Sanibel Sunsets and Sunrises

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Visiting Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The sun sets over the water right in front of you no matter where you are on the beach on most Florida gulf coast peninsula beaches. It's more complicated than that on Sanibel Island. What you have to understand is that the sun sets at different spots on the horizon during different seasons. During the winter months, the sun appears to set further to the south, and during the summer it appears to set further to the north.

Florida sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

Beaches facing toward the south and southeast on Sanibel will not have good sunsets over the gulf. But they will have great sunrises! During the winter months the sun moves further south, so you may be able to see both sunrises AND sunsets on the south and southwest facing Sanibel beaches.

Bottom line: During the spring, summer, and fall months, if you want to see the sun sink into the water, drive to the more northerly beaches on Sanibel, or to Captiva. Blind Pass / Turner's Beach, or any spot north of that would be the best bet for a summer sunset. Bowman's beach faces southwest, so summer sunsets will be visible over the water, but in a more northerly quadrant of the horizon.

Below is a map divided into three sections by red lines. Between the lines I indicate the sunset / sunrise potential of each section of the island's gulf beaches.

Map showing where the best sunsets and sunrises are on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Map showing best locations for viewing sunsets and sunrises on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Sanibel Island sunset at Blind Pass.

Sunrise over Fort Myers Beach as viewed from Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island during October.

Casting for bait at sunset on Sanibel Island.

Hunting through the shell piles on Sanibel at sunset.

Sunrise over Fort Myers beach as seen from Sanibel Island.

Copyright: David McRee,