Three Week Road Trip in Southern Florida

This two year old alligator was so sweet, I wanted to bring her home, but where would I put her?

Places visited:  Sarasota, Weeki Wachee State Park, Miami, Everglades National Park, and the Florida Keys (Long Key, Marathon, Islamorada, John Pennekamp State Park and Key West)

Confession: I love DisneyWorld and all the kitschy madness that surrounds it.  But on this trip I intentionally focused on places that I didn't know as well, or at all.  Most of my journey was influenced by the book I was reading, Swamplandia!  A tale that takes place in the Everglades, as seen through the eyes of its 13 year old heroine.  Her stories of tourist traps,  alligator wrestling and swamp people led me to her homeland to hunt down some of the folks who may have inspired the characters in the book.  I sought out Swamp Guides for backwater airboat tours and interviewed alligator wrestlers about how they got started and what inspires them to get in the ring everyday.  I spoke to locals about what it was like to live in the Everglades (the answer, it really just is the life they are used to.)  It was such an amazing adventure to be able to see and understand a small part of the world through someone else's lens.  

 

A few of the legendary Sirens of Weeki Wachee.

The Twistee Treat Ice Cream shaped stand are a totally worthy snack stop.  But I warn you, eat fast, that soft serve ice cream doesn't do well in the Florida humidity.

The Confidante Hotel in Miami Beach was a lovely setting for our Miami adventure.  Close enough to some amazing restaurants (Pao and Nobu), convenient to the beach, and a quick drive to Wynnwood.

I love these mermaids found in the Wynnwood neighborhood of Miami.

Seahorses take on a whole new meaning in Miami.

If I lived in Miami I would be over-caffeinated and suffer from overeating, because I would have to live near Little Havana.  Really couldn't get enough Cuban coffee and food, so yummy.

Fishing buoys and lobster trap art can be found everywhere in the Florida Keys.  

Opal the Unicorn visits the Southernmost point of the United States, where the line to get a solo photo was so long, she decided it was best to forego the queue all together and include a stranger in her selfie.

Sunset from the porch at Pierre's in Islamorada.  If you go to the Keys, you must stop at Pierre's for a cocktail and a delicious meal, you will not be disappointed.

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