The holidays are here and there is no better place to spend them than on Sanibel. On the Gulf Coast, you can shed your winter coat, put your feet in the sand and enjoy the warmth of sunny, 75-degree days. To ensure you have the best island holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the top holiday events happening in the area.
Friday, November 23 – Sunday, December 30, 2018, 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Explore Christmas past at Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at Edison & Ford Winter Estates. From Thanksgiving through the first week of January, enjoy nightly entertainment, holiday tradition tours, evening river cruises, and, on select nights, Santa visits.
Saturday, December 1, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Most cities’ parades come down Main Street in cars and floats but, on Fort Myers Beach, the main street is the Matanzas Harbor and the floats literally float! Set up a lawn chair or grab yourself a table at one of the many restaurants on the parade route and enjoy the show!
Saturday, December 1, 2018, 4:00 – 10:00 pm
With all attractions FREE to the public you can visit Santa in Christmas Town Center, sled down Snowcap Square, watch the tree lighting, ride the Tiny Tot Train, watch over 15 different community groups perform their holiday magic, bounce for hours in the Candy Cane Park and don’t forget to shop for the family in Holiday Village!
Thursday, December 6, 2018, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Friday, December 7, 2018, 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Experience a living re-creation of the Bethlehem marketplace with busy shopkeepers, beggars and Roman guards. Visit the humble stable where Jesus was born and begin your celebration of the beautiful Christmas story! This is a free event with no reservations required.
Friday, December 7, 2018, 5:30 – 9:00 pm (Sanibel Island)
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 5:30 – 9:00 pm (Captiva Island)
Marvel at the 34th annual Luminary Festival on Sanibel and Captiva. As you “stroll the trail”, there will be Santa visits, photos with Santa, a live nativity scene, music and activities for the entire family.
Bonus: Make sure to stop by Sanibel Sea School during the Luminary Stroll for hors-d’oeuvres, surfing videos, family-friendly fun, good cheer, and an ornament making station inspired by the sea.
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Get in the holiday spirit by enjoying your favorite holiday classics performed live by the BIG ARTS Holiday Band! This event is great for the whole family, kids even get in free. Just make sure to get your tickets early as it has been known to sell out.
Monday, December 24, 2018, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Cruise through Pine Island Sound and San Carlos Bay and discover Santa’s secret island hideout! Spend some time with Santa on his island outpost and enjoy photos with the big guy and gifts for the little ones. The cruise departs from Port Sanibel Marina.
Bonus: enjoy the dolphin sightings on your cruise to and from Santa Island.
Monday, December 24, 2018, dusk
Bring a beach chair and find your spot in the sand to attend this annual island tradition. Held every year since 1979, the service is a Lesson in Carols that can be enjoyed by all ages. The service is led by Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ Pastor John Danner.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018, 1:00 – 9:00 pm
Make Sundial a part of your holiday traditions. Enjoy our festive Christmas dinner buffet, complete with live entertainment and panoramic Gulf views. Kids will also enjoy a visit from Santa himself!
Monday, December 31, 2018, 7:00 pm – 12:30 am
Ring in the new year at your favorite home away from home, Sundial! Enjoy an extensive buffet, live music and entertainment, carnival games and more!