Sanibel is an island and city in Lee County, Florida, United States. The population is 6,469. It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The island, also known as Sanibel Island, constitutes the entire city. It is a barrier island – a collection of sand on the leeward side of the more solid coral-rock of Pine Island.
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Due to easy causeway access, Sanibel is a popular tourist destination known for its shell beaches and wildlife refuges. More than half of the island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The Island hosts the Sanibel Historical Village and a variety of other museums and theaters, as well as many non-profit organizations like the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and the Sanibel Sea School.
Sanibel Island, located in southern Florida, has a climate that is "tropical and humid" with daily high temperatures ranging from 75 °F (24 °C) in midwinter to around 90 °F (32 °C) in the summer.
Sanibel and Captiva formed as one island about 6,000 years ago. The first known humans in the area were the Calusa, who arrived about 2,500 years ago. The Calusa were a powerful Indian nation who came to dominate most of Southwest Florida through trade via their elaborate system of canals and waterways. Sanibel remained an important Calusa settlement until the collapse of their empire, soon after the arrival of the Europeans.
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Drawn by its now-famous Florida beaches, shelling, fishing and nature walks, visitors arrived via a half-hour ferry ride from Fort Myers. Many stocked up for the week at Bailey’s General Store, which is still a mainstay of the island today.From native Indians, to Spanish explorers, infamous pirates and brave pioneers, the islands have many a fascinating tale to tell.