Everglades National Park, FL
East Cape Sable
Paddle to a wildlife paradise.
Snowbirds take note: The southernmost spot on the U.S. mainland happens to be five undeveloped miles of white shell beach backed by coconut and sable palms. Hug the shoreline as you paddle about 11 miles west from Flamingo, across Florida Bay, to the cape. Camping is at-large on the beach, so round the point and keep heading north for better solitude. Bunker down above high-tide line and keep an eye out for sea turtles, manatee, dolphins, roseate spoonbills, and bald eagles. Bring a kite to take advantage of ocean breezes, and cast for redfish, tarpon, or even nurse sharks. Avoid winter holidays, especially the week after Christmas; bring an extra tarp shelter for shade; and pack a gallon of drinking water per person per day. (239-695-2945; nps.gov/ever) Trip data backpacker.com/hikes/1674146
The way From Homestead, take Ingraham Hwy./Main Park Rd. 41.8 miles south to the Flamingo Marina (canoes: $40/day; reserve online: bit.ly/everboats).