Captiva Island is a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico. Its north south configuration favors currents that deposit beautiful shells upon our shores that are many a shell collector’s dream.

Evidence of humans on Captiva dates back thousands of years. The Calusas made the Captiva area home and their shell mounds can still be seen today. Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the area in 1513 while searching for the Fountain of Youth.

While the origin of our island’s name is shrouded in mystery, one fanciful tale goes back to the 1800’s where pirate Jose Gaspar used it as a prison for his female captives awaiting their ransom to be paid. Thus legend has it that the name Captiva was born.


The modern history of Sanibel Island began in 1832 when the first settlement was established by the Florida Peninsular Land Company but never really flourished. William Herbert Binder arrived in 1888 making him the first known settler here. His grave is still preserved at the Chapel by the Sea on Chapin Lane where other early grave sites can be seen.

The island has long been a favorite of celebrities like Charles Lindbergh, Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy Jr. Visitors worldwide clamor to collect shells, see the vivid sunsets, shop the galleries and boutiques, dine in our fine restaurants or to just chill out on our pristine beach rated #1! Thank you for visiting our island.

Cartoonist Ding Darling’s historic fish house and studio glimmers at sunrise.


One of many glorious sunsets seen off Captiva’s beach.

The mailboat arrives on Captiva in 1955.

Welcome to

Captiva Island

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Operating hours may vary as we are working artists and creativity can happen at any time!   Call 239-395-2266