Southwest Florida has an entirely different vibe because tourism is not the center of its culture. Tourism is woven into its fabric, and its environment is authentically native.

My base during my kayak fishing extravaganza was Tarpon Lodge, an early 20th century fishing camp that evokes images of old Florida. Its whitewashed exterior houses and understatedly lavish rooms are scrupulously clean. It is the cleanest place I have ever stayed. It’s comfortable and it is warmly welcoming. Miss Laura and I stayed there last year as well, and its high quality was consistent.

The lightning show from late-night storms was spectacular from my balcony.

The Tarpon Lodge restaurant offers a diverse selection of surf and turf options, including a filet mignon so tender that it practically falls apart at the touch of a fork. You’ll be wobbling at the end of the entree, and the desserts will deliver the knockout blow. The head waiter, Frankie, is a master at his craft.

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