Under the Floridian Sun

Florida is one of my favorite states.  Every year, I go down to visit my parents in Marco Island and always have a blast.  Now, despite my struggle getting down there this year (I was caught up in the Delta flight delay apocalypse of 2017), I managed to snag a last minute Spirit airlines flight the next day.  Skip forward to 24 hours after my flight was to board and I made it down, luggage and all!  Time to tan, enjoy some margs and r-e-l-a-x.  Let’s break down the trip and highlight some of my favorite moments via my Instagram pics.

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I love watching the sunset from our condo’s balcony while drinking a mimosa.  A great treat to a stressful travel day!

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Finally got to go to the beach and TAN.  My goal for Spring 2017 is to be tan before it even gets warm in Michigan, which was partially achieved on this trip.  A lot of people have asked where I got my bathing suit too–it’s the Becca Color Play One-Piece Swimsuit from Nordstrom.  It also comes in plus sizes and three different colors!  Super cute, comfy and perfectly paired with some fun shorts if you want to wear it around town, which I often did.

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Please don’t mind my messy hair and lack of makeup.  I just woke up and wanted to take a picture in my PJ’s with the morning haze floating above the beach down below.  Unfortunately, my PJ’s are no longer available at Nordstrom, but you can find similar ones here and here!

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My parents and I went on a “hike” through the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park located on the outer edge of the Everglades National Park.  I put the word “hike” in quotes because we quit after 15 minutes due to the bugs.  Instead, we ventured over to the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, which is a short but fun walk through the jungle.  More on the boardwalk below…

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The Boardwalk, which is funded by the Friends of Fakahatchee Organization, is a great walk for the whole family.  Kids will be able to read signs about the local floral and fauna on their way down to the swamp pond at the end of the walk and parents will be able to enjoy the orchestra of birds and swamp animals.  This is also a prime area to spot gators, herons, woodpeckers, storks and bald eagles.  I spotted 5 gators each time I visited!  You can check out three in the picture above (look closely!).

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On day 3, my parents and I rented a boat from the Calusa Island Marina in Goodland, only a short drive from Marco Island.  We went with the 21′ Ebbtide Deckboat, which is perfect for family day trips.  With my iPad speakers in tow, a bagel from Empire and lots of water, we sped on down to the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades City for the day.  This route is so beautiful–you’ll pass by thousands of mangrove islands and remote sandy beaches along the way.  After about an hour and a half, we docked and made a lunch stop at Camellia Street Grill, which has some of the best key lime pie shakes and grouper sandwiches I’ve ever had.  You may have to wait a bit for your food compared to other nearby joints but it’s probably because they’re catching your fish while you wait–it’s that fresh!

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What a great beach day.  After spending the morning tanning, my dad and I went paddle boarding in the Tigertail Beach Lagoon.  I’ve been told there’s no gators or sharks in there but cannot confirm ;).  It’s a great way to see the wildlife up close.  Besides the many herons and storks in the water, we also saw a crab grubbing on some fish, which was very cool to see right below my feet.

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We loved the boat rental from Calusa Island Marina so much that we did it for a second day!  This time, my parents and I headed up to Naples rather than south to Everglades City.  The ride was loads more congested, as this is a typical route for many boaters to take in Collier County, but it was still a beautiful ride.  Hundreds of dolphins jumped alongside our boat along the way, which is always a fun treat.  And we even saw some matinees!

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Another local favorite!  As much as we loved the boating experience, my parents and I enjoyed the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk equally as much.  So we made a second trip there!  This time, I came across two gators fighting for space in a small, muddy pond.  Although I kept my distance, I caught some of it on video!

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Ah, last but not least, another sunset.  A beautiful way to end my Marco Island vacation!  Below I listed out some of my favorite nearby places that were not mentioned in above via my Instagram pics and a few photos.  Enjoy!  xoxo

Marco Island Guide

Breakfast – Doreen’s Cup of Joe

Boozy Lunch – CJ’s on the Bay

Pizza – Sami’s Pizza 

Ice Cream – Sweet Annie’s 

Farmer’s Market – Marco Island Farmer’s Market (Every Wednesday, November-April!)

Favorite booths and items are:

  1. Captain Ken’s Seafood – Shrimp
  2. Mister Crab Cakes – Crab Cakes
  3. Naples Honey Company – Honey
  4. Bistro Soleil – Crepes and Apple Tart
  5. Yada Yada Crepes – Crepes

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