Island Hopping Florida-Style

North Captiva Island on Gulf Coast of southwest Florida

In the minds of many, Florida and her coast is dark blue water, crashing waves, Spring Break, bottles of booze and the thumping pulse of a beachside nightclub. We propose an alternative view. Consider this: sugar sand beaches lapped by bathwater-warm waves closer in color to light washing through leaves than a stormy azure. Low rise development, where there’s any development at all. And no cars.

No cars! In Florida! It’s possible, people. The above describes the barrier islands of Lee County’s Gulf Coast, the impressionistic watercolor to the blazing neon of the Atlantic Coast. Hey – we love us some neon. But sometimes, you need to get a little laid back.

Consider Cabbage Key, where Jimmy Buffet was served his famous cheeseburger in paradise. You can, in fact, order the same meat between two buns on this island at the Cabbage Key Inn. But let us be frank: the cheeseburger is good, but what makes it great is eating it on this 100-acre island, swaddled in mangroves and studded with shell mounds left by the Calusa Indians, where you will find neither cars nor even a paved road for them to drive on.

What you will find is the afore-mentioned Cabbage Key Inn, wallpapered in up to 80,000 signed dollar bills (the ones that fall to the floor are swept up and donated to charity). Nearby is Useppa Key, which manages to be rustic and ritzy all at once…

Read more: Lonely Planet


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