Florida's Quiet Corner
Looking for Florida wildlife — and not the kind you'd find in the bottle-service clubs of South Beach? Fly to Fort Myers and drive a half-hour over the causeway to Sanibel Island, a 12-mile-long barrier island (population: 7,000). Two-thirds of the island — more than 5,000 acres — are dedicated to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S. Rent a kayak at Tarpon Bay Explorers ($25 for two hours) and set out for Commodore Creek Trail; look out for manatees, dolphins, and nearly 250 species of birds. Get your paddling done early to beat the heat, then hit the beach, a world-renowned receptacle for shells imported via the gulf current from the Caribbean. On the island's other third, stay at Casa Ybel, a lush, low-key, 114-suite gulf-front resort (from $299 a night). And bring a book, because Sanibel is seriously chill. If you're doing it right, your ears should be ringing from the silence, not the pool-deck DJ.