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Off-the-beaten path in Marco Island: Go beyond your hotel pool

The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.

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Robbie’s Marina: Feed the tarpon; it’s best cheap fun you can find in the Keys

Robbie’s Marina is a don’t-miss stop as you drive through the Florida Keys. Dozens of tarpon, some more than 6 feet long, gather at the dock and lunge for fish from visitors. The restaurant there, the Hungry Tarpon, is highly recommended , too.

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Tampa Thai temple: Exceptional Sunday market & brunch

An open-air Thai brunch and market draws throngs every Sunday morning to this beautiful waterfront temple in Tampa. The food is very good and moderately priced. The exotic gold-trimmed temple is worth visiting just because it’s beautiful, set among shady live oak trees decorated with orchids.

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36 hours in Key Largo: Gilbert’s Resort and kayaking the wreck at Garden Cove

For a quick trip to the Keys, consider Gilbert’s Resort. The upgraded 1950s-era motel and tiki bar is the first lodging you reach on the road to Key Largo. Then, kayak nearby Garden Cove and discover its picturesque sunken barge, a good place to snorkel.

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Cap’s Place: Historic South Florida restaurant is like a time capsule

It’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Broward County, and, thankfully, nothing has changed in years. It’s a rustic old wooden shack now surrounded by mansions and yachts. History and atmosphere make it worth the splurgy prices — and the food is good.

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Seven Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor

Key West has so many restaurants that it’s hard to make a decision where to eat. Next time I go, though, I have an intriguing list of restaurants filled with local color and character– and I’m sharing it with you. It comes from a fellow blogger who ate his way through Key West recently.

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