Sanibel Island was opened to homesteading in 1888, four years after the Sanibel Island Light Station was completed, and boats ranging from steamers to schooners were drawn to the islands. The islands' prairie-like savannahs, where the threat of freeze was rare, were perfect for farming. Inns and hotels appeared to service newcomers who came to stake a homesteading claim, fish for silver king tarpon, or explore the tropical frontier. Others came seeking seashells, as Sanibel and Captiva Islands were legendary among shell collectors everywhere.