Location: 26811 South Tamiami Trail | Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Captiva has plenty of places to explore and you can do it all while enjoying the sunshine on two (or three) wheels. While there is no shared use path as there is on Sanibel, there is a bike lane along Captiva Drive, the main thoroughfare, so you can still enjoy biking on Captiva Island. Use caution where the road is narrow, and especially where plants have crept into the bike lane. Also, be sure to stay alert in places along Captiva Drive where there is a Gulf view. Drivers and cyclists are always scanning the waves, looking for dolphins.
The ride from Turner Beach to Captiva Beach (also known as Alison Hagerup Beach Park) will take you 3.4 miles from the southern end of the island at Blind Pass to the northern end. Explore both of these public beaches on Captiva. If there are shells rolling in, you may just find a junonia or lion’s paw! Other than the beautiful beach views, some of the places you can visit are mostly around what locals call “Captiva Village.”
A good place to begin exploring when you’re biking on Captiva Island is the Captiva Memorial Library at 11560 Chapin Lane. Part of the Lee County Library System, it’s a great resource with a fantastic exhibit that celebrates the island’s past. Complete with video displays and an abundance of photos and stories about the island’s original residents, it gives visitors a taste of what the island was like before the Sanibel Causeway opened in 1963, making it easier to visit by car.
Adjacent to Captiva Memorial Library is the Chapel by the Sea. The small, simple and quaint chapel was built in 1903 as a schoolhouse and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is interdenominational and popular for its Sunday service, held November through April, and its Christmas Eve service, which has become a community event that welcomes locals and visitors alike. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful.
Next to the grounds of the Chapel and Library is the Historic Captiva Cemetery. The two-acre Gulf-side cemetery is the final resting place of many of the island’s earliest residents, dating back to the late 1800s. You’ll recognize some of the names on the headstones, as they are the Captiva family names that are also the island’s street names. The cemetery is a nice place to pause and imagine what the island was like in the early days and how the island settlers lived.
From the Cemetery, ride back along Chapin Lane to Captiva Drive, hang a left, then a right into Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages and Marina. Cruise in and make your way to the bayfront. Take a break in the shade of a tiki hut and scan for swirls in the water around the docks, the telltale sign of manatees hanging out just below the surface. While you enjoy the bay views, you’re sure to spot brown pelicans, great white herons, egrets, and maybe even a pod of dolphins.
Continue north in Captiva Village and discover an eclectic mix of restaurants near the intersection of Captiva Drive and Andy Rosse Lane. The Mucky Duck, at the end of Andy Rosse Lane, offers beach views with live music outdoors. It’s a popular place to enjoy a cocktail as the sun sinks below the horizon. The Bubble Room is a funky little place with early Hollywood headshots covering the walls amid year-round retro Christmas décor. Be sure to leave room for a giant slice of cake or get it to go. There are plenty of restaurants on Captiva, so be sure to get a taste at each one.
As you explore Captiva by bike, you’ll find that shopping on Captiva includes everything from unique art, gifts and décor to clothing, beach gear, snacks and beverages at shops and galleries in Captiva Village. Many are within easy biking distance in a couple of small shopping centers, and a few others are along or near Andy Rosse Lane.
While you’re out and about biking Captiva Island on your beach cruiser, be sure to explore the handful of side streets off the main road in Captiva Village. Almost all of them are quiet, dead-end roads and some are still unpaved — truly Old Florida — and you may just find your next favorite Captiva vacation rental.