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Beautiful Sanibel Island and the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast

Program Number: 20899RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/14/2013 - 4/19/2013; 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016; 2/28/2016 - 3/4/2016; 3/6/2016 - 3/11/2016; 3/20/2016 - 3/25/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sanibel Island, Florida
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Pure white sand beaches strewn with 400 species of shells; wetlands and mangrove swamps; and wildlife like manatees, dolphins, tortoises, alligators and nearly 250 species of birds make Sanibel Island a tropical Eden tucked along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Get to know this fascinating island like a local. Learn why the “Sanibel Stoop” is the preferred posture on the local beaches, encounter marine life inhabiting island waters and discover the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S.


• Join volunteer docents inside Sanibel Historical Village and Museum, a tribute to the island’s early pioneers where each building has been restored to its original state.
• Meet a special kind of marine expert on a beachcombing field trip with a conchologist who helps you identify the many species of shells washed up on shore.
• Spend a day at the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, examining the lives of these two remarkable men.

Activity Particulars

Each group will have the same fieldtrips and excursions but the pace of the program will vary by date. The ACTIVE groups will walk up to two miles while the MODERATE groups will walk up to 1 mile per day. Walking on mostly flat terrain with some rocky, sandy surfaces. Standing at cultural sites and stair climbing.

Activity level varies by date;
Active dates include: 12/4, 1/15, 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/12, 3/26
Moderate dates include: 11/13, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

2-21-2016, 3-6-2016, 3-20-2016

This departure will feature an ACTIVE level pace.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


This departure will feature a MODERATE level pace.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Sanibel Island

Beautiful Sanibel is on the Gulf Coast of Florida, just off Fort Myers. This barrier island has been inhabited for thousands of years, first by ancestors of the powerful Calusa tribe, and much later by pirates! The island is now home to a wide range of flora and fauna, and many outdoor attractions.

Full service beach resort with complimentary amenities such as kayaking, biking, tennis and beach chairs.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Charles Sobczak

Charles Sobczak is an award-winning author who lives and writes on Sanibel Island. His first novel, Six Mornings on Sanibel, was originally published in 1999 and is currently in its seventh printing. He has written several other novels, a fictional memoir and a collection of selected writings titled Rhythm of the Tides. In 2010, he published a regional nature guide, “Living Sanibel - A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands.” The book quickly became the best-selling book on Sanibel and rose to #34 nationally for nature guide sales on during the winter season of 2011. One of his other nature guides, “The Living Gulf Coast-A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida,” won the Gold Medal Presidents Award for the best work of Adult non-fiction, 2011, by the Florida Publisher’s Association.
Meals and Lodgings
   West Wind Inn
  Sanibel Island, Florida 5 nights
 West Wind Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: The West Wind Inn is a charming beachfront hotel.
  Contact info: 3345 West Gulf Drive
Sanibel Island, FL 33957 USA
phone: 239-472-1541
  Room amenities: All rooms have a coffee maker, refrigerator, color cable TV, phone, alarm clock, hair dryer and a safe. Most rooms have a small microwave oven.
  Facility amenities: Air conditioning, pool, butterfly garden, tennis court.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  Reservation required. Call hotel for additional information.
  Additional nights after:  Reservation required. Call hotel for additional information.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3 to 5 p.m. in hotel lobby for registration. You will be staying at West Wind Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after lunch on Friday.Box lunch available by 11:00am You will be staying at West Wind Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. N/A
  Parking availability:
Free parking at hotel
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sanibel Island, Florida
  Nearest city or town:  Fort Myers
  Nearest airport:  Fort Myers
  From End of Program
  Location: Sanibel Island, Florida
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Southwest Florida International Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Select Transportation
phone: 800-395-9524


Per Person/One Way:


$75 for 1-2 persons
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


depending on traffic, 1-1/2 hours 




30 miles


rent a car at the airport and park free at the hotel or call the van service.


Southwest Florida International Airport


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximatly $55
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:







Driving Directions
  Interstate 75 or Fort Myers Airport From I-75 or from the Airport: Leave 1- 75 at exit 131 onto Daniels Road. Go west and cross over US 41. When you reach Summerlin Road, turn left. Summerlin Road takes you directly to the island toll plaza($6.00). Once on the island make a right hand turn onto Periwinkle Way. Follow 2.6 miles to the stop sign, make a left turn at the stop sign onto Tarpon Bay Road. Go to next stop sign, turn right on West Gulf Drive. The West Wind Inn will be 2 miles ahead on your left.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, Welcome Dinner and Orientation
(Sunday, April 14)
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00pm.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: We'll review the schedule and any changes; discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures; and answer any questions you may have. You'll also have an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants.
Accommodations: West Wind Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Bailey Shell Museum and Sanibel Historic Village and Museum
(Monday, April 15)
 Breakfast: Buffet Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Visit to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum which features more than 30 exhibits of mollusks from around the world. Exhibits are devoted to shells in art and history, shell habitat, rare specimens, fossil shells, common Southwest Florida shells, and more. The Museum will educate you about shells and mollusks and see the molusks in tanks.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel
 Afternoon: Spend the afternoon exploring the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. The historic center was founded in 1982 as a tribute to the early pioneers on Sanibel Island. Each building has been restored to its original state. Volunteer docents guide visitors through this mystical place.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
 Evening: Lecture by a Ding Darling Refuge Representative.
Accommodations: West Wind Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Ding Darling Refuge and Beachcombing
(Tuesday, April 16)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a morning of beachcombing! There’s more to the beach than surf and sand. Shells, colored glass, sea beans, eggs and all sorts of natural treasures await your discovery on Florida’s beaches. Learn all about beach combing and shelling, including how to find the best treasures.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel
 Afternoon: Spend the afternoon at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, located on the subtropical barrier of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the US. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: Learn about shellcrafting. Bring your shells and enjoy what you can make with these unusual shells. Learn from your Group Leader what beautiful and charming objects you can make from collecting shells. She will show you examples of the attractive items she has made. Roll your sleeves and become an artist!
Accommodations: West Wind Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Edison and Ford Winter Estates
(Wednesday, April 17)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel
 Morning: The groups will enjoy an exciting morning at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and gardens. You will explore the museum, Edison's lab and hear tales of these two famous men.
 Lunch: Lunch at Edison and Ford Winter Estates.
 Afternoon: Continue to explore Edison and Ford with free time at the museum.
 Dinner: At a local favorite
 Evening: Free Evening for you to relax.
Accommodations: West Wind Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sanibel Capitva Conservation Foundation and Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
(Thursday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Visit the Sanibel Capitva Conservation Foundation where you can explore the walking trails or visit the butterfly house. Then listen to a talk about the "History of Conservation on the Islands".
 Lunch: Lunch on Captiva
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy free time or visit CROW, one of the country's leading wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the country. You will see how this organization takes care of the over 4,000 sick, injured and orphaned wildlife patients a year.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner
 Evening: Spend the evening with legendary entertainer Jimmy Nelson and his ventriloquist pals Danny O'Day and Farfel.
Accommodations: West Wind Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Presentation by local author and Departures
(Friday, April 19)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Wrap-up in hotel conference room with a presentation by local Sanibel author - Charles Sobczak. Check-out at 11 am
 Lunch: Box lunch. Program ends.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Sanibel Island, Florida BIG ARTS Sanibel
Known as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents and visitors since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events, and the community participates in more than 200 educational classes and workshops each year. Please see their online schedule for specific programming. For additional information, visit
  General Overview
Explore the Island or relax by the pool.
  Periwinkle Way
Stroll down Sanibel Island's main street and busiest commercial district, where you will find a unique array of cafes, shops, and restaurants.
  Schoolhouse Gallery
Quaint gallery featuring work by local artists.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Living Gulf Coast: A Nature Guide to Southwest Florida

Author: Charles Sobczak *Lecturer*

Description: The Living Gulf Coast is the first comprehensive nature guide to Florida's Southwest region. The book covers six counties: Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Glades and Hendry. There are more than 160 parks, preserves and eco-destinations covered in this work, with sixty-one of them described in great detail. Not only does the book describe these outstanding destinations, it also covers all the major birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians found throughout the region. The bird section includes 291 species with 120 of the most commonly encountered birds covered in exacting detail. It also includes all the major mammals and eighty-eight snakes, lizards, turtles and crocodilans found in the unique ecosystems of Southwest Florida. Charles will be speaking on the program, and he will be available to sign copies of his book after his lecture. It can be found on

Living Sanibel: A nature guide to Sanibel and Captive Islands

Author: Charles Sobczak *Lecturer*

Description: A guide book, this through, detailed, attractive and accessible is bound to promote curiosity, seducing readers into exciting first-hand experiences. As readers take their own personal journey through Sanibel and Captiva, relishing their growing familiarity with the astonishing environment, they will share the joy that Mr. Sobczak felt in writing this book. It is, most of all a guidebook for celebrating (and promoting) one delicious slice of the natural world. Phillip K. Jason in THE FLORIDA WEEKLY

Alligators, Sharks & Panthers Deadly Encounters with FL's top Predator :MAN

Author: Charles Sobczak *Lecturer*

Description: Beyond the deadly encounters, Alligators, Sharks and Panthers explores the complex relationship between man and his fellow predators. Remember, they were here first and we have brought them to the very edge of extinction. Florida panthers, once thriving in the thousands, number less that 100 today. The alligator and the shark are increasingly vulnerable to Florida's expanding coastal development and pollution.

Florida's Seashells- A Beachcombers Guide

Author: Blair and Dawn Witherengton

Description: A guide to Florida seashells, including species common to the south eastern United States and the Caribbean. 252 species of seashells, with a color photo of each, as beachcombers are most likely to find them.

Images of America Sanibel Island

Author: Yvonne Hall , Marguerite Jordan

Description: In collaboration with the Lee County Black History Society. The pioneers were a contrasting group of individuals, comprised of diverse ethnic origins and cultures, yet all seemed to share a common goal of using hard work, resourcefulness, and determination to make the island their home. Their efforts and sacrifices greatly contributed to the growth and rich history of Sanibel as we know it today

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As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

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