Satellite Images Show Sanibel’s Difference

The Florida Gulf Coast has some amazing communities! From the panhandle down to the keys, there are numerous beach towns to consider for retirement or vacation.

Sanibel attracts a unique niche of folks who LOVE the islands simplicity. For example:

  • Sanibel has no traffic signals on island
  • There are only two-lane streets, some aren’t even paved
  • The island is 67% conservation land, which can never be developed
  • There’s only one way on and off the island
  • There are 25 miles of paved shared-use paths for bikers and walkers
  • There are no high-rise condos, and never will be
  • There’s 15 miles of natural beach to walk
  • And the list could go on and on

Those are a few things that make Sanibel different than neighboring beach towns along the Gulf Coast. But we all know that images speak louder than words. So take a look for yourself! The satellite images below reveal just how different Sanibel Island is compared to the more developed cities along the coast.

Sanibel Island

Look at the green areas on island. This is the conservation land we mentioned that can never be developed. It is preserved in its natural state as a protected habitat for the islands unique wildlife, plants and organisms that live with us.

Marco Island

Sanibel is often compared to Marco Island as being a barrier island in Southwest Florida. But one look at the satellite image and you can tell there’s no comparison to be made here.


Again, Naples is only an hour south of Sanibel, and while it probably has the second most green of the cities we pictured, it still doesn’t compare to that of Sanibel Island.

Siesta Key

We love to visit Siesta Key, but I’m not sure we’d love to live there. The beaches are beautiful but they just don’t have the same passion for preserving the natural environment as Sanibel.

St. Pete Beach

The long and skinny island of St. Pete Beach is also fun to visit. By nature of its shape, it doesn’t have much land to preserve anyways. You won’t find much green on this map. 


Yet another great beach town on the Gulf Coast, however, no much land was preserved here either. There are a decent amount of high-rise condos as you can see.

There is a great state park just above Clearwater in Dunedin, we should note. Actually, there are a handful of nicely preserved chunks of land scattered throughout the state. But I must say that it’s nothing like having a national wildlife refuge right in your own city. Not to mention the other preserved lands that attract rare birds and wildlife that can’t be found in other parts of Florida.

This is just a sliver of what makes Sanibel so different than other beach towns along the Gulf Coast of Florida. I hope you enjoyed!

Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.