. We’re one of only two Florida communities to achieve this elite status!

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Satellite Images Show Sanibel’s Difference

By Jim McCallion | Nov 5, 2018

We know that Sanibel Island is much different than other beach towns along the Gulf Coast… but these satellite images really drive home the point!

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Your Guide To Sanibel Biking

By Susan McCallion | Aug 26, 2018

Biking is one of Sanibel’s main attractions other than the beach. Here’s a guide to get you going, including a Sanibel Bike Map!

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Sanibel Is My Kind Of Boring

By Jim McCallion | Mar 29, 2018

Most people who visit Sanibel Island LOVE the fact that we have zero street lights and 26-miles of bike path. Most everyone loves the peace and quiet. But Sanibel is not for everyone!

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How Dense Are We on Sanibel?

By Jim McCallion | Feb 7, 2018

Many of you know that Sanibel is over 60% conservation land. But just how densely populated is the island? And how do we compare to other beach towns in Florida?

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We’re Thankful For Our Sanibel Community

By Jim McCallion | Nov 12, 2017

It might be a bit cliche, but every year around this time I am reminded just how thankful we are to live in the Sanibel Community.

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Is Sanibel The Right Community For You?

By Jim McCallion | Nov 1, 2017

Here are a few tips on how to make sure you’re choosing the right community for your family’s lifestyle.

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9 Sanibel Bucket List Items

By Susan McCallion | Jul 27, 2017

There’s lots to do on Sanibel Island… but here are a few Bucket List activities you might not have done yet!

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Raising Kids on Sanibel Island

By Susan McCallion | May 11, 2017

I’ve had a number of people ask what it’s like raising kids on Sanibel Island. In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s my response!

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Sanibel Luminary Night

By Jim McCallion | Nov 25, 2016

Looking back on our first Luminary Night and island holiday experience, I can’t help but to get a little sappy and emotional!

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Have You Seen Sanibel’s Wild Side?

By Susan McCallion | Nov 9, 2016

Where else can you watch ospreys and reptiles from your back porch, and bike a few miles to a nature preservation or the beach to capture images of rare pelicans and other wildlife?

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You Gotta Love Sanibel Mailboxes!

By Tiffany Stokes | Sep 15, 2016

Driving around the island your bound to spot of a few classic Sanibel mailboxes that make you smile!

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Sea Serpents and Quiet Nights – Settling in on Sanibel Island

By Susan McCallion | Mar 24, 2016

I have welcomed many new residents to Sanibel Island over the years – and I love hearing their stories about settling in on Sanibel Island!

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Sanibel Lighthouse

History of the Sanibel Lighthouse

By Tiffany Stokes | May 27, 2015

The Sanibel Lighthouse is a well recognized symbol of quant Sanibel Island and a historical landmark on the Gulf of Mexico. It is the first lighthouse on Florida’s Gulf Coast that is north of Key West.

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Sanibel Causeway at Sunrise

The Magic of the Sanibel Causeway

By Tiffany Stokes | Jan 30, 2015

The Sanibel Causeway evokes an emotional response in even our most stoic visitors. Below are some thoughts from folks that cross it often. Jim McCallion, Marketing Director at McCallion & McCallion Most bridges simply allow you to travel from one side of an obstacle to another. But the Sanibel Causeway transports me in so many more […] Read More

Naples high rise condo

What Sanibel Doesn’t Have

By Susan McCallion | May 9, 2012

I want to share the story of my client Gerald. Gerald wanted a get-away home on the Gulf Coast of Florida, but didn’t know exactly where. When I spoke with him, he was concerned about “Quality”. He desired a quality condo with quality construction, quality finishes, and in a ‘quality’ neighborhood. No problem, I thought, […] Read More

Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Facing Causeway

Sanibel’s Incredibly Low PPBM

By Jim McCallion | Dec 19, 2011

I have often expressed how peaceful I find Sanibel beaches and how favorably they compare to other locations – but you probably think I’m biased (you’d be right!). So I’ve coined a new statistic for you analytical types: Population Per Beach Mile (PPBM). Divide Sanibel’s low population by our 15 miles of pristine beaches and […] Read More

Satellite Images Reveal Sanibel’s Difference

By Susan McCallion | Dec 7, 2011

I have visited many coastline communities of Florida and know first-hand that Sanibel’s beauty is unique. Take a quick look at these satellite images from Google of nearby beach destinations and see for yourself how Sanibel is different (note: images are not to scale). Sanibel Island Look at all the green on the island. Over […] Read More

The Sanibel Legacy documentary

Video: The Sanibel Legacy

By Susan McCallion | Aug 31, 2011

Sanibel is special – it was saved from bulldozers and the over-development that has scarred most of Florida. This unique character has attracted a community of folks who value living where nature and the environment are given high regard. This is what attracted our family to the island. I believe that Sanibel’s unique character and […] Read More