Day 2 (April 23rd 2020):
We were not really comfortable with the winds today. We would have been fine, but at 17 mph it would be higher winds than I have ever sailed in. Really we were prepared for this though. Just to the north of Key Largo are two National Parks, we have National Parks passports that we like to get stamped at different parks, so we decided to head up north and check them out.
The drive to Everglades National Park is about an hour and a half to the lower portion of the land based side of the park. The park is along back roads of out of the city of homestead. We weren't really used to this near national parks. Out west our national parks have huge main drags through nearby cities to get to the park.
The visitor center was open, but most of the exhibit and museum was not. One of the park rangers talked about some of the walks and where to find wildlife. Really it's something to always go in and ask when you get to the park where to go. This lets us know how to avoid crowded or closed areas and sometimes gives up tips that are not widely known.
This led us to the very far end of the park to the Flamingo Visitor Center and Marina. We were told that if you want to see a manatee, then there is a family that hangs out in a marina against the sea wall.
While talking to the park ranger that was standing near the manatees, she let us know where to go next.
Across the parking lot next to the store there is an alligator that comes and goes. The store is luckily up high on dock.
Next we drove an hour back to Royal Palm Visitor Center and the Anhinga Trail.
The Anhinga trail is a 0.8 mile paved walking trail that goes through the marsh. Here we were able to see alligators, turtles, herons, and egrets. The walk was short, but we didn't have much time anyways. We stopped and made lunch at the car and watched the animals around us.
We left the park and stopped for a snack at the Robie is Here fruit stand for Key Lime Smoothies and the way to our next destination. The fruit stand has quite a bit to do and see with a small zoo in the back and a lot of little local things to look through, a good place for souvenirs.
After the fruit stand we headed through Homestead and across to Biscayne Bay National Park. We only saved about an hour and a half for this park. Biscayne Bay National Park is another massive park. We knew this would be enough as only a sliver of the park is on land. Biscayne is 95% water. The park includes dive and snorkel spots but everything is only reachable by boat. We did a short hike out the peninsula and then headed back to the resort.
We headed to get food at Key Largo Backyard Cafe. Which ended up being the only place we ate at twice. The food was good almost everywhere we went, but this place was super fresh.
After dinner and a nap, we grabbed some drinks and headed down to the tiki hut to watch the sunset and talk to everyone at the resort.