east coast Florida National Parks Pandemic Florida Trip road trip travel Uncategorized

On the road to the Florida Keys – Day 4

Day four started just like every other day so far on this trip. Me being up way too damn early. I was up around 5am. I can really tell now how my work schedule screws with me since I am up everyday for work at 4am. I can’t even really sleep in when I am on vacation.

I just ended up making sure the car was packed and my daughter had her stuff ready for when she woke up or I had to wake her up. I went outside and waited for the sun to rise. This morning was a hot one. I could already feel the sweat dripping from my forehead before the sun even started to rise.

Boy was today going to be another hot one but it didn’t matter. We were going to stop by the Everglades and the Florida Keys. Not sure yet how far down we would go. I would love to make it all the way down to Key West but I didn’t think that would happen today or even on this trip. Only time will tell.

The sunrise this morning wasn’t that great but it didn’t matter. I did get to enjoy it with my daughter thought. I just wish it was a little better for her to see. Maybe another sunrise she will get to see and it will be a spectacular one.

We quickly ate breakfast at the hotel (La Quinta Inn near Busch Gardens Tampa) and hit the road. We were on the road by 730 and heading towards are first stop for the day. I was definitely hoping to see some gators but I was reading that you won’t see many this time of year. Especially during mid day.

The drive from Tampa to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center was around a four hour drive. Give or Take. Once out of Tampa it was mainly open country. Not a whole lot to see and not many hills at all. I honestly can’t remember if I’ve seen any. It was mostly flat. The only thing we could see in the distance was the clouds building and a storm developing.

On our drive to the Everglades visitor center we hit periods of off and on rain. Sometimes it was really heavy at times. Other times it was just a little spit. I was just hoping we wouldn’t have a steady downpour when we arrived at the Everglades National Park.

As luck would have it. The rain stopped when we were about ten minutes away from the visitor center. We parked the car and headed in to get our National Parks Passport book stamped. I really do love having that thing. It definitely gives me ideas on places to stop and visit.

We walked around and explored the visitor center for a while. So much great information inside about the Everglades. We did end up spending a little more time in the visitor center than we would have. But this was because it started to down pour again.

Once the rain started to let up a little we ventured outside to take a look around before we headed to Anhinga Trial. I wanted to first visit the Nike Missile Base but it was currently closed. That really stunk because I think I could have gotten some cool pictures there. The ones I’ve seen when planning this trip looked pretty cool. Oh well, the hiking trial would just have to do.

When we arrived at the Anhinga Trial we were greeted with so many grasshoppers. They were all over the place. On the walls. On the sidewalks. On the hand rails. They were everywhere. And boy did those suckers barely move. You had to watch where you were walking so you didn’t step on them.

Apparently, they were very photogenic too. Much better than my daughter at times. I definitely didn’t I would be seeing grasshoppers so up close and personal on my trip to the Florida Everglades. I figured I’d be seeing plenty of gators. Guess I was wrong.

We didn’t see any gators in the water but we did see plenty of fish and turtles. The Anhinga hiking trial was pretty cool too. Not sure how long it was but it didn’t take us to long to walk the whole thing. That was even after stopping and taking pictures.

A good chunk of the trial is on a raised boardwalk over the water. I am guess this is were you can see the gators during the right time of the year. We looked and looked hoping we would be the lucky ones.

But there were no gators to be found. Only lots of fish and turtles and of course, grasshoppers. It was still a fun stop for us. I did want to check out some of the other hiking trails but it looked like another storm was getting ready to roll in. We did see some lighting in the distance. Plus it was getting close to that time that we could check into our hotel.

The hotel we stayed at (Travelodge by Wyndham Florida City) wasn’t too far from the Everglades National Park or the Florida Keys. It was right off of Route 1 or the Overseas Highway as it is known going down to Key West. It’s in a great location if you plan on visiting both places like we did.

We were able to check in a little early which was nice. However, when we arrived at the room the cleaning people were still cleaning so we left to drive some of the Overseas highway. I wasn’t too sure how far we would get but I wanted to get some of it done.

We got back on the road and started heading down. We were only about 5 minutes into our drive when we hit traffic and it was a slow go the rest of the way down. The only good thing was there was plenty to look at on both sides of us. Once we started getting closer to Key Largo. There really was a bunch to see.

In one spot we seen what had to be about 20 or more boats just hanging out. There were people sitting outside of the boats in chairs. They had pop up tents. The water could have only been 3 feet or so. It looked like they were all having an amazing time. I so badly wanted to join in.

That is one thing I will have to check into the next time I come down to visit. I want to rent a boat for a day or weekend and just go out and fish and relax. The water looked so nice and refreshing.

Once we got into Key Largo we started to look for somewhere to get a bite to eat. I spent plenty of time looking at all the different food joints up and down the Overseas Highway. Problem was there were so many places that looked like they would be amazing that it was hard to pick one.

We ended up picking Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant & Bar. The atmosphere of the place was amazing. The other customers seemed to be enjoying themselves. The wait staff looked to be having a good time too.

We ended up getting a table on the deck right next to the water. The views were incredible from our table. Only problem was the sun was beating down on us. Luckily we had a little shade from the umbrella at the table. It just wasn’t nearly enough for how powerful that afternoon sun can be.

The food we had was pretty good. The scallops were amazing. However, they were definitely overpriced. It was $18 for three bacon wrapped scallops. Like I said they were very good. I just figured I would get more than three for that price.

We also got a burger and shrimp tacos. The burger was cooked perfectly for my daughter. She also loved the fries. The shrimp tacos were good too. I wasn’t too crazy about the Cilantro Key Lime Sauce on them though. Other than that they were still pretty good and I would probably order them again.

After dinner we continued heading south on the Overseas Highway. We drove all the way down to Long Key. Which might only be about a quarter of the way to Key West. It was a nice drive and I wanted to continue but my daughter wasn’t enjoying herself too much at this point.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to see the sunset like I wanted to. I also figured I wouldn’t be able to see the sunrise the next morning. She was ready to head to Orlando. I wasn’t quite ready yet since we would be staying in Orlando for a while.

Well, I turned around anyway and started heading back to the hotel. But first I had to make a stop before we left the Florida Keys. So we started heading north and I put the Key Lime Pie Factory in the GPS. I first saw this place when we were heading south.

Now I have never had Key Lime pie before. Not once. So I knew before I even came down here that I had to try it. We arrived after a short drive. It didn’t really take us too long to get there from where we started.

We both got a slice of Key Lime Pie. I got a slice with meringue on top. My daughter got a slice with chocolate. I did very much enjoy my slice. My daughter on the other hand was not a fan. She found it to be too sour which I found kind of funny. She loves eating sour candy.

I can say this about Key Lime Pie. While I did enjoy it. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again. Of course, when I visit the Keys again I will find a new place to try this interesting dessert. Than I will know if the Key Lime Pie Factory was really the best Key Lime pie in the Keys.

After dessert we start heading back to the hotel. There wasn’t as much traffic going back which was nice. I can say that the scenery heading both north and south are amazing. So much to see. So many places that you want to just stop the car right in the middle of the road and snap some pictures.

We got back to the hotel and not much later the sun was setting. I did kind of wish I stayed down by Key Largo a little longer so I could watch the sunset over the water. But watching it set through the trees would just have to do. Tomorrow we would be waking up early again and making our way to Orlando to check into Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Universal.

Judging from what I saw from the hotel parking lot. The sunset down in the Key’s would have been amazing. The picture above just doesn’t do that sunset any justice. Maybe the next time I am down here I will be able to get that sweet sunset shot. Till than I will keep my fingers crossed that I will be able to do it.

As I was getting ready to go to bed I happened to look at the do not disturb hanger. It was perfect for our next stage of our Pandemic Florida Trip. We truly were getting ready for our next great adventure.

Make sure you come back tomorrow to continue along our Pandemic Florida trip. Tomorrow starts at least 10 days in Orlando with a bunch of visits to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Let us know in the comments below if you think we missed anywhere amazing that we should check out next time we are in the area.

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Thank You everyone who has commented and followed us. It means a lot and helps us continue making post, photos, and guides for you. Till our next post….. Have a great day!

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