Monday, July 19, 2010

Fort DeSoto - St. Petersburg, FL

Last year the family and I were supposed to go camping at Fort Desoto but life unfortunately got in the way and we were unable to go.  I called the campground and they said that my reservations could be used anytime within the next year without any additional fee, so I planned a girls trip to go camping for my friend and I.  A little time away from work, kids and life to just enjoy nature and relax.  It was about a 2 hour drive that was very pleasant and seemed like it flew by.  We arrived around 2:30 on Friday and registered then we were off to the site.  We were very happy to see that it was extremely shady and only 10ft or so away from the restrooms.
Once we got our site set up (which only took us about an hour) , we decided to hop in the car and go exploring.
We wanted to check out everything so we started at one end of the park and work our way back to the otherside.  We rounded the corner to see a bunch of kites in the air and upon closer inspection there were a bunch of guys kite boarding.  It looked like a lot of fun, but also a ton of work trying to keep yourself on the board and your kite up in the air.  I would have loved to try this at least once.  We were also able to see the Skybridge from this area.

After exploring the entire area by car we decided to get out and check out the old Fort.  It was pretty cool, not much of it still stands except for the area were the guns were held and you could climb up to the top of the Fort, which was beautiful to see the Gulf and the Pier.

After exploring the fort we made our way out onto the beach and the pier.  There was a small area that had a rock formation that blocked it from the current so the water was extremely warm and tranquil We were presently surprised to see all of the different birds and even a few dolphins playing around.  We sounded like a bunch of little girls giggling when the dolphins popped up, pointing and acting like the paparazzi!!
By this time I needed something to drink due to the heat and the fact that a blue raspberry snow cone sounded awesome.  We decided to stop and hang out for a little while watching the birds trying to get all of the fish. I ordered a medium and this is what I got, I would hate to see what there larges look like.
After our snow cones we decided to head back and eat some lunch and check on our site.  After lunch (which was like 6:00) by this point we just hung out and enjoyed the site and around 7:30 decided to head back to the pier for the sunset.  I am so glad we did because it was just amazing.

That evening we grilled out shish kabobs under the bright light of a Coleman latern and relaxed.  We decided to get to bed a little early because we knew we had a big day in the sun on Saturday.  We awoke on Saturday and made bacon and eggs on the grille (they were delicious) and decided to head out for a kayaking adventure in Mullet Key Bayou.  We arrived around 9:30 and decided to do a double kayak.  It was around $30 for two hours.We got in and we were off. 

It was so peaceful and relaxing and then out of nowhere we had dolphins jumping around us everywhere.  Off course everytime they came near I was kayaking and wasn't able to get to the camera in time.  I was able to get one pic of them when they were around 4 ft from the boat. 

The Mangrove trees were very interesting to look at and they made up little islands everywhere.  We eventually made our way out into the bay and continued to explore.  It was a lot of fun, but also quite a bit of work.  Especially when we were kayaking against the current.  Luckily for us we got into a groove and was able to speed along.  
After kayaking we went back to the campground and made lunch.  We grilled burgers and sauteed onions, mushrooms and peppers for them, had fruit and made asparagus.  It was just what I needed after the kayaking trip.  It was then decided we would head out to the beach and swim in the Gulf.  The warm was like bath water and was so relaxing.  The current outside of the rock area was exceptionally strong and if you didn't pay attention it would send you careening into the rocks.

We spent about 2.5 - 3 hours swimming and finally decided it was time to head back.  After we showered and got ready we decided to eat dinner out of the campground and headed toward Treasure Island to go to Caddy's Waterfront.  It was a nice restaraunt on the beach that had live music, good food, and reasonable priced drinks.  We found us a seat that we would be able to view the sunset from and had a fabulous time.

Sunday we woke up around 7:30am and broke down the site and was back on the round around 9:00am heading for home.  It was a wonderful time and I would strongly recommend this to everyone!!!!

Below is the link for the Fort DeSoto area.  You can look up the beaches, park and even the campground information all from this site.  The sites run around $30/night and all have water and electric hookups.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kayaking at Wekiwa Springs - Apopka, FL

Since the weather has turned extremely hot out I wanted to do something that was in the water but also had a little excersize and nature involved, so I immediately thought of kayaking.  There are so many beautiful areas in Florida to kayak at but I also wanted to stay relatively close so I chose Wekiwa Springs in Apopka.  Only a 30 minute drive and it was well worth it.  Miki, Cody and I got to the park around 9am and the line had already started forming, if you go to any of the springs remember, once the parking lot is full they close the gates so get there as early as you can.  It was only $6.00 for the 3 of us to enter the park. We immediately went to the concession stand to rent us our kayaks.  Miki rented a single one and Cody and I were in a double.  Good thing we got there when we did because they only have a few and the line behind us to get one started to get pretty long.  Once we rented them we went down to the dock area and our adventrue begin.  We had the pleasure of being one of the few people on the water at that time so it was very peaceful and serene.  We saw a large gator hanging out in the water, but he submerged as we passed.  There were many birds and dragon flys zipping around as the river is teaming with fish and insects for them to enjoy.  We kayaked up to an area known as Wekiwa Island (which I found out that you can also get to by land) that had chairs lined up along the banks, a tiki bar, and picnic tables.  We found out that this is a pet friendly area and your dogs can come hang out with you and take a dip if they want.  They also rent kayaks here, but by either a full day or half day, unlike the state park which rents them out for 2 hour minimum and then and upcharge for each hour after that.  Since we only had 2 hours and it took us about an hour to get the island, we turned around and started heading back.  We saw a few baby alligators hanging out on a dead log soaking up the sun.  After our excursion we decided to take a dip in the swimming hole.  The water here remember is spring fed so it is always a constant 72 degrees.  It is a little bit of a shock to the system when you first get in, but after a few minutes you get used to the frigidness of the water.  You are allowed to bring picnics, canopys, etc and make an all day adventure if you want. All in all, we had a great time and the kayaks were only $15/single and $22/double and they offer canoe rental as well.  I would suggest this to anyone that wants to get away from it all for at least just a few hours.