We did it!We completed our goal of traveling to 58 of the 59 designated National Parks (sorry American Samoa).Dry Tortugas, a small island park 70 miles southwest of Key West, in our home state of Florida was set aside as our final park.This paradisiacal park consists of largely of ocean, coral reefs and seven tiny island.Garden Key, the largest island, is the most popular and easy to visit.It is home to historic Fort Jefferson, used in 1800s to protect the Gulf trade route and home to slaves and prisoners in the Civil War.
Boat or sea plane are only transportation Fort Jefferson and Garden Key.Andrew and I opted to camp on the island for two nights, which left us with the ferry as our only travel option (sea planes can’t transport camping equipment).If looking for a little serenity, camping is highly recommended.During the day, 175 people disembark from the ferry and smaller groups come by plane.However, after 3 o’clock the boat sails into the horizon, leaving only a few dozen campers behind.
While Garden Key doesn’t have much for amenities, it offers a peaceful paradise with a small beach for snorkeling, historic architecture to explore, beautiful ocean vistas to reflect upon, and marine wildlife to watch…not to mention an occasional visit from the salt water crocodile who likes to sunbath in this idyllic spot!
One of our main reasons for staying in Florida this summer will now be revealed! We wanted to celebrate and welcome the newest member to our Hatfield family, our niece, Asha.She was born mid-July and we are so thrilled to meet this adorable little girl.
Campgrounds where they live are quite limited.Actually, we only found one and it was known for RV camping and trailer rentals, but no pets allowed. Since we were not prepared to leave Ame at home, we did a little exploring and we managed to find John Prince County Park in Lake Worth.This campground is large with over 300 campsites.In the summer, most of the park is empty making it enjoyable and quiet.However, with its’ affordable prices and extended stays,I can imagine that in the winters this campground is full and bustling.
Other than our daily visits to swoon over our niece, Andrew and I spent our time putting Rosie back in order.We’ve finally moved everything back in, and now we need to organize.One morning, Andrew and I visited Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens.It has been on the top of my must do list for years. This beautiful landscape encompasses traditional Japanese bontanicals, architecture and culture.The only thing out of place was the alligator in the koi pond.
Sadly, our time in with Asha and family was short.It is hard to say goodbye as we prepare to embark on the next part of National Park.But, we’ll be back in December!
Our July weekend getaway was a trip to Manatee Springs State Park, which is a large cold water spring that flows into the Suwannee River. To make the weekend exciting, we met up with a friend of mine from college, Hayley, her kids and boyfriend, Mike, who also has an Airstream.Even though the temperatures where blazing outside, the tree covered campground and cool water offered some relief.It was a great weekend of catching up with old friends, and exploring a new state park.