Ft. Myers/Pine Island
Here is one of South Florida’s best-kept secrets. Eat fresh seafood in the fishing village of Matlacha, rent a kayak in Bokeelia and paddle around pristine islands and lagoons of tangled red mangrove.
This vacation playground is not just for kids anymore. Walt Disney World’s Epcot features Lavish gardens (even behind-the-scenes garden tours) and wonderful ethnic dining in the World Showcase “countries.” Meanwhile, at Universal Studios Orlando, the “Great Movie Ride” and other attractions are a kick for film buffs. (Who but a grown-up remembers gangster flicks and the original Alien?) By night, Universal’s CityWalk offers great live entertainment, from Motown to Latin dancing lessons, and enticing restaurants like Emeril’s, created by big-name chef Emeril Lagasse.
Just 20 miles from Key West, but draped in tropical languor, Sugarloaf Key is the perfect base for sun-drenched fun. Snorkel or dive famous Looe Key, visit gorgeous Bahia Honda State Park, and paddle past islands dotted with snowy egrets and Great Blue herons.
No need to spend big bucks to enjoy this natural paradise. Drop a line from Naples Fishing Pier (on the National Register of Historic Places), no license required; enjoy ten miles of sugar-sand beaches, considered among the best in the nation. Don’t miss Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a boardwalk trail past 500-year-old cypress trees.
A nature lover’s paradise with a hometown Southern style and charm making an ideal vacation base for visitors. The pace is effortless and carefree with plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities. Miles of trails weave throughout acres of undeveloped land and await hiking, biking and horseback riding enthusiasts. Canoe the Steinhatchee River or try scalloping in the bay. Stroll the sandbars at Hagan’s Cove or count seabirds at sunrise. Glimpse a part of forgotten Florida on a visit to the Forest Capital Museum and the 1850’s Cracker Homestead.