After several VERY cold nights in North Carolina and even South Carolina, I feel like winter can be over now that we have arrived in Florida. I have had a longtime fascination with Florida so this is a highlight of our trip for me. We will be in FL until at least January 11th, trying to avoid cold weather as long as we can before the snowbirds come back to their “already reserved 100 years in advance” campgrounds that we can’t get into.
I am DYING to see an alligator just meandering around. (But, hopefully not a hungry one.)
Check out this awesome dog park at the campground! I either forgot or didn’t know there was even a dog area here so this was a terrific surprise:
Campground dog parks are usually terrific because:
- Most campers have tiny dogs
- Dogs who get to travel with their families are “usually” not going to be horribly dog aggressive
- It’s sort of new territory for all the dogs
- Almost always, we are the only ones using the space (although, to Teddy, that is decidedly NOT a good point)
Thanks to a tip from a teacher at one of the school open houses in North Carolina and the Disney lady practically laughing out loud when I tried to make Disney campground reservations for December: “What year? Ha, ha, ha, you loser!” (That second part was implied), we arranged to be in the Cape Canaveral area in time for a big rocket launch tomorrow (12/4). It was even written up in the San Diego paper here, with the (gulp!) mention that they are expecting 26,000 people. D and I are getting up at 3:30ish (AM!) to go to the official launch area but the view from the campground is supposed to be wonderful. I want to feel the blast and be with all the space fanboys and fangirls. We’ll see if that turns out to be a good idea or a big mess. I really want to be doing things on this trip so here we are showing up for a rocket launch.
From here, we have four nights in Orlando at a city park campground that A found. Good reviews from all the old people and, get this, only $16.89 per night. A has been powering through the Harry Potter books so we can get the most out of visiting the Universal Studios theme parks this weekend. I’ve only been to Universal in CA and that was 25+ years ago, but I loved it so I’m pretty excited to go again. In San Diego, we had passes for the various parks/zoos and I always thought, “Who are those people who show up and pay full price?” Turns out, that will be us here in Florida. In fact, with all the stuff we have planned, we are probably spending more money in December than the whole rest of the trip combined. We may need to search out a lot more $16 campgrounds to make it the rest of the way…
After Orlando, we go to Ft. Lauderdale area for about ten days for a self-made “swim camp.” I found a swim coach who specializes in Total Immersion swimming and he agreed to put together some lessons for us since it is a not-that-busy time of year for him.
From there, we go to the highlight of the whole trip (for me): Florida Keys! Too many Jimmy Buffet songs maybe, but I am so excited to go there. We will be renting a cottage on the water for a week at a place that allows dogs and does not require any leashes on their 3 acre property (shared by 7 cottages). We’ll be there through Christmas but leaving the next day to scoot across to the Western side of Florida to seek out some alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve. Hopefully, there will be a lot less mosquitos and more dog access than if we chose Everglades National Park.
That will take us through around December 29th. We still need to decide what to do for a few days before we start our Disney campground reservation on January 5th but that’s a whole lot of planning already done!
P.S. Remember, if you want to see more info on the places we’ve been along the way, you have to look at the Listings. I get confused every time I try to explain how to get there on the mobile site so it may be you can only see them if you view on a computer where the home page is the Google map with all the pins and write-ups. I can’t decide if it makes more sense to make notes on the Listings as we go or try to catch up with blog posts so it’s a jumbled mess. We had grand plans for this blog but it turns out no one wants to write anything (but we will all wish we had b/c we won’t remember otherwise…).