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

(4,400+ reviews on the web)
Wildlife Area
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. Our Sanibel Island itinerary planner makes visiting J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other Sanibel Island attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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30 days in Birmingham, Florida & Kuala Lumpur SEE PLAN April, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in Florida BY A USER FROM ECUADOR June, relaxing, romantic, beaches, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 7 days in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in Southwest Gulf Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: October, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in Florida BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Sanibel Island BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Florida BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Florida BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Florida BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is a true refuge, with so much to offer that it is amazing. Part of the reason that it is so successful is the tourism, and private donations. A true gem. Getting a bit more crowded from time to ...  more »
  • I have been coming to Ding a couple of times a week for 13 years. People come primarily for the wildlife and birds are a big part of the appeal. Unfortunately, the bird population is way down. Probabl...  more »
  • Being an avid photographer I would go to Ding to look for photo opportunities. It has been hit or miss for me. Seems you have to watch the tides and the best time is low tide for close bird watching. ...  more »