I thought we were going to have to drag my always-up-for-a-good-time brother, Prentiss, away from South Beach
. This laid-back harbor feels like a Northeastern-style fishing village, complete with blue clapboard buildings connected by a sprawling weathered deck. It’s New England meets Caribbean cool, polished with Southern charm. The omnipresent music ranges from Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley by the DJ to jam-friendly local bands. Dancing is optional, but you won’t want to be the only one left sitting.
Rain or shine, locals and tourists mingle in the late afternoon over heavy-handed cocktails; ice-cold brews; and steaming, hot-boiled shrimp at the open-air Salty Dog Café (www.saltydog.com or  363-2198). Arrive early and snag a table; they tend to fill up quickly.
photo: Marshland surrounds the South Beach Marina.