J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Considered Florida's prime bird-watching area, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge protects one of the nation's largest mangrove ecosystems. Named after cartoonist "Ding" Darling, an important figure in the conservationist movement of the 1930s, the refuge provides a temporary home for migratory bird populations and attracts almost a million annual visitors with its "wildlife drive," a windy road through the mangrove forest and the tidal flats. You can watch thousands of birds from the comfort of your car, or drop into the visitor center to see interactive exhibits about great egrets, wood storks, blue herons, white pelicans, cormorants, ospreys, and bald eagles. The center also includes a bookstore that sells nature books and field guides. By using our Sanibel Island trip builder app , you can arrange your visit to J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other attractions in Sanibel Island.
map
Create an itinerary including J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
4,906 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited and drove through the park. We saw a couple of birds and spent more than 1 1/2 hours on the short path. We had hoped to see more birds, but we did not. I would not spend very much for this ...  more »
  • Awesome place, lots of wildlife, guides are well informed. Lots of space to explore, it is a destination to experience on the island.  more »
  • What a great way to spend some vacation time! The people who work here are a wealth of knowledge! They are also very friendly! We rode our bikes through the indigo trail enjoyed it. Let me encourage y...  more »

Plan your trip to Sanibel Island

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Sanibel Island

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Sanibel Island by other users

15 days in Southwest Gulf Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 43 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM ESTONIA April, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 35 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 55 days in Continental USA BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 13 days in Florida BY A USER FROM BRAZIL December, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM GERMANY April, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans