Silver Key Preserve | Sanibel Island, Florida beaches


10 things you should know before planning a trip to Silver Key Preserve, Florida

Southwest Florida is filled with hidden gems, one of them including Silver Key Preserve in Sanibel Island.

Silver Key is a 64 acre preserve that was bought in 1994 by the city of Sanibel along with the Florida's Communities Trust Preservation 2000 Program. The preserve is home to a variety of birds such as snowy plovers and least terns, sea turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes and the list goes on.

The pristine beaches and coastal scrub habitat has been preserved in order to maintain and protect endangered natural environments as well as animals of the Florida fauna.

There are no facilities and no parking lots at Silver Key and if you want to explore the area, walking will be necessary but totally worth it.

Some of the recreational activities that can be done at Silver Key Preserve include:

Hiking

Picnicking

Observation of Wild life

Photography

Shelling

Diving

Snorkeling

Paddle boarding

Skim boarding

Much more

Now that you I have given you a little taste of what Silver Key is like, let's move on to what you should know and consider before planning your trip to Silver Key Preserve in Sanibel Florida.

10 things you should know before planning a trip to Silver Key Preserve, Florida

1 - Toll to get into Sanibel

The toll to get into Sanibel Island is $6.00. However, you no longer need cash for the toll, you will receive a bill later at the mailing address you have registered with your local DMV.

2 - Different ways to get to Silver Key Preserve

As mentioned above, there is no other way to get to Silver way except for walking or bicycling if that's what you are into.

Now, there are two different paths to choose from and the maps below show the distance for both routes to help you decide which one best suits you.

The first path starting point is from Blind Pass Beach which is approximately 0.6 miles and about 15 to 20 minutes to Silver Key depending on how fast/slow you walk (or bicycle).

This path is also very easy with no barriers, no tree trunks in the way, pretty stable if you have a wheelchair, stroller or anything to carry.

The second one is from Bowman's beach, approximately 1.5 miles away and about 45 - 50 minutes, once again depending on how fast/slow you walk. Although this route is much longer and filled with obstacles than the first, it is also the most rewarding visually and explorative.

The trail has a path that leads to an overlook of the Clam Bayou which is home to many native plants and wildlife.

3 - Parking

Regardless of the trail you decide to take to Silver Key, the parking fee at Sanibel beaches is $5 per hour per car. Cash and credit card is accepted.

The fee for non payment is $75, which brings me to the next point: plan accordingly!

4 - Plan accordingly

Consider how much time you will need for the trip and add a little extra time just to be safe and make sure that the amount you pay for parking is equivalent to the time you plan on spending on your trip.

Now, because we left from bowman's beach which is the longer route and had two toddlers with us, we opted to reserve four hours for the entire trip. We ended spending almost two hours just walking to get to and back from Silver Key.

5 - Shelling Paradise

If you are into shelling then definitely bring your bucket or shelling bag on this trip with you.

We were able to find the most beautiful shells during our walk to Silver key in Sanibel Island mainly because the area is pretty remote and not known by many locals and visitors so shells just pile up on top of each other even creating a sea shell wall which is a combination of sand and seashells (You can watch the video on youtube right here).

6 - Carry-in & Carry-out

There are no facilities at Silver Key Preserve, that means no restrooms and no trash bins so it is best that you bring a plastic bag to dispose of all the trash you create and take it back with you.

Make sure you don't leave anything behind except for foot prints.

7 - Stay hydrated and don't go hungry

Pack enough water and food for your trip. You will not have the opportunity to purchase anything during the trail and there are no water fountains either.

Remember that it gets hot and humid in Southwest Florida, even during the winter months and staying hydrated is really important especially when planning activities under the sun.

8 - Don't feed the wildlife

You may be tempted to feed the birds or the cute raccoon you spotted during your trail but don't! Feeding wildlife in Florida is not only illegal but also poses a threat on the animals and us, humans.

According to the USDA, feeding wildlife human food can lead to complications for the animal as it is not suited for their consumption. It can also cause wildlife to start congregating in a certain area for the expectation of more food, leading to possibilities of overcrowding and diseases amongst many other reasons.

9 - Do not take live shells

Be sure to look inside shells before throwing it into your bucket and look for any signs of a live creature. If the shell is empty you are free to take it home but if there is a live species living in that shell, even if it is not the primary animal that inhabits it, it is ILLEGAL to remove it from the beach.

So, to ensure our beaches in Florida continue to thrive, please put the shell back if it's alive!

10 - Pets are welcome

Pets are welcome on the Silver Key preserve but asked to be kept on the leash for the protection of the animal and wildlife inhabiting the area.

Also, don't forget to bring extra plastic bags for your pet's waste.

If you are planning a trip to Southwest Florida and have more questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email or one of my social media channels.

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