A day in Islamorada

The Florida Keys is a must visit for anyone who loves the outdoors and is looking to explore a Florida gem. One of our favorite locations in the Keys is Islamorada. This beautiful location is great for snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing or just relaxing on the water. The Florida keys do have some amazing sunsets over the gulf side and you can find fresh seafood anywhere you stop.  What I have learned from my experience is don’t try to do everything in one trip. Being out on the water and in the sun is fun but it is also draining so just plan one activity and enjoy your day. Islamorada is about 2-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale. I would suggest leaving at 6am if you plan on spending your day in the Keys and the later you leave the more traffic you will encounter. A large majority of the drive is only one to two lanes and can back up very easily, this seems to be a great time and you get to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean. My second suggestion is to check the weather forecast and then the marine forecast. Ideally, you’re looking for the marine forecast to show smooth waters 2-3 feet is not bad any more than that I normally rescheduled my trip. This is only my personal experience I am sure other people have enjoyed the day with higher waves I just like it when the water is flat and calm.

Useful Websites before you Trip

Islamorada weather forecast

Islamorada marine forecast

Islamorada Webcams

Robbies

Kayaking & SUP

The clear waters are ideal for Kayaking and SUP there is also plenty to see if you’re interested in paddling thru the mangroves. Parking at Robbie’s is a great option if you have your own gear or plan on renting from the kayak shack. The rental price for Kayaks and SUP is reasonable. To contact the kayak shack for current prices (305) 664-4878 | floridakeyskayakandjetski@gmail.com . If you have your own gear drop in towards the end of the boat duck. The mangrove trail entrance is west a map is included below. The last visit I did see a big family of manatee going into this trail remembers it is Illegal to touch, feed or harass the manatees. The mangrove trails around Robbies also has a few resident crocodiles that like to hang around the docks. Don’t be alarmed if they say HELLO.

Another cool option for kayaking and SUP is Indian Key State Park. The island is located about 2 miles from Robbie’s boat dock.  I would highly suggest bringing water shoes for all your adventures, your feet will appreciate it. When paddling to the island during low tide the sandbar is exposed and a good chance of getting stuck is possible so be aware of the tides. The island is easy to access with kayak or SUP just remember to pull your gear up so that the tide does not take your only way out off the Island. I would suggest bringing your snorkel and dive flag, there is some coral on the east side of the island be aware there is some fire coral in the area.

Fishing

The waters are crystal clear and fishing is a local culture here. If you’re interested in fishing I do suggest Robbies they have few options available with some great staff. I know I talk about Robbie’s a lot and I am sure other places are just as great but personally, I have used them and always had a great time. My favorite option is doing the morning party boat “tip ask for the rear of the boat and book in advance”. The staff has always been wonderful and everything is provided bait and also help for beginners. The boat crew would also filet your catch once your back and if you interested in having lunch or dinner at the restaurant they would cook your catch for a reasonable price and includes side dishes.

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.” —John F. Kennedy

Boat rental

If you’re renting a boat there are a few really nice reefs only a short distance away. The first one is Alligator reef located a few miles from Robbies. The reef usually has clear water and lots of great snorkeling. Early in the morning sea turtles are commonly found here feeding on the grass and cruising through the grassbeds. The second suggestion would be Cheeca Rocks located a little north and is 2 miles from shore right across from Guy Harvey Resort. This location has bouys located inside the protected area that your boat ties off to. If your doing the boat rental hopefully you brought your fishing or snorkeling gear also be aware of the tides times and the sandbars in the area. When exiting Robbies pay attention because Manatee are in the area.

Suggestions for islamorada

There are plenty of stops for breakfast once you get into the Keys past Florida City. If you plan on fishing, Ricks Yellow Bait shop in homestead offers live bait and gear. There are plenty of other places in the keys that offer bait and snorkeling gear once you’re here. If you plan on snorkeling more than one time it is cheaper to buy your own gear. Many outdoor shops offer reasonably priced kits that will be all you need.

What to wear and bring

  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Water shoes
  • Long sleeve UV shirt
  • Barlav
  • Water ” 1st tip Buy a large bottle 2nd tip buy a Babba mug to keep water cold
  • Snorkeling gear if you own any

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

 

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The Park is located on East Sunrise Blvd and A1A. The fact that this park has more than 200 species of wading birds is impressive. I am more impressed with the Gopher tortoise and yes I did see one during my visit. The Gopher tortoise is considered a

gopher tortoise

gopher tortoise

keystone species because he digs holes that provides shelters for at least 360 other animal species, Gopher tortoise is the State tortoise for Florida.

The park does also have a freshwater lagoon, Kayak and Paddle Board rentals are available. If you have your own kayak or paddleboard it’s pretty easy to drop it into the water. I do suggest bringing water shoes the muddy water does not feel great on your feet. The freshwater lagoon is about half a mile long, however, there are 2 narrow paths one at the beginning of the lagoon on your right and another at the end of the lagoon that adds

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

a little more distance. When you paddle the lagoon large iguanas could be noticed on the trees in many different colours some are really good at blending in. The Iguanas are not native to Florida and they are called chicken of the tree in Carribean islands. I just like the way they look the once with the spikes are my favorite.

” keep our state parks clean use reusable water bottles and don’t litter”

The park is great for bicycling and in-line skates, the trail is 1.9 miles one way around

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

the park. It is highly recommended to wear a helmet because you are sharing the road with cars that are in the park, The park is also across the street from Fort Lauderdale beach making it easy to park and enjoy a full day without paying an arm and a leg. The Park and Ocean restaurant located near south is a perfect place to enjoy a quick-lunch and adult drink. They do offer outdoor seating and the prices are not bad.

overall this is a nice park that is located in Fort Lauderdale. I do suggest the park for both locals and tourists. The park has plenty of other features their website is listed below the address and remember to keep our parks clean for everyone’s enjoyment.


Open Larger Map for Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

address

3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
floridastateparks.org
phone (954) 564-4521
Hours :  The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown

Admission Fee:

$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

$4.00 Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle.

$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

 

Rainbow River

Miles of Crystal Clear Water

Rainbow River State Park

Rainbow River State Park

Rainbow River is really amazing and probably one of my favorite springs in Florida. It is located 2 hrs from Orlando in Dunnellon. My best suggestion is to park at KY hole and paddle upstream to Rainbow River State Park. The State Park has parking for kayaks and paddle boards near the canoe lunch site that’s on your left. Bring a few dollars with you for the park entrance fee, They also have a gift shop. If you did not bring your own kayak KP Hole has kayak and SUP rentals.

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Crystal River

Introducation

I kind of wanted to introduce myself before I start talking about Crystal River. I am brand new to blogging,My wife has a lot more experience with proper grammar If you notice any typos I apologize my wife “ Editor” is traveling at the moment. I like taking pictures I like exploring and sharing what I find. I’m interested in technology, real estate and traveling I’m also business major. I am not going to make my blogs data-heavy just quick and to-the-point.

Crystal River

Crystal River is located 2 hours from Orlando and 1 hour and a half from Tampa. During the winter season Crystal River is home to the manatees. Crystal River also has Three Sisters Springs Refuge which is a great spot to see the manatees

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The Dania Beach Erojacks

Dania Beach Snorkeling

Eagly Ray at Dania Jacks

Eagly Ray at Dania Jacks

If your in Fort Lauderdale or just happen to be in the area check out the Dania Jaxs. Its artificial reef located 300 feet from shore. The Jaxs stretches 1,500 feet until the first reef edge. The reef is located inside Dr, Von D Mitzell Johnson State Park. Once you enter the park drive until the first parking lot on your right. Get your gear and walk towards the beach, a bathroom and outside shower are located on your left after you cross the bridge. The bridge goes over Whiskey Creek. Whiskey Creek is great for paddle boards and kayaks. I do suggest wearing long sleeves to avoid the mosquitoes and noseeums if you decide to paddle here in the afternoon.

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Alexander Springs

  Alexander Springs is located one hour from Daytona and 1 hour and 20 minutes from Orlando. The spring is located in Ocala National Forest which is 673 mi2 in area. The water temperature year-round is 72 degrees. The park offers canoe and kayak rentals and camping is available. The park fee is $5.50 per person and $6.50 for scuba diving. 

The website USDA “United States Department of Agriculture” has additional information click here . This is a nice relaxing park but since we started talking about USDA that also makes me think about food. The best idea on the way to the park is to stop at a Triple Z family market to get some supplies to enjoy the rest of your day.

One final Note we hope to visit the spring this year to provided some new updated photos stay tuned.

“Always contact parks before visiting to have the most updated hours and possible closures”

Alexander Springs Recreation Area map

Alexander Springs Recreation Area Map

 

Suggestions for Alexander Springs

  • Bring towel and snorkel gear
  • Bring Food
  • Bring Camera
  • Arrive early if coming during summer
  • Check out the other springs in the area Juniper Springs and Silver Glen Springs

PARK INFORMATION FOR Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Address: 49525 County Rd 445, Altoona, FL 32702

Hours: Opens 8AM-8PM 7/Days a week

Phone: (352) 669-3522
Visit online floridasprings.org for more information