Miami Beach and The Everglades

We left the Everglades and stopped in the Florida City area, so we could get to Miami the next day. We traveled through Miami, and found a place to park for a few hours, just off of South Beach. We walked to the beach, carrying all our normal aquatic accoutrements. I'm sure we looked as ridiculous as I felt with my oversized hat and water shoes on the white sand beaches, but I'm living my lessons from Key West!

We found a spot, next to a guy wearing a ... ball balloon? It was essentially a small red sack to hold his sack, and member. Delilah laughed so hard, and Destiny was embarrassed for him! Hilarious, and all I could say was..."Welcome to South Beach!" We swam a bit, but again I have come to the conclusion that my family may not be the ocean swimmers I had thought we were. So, lesbians with pasties, ball bag man, and lots of foreigners later, we packed up and walked back to the car. It had been about 2 hours.

We then drove to Biscayne Bay, and went to the place called Bayside there. It is a kind of outdoor mall, on the bay. We ate at Bubba Gump, so Sarah and I could share with the kids, where we had gone to, on our 20th anniversary adventure. It was good as I had remembered. We asked around a bit, heard a bit of the live music and walked back to the car.

I don't often mention prices, and this may even be the first time...but I paid 20 dollars to park at South Beach. (Five hours but we stayed for maybe 3) plus a 2 dollar tip for the valet. And then I had to pay 28 dollars at the Bay, due to some special event in the area, that I wasn't even part of! Anyway, just thought I'd mention that I will be glad to get out of the tourist driven areas of Florida, and off to see the rest of the country! We always knew Florida would be the most expensive part of our trip. It will probably be followed closely by D.C. and New York. However, I did forget about all the little pieces that go with being a tourist in a tourist driven state or area. I will be looking forward to the peace and savings of the states in the middle! ;)

We were doing a bit of laundry, late that evening, and met a guy named Bert. He is retired Biology teacher and marine biologist, who suggested that, if we had the time, we should see the Everglades, while we were here. It was only 40 min or so, from our site. We decided to stay another night, and make the trip.

(Second money note...25 dollars for the whole car to get in and explore the park, or 80 dollars for the national annual pass, which we will use for the rest of this trip, at all the National Parks and Monuments. We bought the annual pass...for hardly more than yesterday's ridiculous parking fees, and we will continue to use it throughout the trip.)

We had a blast seeing the alligators, turtles, birds and fish. We hiked a cool hardwood jungle trail, and even drove down to the coast, to see the other end of the Everglades. We saw a manatee there, more birds and fish, and a beautiful sunset. If it weren't for all the mosquito bites, because we forgot the Deet, it would have been a perfect exploration and adventure day. Way better than South Beach, and we nearly missed it. Thanks Bert! 

We will be spending way more time now on National Parks, instead of tourist traps I suspect. And I've already paid for a whole year of parking. ;)