The weekend following the Everglades, I headed to the Florida Keys for some more camping. However, once arriving in Islamorada, it was decided to spend Friday night in a hotel in Key West and Saturday night in the tent. I’ve never spent a considerable amount of time in Key West, so Duval Street was the obvious choice for Friday night drinks and food. Saturday was spent biking around the area, visiting the butterfly conservatory, eating, taking photos, and heading back up to Long Key State Park to set up a campsite.
Some photos from Key West:
Camping is my new thing. There’s always something going on somewhere in Miami, so I get my city fix during the week. On the weekends, I’ve been trying to get out to enjoy some of the national parks. My first weekend camping adventure involved a trip to the Everglades. Staying in the South Florida swamps is usually not recommended during the summer due to mosquitos, but I’m pretty bad at waiting things out. Once I get an idea in my head, it’s fairly difficult for me to postpone that plan for a few months. I like to just go. On the plus side, the lack of popularity this time of year made for some quiet backcountry camping, which is exactly what I wanted.
The first night involved setting up camp at an easily accessible campsite. It was too late to venture further out, so camping near the park’s amenities was about the only option. Besides the mosquitos, the camping area was perfectly decent. There weren’t too many other people, and it was simple to pack up camp for the next day’s adventures. Plus, we had some boxed wine. Everything is better with wine.
After a night of waging war against against the Everglades’ insect air force, it was time to pick up a canoe and find something slightly more interesting. After paddling for 13 miles, we arrived at a chickee in a secluded lagoon. Since we were actually surrounded by water, the mosquitos were not all that bothersome. The South Joe River chickee was just about the perfect camping location.
While we didn’t see any other people for 2 days, the lagoon was home to some other inhabitants. We were told that the waters housed alligators, crocodiles, and sharks, but dolphins were the most prevalent.
After another night and 13-mile canoe ride, it was time to make our way back toward the city: tired, sore, not smelling the best, but already planning the next trip.
Miami Beach is a lot of fun. However, it is also exhausting and expensive. Occasionally, it’s nice to get away from the beach and venture out to other areas of Miami. This city is incredibly diverse and active, so there’s never a shortage of new things to do. In fact, I often feel slightly guilty when I choose to keep my bum firmly planted on my couch for an entire night.
A few weeks ago, I decided to explore Little Havana. As the name gives away, Little Havana is an area of Miami with a large Cuban influence. This influence most notably shows up in the cuisine. I happen to like food, and seeing that it was lunchtime, I pulled into La Camaronera to test out the fare. The restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall and features no seats. You simply find yourself a spot at the bar, order your food, and stand to eat. While this restaurant has been featured on numerous television shows, the locals still flock here for the fresh seafood. The influx of tourists and outsiders has not scared the original crowd away, which I believe is a sign of a truly good dining establishment.
While I was there, I tried shrimp empanadas, fried lobster, and the fish sandwich. The sandwich was the standout for me. The fresh filet was hugged by an absolutely delicious white bun. You can also check out the fresh catches at the market area of the restaurant and have the chefs cook your selection to your specifications. I did not know this was an option, until a friendly regular enlightened me. By that point, I was already full, to say the least.
Following lunch, I drove a bit further into Little Havana and stopped by a small market. After checking out the produce and food selection, I picked up a coconut and headed back to the beach: a completely different world only miles away.