Florida Family Fun – Day 1 & 2

We have such an awesome trip planned this week! My mother, children, and myself are traveling to Florida for a little family vacation; but if you’ve read my Honeyversary 2016 post, you know it isn’t going to be a one-beach-wonder kind of trip. Our first stop is Sarasota where we will stay at my aunt and uncle’s house (Casa Boheme) for a few days. We will be heading to the Keys for a couple nights mid-week, and then back to Sarasota for the remainder of our vacation. We have several different beaches, parks, etc, on the itinerary so be sure to follow along here on the blog so you don’t miss any of the adventure!

Day 1 – Friday, July 1st/Saturday, July 2nd

We packed up the Prius, got the kids situated, and hit the road around 10:30pm on Friday night. Our strategy is always to leave late and drive through the night while the kids are sleeping. We’ve learned through the years that this is the way to go because it minimizes fighting, bathroom breaks, boredom, etc. It’s just easier all around.

I drove until about 5:00am, my mother took over until about 9:00am, and then I drove us into the home stretch at 11:00am on Saturday morning. After we unpacked, the kids were chomping at the bits to go for a swim in the pool so they threw on their swim suits and jumped in. They only got to swim for a couple of hours before we had to head to the grocery store, but of course they were right back in it again as soon as we got back.

{They love this pool… but who can blame them?}

Day 2 – Sunday, July 3rd

The plan for today was a little place called Beer Can Island, which is located on Longboat Key. We got there around noon and lugged our beach cart containing our cooler, snacks, towels, and a couple of beach chairs down the boardwalk and found a spot on the beach to hang out at for a couple of hours. It was a nice spot and all, but it was crowded and not the spot I had come looking for. We towed the cart back to the car, loaded it up, and then walked down the street to another beach access point that lead out to a couple of small fishing piers jutting out into the water. We walked down the beach until we came to a patch of mangroves that had been left high and dry when the tide went out. Now this is the spot I had been looking for. I don’t pick beaches all willy-nilly (at least not usually), I do my research. I had seen photos online of the mangrove stumps protruding from the beach on Beer Can Island, and I had picked it specifically because of this. The kids had a blast exploring and hunting for sea shells along the mangrove’s root systems (they found some pretty awesome ones, too).

enviro fact (10)

{Beer Can Island – Longboat Key}
{Sea snail colony}
{Adorable little sea snail family}
{Exploring along the mangroves at Beer Can Island}
{We also found this highly invasive species – litter}
{Don’t forget to pick up litter anytime, anywhere! Post a photo to Instagram and tag @awesomeoceanlady an #LitterIsTrashy for a chance to be featured!}
{In love with these mangrove stumps!}
{Beer Can Island – Longboat Key}

We had started walking back up the beach toward the car when I overheard a little girl tell her mother that there were manatees.

Wait… did I hear that right? Did she say manatees?

I looked over toward the water on the off-chance that I hadn’t imagined it, and that’s when I spotted the large, dark shadow in the water. What the heck is that? Is it….? A nose peeked out of the water for a brief moment, grabbed some air, and then went down again.

Holy crap, those are manatees!

I shouted to the kids and we ran up to the fishing pier to try and get a better look. Sure enough, there were three manatees out in the water. They were too far out to get any good photos, but we could see them briefly when they surfaced for air. We were ecstatic, the only time we’ve ever seen them before was last year at Mote Marine Laboratory – never in the wild! We officially love Beer Can Island and a return visit is planned.

After our exciting beach outing, we headed back to Casa Boheme for some more swimming in the pool, dinner, a movie, and now… some shut eye.

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