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Sanibel Shells and Bowman’s Beach

Sanibel beach, Florida
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Bowman’s Beach provides some from the Sanibel’s greatest shelling right after a storm, and some from the island’s most remote seaside space. There’s a quarter mile or so stroll through the car parking great deal towards the seaside, in which you will cross a wooden bridge more than freshwater. Bowman Seaside is also an ideal location for sunsets. You will find picnic tables and bathroom facilities. You wouldn’t be in a position to see it from Lighthouse side. You will find miles of beach past Bowman’s that you just may stroll all day on.

If you’re into reviews, you might think Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel is a nice place to go on a holiday. And one might think the place would be packed with tourists and an endless line of cars, however it is not. Really, you’ll find there aren’t many that come to this wonderful bit of paradise. There’s a $6 bridge charge to enter the island. Make sure you have that on hand because it’s not mentioned in any of the publications – but know that the fees are put to good use in keeping everything up to a standard you’ll love.

Sanibel shellsAs far as parking, the meters are set at about $2 an hour. Make sure you have plenty of quarters!

Once in the parking lot, follow the signs down to Bowman’s Beach. It’s a little walk that will take you over some backwater, but well worth it and a few photo opportunities exist.

Look for shells on this beach! Remember that Sanibel is one of the shelling capitals of the world.  The ‘GOOD’ and uncommon shells (Florida fighting conch) aren’t discovered just lying around – we locals have picked those (grin) but you can still find them. Here’s a Sanibel Secret!

Bowman's Beach, SanibelYou need to work to get these shells, and most people don’t know this trick, even people who have been here all their lives.

The way we found the most shells is by actually getting in the water to cool off and then finding that they are buried just under the sand.  Only then did I discover the actual ‘secret’ of Bowman’s Beach.

Should you dig into the sand with your feet into the sands of the Gulf of Mexico generally in waist high water,  you’ll find those great shells like the Florida fighting conchs. I was snagging them on the bottom and throwing them on the beach.

sanibel shellingI know live shelling is against the law here so put the bigger shells in water and watch them for an hour. No crab or conch or other creature should emerged from them. The shell shops on Sanibel would have sold these for $75, for what I got totally free in the Gulf in a little time.

Bowman’s Beach is a wonderful stretch of gray-tan sand. Delightful for all ages with little surf.  Some may choose a wider beach like those around the Atlantic side of Florida (Daytona/Cocoa/Melbourne) and around the Panhandle region (Panama City/Destin). The benefit from the Florida Gulf side will be the surf isn’t as rough and also the Gulf is generally warmer than the Atlantic.

Florida fighting conchAs for Sanibel Island itself, we were wowed by the quaintness. I’m not sure how they keep it so “small-town” feeling, but you’ll get that when you walk into any shop or restaurant.

There are bike trails through the whole island and preserve, so you can literally spend a week here and not see all the nooks and crannies of this treasure off Fort Myers.

Any pets on Bowman’s Seaside should be leashed, and you need to clean up right after them.

To get to Bowman’s:
Watch for that signs alongside Sanibel-Captiva Street at mile 4.8 (based around the mile markers alongside the street).  You will cross San-Cap and follow Bowman’s Beach Street for 1/10 mile towards the car parking lot.

Car parking:
There’s a big car parking lot, and a couple of spaces which will accommodate RVs or trailers. Car parking is $2 per hour, from 7AM to 7PM.

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  • jess October 9, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Sanibel and Captiva are beautiful. I have been to beaches all over Florida and the Island beaches here are my favorite. Sanibel and Captiva are beautiful, unspoiled paradise. The residents, shop owners and county/city employees and officials work hard to keep it clean, family friendly, and enjoyable. I grew up coming here and loved it so much that as an adult I decided to live here. It is well worth the trip and well worth the $6 to get there.

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