Become an audience member for the greatest show on earth: Mother Nature. Every summer, thousands of threatened and endangered sea turtles drag themselves onto Florida's beaches to lay eggs. Conveniently enough for those who prefer their wildlife wonders coupled with unspoiled, sea grape-lined beaches, the phenomenon is most concentrated on the state's eastern barrier islands. You can spot nesting turtles on your own, but that risks scaring them away. To do it right, join a weekly turtle walk hosted by the non-profit Caribbean Conservation Corporation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge south of Melbourne Beach. While you learn sea turtle ecology during an orientation talk, guides will scout a nearby mother turtle. Later, watch as she digs her nest, lays her eggs and then returns to the sea. The Tuesday, Wednesday and -- beginning in July -- Saturday walks begin at 9 p.m. and cost $5; your turtle decides when it's over (usually around midnight). cccturtle.org
At Isla Secas Resort, it's just you and 13 other guests (if that) on a 16-island archipelago. Here, your getaway can be as adventurous and secluded as you want, but luxury touches (like dinner waiting for you in your private yurt suite) make it the best of both worlds. Islands photographer Jon Whittle experienced it all first-hand — here's how you can do it too.
Take a look at the most comprehensive dive program in the Caribbean from Sandals Resorts. (There are more than 510 dive sites to choose from!)
No fish tales here. Islands' editor Eddy Patricelli goes fishing in Mentawai with a local.