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16 Oct 2019
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Sanibel OutdoorsThings to do on Sanibel

It’s THAT time of year again, and it’s sooner than you think…No, not THAT event!  If you are on the islands the first week of December, you know that the annual Luminary Festival and Holiday Stroll will be upon us for its 35th year!

The Luminary is a festive event that encompasses virtually ALL of the businesses on Sanibel’s Periwinkle Way, guided by a trail of luminary (usually candles, weather permitting) bags set along the bike path starting towards the East End by the Seahorse Shops and stretching three miles all the way to the end of Periwinkle (with some additional paths on Causeway Blvd, Palm Ridge Road, and Tarpon Bay Road).  The event begins around dusk (usually 5:30 pm) and continues until 9pm.

All along the path, you will find shops open late with sales and specials, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, and live Holiday music, almost like a Holiday cocktail party crawl.  Admittedly, it’s almost impossible to walk the entire path *and* check all the shops at once, so here are a few suggestions:

The Sporty Seahorse Shops will be open with live music and refreshments, but also Geppetto’s (famous) Beach Foodies!

Jerry’s Mall will have all shops open, including the Sanibel Surf Shop (for gifts and toys for on and off the beach), Love Boat Ice Cream, Footloose Footwear, Sanybel’s Finest in gifts, Sanibel Spirits (with special tastings of some of their new and favorite liquor products), and of course, Jerry’s Supermarket and Café with their famous exotic birds.  There will be live music here.

Some locations offer special events, such as the Sanibel Community Church (next to Jerry’s), with their Holiday Ivy and Bazaar starting earlier in the day at noon with arts and crafts sales, silent auction, snacks and beverages, choir, live petting zoo, and their famous “Walk Through Bethlehem” presentation.

The largest locations are at Tahitian Gardens (home of the famous Cheeburger Cheeburger and Adventures in Paradise) and Periwinkle Place (home of Congress Jewelers and the Sanibel Olive Oil Company, among other great shops).  Live music will also be performed here, as well.

After passing the Sanibel Community Center and Playground, decorations in the bike path become a lighted tunnel as you come to the end at Bailey’s Shopping Plaza.  There are plenty of restaurants to finish your evening, including George & Wendy’s, which features live entertainment inside the bar and outside on the patio.

On Saturday, Captiva Island will celebrate their own Luminary with a Golf Cart Parade in the afternoon showing festively-decorated street-legal carts for the “downtown” area.  There will be plenty of shops open late on Captiva Drive and Andy Rosse Lane and around the entrance to South Seas Resort.  Live entertainment is often featured, including the Key Lime Bistro, Doc Ford’s Captiva, the Tween Waters Inn, and on the dock at Jensen’s Marina and Cottages.

During both nights, traffic will be slow and parking may be a challenge, so please exercise caution.  Unfortunately, there are no trolleys running on Sanibel, so please decide where your ideal location would be ahead of time.  For more information, please feel free to ask us or contact the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce ( at 239-472-1080.

This is an excellent opportunity to explore the islands as part of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, as Sanibel Holiday is STILL in our low season rates during this time.  Please check our website for availability and possible specials, especially the week of November 30  to December 7.  Book Direct and Save!