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Finding peace and quiet can be challenging this time of year. As the snowbirds enjoy a little Florida sunshine, the locals are the ones who need a little break. But if you’re up for fighting a bit of traffic, serenity is just a few miles away. Here are a few ideas to get away from the crowds.


Take a hike—a really long one

The Florida Trail is one of the longest continuous hiking trails in the country. It starts right here in Southwest Florida at Big Cypress National Preserve, then continues north nearly 1,500 miles to Pensacola. OK, so you would really need to get away to walk up to the Panhandle. But the southern portion will take you on a beautiful trek through scenic swamplands into cattle country. (


Find peace within

Sometimes, you have to find your own calm during the craziness. That’s where meditation comes in. A regular meditation routine can work wonders to lower stress. Southwest Florida does have many places to practice meditation, and some have even been holding sessions via Zoom during the last several months. In particular, check out the online schedules at Open Mind Zen in Naples ( and the Florida Community of Mindfulness (


Discover a barrier island

Southwest Florida has beautiful beaches … the challenge is finding a spot to call your own. Some of the most pristine beaches are on barrier islands near the Lee and Charlotte county border. The catch: You’ll have to take a boat to get there, either ferry or kayak. But it will be worth it to wander along the shell-lined beaches of Don Pedro Island and Cayo Costa. Both also contain state parks. (


Totally isolate yourself

Imagine floating alone in the ocean at night. Sound relaxing? Then flotation therapy might be for you. And you don’t have to worry about seaweed brushing against your leg. Flotation therapy is done in a sensory deprivation tank filled with Epsom salt and water. It’s just you and your thoughts floating peacefully for an hour or so. Try it at Naples Massage & Neuromuscular ( or Cloud9 Float Spa in Fort Myers (


Photo Credit: Courtesy Visit Florida
Published: February 2021

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