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Clerbrook to the Florida Keys

We arrived at Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort in Clermont, FL on January 29th for a 16-night stay. This expansive RV park has many nice amenities, including an 18-hole golf course and a large pool and hot tub. Even though we aren't golfers, the lush grounds were a nice touch to the resort's appearance. We really liked the Clermont area and its location to everything we needed during our stay.

Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort


Throughout our stay, we made the most of our time by exploring the surrounding areas. We sampled the local beer and cider at Suncreek Brewing Co, wandered through several parks, biked and walked along the stunning South Lake Trail, and marveled at the breathtaking sunsets that painted the sky every evening.

Enjoying the area around Clermont.


We had another opportunity to meet up with Aunt Carol and Uncle Jay in nearby Taveres for dinner. It was so nice to see them again. Before parting ways, we made a plan to meet again when we're in Orlando area in mid-March.

Dinner in Tavares.

 

We made our way to the Miami Everglades RV Resort in Miami, FL on February 14th for a short 4-night stay. The resort is in an agricultural area surrounded by tropical floral nurseries and farms. We had a great time biking around the scenic, country roads. The resort grounds were very nice, too. We particularly liked the walking/biking trail that encircled the RV resort and was bordered by a farm where a friendly turkey resided as well as other typical farm animals.

Miami Everglades Resort.


Air boat rides are a popular activity in the Everglades; so we decided to try it out. We were even able to take Myah. Our adventure dog is normally not afraid of anything, however, she was very uneasy every time the air boat's engine revved up and wanted to jump over the side of the boat! As the boat glided through marshy grassland, we spotted a couple of gators in their natural habitat. Myah was happy to get off the noisy boat at the end of the ride.

Airboat ride through the Everglades.


We explored the downtown area of Miami and walked along the river in the evening where the skyline was aglow with beautiful colored lights reflecting off the water. It was truly an amazing site!

Downtown Miami Riverwalk.

 

Three Weeks in the Florida Keys


We arrived at Encore Sunshine Key, located on Big Pine Key, on February 18th for a 3-night stay. As we drove down the narrow Oversees Highway, the only road accessible to the keys, we noticed how the water on both sides of us started to change color from a murky blue to a stunning shade of turquoise.


This is a very nice resort, steps from the ocean, complete with a private beach. There was also a nice pool area for us to relax and enjoy the sun.

Encore Sunshine Key.


During our short stay, we visited the nearby Bahia Honda State Park. This is a beautiful park with amazing views of the crystal clear water. We loved walking on the beach.

Bahia Honda State Park.


We arrived at Encore Fiesta Key RV Park on Long Key on February 21st for a 2-night stay. This was another very nice park, right on the water with a beach and pool.


We decided to check out Robbie's of Islamorado, where we fed the tarpon, or with my experience, the tarpon fed on me! We paid $5 for a small bucket of dead fish. Pat went first and held the fish over the net, while fending off the persistent and sometimes aggressive pelicans who waited for an opportunity to steal the fish before the tarpon could snatch it from Pat's hand. During my turn, I must have held on too long because the huge fish chomped down on my hand before I could pull it away. Apparently, tarpon's teeth are comparable to sandpaper; however, I was left with a painful, bleeding hand. At least we can say we fed tarpon at the infamous Robbie's!

Tarpon feeding.


We enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at The Square Grouper before heading back to the RV.

Relaxing meal on the water.


On February 23rd, we arrived at Sugarloaf Key KOA on Sugarloaf Key, for a 14-night stay. This resort was decimated by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and totally rebuilt almost 4 years later. The pool area is especially nice. It is beautifully landscaped with tropical plants and palm trees creating a relaxing oasis. This is one of the most expensive RV parks ($200/night) we've stayed at during our full-time RV'ing journey so far. Unfortunately, it was the only longer-term option we were able to secure during this busy time of year in the Keys. Since the park is only 18.5 miles from Key West, it was an ideal location, too.

Sugarloaf Key KOA.

We took the kayak out a few times and paddled through the mangroves. Pat fished in the kayak in the channel around the campground and caught yellowtail snapper, grouper and grunt fish. They were small but fun to catch.

Kayaking and fishing in the Keys.


We made several trips to Key West while staying at Sugarloaf Key. We marveled at the magnificent sunsets at Mallory Square, visited historic Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park, and enjoyed delicious meals at the local restaurants.

Fun in Key West.


The most exciting activity we did while in the Keys was to take a seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park. The Dry Tortugas consist of a cluster of 7 islands located in the Gulf of Mexico, almost 70 miles west of Key West, and are only accessible by either ferry or seaplane. We had never experienced a seaplane flight, and since we don't like leaving Myah for too long, we opted for the 45 minute flight rather than the 2 hours and 15 minute ferry ride.


The aerial views of the Gulf of Mexico during our flight were amazing. We were fortunate to spot sea turtles and dolphins swimming below us. The area surrounding Dry Tortugas National Park is known for its shipwrecks, with over 200 documented wrecks dating back to the 17th century. We were able to see the outline of a couple of sunken ships along our route, too.


Once we landed in the water and were shuttled over to shore, we had a couple of hours to explore the beautiful island. Fort Jefferson, a massive coastal fortress constructed in the 19th century, is the main attraction on the island. It is one of the largest brick masonry structures in the Western Hemisphere. We walked around the walls of the fort, taking in the beauty of the surrounding area. It was a hot, sunny day, so it was refreshing to get into the water after touring the fort. We snorkeled around the shoreline, encountering colorful fish and vibrant corals. As our time on the island drew to a close, we boarded the flight back to Key West. This adventure was the highlight of our time in the Keys and a truly unforgettable experience!

Dry Tortugas National Park


Unfortunately, our time in the Florida Keys was coming to an end. We had such a wonderful time exploring this unique part of the Sunshine State. We were blessed with blue skies and sun-drenched days. Being surrounded by turquoise water enhanced the overall stay. We felt fortunate to have called the Keys our home for the last three weeks, enjoying a delightful tropical escape during the winter. It's now time to head north to finish up the winter in central and northeast Florida before heading out via the Panhandle in the spring. Thank you for following along with us!






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