Sanibel and Captiva islands are a great place to trade in your afternoon car ride for a relaxing bike ride along the trails.
Instead of driving around paved Wildlife Drive at â€œDingâ€ Darling Refuge, try two-wheeling for a close-up encounter.
The entire loop from the Education Center, through the Refuge and back to the center via the Sanibel-Captiva Road (a.k.a. San-Cap Road) bike path, is about 8 miles, all paved. Or you may want to follow the unpaved shortcut on the Cross-Dike Trail near the Refugeâ€™s entrance.
Sanibel Islandâ€™s 23-mile bike path takes you just about anywhere you want to go. Nature-lovers bike the â€œconservation corridorâ€ path paralleling San-Cap Road, which leads to â€œDingâ€ Darling, SCCF and other environmental attractions. Here there are few cyclists and driveways, which makes biking more pleasurable than on some of the well-traveled path sections along Periwinkle Way. Try the loop off Sanibel-Captiva Road that runs parallel to Rabbit Road on the backside of its homes, ending at West Gulf Drive. From there you can turn left and circle around on Tarpon Bay Road, past the beach and Bailey Tract (where bikes are allowed, but must be walked in parts), then back to San-Cap Road.
Another favorite by-bike destination along San-Cap Road is Bowmanâ€™s Beach, north of the Refuge. At the Blind Pass Bridge to Captiva Island, the bike path ends and pedaling can become a bit treacherous on Captivaâ€™s twisty road, especially in the busy winter season. But if youâ€™re staying in Captiva Islandâ€™s â€œdowntownâ€ area, by all means rent a bike to explore the nearby sights and shopping.
With an average elevation of four feet, the islandsâ€™ geography makes biking practically effortless. A number of rental outlets and resorts carry all manner of biking equipment from mountain bikes to tandems, baby trailers, and family-sized surreys.
Isnâ€™t it time to downshift into island mode? Take your explorations to the trails and paths for the quintessential island experience. Itâ€™s the ultimate green way to get around.
The Island Inn has bikes available to rent on the property. Visit the front desk for more information.
Source: Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Visitorâ€™s Guide