If you’re travelling a long distance to Sanibel and Captiva Island, it’s important to know which airports are nearby. There are several airports near Sanibel Island for you to take advantage of. Travelling by air can be stressful and you’ll want to keep this stress to a minimum by making sure you choose the right airport for your specific travel situation. In addition to the physical location of each airport, there are important variations in costs, availability, and more that should be considered.
There are 3 commercial airports located close to Sanibel and Captiva Island. The Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is the closest airport to Sanibel and Captiva Island. Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) and Naples Airport (APF) are both within 90 minutes of Sanibel Island. Each airport offers advantages and disadvantages to vacationers traveling to Sanibel and Captiva Island.
Since all travel situations are different, it’s good to know which airport you should use when visiting the area. Below, we provide important information about each of the 3 nearby airports so that you can make an informed decision on which one to use.
Southwest Florida International Airport
As noted above, RSW is the closest commercial airport to Sanibel and Captiva Island. The airport is located in Fort Myers, Florida and should be your number one choice if you’re simply looking to get to the islands as quickly as possible. There are 11 airlines that serve RSW going to major cities in the United States including New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Airlines servicing the airport include American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, and several others. Even though this would be considered a small airport when compared to major ones like the Orlando International Airport, it’s not lacking in necessary amenities.
Features that you’ll find at RSW include:
- On-site service from several car rental companies
- Free WiFi throughout the airport
- Over 30 food & drink options including Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and more
- Currency exchange center
While the rates for incoming flights to RSW can be higher than some major airports, the trade off for convenience is tough to beat.
Wondering what RSW stands for? RSW is the airport code short for Regional Southwest, as it serves the Southwest region of Florida. Hundreds of thousands of passengers travel through RSW each month — with some particularly busy months topping 1 million passengers.
How Far is Sanibel Island from Fort Myers Airport?
Sanibel Island is about 30 miles from the Ft Myers airport. It will take about 40 minutes for you to make the drive from airport to island.
The drive from RSW to Sanibel Island is a beautiful Gulf Coast adventure. The route will take you down Summerlin Road and across the Sanibel Causeway. The Sanibel Causeway spans San Carlos Bay and connects the island with the mainland in Punta Rassa. You’ll have to pay a $6 toll when you’re inbound to the island to cross the causeway.
Punta Gorda Airport
The Punta Gorda Airport in Charlotte County is another good option when travelling to Sanibel Island. It’s around 50 miles from Sanibel Island and will typically take less than an hour to get from the airport to the island. Allegiant is the only commercial airline that flies into or out of PGD. While Allegiant does typically offer low fares, this can limit your options if you prefer to fly on other airlines or have restrictions when redeeming air miles.
With that being said, you may be closer to another airport that has a direct flight to PGD and not RSW or APF. Nearby Port Charlotte is also a popular tourist destination worth the visit if you have some extra time.
Naples Municipal Airport
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll use Naples Airport (APF), it’s worth including it on the list due to its proximity to Sanibel and Captiva Island. Located approximately 50 miles away to the south, there aren’t major commercial airlines that fly into or out of APF on a regular basis.
Private jets and personal planes have the option of flying into and out of APF, so this is an option for some. If you’re looking to fly a private aircraft into the Naples Airport, it is highly rated and noted for its top-notch facilities and customer service.
Other Ways to Get to Sanibel and Captiva
Unfortunately, your travel situation might make it inconvenient for you to use any of the three airports listed above. If so, it’s not the end of the world. There are a number of other options to choose from that can get you to both of the beautiful islands in Southwest Florida.
Some of the other ways to get to Sanibel and Captiva Island include:
- Orlando, Tampa, or Miami International Airport- These three airports offer more options in terms of flight availability than the other three mentioned in the article thus far. The Orlando airport (MCO) is about 3 hours and 45 minutes, or 187 miles, from Sanibel Island. The Tampa airport (TPA) is about 2 hours and 47 minutes (161 miles) from Sanibel Island. The Miami airport is about 2 hours and 45 minutes (162 miles) from Sanibel. While it might take you longer to get from the airport to the island in this case, you may find a more convenient fit for your schedule.
- Drive Your Car– If you’re not opposed to a long road trip, there are certainly worse places to drive through than Florida. Along your drive south through the state, there are numerous detours worth taking. Whether it’s to see the University of Florida in Gainesville, Disney World in Orlando, or even the Horse Capital of the World in Ocala, a road trip on your way to Captiva Island is a worthwhile adventure.
- Train or Bus– While there aren’t any bus or train stations directly on Sanibel Island, you can take these two modes of transportation to nearby cities and finish your journey via rideshare or taxi.
Of course, how you get to Sanibel and Captiva Island ultimately won’t be as important as where you stay once you arrive.
Getting Around Sanibel Island
Once your flight lands and you make it to the island, you’ll need a plan for getting around Sanibel. Because most airports near Sanibel Island are still a drive away, you might consider renting a car. This will make traveling to the island and getting around Sanibel Island easier.
A car will make it easy for you to visit other places around Sanibel Island. You can take a short drive to Captive or even more shelling, take a day trip to Fort Myers to explore, and more when you have a car on Sanibel Island.
Looking for another option? You can take a taxi or use a ride-hailing app like Uber or Lyft to get from the airport to Sanibel Island. It is important to keep in mind, though, that Uber and Lyft don’t operate on the island. They only provide transportation to the island. You might need a local taxi to get from Sanibel Island back to the airport for your flight home.
There are a few other modes of transportation you can use when getting around Sanibel Island. Aside from car, let’s break down other ways you can get around Sanibel Island
Biking on Sanibel Island
It’s easy to bike on Sanibel Island. In fact, biking on Sanibel Island is the preferred method of transport for many. There are 22 miles of paved bike trails on Sanibel Island, connecting residential areas and hotels to restaurants, beaches, nature preserves, and more.
You don’t need to bring your own bike to Sanibel Island. You’ll find many opportunities to rent bicycles and helmets on Sanibel Island. Renting a bike on Sanibel Island is also quite affordable, as rentals for a single-speed bike and helmet start at just $30 a week from some vendors! You’ll also find businesses offering kids’ bike rentals, baby seats, trailers, and more.
Taxis on Sanibel Island
As mentioned above, you can’t call an Uber on Sanibel Island. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft don’t operate on Sanibel Island. However, there are a few local taxi companies that make getting around Sanibel Island easier. Keep in mind traveling by taxi can be expensive; you might pay as much as $70 (if not more) for fare to and from the Fort Myers airport.
Rent a Boat with Post Sanibel Marina
Once you leave the airport, you should head right to the beach and find a rental boat to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico.
Contact us today at (239) 437-1660 and make a Florida boat rental reservation with us today.