Our first stop on the National Park check-list was Everglades National Park. Due to destruction from hurricane Irma more than half the park was closed, we visited the Earnest F. Coe Visitor Center to find an easy walk for the day. We did an interpretive trail that went along the water where we got close with a great egret and we even saw an alligator! There were massive grasshoppers all over and Waves found out that drinking water from a puddle is easier and more fulfilling than drinking from a cup of water like the rest of us; silly girl!
Our next National Park wasn’t an easy one to get to. Again, with hurricane Irma destruction the ferry system just started taking visitors back to the Tortuga Islands. Before we got on the boat the Captain came up to discuss his concerns about our family being on the ferry today. They predicted 6-8 foot chop and he suggested we come back another day. We politely declined and reassured him we felt comfortable proceeding with the ride. It was a rough 2.5 hour cruise out to Fort Jefferson, people were getting sick left and right on the boat and barf bags were handed out like candy. Our family soldiered the ride even throwing a nap in the mix. I can’t say this enough but our kids are simply badass. We had an awesome day exploring the island, playing in the fort and swimming in the beautiful blue (but milky) ocean. The ride was rougher on the way in but we managed and had a blast.
Our final visit was to Biscayne National Park outside of Miami. 95% of this park is under water so it leaves a very limited amount of things to do on land. We saw manatees as we walked in the visitor center. They have a great area designated for kids to “please touch” items from the ocean. There are a few areas to walk outside by the ocean otherwise we met with Eric’s best friend from college, Rene; his girlfriend, Kristin and his sister, Michelle and her son Mauro. Rene and Kristin just got back from Costa Rica while Michelle & Mauro are here staying with their family as they were displaced from hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Wave and Mauro are about 2 months apart and they had the best time playing and laughing with each other!
We’re getting close to crossing off all 59 U.S. National Parks, here’s our official National Park Count: Brooke- 46, Eric- 45, Waves- 40, Reef- 23.
A Tip From The Travelin’ Tribe Archive:
We were totally prepared for the ferry ride weather prior to our arrival and discussion with the Captain. We’re always checking the weather for land and sea depending on our activity. Download the application for you phone “Buoy Weather” to check seas and wind; you can get a free 2 day forecast or purchase for an annual fee to get the long range forecast. You can also download “Wind Finder” which gives you good predictions of seas for free. As for land weather we usually use “Weather Channel” application and rely more on the radars than the daily overview.
Until Next Time,
Stay Wanderous & Wild
-The Mitchell Tribe