Big Bend National Park

Whenever we asked people what we should see and do as we crossed Texas, the universal answer was “Big Bend!”  They were right.

86c82915-b999-477a-a3ef-52d5d36c114aWe drove west to Big Bend National Park from Seminole Canyon State Park.  It was a fascinating trip, as we have never experienced the dessert and these roads took us through so many different iterations of desert features.  It was a stunning drive. Continue reading Big Bend National Park

Fort DeSoto Is a Fave

Fort DeSoto has been one of our favorite campgrounds since we first tent-camped there in 2010.  It’s lovely and well-maintained, the sites are private, many have wonderful views right on the water, and we’ve found great watering holes in the surrounding communities.  We always look forward to our stays.

fb04a938-044e-48a8-83f8-44fb48f6e8a6The best camp sites at fort DeSoto are the waterfront tent sites.  This is where we first bonded with the park, and this video from out first camping there tells it all.

Continue reading Fort DeSoto Is a Fave

Key West

Say what you will about Key West, we enjoy our visits there.  First of all, it’s warm and sunny while it’s cold and snowy at home.  But more than that, the drive down Overseas Highway is very pretty, the seafood is wonderful (if you look in the right places), it’s casual and free-wheeling, and a bit crazy.  For a few days it’s great fun.

img_0673As campers we don’t have a lot of options.  We stay at Boyd’s Campground on Stock Island.  It’s crowded and you are packed in like sardines, but it is well run, friendly, and convenient.  Because we’re such a small camper they plunk us into a waterfront site that is not unpleasant.  It’s nothing like the beauty of the Florida keys state parks but for a few days, we’re OK with that.  Besides, the keys state parks camp site reservations are absolutely impossible to get.  We’ve tried for years and have finally given up.

img_0650For us, a typical day starts with coffee and breakfast in the Bambi, then a ride into downtown with the pups for a Cuban coffee.  We take advantage of the cooler morning hours to explore the town, as the dogs aren’t much good in the afternoon sun and heat.  Schooner Wharf, Duval Street, and various neighborhoods all hold unique charm.  It is delightfully dog-friendly.  Even the Audubon House Museum allowed the pups inside for a tour.

By mid-day we are all thirsty and hungry.  Lunch is generally oysters and Key West Pinks (shrimp), and something cold to wash them down.  While we sample a broad variety of watering holes for a this noche, our favorites are the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon and the Hog’s Breath Saloon, which tended to have plenty of bar stools available at that time of day and were dog friendly.

Afternoons, when it can be pretty hot, are a good time for errands, Bambi work, maybe a snooze and activity about the campground.  Water sports are also tempting, but generally not an option for us with the dogs.  We also would have liked a day trip to the Dry Tortugas, but once again, no dogs. 🙁

This year also brought us the Patriots unbelievable performance in Super Bowl XI.  We began the game at our favorite Stock Island restaurant, Roostica, surrounded by New England fans.  When the chips were down we headed back to the Bambi, where we witnessed the spectular finish.  Wow.

After a few days, we are ready to roll out again.

 

The Real Florida

This is our eigth winter camping excursion into Florida.  The first year, it was all about finding great spots near the water and seeing standard destinations that were “must-see’s” for snowbirds.  fullsizerenderOver time, though, we learned to scratch a little deeper under the surface.  We discovered, among other things, that there is more than south Florida and beaches.  Most of all, we discovered Florida State Parks. Continue reading The Real Florida