Island Update

RSW Airport News March 2022

  • New air service at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
    Air Transat: Montreal (YUL), weekly, seasonal service
  • Eurowings Discover: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), weekly, year-round service starts March 28

New flights at RSW

  • Sun Country: Duluth, Minn. (DLH), weekly; Green Bay, Wis. (GRB), weekly; Milwaukee (MKE), weekly; Rochester, Minn. (RST), weekly
  • United Airlines: Los Angeles (LAX), daily; San Francisco (SFO), daily

News from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)

  • Allegiant service from Akron, Ohio (CAK), begins March 2
Island Update

85th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival

Sanibel Island has some of the best beaches in the world for finding seashells. Every March, the island holds the world’s longest-running Shell Festival. Experts and novices alike compete in craft competitions during the festival.

It’s all about shells with shell art, crafts, pies and cakes, judged artistic and scientific exhibits. There is a $5 donation, free parking and lots of great raffle items. Sponsored by the Sanibel Community Association and Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club.

For more details, visit https://www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net/ or https://sanibelshellclub.com/.


  • What: 85th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival
  • When: March 3-5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: The Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
  • Details: Admission is free, with a requested $5 donation to access indoor activities

Click here for the entire article

Island Update

Sanibel Traffic, Beach Parking Sales Break Records Last Year

Sanibel experienced exceptional traffic last year, as beach parking sales rose to an all-time high and persisted to surpass records in January.
As per the causeway toll report, 3.5 million vehicles crossed the Sanibel Causeway bridge last year surpassing the annual records. Despite declines in January and February, traffic on the island was up 19 percent compared to the last year and 5.5 percent more than before the COVID pandemic in 2019.
The number of vehicles counted at the toll booth in December surpassed 300,000 for the first time, which also occurred in May, June, and July. December traffic was 13.62 percent higher or 36,835 more vehicles than the same month last year and 7 percent higher than in 2019.
In November 2021, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau reported record summer tourism numbers for Lee County. The study showed 27 percent of the nearly 1.2 million visitors to the county between July and September stayed on Sanibel.
The report also reveals that the number one attraction on the island is the beach. CFO Steve Chaipel told councilors at their February meeting that sales of beach parking spaces reached a historic high in the city in fiscal year 2021, which ran from October to September and continue to break records for the fiscal year 2022.
The city earned $1.2 million in beach parking sales in FY2022, a 40 percent increase in October, a 21.79 percent increase in November, and a 45.9 percent increase in December compared to the same months in 2019. January increased by nearly 25 percent over January 2021.
Beach parking permit sales also increased from $172,047 in FY2020 to $208,147 in FY2021.
Visitors looking to avoid standing in traffic on Sanibel Island can download the free Sanibel Bound app, which gives real-time traffic updates, or watch a live video stream of the Sanibel Causeway and Periwinkle intersections. Both are available on the city’s website.

Island Update

Captiva Island Yacht Club undergoes renovation

The 33-year-old Captiva Island Yacht Club has undergone total renovation recently. Stevens Construction completed this project which included demolition of the interior and a transformation of the main dining area, Founder’s Room, office space, commercial kitchen, new electrical and mechanical systems, exterior siding, windows, doors, pergolas, and a new roof. One of the main features of this project was to bring the coastal colors of the sea and island into the building. Amy Nowacki Architect was both an architect and an interior designer.

Click here for the entire article

Island Update

Acclaimed Pianist Launches Season

Pianist John Nakamatsu launches the 35th anniversary season of the Sanibel Music Festival on Saturday, March 5th at 7:30 pm. Gold medal winner of the 1977 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Mr. Nakamatsu has toured with many leading conductors and orchestras. In addition, he is an artist in residence at the highly selective Chautauqua Piano Program.

Tickets are on Sale at www.sanibelmusicfestival.org; at Bank of The Island on Sanibel, 1699 Periwinkle Way; by mail to Sanibel Music Festival, P.O. 1623, Sanibel, FL 33957, or by phone at 239.344.7025. Nakamatsu will perform at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.