Sanibel Island Lighthouse Beach Park: The Most Scenic Beach in SWFL

Lighthouse beach is located at the eastern tip of Sanibel Island. This is one of the most scenic beaches in the island, not only is it home to the Sanibel Lighthouse but it also offers sweeping views of the San Carlos Bay and Fort Myers beach skyline as well as beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sanibel lighthouse beach

The Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park.  Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.

The Sanibel Lighthouse

Dating back to 1884 the 102foot lighthouse is one of the most photographed and recognized landmarks in island.  The lighthouse itself is not open to the public, but you can snap some nice photos from the outside.

Sanible lighthouse with great blue heron.

The Sanibel lighthouse with a great blue heron wading in the foreground. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.

Things To Do at Lighthouse Park Beach

Lighthouse beach’s south facing orientation makes this is one of the best shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.   The beach is wide and flat, and the water is shallow and perfect for wading. You will often see live shells, hermit crabs scurrying about and even he occasional seahorse.  Because the beach is a natural preserve there are lots of marine birds and wildlife from egrets and royal blue herons to sea turtles nests. It is quite common to see dolphins playing along the shore and close to the pier.


fishing on a pier

Everyone is celebrating a big catch at the Sanibel lighthouse park beach fishing pier. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.


The strong causeway currents at Lighthouse Beach do not make it the best place for swimming but it is a popular beach for windsurfers and fishermen.   A small fishing piers extends into the San Carlos Bay and has it’s own parking and direct access.

Visitors can explore nature trails that meander through the mangrove forest above the beach, take a stroll on the beach and a closer look at the historic lighthouse.


nature trails in Sanibel Island

The nature trails at the Lighthouse Beach Park.If you are looking for nice sunset views head on over to the north facing side of the beach, past the restrooms and the fishing pier, where you will get a great view of the sun setting behind the Sanibel causeway bridge. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.


We love to visit lighthouse beach and watch the pelicans diving for fish right next to the fishermen.  The views of the beach with the lighthouse and the San Carlos bay are some of the most beautiful beach scenes in the island.  After strolling for a while and picking up some shells we usually head on to the north side of the beach to watch the sunset while we enjoy a picnic dinner.


sunset on the beach in Sanibel

Sunset from the north end of Lighthouse Beach Park with Sanibel causeway on the background.  Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.



  • Parking is $2.00 per hour and the parking lot is just a short walk from the beach.  There are public bathrooms, outdoor showers, a pick nick area and a small fishing pier.
  • The beach, the pier and the nature trails are all wheelchair accessible. Courtesy beach wheelchairs are available from the City of Sanibel Police Department with a 24-hour noticeprovided upon 24-hour notice to City of Sanibel Police Department Dispatch, 239-472-3111. Based on availability.
  • Pets are allowed but only on a leash.


wooden beach walkway

Wheelchair access beach walkway at Lighthouse Beach Park.  Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz.

Best times to go

Since this is an easy to access beach because it is so close to the Sanibel causeway it is often crowded so it’s best to visit during the week.   If you plan to visit during a weekend in season or on a holiday you will need to arrive before 10am to find parking.


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About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula is a freelance writer, translator & marketer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on subjects ranging from travel and food to parenting and bilingualism. She enjoys traveling, good food and is always in search of new things to do and in Southwest Florida.


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  1. Becky

    Wow- what beautiful pictures!!! I love your blog!! 🙂
    Becky recently posted…What was your favorite snack as a child? (and a giveaway!) Perfect Preschool Snack Idea!My Profile

    1. Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      Thanks so much Becky! The place is really beautiful, so it’s easy to take great pictures there. 🙂

  2. Krista

    I love lighthouses – how beautiful!
    Krista recently posted…Kristian Regále Sparkling Juice Review and RecipeMy Profile

    1. Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      I love lighthouses too but we don’t have a lot of lighthouses in Florida, that is why I love this beach so much!

  3. Giveaways 4 Mom

    These lighthouses are so pretty. I would love to take my boys here.
    Giveaways 4 Mom recently posted…A Person I Admire – August 2013 Blog Challenge Day 1My Profile

  4. Kristin

    Wow!! Love those pictures!!
    Kristin recently posted…3 FREE Issues of Ladies Home JournalMy Profile

  5. Barbara

    Great pictures, thank you, it is a place that I didn’t know!

  6. Amy Boyington

    That looks gorgeous! My favorite lighthouse to visit is Portland Head Light in Portland, Maine. I’ve visited it every summer since I was a baby – it’s almost surreal going there with my own children now!
    Amy Boyington recently posted…Disney’s Planes is Coming Soon!My Profile

    1. Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      I just visited New England for the first time this year and went to Nubble Lighthouse in Maine, gorgeous. Would love to see Portland Head Light.

  7. autumn eaton

    My mom loves it there, we were gonna take our Honeymoon there because we had never been but dr. put me on bed rest due to pre-term labor. We have to make it there, it looks so nice! thanks for the great post
    autumn eaton recently posted…$1 Off Any White Cloud Bath TissueMy Profile

  8. Filipino Seafoods Recipes

    Love the pics, what a beautiful sunset! Thanks for posting. 🙂

  9. Liberty Boblett

    I love your post! I wish I lived in Florida. I get to take a mental vacation when I visit your blog…. 🙂
    Liberty Boblett recently posted…Go Back to School in Style with Matilda Jane GiveawayMy Profile

  10. Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá

    We have been going there the last couple of months.. We love it! It is a gorgeous place and they have restrooms!
    Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá recently posted…Miércoles Mudo ~ EquilibrioMy Profile

  11. Doreen Pendgracs

    Definitely one of my fav parts of FLA. Would love to return and continue exploring.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Chocolatour is a Readers’ Favorite Finalist!My Profile

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