This was another great free spot. We were going to bike around the park but Bryan’s bike tube exploded leaving the Slime that we had used to “fix” our previous flat tires everywhere. Luckily that was the worst of it (THANKFULLY, no injuries), and we just went for a walk instead.
This is one of the many beautiful springs in Florida and I think the deepest in the United States. This one, however, is known for the Mermaid shows that have been going on since 1947! The show takes place underwater in the spring – which was pretty fun to watch. The mermaids are performing as fish and a very intrusive turtle swim and float alongside.
We were super fortunate to find a great spot through Boondocker’s Welcome to stay here (THANKS so much Pauline & Virginia!) for several days. We did some exploring – but also continued to work on our taxes – bleck, yack, yuck! Punta Gorda has a cute downtown area and is right on the water (The Peace River to be more specific). An added bonus was that our hosts took us out for a beautiful boat ride down the river and into Charlotte Harbor.
Big Cypress National Preserve / Everglades
This was the farthest south we ended up going in Florida.
We decided to skip the Keys, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale for budgetary and timeline purposes. I am SO glad though that we got to experience the Everglades – even if it was just for 24+ hours. I would LOVE to go come back and explore for a lot longer. This area is absolutely incredible. The bounty of trees, plants, and wildlife was amazing! There were honest to god, “Panther Crossing” signs all over the place!
It’s really bizarre that all over Florida there are touristy places you can pay to go see gators, but they’re not that hard to find just doing their thing. This is especially the case down in the Everglades – all of these pics below are of gators we spotted off a nature trail or on the side of the road. No need to pay to see them – just look out your window as your drive by!
On this trip, we have had our share of hop-ons. Previously, these have all been bugs that got into Merlin and we transported them to new locations. But in the Everglades we had a a frog hop-on, a Florida Leopard Frog. He was really determined to catch a lift. I tried to move him from under Merlin and he wouldn’t have it. He jumped up between one of our storage bins and hung on for over 100 miles!