Day’s 21 – 24 – West Palm Beach & Naples, FL

Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach

Something I think anybody that’s been on a lengthy trip or vacation can vouch for is needing a “vacation from your vacation”. The last week has been exactly that for us. After camping in the rain for quite a few days we needed a break from everything. We were pretty worn out, and since we’ve both been to Florida quite a few times it was a good time to take a break. After we left Universal Studios we went to our next stop for the next few days. We stayed with Elliot’s Grandpa & family in West Palm Beach. We were only there for a few days but we saw and did quite a bit.

Tuesday morning we visited Manatee Lagoon, in the winter manatees tend to seek for warmth near the shores. While we were fortunate for the warm weather it meant we didn’t get to see any manatees. There were a ton of barracudas to see though! Afterwards we went to Juno Beach to relax. The parking for the beach was free so we took our time and watched the surfers.

Juno Beach in W Palm Beach

The next day was jam packed with food! We went for lunch with Elliot’s grandparents at Juno Beach Fish House. The food was amazing! I ordered salmon but I got the chance to try some grouper, a fish that’s native to and popular in Florida. After lunch we went to John D MacArthur Beach State Park where we went kayaking for pretty cheap.  That night we went to Park Avenue BBQ Grille for dinner. Dinner was great, we were all sufficiently full (and still had leftovers!) I tried collard greens for the first time as well. If you guys don’t see a theme of me trying new things, you wouldn’t be wrong! I’ve tried 11 foods that I’ve never tried before so far, with much more of the country to go!

Thursday was our last morning in West Palm Beach, our next stop was Naples to visit two of my close friends, Tina and Brandon. Since we had to take Alligator Ally to get to the West side anyways we figured we’d break up the boring drive with an air boat ride, because why not? Neither of us had ever been on an air boat so we didn’t really know what to expect. We went to Buffalo Tiger’s on route 41. The Miccosukee tribe of Indians reside in a portion of the Everglades, we’ve learned that the name “Buffalo Tiger’s” actually is from a political figure of the tribe. He played a large part in the tribe getting federal recognition.

Alligator in the Everglades

Part of the air boat ride gives you a chance to walk around in a piece of their community that they’ve preserved. Our tour was a full 45 minutes and was very personable. We were one of two groups so we were able to ask questions if we had any. We saw tons of birds, turtles and obviously alligators! I didn’t have any idea how close they get you to the alligators, Elliot was right there!

We relaxed the next day, Saturday we went out to the Collier-Seminole State Park. There’s really not much to say about this park, it had some campsites but we weren’t camping, there was a place to rent kayaks and canoes but we weren’t feeling it that day. We just walked on the trails through the Everglades, but as boring of a drive it was it across it made for a pretty boring walk too. Before we left we saw a gigantic machine, so we decided to read the signs around it. The machine was called the “walking dredge,” it was used to create the whole route from the east to west side. The road’s called “Tamiami Trail”, Tampa and Miami put together. I had no clue about this, and apparently neither did my friends. We thought it was a pretty cool fact.

We had planned on going out on a boat on Sunday. It rained on and off all morning, but it eventually stopped and we made our way out to the boat launch. The weather cleared up and it was amazing! We fished for quite a while, then went out a bit further. We saw dolphins super up close, a bunch of pelicans, then of course the sunset. I hated myself for not bringing my camera out on the boat when I saw it but that didn’t stop me from taking some photos on my phone. After the sun went down we could see the Moon, Venus and Mars and finally some stars in the night sky. What was a really damp morning shaped up to be a great night!

Tonight we’re in Siesta Key, we just got here. So far we’ve eaten some dinner and grabbed some ice cream in town. We’re excited to explore the area tomorrow and get some sun on the beaches! It’s supposed to be in the high 60’s, but that might not stop us since we’re heading a bit north soon and if it’s chilly here… We know it’s going to be chillier there, better enjoy it while we can!

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2 thoughts on “Day’s 21 – 24 – West Palm Beach & Naples, FL

  1. If you are so inclined, the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota is awesome. There is a great bar on the harbor near the Freedom Boat Club and good restaurants. Ashley, glad you had some grouper. It is so delicious!

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