Florida Vacation - Key Largo

Visiting the Florida Keys was something I really really wanted to do on our vacation.  Even though it was a three hour drive to Key Largo - the largest key closest to mainland Florida - we (I) decided it was worth the drive.

So, on our fourth day Naples, we packed up the car and headed out bright and early for Key Largo.  We drove across the state, from the west coast to the east coast, and then headed south past Miami.

The keys are the closest thing that the mainland US has to a tropical paradise.  Google "Florida Keys" on Google Maps and look at the satellite view - totally gorgeous blue water speckled with little islands.  It was totally up my alley.

Since snorkeling was high on my list of to-dos in Key Largo we headed to John Pennekamp State Park, which is a state park that is 99% (or so) completely underwater.  That much became evident when we went to the "beach" area.  It was tiny, and mostly rock.  Nowhere to put a beach umbrella for shade and you couldn't walk out into the water without shoes or significant discomfort.

We went to sign up for a snorkeling trip only to find that they were already completely booked for the day.  This was disappointing for me because I had read that during the summer you didn't really need reservations since it was the low season, so I hadn't even attempted to make reservations in advance.  We put our names on the stand-by list for a 3 p.m. boat, and were told to check back at 1:50 to see if there were any cancellations.

We were the first names on stand by so I felt good about that and we moved forward assuming that we would get on the boat.  Of course, this meant that we now had about 50 minutes to kill, so we drove to another section of rock beach and went for a little swim.  Again, this was painful because of all of the rock and coral.  It definitely was not a traditional "beach" - there wasn't any sand! I think that's because of the way it's protected from mangrove forests - there are zero waves.  The water is just flat and calm.  It was crystal clear though, in a way that I've never seen before.

We swam for awhile and then sat in the shade at a picnic bench, catching up on emails and facebook from our phones.  When it was time to check in for our stand-by snorkeling trip, we headed back to the registration desk where they confirmed that we were able to get onto the boat.  The girl at the counter was like, "Yay! You made it!" and I repeated her "Yay."  What I realize now that she was trying to psyche us up for the craziness that she knew would ensue once we boarded that boat, because by our horrible luck, we ended up two of the only 5 adult on a boat full of 8 year olds who were part of a summer camp.  The snorkeling was gorgeous and awesome - and I will cover that in a separate post since there are tons of pictures and this has already gotten quite long - but my god were those kids a nightmare.  They were loud and obnoxious and running into people and flailing about and touching the coral when the tour guides CLEARLY stated not too.. they were so annoying.

If I didn't already have a wonderfully charming child, I seriously would have decided at that very moment that I was never going to have kids in my life.  Seriously.

BUT... we saw tons of awesome fish and I got some great pictures.  That was the ultimate goal, right? 

Snorkeling pictures coming soon!


Post a Comment