The Spanish Moss in Savannah and Charleston

The Spanish Moss in Savannah and Charleston

The next two stops on our Florida road trip are Savannah and Charleston.  It has been a lot cooler than expected but we have been making the best of it.  Cool weather is perfect for exploring towns.  So off we go to expore The Spanish Moss in Savannah and Charleston.

First stop – Savannah, Georgia.  I have wanted to visit Savannah for a very long time, and finally I made it!  Walking around in the Historical District feels like you’re in a storybook land.  It’s haunting in a beautiful sort of way.  There is a square (or park) at almost every intersection with spanish moss hanging from the trees, walkways, benches, fountains.  There are free trolleys that you can hop on and off all around the downtown core.  There is a free ferry! – Savannah Belles Ferry –  with 3 stops, in which you can hop on and off and view Savannah from the water.  There is a beautiful walkway along the river – Rousakis Riverfront Plaza.  Here are a few pictures taken as we explored:

 

The Spanish Moss in Savannah and Charleston

The next day we explored Charleston, South Carolina.  Visiting Charleston was not actually on our list of places to visit, but as we drove along the coast, we decided to stop and take a look.  I am so glad we did!  It’s a very beautiful city, with a gorgeous walk along the water, a bustling market in town and beautiful architechture to admire.  Some picture of the time we spent exploring Charleston:

 

Watch our video!

As we were leaving Charleston, we passed by Georgetown, South Carolina, right at sunset.  It was so easy to capture the most beautiful photos!

Travel Distances and Boondock stops

 

Days 14 & 15

Distance Travelled:  560 km

There was less driving these 2 days, because we spent time exploring Savannah & Charleston.  We spent both night sleeping in Walmart parking lots, as it got dark quickly and we couldn’t find any other suitable places.

 

Our plan for tomorrow is to visit Myrtle Beach and continue exploring the coast of North and South Carolina.  But do we actually get there?  Stay tuned!

Stick with us on our Florida Road Trip from Toronto, and we’ll tell you about the places we find to sleep, the places we find to picnic and rest, the beaches we relax at, and the cities we visit.

Yours Truly …. Yula

 

Affordable Destinations on the Florida East Coast

Affordable Destinations on the Florida East Coast

It’s certainly exciting and fun to retire early.  The main question we kept revisiting was, “Will the money last?”  We decided that we CAN make it last, with careful attention to our spending habits. We sleep in our car more often than airbnb’s, we cook our own food more often than eating in restaurants, and we visit places with low or no admission fees.  Read on to see the Affordable Destinations on the Florida East Coast that we discovered.

After leaving the Florida Keys, our destination was Miami Beach.  As we were crossing the Rickenbacker Causeway we could see big palm trees, blue water, and white sand.  And it was WARM!  We pulled over and ended up at Hobie Island Beach Park.  Parking was free, the view was beautiful, so we stayed for a few hours.  Did I mention it was warm?

 

For the next 3 days we hung around North Miami Beach.  After 10 days on the road with cool temperatures, we finally found what we were looking for!  The beach was gorgeous, walks in the area were very pretty, and the nightlife was exciting and fun.  We really enjoyed our time here.  All the beach parking lots around here are only $1/hour from 8-6, and free after that and overnight.  This also made it quite inviting for us to stay longer.

South Pointe Pier is a busy spot early in the morning!  Joggers, walkers, doggies, bodybuilders, yoga people, young, old, black, white and everyone in between.  A very fun and picturesque place to visit 🙂  Parking in the area is $2/hour after 9:00am.  This was our first stop of the day around 8:00am, so it was free for us.

A place we were interested in seeing was the Hollywood Beach BroadwalkHollywood North Beach Park is closeby so we decided to stay for the day.  Admission to the park is $10 for the day.  There is lots of shade, many picnic tables, access to the beach, and the 3-mile boardwalk ends at the park.  It’s a perfect spot to spend the day.

 

Affordable Destinations on the Florida East Coast

On our final day in Florida, we drove up the coast of Singer Island, Juno Beach and Jupiter Island.  It was all very beautiful – clean, sandy beaches, the bluest waters and skies.  After a while, they started to look the same.  And the weather was getting colder.  So we hopped on the I-95 and took the quick road to Daytona Beach.  It was cold and windy!! 

Watch our video!

Travel Distances and Boondock stops

 

Days 9, 10 & 11

Distance Travelled:  213 km

We didn’t drive very much for the time we spent in Miami Beach.  Just a few kilometres around the area.

Boondock stop: Beach Parking lot in Miami Beach.  As mentioned earlier, parking was free overnight.  The sunrises were beautiful over the ocean!

Days 12

Distance Travelled:  200 km

We couldn’t find anywhere suitable to camp tonight, so we opted to stay in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.  We found this one on the iOverlander app.  Most Cracker Barrels have parking lots for RV’s and busses, and allow overnight parking.

Days 13

Distance Travelled:  412 km

 

Boondock stop:  Alimacani Park, Jacksonville.

This was a very pretty spot.  We walked through the park until sunset, had a quiet night and left at dawn.

 

Tomorrow we head to Savannah, Georgia!

Stick with us on our Florida Road Trip from Toronto, and we’ll tell you about the places we find to sleep, the places we find to picnic and rest, the beaches we relax at, and the cities we visit.

Yours Truly …. Yula

 

Additional Resources we found useful:

Island Hopping in the Florida Keys

Island Hopping in the Florida Keys

Today we begin Island Hopping in the Florida Keys!  We begin by driving to the very end – Key West.  It’s a beautiful drive through bridges, palm trees, more bridges…. you get the point.   It’s beautiful driving so close to the sea.  As we enter the town of Key West, we notice something funny as we’re driving along.  There are chickens and roosters running around free everywhere!  That’s not something we expected at all!  We headed to the Southernmost Point of the Continental US.  We didn’t stay in Key West for very long after that.  Most of the coastline was occupied by resorts, private homes, restaurants, marinas, sports shops, etc.  

Island Hopping in the Florida Keys

Cocoa Plum Beach near the Deer Key.  This public beach is perfect for a day on the beach.  Parking is free, the washrooms are very clean, there’s even an outdoor shower.  We enjoyed our time here.

We stopped to cook our lunch at Oceanfront Park in Marathon, Florida.  We loved this park by the water.  There was a lot of shade, lots of boardwalk paths to explore, and something we always appreciate – clean washrooms!

We went exploring in the Saddlebunch Keys, and found a great hiking trail at the end of Old State Road.  It was quite cool, and a good day for a walk.

A popular spot for fishermen is Sammy Creek Landing in the Sugarloaf Keys.  A great place also to stop for a little rest.

Our adventures in video!

Travel Distances and Boondock stops

 

Day 7

Distance Travelled:  107 km

More exploring than driving today.

Boondock stop: We drove to the end of Dorn Road in the Summerland Key.  It turned out to be a perfect spot to spend the night.   We had a couple of visitors as we were cleaning up our dinner.  It’s pretty magical being so close to deer.  The sunset was gorgeous, and the stars in the middle of the night were incredible.  We loved this spot.

Day 8

Distance Travelled:  170 km

Lots of exploring today.  We decided we have had enough of the Keys, so we drive until dusk.  There was nowhere suitable for boondocking without invading anyone’s privacy, so we had a quick sleep in a supermarket parking lot.

 

Tomorrow we head to Miami Beach!

Stick with us on our Florida Road Trip from Toronto, and we’ll tell you about the places we find to sleep, the places we find to picnic and rest, the beaches we relax at, and the cities we visit.

Yours Truly …. Yula

 

Searching for Warmth in South Florida

Searching for Warmth in South Florida

Today we woke up early to get started on searching for warmth in South Florida. We are quite excited because we are heading to the north shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and certainly it would be warm there… no?  After looking at the forecasts for that area, it turns out that it’s really not any warmer than it was in Nashville.  So we changed our plan.  We can do that, because our “hotel” is always with us in the back end of our car, haha!   “Let’s head to Tampa”, we said.

Day 4 – Searching for Warmth in South Florida

 

We stopped for lunch in this pretty little rest area along Hwy I-10 W.  The main highways in Florida all have amazing rest areas, with covered picnic tables, clean washrooms, and many with free WiFi.  

Distance Travelled:  534 km

 

Boondock stop: Auscilla Boat Ramp. We found this location on the iOverlander app.  We arrived just before sunset, and the last of the fishermen were just leaving.  There were a couple of other camping vans there already.  This is a beautiful spot, and there’s lots of room for any type of camping vehicle.

Day 5 – We found Palm Trees!

 

As we were driving toward Tampa, we found King’s Bay Park in the town of Crystal River.  We stopped here for lunch, stretched our legs and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.  But… still cold!

More palm trees at Howard Park Beach.  We didn’t stay, as it was (you guessed it), cold and windy!  It would be a great beach destination on another (warm) day.

Distance Travelled:  377 km

 

There is a little park in a Gulfport, Florida neighbourhood called Wood Ibis Park.  We found this boondock location on iOverlander.  We arrived after sunset and left before sunrise – no one bothered us.  It was a pretty walk around the pond before we turned in.

Day 6 – Beeline to the Keys

 

Our plan to dawdle along the west coast of Florida and explore the coastal towns and beaches went out the window.  Because it was still COLD!  We decided to drive straight to the Keys.  We stopped for lunch along the Everglades, and then kept driving!

Distance Travelled:  620 km

We made it the The Keys!  We decided to settle in Big Pine Key tonight.

 

Boondock spot:  We stayed at this National Key Deer Refuge Site found on iOverlander for a night.  It was very quiet all night long. The star gazing is pretty incredible here.  We were looking for The Big Dipper just before we turned in.  We didn’t see it then, but did see it at 4:00am!  Things are upside-down here! 🙂

A few little video clips – take a look!

 

Stick with us on our Florida Road Trip from Toronto, and we’ll tell you about the places we find to sleep, the places we find to picnic and rest, the beaches we relax at, and the cities we visit.

Yours Truly …. Yula