The self-proclaimed "Conch Republic" is one of Florida's most unique and colorful escapes, with a long and fascinating history to match. Here's where to eat, drink, play, and stay in the land of Buffett and Hemingway.
Refuel at an airy seafood joint where the breeze blows straight in from the water and your food comes in plastic or paper but never china. Choices include the historic Turtle Kraals (231 Margaret Street; 305-294-2640 or turtlekraals.com), once home to corrals for soon-to-be-souped turtles. Now the turtle-free menu features barbecue.
Or hit the Half Shell Raw Bar (231 Margaret Street, 305-294-7496, halfshellrawbar.com) at the old seaport, called the Bight, or the nearby Conch Republic Seafood Company (631 Greene Street; 305-294-4403 or conchrepublicseafood.com). Our fave: hogfish, caught only with a spear and served grilled at its namesake Hogfish Bar and Grill (6810 Front Street, Stock Island, 305-293-4041 or hogfishbar.com) on Stock Island, a short drive away.
Left: Lobster and shrimp pot pie at Hogfish Bar and Grill