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Chilling in Iceland, Tips Needed

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I am so excited to begin a rough itinerary! But I need some help: My husband and I will have 10 full days to drive around Iceland. Because we are taking a redeye and the days leading to the flight we expect to be stressful, we would like not to do anything too wild the first day or two -i.e. no crowds at the Blue Lagoon and certainly no bar-crawls!

Ideally, since we land early in the a.m., we would like to retrieve our vehicle, head out on the Golden Circle and find a nice town/area to quietly explore, and then continue on more energetically the next day or so.

Can someone recommend a good first stop, given the above parameters? People here seem to favor a counter-clockwise route. ?

I'm sure that this is the first of several questions!

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