Perdido Key lies in the northern Gulf of Mexico offshore from Pensacola. Most of it is in Florida, but the Alabama state line cuts across its western tip. To get there: Take I-75 north to I-10, then west on I-10 to Pensacola and west on State Road 292 to Perdido Key. Nearest major airport is at Pensacola, about 14 miles.
Why go: In 2004, Perdido Key was devastated when Hurricane Ivan swept over the island, pushing a wall of water 20 to 40 feet high. But Perdido Key has come back strong from that disaster and once again is hosting thousands of visitors.
It's a laid-back resort with miles of white-sand beaches. Mid- and high-rise condos — more than 2,500 units in all — line this long, narrow island, which is just a 45-minute drive from Pensacola Beach. While many visit the island simply to kick back, the island has a golf course and many water-related activities — deep-sea and freshwater fishing as well as swimming, sunbathing, sailing and surfing. It has both a federal preserve and a state park; thus about 66 percent of the island is protected.
A legend on Perdido is the Floribama bar, on the Florida-Alabama line. Cold beer flows continually, patrons play beach games and bands play nightly, though Jimmy Buffett no longer performs there.
Information: Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-328-0107, perdidochamber.com.