Everglades City 25° 51.47' N 81° 23.28' W
Threading our way northeast five miles through Indian Key Pass, we enter the Barron River and tie up along the pier at the famous Rod & Gun Club. The list of the rich and famous who have stayed here is virtually endless, so we'll mention just a few – from Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon to actors John Wayne, Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery and Joe Pesci and from Ernest Hemingway to Mick Jagger. This anachronistic inn has quite a history, and walking through the lobby to the dining room is a trip back in time. You'll pass under wildlife trophies, portraits of famous guests and archived newspaper clippings describing events taking place over the past century. After our appetizer of delicious gator nuggets, we enjoy our steak and blackened grouper dinner, feeling a slight sense of awe being in this hallowed room. Everglades City lies at one end of the Wilderness Waterway, the 99-mile backcountry kayak/canoe route that leads to Flamingo. Escorted eco tours are available and highly recommended. For the truly adventurous, there are suggested 9 and 5-day itineraries. Permits are required and are available at the ranger station. The town itself is a throw back to the old, unspoiled Florida, and it offers the basics most cruisers need – a grocery and hardware store, a post office and a small museum.