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Special Events on Sanibel Island

When you think about it, Sanibel Island is so incredibly unique,
why shouldn’t our special events be, too?




Throughout the year, you’ll always find art and entertainment events somewhere nearby to enjoy, but on Sanibel Island, you can also enjoy special events you won’t find anywhere else.

Our Signature Festivals and Events:

Every March, we have the annual SANIBEL SHELL FESTIVAL – now in its 83rd year – that celebrates our reputation as a world-renowned shelling island with artistic exhibits, scientific exhibits, displays, crafts, demonstrations and more.

March is also SPRING TRAINING season for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins across the causeway in Fort Myers. Enjoying our national pastime – along with a break from the cold – is always popular with our guests from up north!

And for those who can’t get enough baseball, it takes the spotlight again in May for ISLANDS NIGHT, when virtually the entire island comes out to celebrate our special community with a pre-game parade, an assortment of food specials, and a great baseball game!

In June, it’s time to celebrate NATIONAL SEASHELL DAY, and what better place to shellebrate? Many of our guests commemorate this special date with unique parties, activities and even one-of-a-kind pieces of art!

On July 4th, Sanibel Island throws an old-fashioned hometown INDEPENDENCE DAY parade down Periwinkle Way. The day is filled with island barbeques and all sorts of activities, including a crazy island-wide Road Rally. At night, of course, there’s no better place to be for an incomparable view of our holiday fireworks display just off the causeway, where spectacular explosions of color happen right over the water.

Music fans head our way in September for the ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITERS FEST every year to enjoy 10 days of incredible music on some of our area’s most beautiful barrier beaches. Each year, the festival’s line-up gives fans the opportunity to meet the talented artists who are behind the hit songs for many of today’s superstars.

In October, guests flock to our national wildlife refuge for the week-long DING DARLING DAYS eco-celebration. The festival features birding, biking, tram tours, kayaking, paddleboarding, wildlife presentations, kids crafts, duck stamp art and more as the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge honors the birthday of its namesake, Jay Norwood Darling, with non-stop activities designed to increase environmental awareness.

Sanibel hosts an assortment of fun fundraisers throughout the year, but for many of our guests, their taste buds wait all year round until November, when it’s finally time for the annual TASTE OF THE ISLANDS. This outdoor gathering has been featuring sample cuisine from restaurants around the islands for 38 years now, all in a fundraising effort for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW).

Also in November, the AMERICAN SANDSCULPTING CHAMPIONSHIP, the largest sandsculpting competition in Florida and one of the largest of its kind in the country, returns to nearby Fort Myers Beach for its 33rd annual festival. Master sculptors, arriving from three different continents, will be greeted with more than 2,000 tons of sand which they will then pile and sculpt into incredible works of art.

Before you know, it’s time to welcome in the holidays, as only Sanibel Island can with the annual LUMINARY TRAIL the first weekend in December. Just after dark, glowing luminaries line Periwinkle Way, while twinkling lights and holiday décor add to the festive feel. All of our island businesses stay open and offer gourmet delights and refreshments, in addition to delightful holiday shopping. Add in sing-along caroling aboard our open air trolleys, a live nativity, a “Walk through Bethlehem” and amazing music island-wide and you’ll understand why it’s such a special tradition to walk Sanibel’s luminary trail and catch the holiday spirit.

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