If you want to know what Key West must have been like back in the Hemingway days, come to secluded Cedar Key, which sits off the Florida coast below the panhandle. This quiet town of less than 1,000 people sits on Way Key, buffered from the mainland by a necklace of marshy, protected islands. The cedar trees in these parts were once used to make pencils, and John Muir spent time here in 1867 while recovering from malaria. Today, though, the locals make their living off a booming clamming industry the smattering of tourists who come to cast a line from the fishing pier or toast the sunset at a watering hole like the Big Deck Raw Bar.
MUST: Paddle along shores of Cedar Key and explore the surrounding islands with Kayak Cedar Keys.
STAY: In one of the cozy cottages at the quirky, quiet Faraway Inn on the edge of downtown, where you can use their kayaks and fish-cleaning station. Starts at $160 per night.