National Lighthouse Day on Sanibel Island

DATE: August 4, 2021

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day this year by visiting one right here on Sanibel! The Sanibel Island Lighthouse is only 3.2 miles away, a short drive or bike ride from the resort, and sits on the wildlife refuge at the east end of the island.

Settlers first petitioned for a lighthouse to be built in 1833 and many more petitions followed with no luck. After the Civil War, there were more requests to build one in the hopes of increasing trade and making it easier for travelers to find the island. In 1883, 50 years after the first petitions were made, the settlers finally received $50,000 to fund the construction of the lighthouse. However, they did not break ground until 1884. The lighthouse was finally completed and lit for the first time, with kerosene oil, August 20, 1884.

In the 1940s, a large hurricane hit the island, which pushed forward the discussion on automating the light mechanism. In 1949, the lighthouse was automated and no longer needed a full-time lighthouse keeper. Up until 2004, the US Coast Guard owned the Sanibel Lighthouse. That year, the City of Sanibel bought the structure to ensure that it wouldn’t get torn down and then worked to raise enough money to restore it in 2013.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse view from beach

Come explore the rich history for yourself! Visitors are welcome to enjoy the beach and grounds around the structure, however, the lighthouse interior is not open to the public. Parking is available from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm for $5. Be sure to arrive early to get a spot! Enjoy the views and have a picnic in the grass by the lighthouse or bring your fishing pole and spend a few hours on the pier. The beach is a great spot for shell hunting or building a sandcastle and restrooms and outdoor showers are available to the public.

If you’d like see the Sanibel Island Lighthouse from a different perspective, book an outing with Adventures in Paradise at Port Sanibel Marina and enjoy the view from the water. You can book a 2-hour morning, daytime or sunset cruise.

Happy Lighthouse Day!