Adventures, Beaches

Spring Break:Cocoa Beach

One week prior to the start of our vacation my husband says to me:

“There is supposed to be a cold front while we are at the beach, can we cancel it? It’s going to be freezing!”

Me: “Nope. Bring a jacket!”

After a year of canceling long weekends and vacations I didn’t care if it was going to be snowing on the beach, I wasn’t canceling again. We needed to get away from the house!

I made reservations at South Beach Inn on Cocoa Beach, we had stayed there once before and really liked it. It’s an older hotel and needs some TLC on the outside, but it’s small and away from the hustle and bustle around the pier down the road. All the rooms are very nice and clean, they have a kitchen, they allow pets, it has beach access and it’s affordable; it checks off all our boxes.

The evening before it was time to leave I started the process of packing and trying to anticipate everything. I went grocery shopping so we didn’t have to worry about it once we got there, packed up our kitchen, our bathroom, kid’s closets, beach gear, dog stuff, and I almost forgot my own bag. The morning of, my husband had scheduled to have our roof and patio pressure washed, so I finished packing the cooler, cleaning up the house, and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything (which I did anyway). Finally around 1:00 we started our 2.5 hour drive and officially began our 5 day vacation at Cocoabeach.

When we got there the very nice man checking us in informed me that we would not have direct beach access because they just started pumping sand onto the beach so there was a lot of construction equipment. BUT, we could walk just a minute down the sidewalk and there was an access point there. This was annoying. But ok, What can I do, besides a little walking never hurt anyone. So we moved in changed and headed to the beach, well, me the kids and our puppy headed there. By this time we could already feel the cold air coming in, it was super windy and my husband just wasn’t feeling it.

The boys didn’t care, they hit the waves and Chase (our pup) loved digging and rolling in the sand. It was just us crazy’s on the beach. It was cold. It was really cold. For a moment I almost admitted my husband was right.

We were there long enough for the boys to get their fix and Chase to get used to ocean water and drink too much of it. Then we headed back, popped open a bottle of wine and some juice boxes, enjoyed the fab dinner my husband made, and got our relax on.

Saturday evening through Monday it was way to cold for me to get in the water, but I made sand castles and watched my little ones boogie board and get beat up by the waves. Monday we ventured to The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and walked a few of their nature trails. We were hoping we would be able to grill, but it’s picnic baskets only. The trails were nice though. It’s hard for me to get excited about Florida nature trails because they all are very similar. But it was easy for the kids to do and very well signed so you can’t get lost. The trails are well kept and the length of the trails is perfect for young kids. We spent a couple morning hours there then headed back to the beach after lunch.

Tuesday the sun and the warmth started coming back but I wanted to do something different, we tried the Brevard Zoo. I love zoos, always have. This one is small, but it’s very well laid out and had animal exhibits that I haven’t seen before. It wasn’t crowded and all of us really enjoyed it! Great day out and recommended!

They had a small pool for smaller kids, a petting zoo, bird and giraffe feedings, kayak rentals, zip lines, and a train that went around a section of the zoo. Plenty of stuff to spend a full day out and at reasonable price for a family.

Wednesday was a perfect day for the beach. At this point however we had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the beach in a different direction because they had closed several beach access points and there was trucks driving back and forth every 5 minutes on the beach. There was also constant beeping and banging from the construction trucks and vehicles all night long. This was very disappointing.

We found a good spot with no beach traffic and even though the water was cold, I was able to handle it and play in the waves with the boys. We spent almost 8 hours on the beach and it was great! I will warn though, the waves are ROUGH! This is a place surfers like to go, so I had to take them just past the “crash” zone and before the drop off where the current really sucks you in and we were able to jump and bob in the waves.

Thursday we headed back home. Overall it was a really great trip and much needed time away. The beach construction was very annoying and disappointing but we made the best of it anyway. The important thing is we all had fun and time together.

Adventures, Just Outside, State and National Parks

Everglades City, Florida

If you are looking for some peace and quite in South Florida, this is one of the best places to go. On the south west side of the state and part of the ten thousand islands, this is an ideal location for kayaking and paddle boarding. We enjoy packing a cooler full of cold drinks, some sandwiches and launching our kayaks at Everglades National Park. Typically, my husband enjoys fishing more than I do, I am more into paddling around and soaking in the sun, salt, and serenity; snapping pictures of all the amazing creatures. But from time to time, I will toss my line in and see if I get lucky.

taking a break from kayaking

I have never seen any alligators or crocodiles here, that’s not to say they aren’t around, because you never know, but I have never seen them here. Me and my young boys have no problem getting in the water and splashing and playing around. I am always on the look out and we don’t venture to far from shore when swimming, because hey, it’s Florida and there are numerous cold blooded animals that can eat you. But like I said, I have never seen them here, but I have seen dolphins playing in the water near the islands while kayaking, it is always a super fun experience when dolphins are around. I have also seen several different crab species, conchs, and a variety of bird species here. The water is brackish, it opens up to the ocean about 3 miles off the main shore, past the ten thousand islands. We always has the luck of catching salt water catfish, they are a very bony fish and eating it can be a little annoying. Usually we fry it up and most of the bones with the meat and it tastes really good. If you find yourself catching them be careful because their fins are like switch blades and hurt like hell if they get you, after being stuck a few times I make my husband take the fish off the hooks when I catch one! 🙂

Florida Fishing: Gafftopsail Catfish (Bagre Marinus)
Saltwater Catfish. I don’t have any of my own pics, so I borrowed from the internet.
Horse Shoe Crabs
Fiddler Crab

Everglades City also home to Big Cypress National Preserve, air boat rides, kayak rentals, sea food festivals (when covid-19 isn’t a thing) and many other fun adventures. I highly recommend checking out Everglades City and all of it’s natural treasures. I have included the link below if you would like more information about this amazing place. Just don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen!

https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/everglades-city.html