The Legend of the Cabbage Key Inn

Cabbage Key is building history $1 at a time 


It started with a local fisherman, they say, who taped a signed dollar bill to the wall as pre-payment for his next cold beverage. An estimated 70,000 autographed bills now paper the walls, pillars and ceiling of the restaurant at Florida’s Cabbage Key Inn. Some of the bills are firmly affixed, while others dangle and sway in the breeze from the ceiling fans. 

An easy cruise from Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, tiny Cabbage Key—with its lone inn and restaurant—really feels like the tropics: the air is thick with humidity and the short walking loop from the inn weaves among trees dangling with moss. 

Legend has it Cabbage Key inspired Jimmy Buffett’s famous song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and, indeed, the singer’s own signed bill hangs proudly behind the restaurant bar. Bring your own dollar when you visit, ask the server for a marker and tape and compose your message while you enjoy the signature cheeseburger and frozen key lime pie. Your presence might be ephemeral—some 10,000 fallen bills are donated to local children’s charities each year—but so is paradise, after all.

Getting There: WestJet flies to Fort Myers eight times a week from Toronto to Ottawa.