a florida road trip {part two}: the everglades & the keys

We took a road trip to South Florida in March 2022. Our itinerary included Miami, Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys, and Fort Lauderdale. On our way back home, at the northeast corner of Florida, we spent two nights in St. Augustine. This post, part two, includes Everglades National Park & The Keys. Part three will include Fort Lauderdale and St. Augustine. The first part of our trip, in Miami, can be found here: a florida road trip {part one}: miami.

We hiked the Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail at Everglades National Park, and then took the Flamingo Adventures Boat ride where we saw American crocodiles and manatees. We strolled amidst tropical hardwood hammocks, mahogany trees, sabal palms, cypresses and mangroves. We ate a delicious and lively dinner at Yardie Spice, a Jamaican restaurant in Homestead, with Jamaican owner J.P. hosting. We pedaled for 15 miles at Shark Valley Visitor Center and then sped over the river of grass in an air boat at Gator Park. We kayaked in a tandem in Big Cypress National Preserve where we communed with alligators and birds of all feathers and ended up bickering as we got tangled up in the mangrove trees. We visited two state parks in the Florida Keys, the nicest being Bahia Honda State Park, and shopped, strolled, nibbled and imbibed in Key West all the way to the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S., which is 90 miles from Cuba and 150 miles from Miami. We enjoyed a Hoochie Mama Mojito and key lime pie at Paradise Restaurant in Key West as a rooster strutted his stuff near our table. Then we lounged by the pool at our hotel and waded in the seaweed-infested surf at Sombrero Beach in Marathon.

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Our top ten things to do in the Everglades and the Florida Keys were:

10) Sombrero Beach in Marathon (Keys)
9) Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk (Big Cypress National Preserve)
8) The Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center (Everglades National Park)
7) Flamingo Adventures Boat Ride (Everglades)
6) Bahia Honda State Park (Keys)
5) Dinner (twice) at the Jamaican Yardie Spice in Homestead
4) Bicycling 15 miles at Shark Valley (Everglades)
3) Kayaking in Big Cypress National Preserve with Shurr Adventures Kayaking & Eco Tours
2) Key West
1) Airboat ride through the River of Grass with our hyperbolic guide at Gator Park

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