Kayaking was for me the best way to explore The Everglades and it’s a great way to see the most untouched areas of the park. It is quiet and you are surrounded by nature. While you are kayaking trough the mangroves and the 10,000 islands of the Everglades you discover the different animals and plants. It’s back to basics and really worth it!
The Everglades are huge so if you visit them for only one day you’d better plan ahead otherwise you will drive around aimlessly. Should you stay overnight then it’s worth to take the drive up to Everglades City.
I can recommend staying the night at The Ivey House Bed & Breakfast. They specialize in beautiful kayak tours in small groups and you can also make a trip by airboat. (It is so much fun to go on an airboat too! So definitely take one of those.) At The Ivey House you can book special arrangements and you get a great lunch on your trip.
The Ivey House Bed and Breakfast
Room @ the Ivey House
Everglades City by night
Everglades City by night
Everglades City by night
WHERE TO GO?
You can enter The Everglades by different entrances. One of them is Shark Valley. From Shark Valley to Everglades City it’s a 49-mile drive along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). We drove to Everglades City on the US41 where you can find all kinds of birds, alligators and beautiful nature. Really take the time to stop and observe the nature.
Cute little post office in the middle of nowhere!
You wouldn’t expect it. But right there in the middle of nowhere there is a small post office. It’s on the Tamiami Trail and I think it’s worth the stop. Take some pictures and post your postcards here. I’m not sure if a lot of people still send postcards but I still do it every time I go on a vacation.
If you take the Tamiami trail:
- Shark Valley Visitor center = from this centre you can take different excursions. The famous tram tour leaves from this place and takes you around the everglades on a two-hour trip. It’s a nice way to explore because you get to see a lot and get a lot of explanations. Normally this train leaves every hour. Check the website.
- If you take the car to the everglades you should take the Loop Scenic drive.
- Also the Turner River Canoe Trail is a very nice trail where you can see a lot of alligators.
I can only give you so much tips and advice but to get the most out of your visit to Everglades National Park you just have to go and discover these 10,000 islands by yourself and become one with nature.
What can I say about Key West?
A continual welcoming and accepting attitude toward all kinds of people has created a unique cultural mix of different ethnic groups, languages, traditions, religions, foods, and freethinkers. It has resulted in a different cultural character that the community of Key West refers to as the “ONE HUMAN FAMILY” philosophy.
I took these pictures on one of my walks around the town. They represent the unique neighborhoods of Key West with unique people striving to live harmoniously and work side-by-side with one another, setting aside all social differences, regardless of ethnicity, social class, or sexual orientation. Key West is connected with the mainland by different bridges that stream down over 100 miles of small islands. Once you get to Key West you’ve become part of a tiny diverse and harmonious social universe. Give yourself the chance to get to know the local ways of Key West.
All People Are Created Equal Members of One Human Family. It’s the Official Philosophy of Key West, Florida, adopted by resolution by the City Commission in October 2000.
If you happen to be in Key West when it’s the Key West Songwriter’s Festival, you’ll have a great way to experience the local ways and people surrounded by music.
Heading to the Florida Keys?
Well, you should definitely stop at ‘Keys Fisheries Market & Marina’ located in Marathon, just off Highway 1. Keys Fisheries serves the freshest Florida Keys Seafood available in South Florida. Specialties are Lobster Reuben and of course the famous Stone Crabs. Tourists as well as local people love them.
When I visited the Keys Fisheries I was craving for some appetizers. I love to taste different things in small portions. So I ordered a crab cake, Buffalo Shrimp and the Conch Fritters. Being a fan of shrimp, I enjoyed the Buffalo Shrimp the most. Also very popular are the Coconut Shrimp, less spicy than the Buffalo shrimp.
The thing that makes ‘Key Fisheries’ so special is not only the fresh seafood but also its location and style: you eat outdoors at pick nick tables on the dock, with a great view of the water.
Don’t expect full service. You order food at the counter, and drinks need to be ordered separately. All of the food is served in paper baskets and with plastic cutlery. When your food is ready they call out your name to come and pick it up. Any service is non-existent after your order. But that’s all part of the concept of Keys Fisheries.
In my opinion ‘Keys Fisheries’ is top notch in terms of seafood and a great stop on your way down to Key West.
Conch Fritters – Crab Cake – Buffalo Shrimp
While in Key West (Florida), take the time to have breakfast at Blue Heaven.
“Blue Heaven: Serving heaven on a fork and sin in a glass.”
729 Thomas Street – Key West, Florida
A pair of free spirits, Suzanne and Richard, opened the restaurant ‘Blue Heaven’. It is definitely one of the most casual restaurants in Key West featuring indoor & outdoor dining, live entertainment and American, Caribbean and vegetarian cuisine.
I visited Blue Heaven for breakfast. Try to get there early in the morning if you don’t want to stand in line; it’s a very popular place. While sitting in a cozy courtyard surrounded by the chickens and cats that are roaming the premises, you can enjoy a lovely breakfast. I would suggest the Eggs Benedict to start with. You can have them just the way you like. Top them off with bacon, steak or even lobster. But keep some room for the delicious homemade pancakes. You can choose fresh fruit and maple syrup to go with those thick American pancakes.
Eggs Benedict with bacon
Homemade pancakes with fresh fruit
Guilty pleasure in the morning? Have a spicy drink, like the ‘Blue Heaven’s Bloody Mary‘. Nobody will look at you in the wrong way for ordering a cocktail with your breakfast. It’s tradition! For the less courageous: drink a Mimosa and definitely try the homemade ICED TEA.
The food is delicious; the staff are incredibly friendly and the atmosphere relaxing. After my first breakfast, I just couldn’t stay away. Next morning I went back for more.
It was just Blue Heavenly!