Sanibel is located on Captiva Island in Lee County
, just south of Cape Coral
along Highway 867 near Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico
. Sanibel is part of the Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Florida
About 50% of the island is the JN 'Ding' Darling Nat Wildlife Refuge named after J. Ding Darling, and ecologically oriented political satirist, who back in the 1920's was well ahead of his time in being concerned about the ecology of this country.
The City of Sanibel was incorporated in 1974 to protect itself from the huge development schemes which were then being carried out on much of the prime coastal areas of Lee County.