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

Staying in Miami

Affordable vacation

Staying in Maimi could

Pool view

pool view from the 15th floor

be expensive however there are few travel hacks we used on a recent stay that made the experience both enjoyable and affordable. I am going to offer some suggestions that worked very well for us this weekend.

 

Hotel

The first thing we needed for our stay in Miami was a hotel. We booked our hotel two ways one was thru Priceline because they had the best deal at the time and the second was thru reward points on the Hyatt Credit Card. The current offer for Hyatt credit card is $3,000 spent in 3 months earns you $40,000 points that 2 nights free at this time. You can earn an additional $20,000 points if you spend $6,000 total in 6 months. The time I booked the hotel per night charge was 15,000 points so that is 4 nights free.

The hotel we stayed at was The Confidante. The hotel has 2 pools one for kids and one adults only. The adults would steal the kids floats because we are bigger. a rooftop gym

adult pool

adult pool at the confidante

and plenty of happy employees to make your stay memorable. The hotel is located next to the boardwalk and has a great sandy beach.

 

Suggestions for Stay at The Confidante

  • Don’t bring your car or rent a car during your stay, At $44 per night for parking it’s better to Uber or Lyft here are some promo codes. My uber code $ 5 OFF is yaroslavg10ue My Lyft code $5 OFF 4 rides is GOLUBEV85016.
  • If you do need a car to consider getting a car rental for just 1 day. Pick it up in the morning and drop off the car in the evening probably the airport would have the best options.
  • Check out the hotel Bird & Bone restaurant at the hotel validates parking $10 off the $25 daily parking fee.
  • The hotel has a great happy hour for drinks 4-6pm half priced and the Poke bowl is $8.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle plenty of water stations around the hotel, front desk area, gym, pool bar and more. I suggest Bubba Mugs because they have a lifetime warranty and your drink stays cold for 12 hours.

 Not only is this sustainable behavior easy to follow through with and very inexpensive, it provides significant environmental benefits.

 

  • Snorkeling, If you here on vacation and the water is flat and clear a good snorkeling option is the available walking distance from the hotel if you have your mask. The rocks on the beach located between 29th street and 32nd street provided a great opportunity to see lots of tropical fish. The only catch is it needs to be High Tide during low tide the rocks are exposed and the fish swim away to the real reef.

Be respectful of the sea life don’t touch the rocks or the sea life.

  • Bike Rentals, The hotel offers complimentary bikes however they are the first to come basis and only 4 bikes are available. The Citi bike station is located through Miami and a good option.
  • The hotel is pet-friendly and there is a dog park walking distance from the hotel. The parks name is Pinetree Park. The park also has a kayak lunch site if you happen to have a kayak with you.

Here a few links to checkout

Restaurant walking distance

 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Personally I’m not a big fan of snakes, however, it seems that my wife on her recent visit to Ichetucknee Springs State Park filmed one swimming in the spring. She absolutely loved it, being able to observe wildlife in its natural environment is an amazing experience. I believe the snake in the video is a Florida water snake. If anyone’s got more information about it please share.

This spring is located 50 minutes from Gainesville. Ichetucknee Springs State Park offers tubing, kayaking, and paddleboard rentals. If you plan on spending a week here I recommend buying your own tube and bring own snorkel gear. I have had great experiences with the brand Intex. “In-park canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available from 8 am to 2:30 pm daily. tube and raft rentals are available from 8 am to 4:30 pm daily,” per the park’s website.

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

 

 

Hotel Recommendations

Normally when we are visiting I Recommend staying in Chiefland. This little town is located one hour from the spring is also located driving distance from multiple Springs. The interactive map below shows a few large springs in the area.

Park information Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Address: 12087 Southwest, US-27, Fort White, FL 32038

ichetuckneesprings.com
(386) 497-4690

 

Park Hours 8 a.m to sundown.

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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Phil foster Park

Underwater snorkeling trail

Phil Foster is located in Riviera Beach, It’s a one hour drive from Fort Lauderdale. The Park is open 7 days a week and offers free limited parking. This is a really cool dive location but a few notes should be taken. The best snorkeling time is 1 to 2 hours before High tide. A dive flag is required for this snorkeling adventure or else you may get a ticket. The parking is limited at this location so plan to arrive early.

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