Florida Pt. 3: A lot more gators, crystal blue springs, & even a rocket!

We are so terribly behind in the blog!!! Lets’s finally wrap up Florida.

I think we’ll be keeping things more brief moving forward and just include pics with captions and shorter write-ups. If anyone has questions on places we’ve been, what we’ve done, how something works, etc. – just let us know!! We’ll gladly provide more details when requested 🙂

If you recall, we left off in the Everglades with an unexpected passenger, a frog. You’ll all be relieved to know that we found him a lovely new home on the river bank at our next campground in the lower central part of Florida.

Fisheating Creek Outpost, Palmdale, FL

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Little Froggy on his way to his new waterside digs.

Fort Pierce, FL

We haven’t done too many museums on this trip, but I’m SO glad we did the Navy Seal Museum. It was truly incredible! Everything in this place has been used by SEALs in action or training – so that was pretty cool.

Did you know that SEAL stands for: Sea, Air, & Land? This museum also had an outstanding obstacle course that we couldn’t resist giving a try. Bryan went a little crazy on it and ripped some skin off his ankle – lol! We were a bit sore the next day, have to admit – but it was SO much fun.

After working up an appetite on the O-course, we headed over to Little Jim Bait & Tackle. This was honestly a bait shop that also serves up decent chow, cheap beer, and boiled peanuts. Plus – it’s right on the water!! A total bargain for a waterside meal.

Another Harvest Host win was getting to stay at Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery! We had planned on leaving this area, but when we learned we could stay there for a few days and catch a concert at their awesome music venue – we were sold! We met some really fun new friends (Cheryl, Bud, Scott, & Danielle) and had the most amazing spot on their pond right off the vineyard. Their wine slushies were off the charts GOOD (although, not so good for our budget)!

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Tastes even better than it looks!

Before we left Fort Pierce we spent the afternoon at the beach and enjoyed a day of sun and swimming! This particular beach has a designated parking lot just for RVs. You can park there all day but have to leave at night. This place was overrun with Canadians. Evidently they spend their entire day at the beach and then park at Walmart at night and do that cycle over and over for the whole winter! They didn’t mind us and Merlin taking a spot for a few hours.

Florida’s Space Coast: Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral 

Do not ever depend on rocket launch schedules! We learned this lesson the hard way. We had wanted to catch a SpaceX launch when we were over on this side of Florida. While in Fort Pierce, Bryan just happened to see one in the sky from quite a distance – but we were hoping for something closer. For this purpose, we booked a ridiculously expensive campsite at Cape Canaveral right across from the launch spot for the next scheduled launch. We learned a few days later that the launch date had been pushed and that our reservations couldn’t be changed or canceled – whack! But we made the most of it with another couple visits to the beach (swimming, swimming, & more swimming!) and a parade of cruise ships at night. Turned out to not be so bad and SPOILER ALERT – we did get to see the launch from a distance a few weeks later.

St. Augustine 

We were fortunate to find a Boondocker’s Welcome host just 4 miles from St. Augustine. If you don’t like throngs of kids and tourists – do not come to Florida in March!! We have learned this lesson countless times and unfortunately this probably contributed to our negative opinion of St. Augustine. Yes, this place is historic and its setting on multiple waterways was beautiful – but the whole place just felt like a tourist trap and was terribly crowded. We tried to walk around and eventually gave up and ate an an Irish pub (50 cent hot wings & pretzel sticks!) that was tucked away from the masses. If we’re ever this way again, we might give it another try since we have heard such good things – but we just didn’t see any of those good things in the short time we were there.

The next day we took a long drive south of St. Augustine driving along the coast and intracoastal waterway (ICW) and visited what we could at Fort Matanzas. The ICW is amazing and so different – we would love to come back and spend more time exploring these waters with a kayak/canoe.

Inland from Daytona Beach, FL

We decided to do a little back tracking, once I realized that we were still somewhat close to several of Florida’s legendary natural springs! We got a small taste of these when we were at Weeki Wachee and I knew I wanted more. This meant we had to go back down into Florida for a few days. Thankfully for us there was a beautiful FREE camping area in Tiger Bay State Forest that was about 20-40 minutes from a handful of different springs. In our time there, we got to visit two springs: Alexander and De Leon and also fit in another visit with my cousin Natosha and some of her family – yay!! At De Leon Springs they have this old-timey restaurant that serves up DIY all-you-can-eat pancakes with griddles at every table – we ate ourselves silly here!

Jacksonville, FL

This was to be our last stop before leaving Florida. We ended up staying a little bit outside of the city at Cary State Forest at one of the best paid campgrounds! The rates were reasonable, sites were huge, we had water, a brand-new bathhouse, and really great camp hosts! The forest was absolutely beautiful.

Because you can see the rocket launches pretty far up and down Florida’s eastern coast, we decided to drive out to Neptune Beach to try to catch the rescheduled SpaceX launch. Since it was an early evening launch, it was still light out and made it even more difficult to see – but we did faintly see it shoot up into the sky. Yippee!

As we left Florida, I served myself up a big slice of humble pie! I was so resistant to visiting this state and again (how many I have said this?!) I couldn’t have been more wrong. I LOVED it here – I really did. Yes, some of the stereotypes are pretty accurate – but Florida is so so so much more than that. I’m so happy we came and know for sure I’ll be back!

3 thoughts on “Florida Pt. 3: A lot more gators, crystal blue springs, & even a rocket!”

  1. GOOD EVENING.. I was going to take a shower and then saw your post.. what town for walmart camping tonight? did u stay on the 95? now u will get on the 40 into your friends in NC. love u all.great pics.

    On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 8:15 PM, Two in a Merlin wrote:

    > twoinamerlin posted: “We are so terribly behind in the blog!!! Lets’s > finally wrap up Florida. I think we’ll be keeping things more brief moving > forward and just include pics with captions and shorter write-ups. If > anyone has questions on places we’ve been, what we’ve done, h” >

    Like

  2. So excited that we got to see each other 3 times while you were here… even more excited that you said you’ll definitely be back!

    Love & Miss you both!
    Your cousin

    Like

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