One of my favorite laid-back vacation destinations is the southwest Florida island of Sanibel, where development is limited and nature reigns.
Explore J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which occupies more than half the island, with a kayak or paddleboard rental from Tarpon Bay Explorers. Our guide Ty pointed out birds like pileated woodpeckers and herons.
Or do the “Sanibel Stoop” along the beach: The island’s rare east-west orientation makes it one of the world’s best beaches for shelling.
And don’t miss family-owned Joey’s Custard, where the lemon-raspberry cheesecake ice cream is a tangy delight.