By: Gillian Birch
Located on six acres of beautiful Gulf of Mexico beachfront on Sanibel Island, Sanibel Moorings is a resort with a difference. The holiday apartments are set in landscaped botanical gardens filled with established tropical plantings, vibrant flowers, and shady trees. Enjoy the sight and scent of the gardens from your fully equipped apartment, or take a stroll along the winding paths and discover the delights of these exotic blooms up-close.
Sanibel Moorings Botanical Gardens are surrounded by nature and home to an array of flitting butterflies, songbirds, turtles, rabbits, and wildlife. If you’re planning a relaxing vacation on Sanibel, this is definitely the place to find it!
Sanibel Moorings Botanical Gardens History
Sanibel Moorings Resort opened in 1974 and the first gardener was a keen botanist. A succession of gifted gardeners have continued to enhance the gardens which now include hibiscus, roses, orchids, bromeliads, palms, cycads, and fruit trees. Tropical and exotic plants find their place beneath more unusual flowering trees such as the Bauhinia Blakeana (Hong Kong Orchid Tree) with its spectacular blooms. The gardens are also a source of heavenly fragrance when the white gardenias and jasmine are in full bloom.
In 2009, the gardens received the official status of Botanical Gardens and they are now a member of the American Public Gardens Association and the American Horticultural Society.
Botanical Garden Tours on Sanibel
Garden tours are offered to resort guests as well as the public, led by the Head Horticulturist. Who better to take visitors through the gardens, pointing out the rare and unusual native and non-invasive plants that you might otherwise miss? Guided garden tours provide a great opportunity to ask questions and pick up tips about what plants flourish in Southwest Florida, particularly in this coastal community with its salt-laden air. These gardens border the beautiful white sandy beach – an added delight for resort guests.
Tours usually last around 90 minutes and run from December through August, taking place every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Advance bookings are recommended to guarantee your place. If you prefer to stroll through the gardens at your own pace, self-guided tours are available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding Holidays. Admission to all tours is $5, and free to resort guests.
Staying at Sanibel Moorings Resort
If you want to linger more than an hour or so in the gardens, consider booking a stay at Sanibel Moorings. Located just steps from the beautiful white sandy beach, the resort has luxury condo units with one, two, or three bedrooms. All the condo suites include a full kitchen, living room, dining area, and a private screened lanai – the perfect place to chill out with a book or toast the sunset each evening. Short and long-term rentals are available and they all include WiFi. Whether you are looking for a romantic retreat or a snowbird winter escape, Sanibel Moorings is a beautiful and memorable destination.
Located at 845 East Gulf Drive, the luxury Sanibel Moorings Resort has excellent amenities as well as its botanical gardens. Make use of the boat docks, go kayaking, or cool off in one of the two alluring swimming pools. You can even rent bicycles for a nominal fee and explore the island on two wheels – just like a local! The resort includes a fitness room and tennis courts for staying active as well as opportunities for fishing, shelling, and beach amenities. It’s a gardeners’ and beach-lovers’ paradise!