Florida Trip - Bradenton

We left our amazing AirBnb in Weeki Wachee to spend 2 nights in Bradenton, Florida. Unfortunately our AirBnb there was a bust (after 9 amazing experiences we were doomed for a bad one).

On our way to Bradenton we decided on a detour at Fort Soto. It was an overcast day but we did enjoy a long and relaxing stroll on the beach. We collected some of the biggest shells we have ever seen and the boys tried to find crabs...

Anyone know what kind of fish Scot helped back in the water (it totally swam off again) or what kind of bird is bathing in the above pictures?

The fort itelf was meh... nothing to exciting but it made for a great stop on our way to Breadenton! We had a little lunch near the fort too that was also meh... can't only have amazing days ;)

As mentioned above our AirBnB experience wasn't the greatest but it was situated on a river with a boat (kayak) dock and that was worth it. Just a small kayak paddle away and we saw some pretty cool wildlife.

About the gator... we arrived at our AirBnB and the first thing the kids wanted to do is snorkel. They were pretty upset with us when we told them absolutley no! Until we saw this alligator and then I told them "NOW you may snorkel" haha

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On our 2nd day we decided to spend the majority of the day at Siesta Beach. Unfortunately everyone in Florida must have had the same idea. It took us forever to get to the beach, only to drive around for an hour to find a parking spot, then trying to get back out of this traffic nightmare and to a different beach. What should have been a 30 minute drive took us well over 3 hours. We finally arrived at Lido Beach and it was perfect! We found a parking spot right by the beach and it wasn't as packed as Siesta Beach! We swam and played for hours until the late afternoon.

On our way back we stopped at Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar! The sun was setting, the was was amzing and the kids behaved! We couldn't have asked for a better dinner!

What is your guess... Did Finn eat an oyster or not?

We enjoyed our time in Bradenton but couldn't wait for our next few stops! On the road again...

Christmas Trip to Florida - Everglades, Siesta Key - Part III

When we decided to go to Florida on vacation, I knew I wanted to take the boys to the Everglades National Park. The best way to see the Everglades is by Airboat. I did a quick internet search and decided to go with Capt. Mitch Airboat Tours (there are a lot of air boat tour companies called Captain "first name"!). We arrived there early in the morning and got on the tour right away. It was a little chilly for Florida weather (low 60's) but perfect weather to visit the Everglades!

I think the highlight for me was driving... flying, riding, boating... hmmm.... through the Mangrove "pathways". We did see a few alligators but lots and lots of birds!

After the airboat tour the boys got to hold a little baby alligator.

Jake was really upset with me because I forgot his go pro memory card :/ so I took the below video for him with my DSLR camera. He wasn't impressed with me!

We decided to drive into Everglade City and have seafood there. We have heard great things about this particular restaurant but were not terribly impressed especially when we saw all the frozen fish packages at the dumpster... oh well!

We then headed over to the Everglades National Park for our stamps (more on than in a separate blog post coming soon) and then Cypress National Preserve for another stamp, a Junior Ranger program and a Ranger program on Manatees.

On the way to Cypress National Preserve we saw many more alligators then we saw on the airboat tour! Oh well...

We came home late that day! And ended the day with take out and some Netflix!

The next day was our 10 year wedding anniversary and New Year's Eve! We left around 8:30am for a stroll on the beach and ended up staying until after sunset! I don't have many pictures from that day (I left my camera at home and we only used the go pro) but it was hands down my favorite day of all of 2016! The weather was perfect! The kids played all day. The food was amazing we had at a small concession... mahi mahi tacos and a frozen pina colada for me! We found some amazing shells and I even found a perfect sand dollar. The sun set was spectactular... I could go on and on! It was just perfect!

The next day we left Florida for a very long drive home to a very cold Ohio. We will be back next Christmas!