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No high rises, low key natural area with water access in SW Fla

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We're driving from the cold upper Midwest to Fla. for a stay in Sanibel and, on our way down to Sanibel, we want to drive along the coast to check out some areas for future winter rentals of a month or two. We really aren't lying on the beach people so aren't necessarily aiming at the idea of long Gulf beaches to walk on. But, we want to be on salt water--bays, backwaters, rivers etc.for fly fishing for hubby (very important), kayaking and boating. We prefer an area with character, more the "old Florida" feel, an abundance of natural areas accessible, not completely isolated from civilization and decent grocery stores. Places we could do some biking around the area on not super busy roads would also be a plus.

Do you have any suggestions for areas we should look into that would meet our needs? I guess we also want to be far enough south where typical weather is comfortable doing activities (not swimming) like boating and kayaking in the winter months, so how far south should we limit our search? While on Sanibel we could also venture out further south for some day trips to check things out, so suggestions for places south of there are also welcome. Thanks much.

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