In addition to being a political cartoonist for the Des Moines Register in the early 1900s, Ding Darling was first and foremost a pioneer for wildlife conservation. It's the reason why FDR appointed him director of the federal agency that preceded the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 1934, and why eleven years later Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge was created and eventually renamed to honor the man who saved such a large swath of estuarine ecosystem.
Wild, lush and teeming with life, the refuge is accessible via a four-and-a-half mile road open to cars, bikes, guided trams or hikers on foot. Once there, you'll spot brown pelicans, great blue herons and snowy egrets in addition to the many reptiles and amphibians that call the reserve home, including alligators, crocodiles and frogs of all kinds.
There are no concessions inside the refuge--so make sure to bring your own food and beverages--and if you don't wanna haul binoculars, don't fret. You can borrow a pair for free--with a credit card deposit--at the front desk of the visitor's center.