Fort Clinch State Park

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We were lucky enough to snag a cancellation for the MLK long weekend at Fort Clinch State Park at the beach on Amelia Island. The January temperature was perfect though a bit chilly at times for our beagle.

Fort Clinch State Park has two campgrounds –  one on the oceanside and the other on the riverside. Our site was on the beach with a walkway a few sites down that led directly to the ocean and these hammocks. We were close enough to be lulled to sleep each night by ocean spray and rumbling tides.

Each morning we went for a walk on the private beach (no dogs allowed).

We walked down to the pier that is currently closed from hurricane Matthew. 

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and on Sunday I even got up early enough to see the sunrise over the ocean. Heavenly!

Here’s the view coming back from the beach. There are a few sites (#7 – 10 shown here) that have a slight view of the ocean. The rest are closely nestled in the dunes or sand scrub. Warning, there are sand spurs in the grassy area around the sites. We had to pull a few out of Penny’s paws and chose to keep her on the pavement when out walking.

Each day we rode our bikes around the park.

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img_4833-1On the road to the riverside campground, I spotted mushrooms as big as dinner plates. Upon further investigation I learned these are known as Jack O’Lantern mushrooms. Fun fact – they are bioluminescent! They contain the same enzyme as fireflies! Who knew? Had I known, I would have gone back to see them in the dark. They are also poisonous, so don’t eat them.

The riverside sites are are few steps away from more spectacular views. Though, none of the sites are on the water or have actual water views, they are shaded which the beach sites are not. 

And then there’s the fort!

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There are also mountain bike trails and gorgeous hiking paths between hidden waterways to explore as well as the towns of Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

Reservations for the park can be made at Reserve America, and you will probably see that most days are full. But, if you check back in regularly you will see cancellations, especially the week before you are looking to camp. It’s worth the trip, Fort Clinch is our favorite Florida campground so far!

 

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New Year’s Day Kayak Trip Down the Loxahatchee

Our first day of 2015 was spent on a group kayak adventure down the Loxahatchee River, one of the most scenic of south Florida waterways.

IMG_1554South Florida has such great winters! I think these creatures would agree.

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IMG_0010IMG_0012 IMG_0003Jonathan Dickinson State Park, located in Hobe Sound, Fl, offers a variety of outdoor activities. Our group rented kayaks and canoes, while other park visitors filled the seats of a sunset river cruise. 
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The general store handles all rentals and boat tickets as well as hosts a concession stand and umbrella tables to eat riverside. A pavilion with picnic tables stands nearby with extra seating and also convenient restrooms. IMG_1690 IMG_1652

Can’t think of a better way to spend a day with family and friends

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than floating along the Loxahatchee, on a sunny south Florida new year’s day.IMG_1610 IMG_1608 IMG_1601 IMG_1585 IMG_1580 IMG_1509 IMG_1501

Hello, 2015! Day 1 – A Day Well Spent.IMG_1498

Food Truck Invasion

IMG_8159.JPG Food Truck Invasion in Tradition Square, Port Saint Lucie will switch to 1st and 3rd Fridays starting in September 2014. Bring a few lawn chairs and your dog if you like.  Event runs from 5 – 9 p.m. and trucks take credit/debit cards. Watch the sunset over the church steeple or the lake, visit with neighbors and friends from town, enjoy a large buffet of dinner choices. It’s a local favorite, and a great way to start your weekend.

Savannas Preserve State Park

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We decided to step out a few times a week and go on some day hikes instead of just around the block on our daily walks.

This past sunny Saturday morning, Penny and I took a look around the trails at the Savannas Preserve State Park on Walton Road in Port Saint Lucie.

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You can pick up a map at the entrance and get an overview of the trails at the park. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the markings for the trails you choose to follow.

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Savannas are an endangered natural system of freshwater marshes. This preserve is the largest and most intact remnant of Florida east coast savannas. The park stretches 10 miles from Fort Pierce to Jensen and hosts 8 miles of trails and is open from 8 a.m. to sundown.

Guided walks as well as canoe and kayak tours are available on weekends with reservations required. The park also hosts an environmental center, but I didn’t think I could bring Penny inside for a tour. ; )

You can find more detailed information about navigating the Savannas Preserve online at Florida Hikes.  Happy hiking!

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The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is located in Indian Riverside Park. You can easily spend a day at the museum, then play on the beach and in the fountains.

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The kids loved the pet vet exhibit.

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The building room.

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The body exhibit.

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The giant play ship!

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Publix shopping exhibit.

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They played for hours and then some. Another day well spent.

The Brown Pelican

I’m continuing my weekly wildlife posts with this week’s subject, The Brown Pelican. As discussed in previous posts, I have a lot of photos of creatures that I know little about, so, I’m working on a series of posts exploring Florida wildlife to get to know my watery world a little better. Perhaps you can to.
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Now I knew this was a Pelican, but I didn’t know that there are only 8 living Pelican species and that only two can be found in Florida: The Brown Pelican and The American White.

The Brown Pelican is the smaller of the two but is in no way a small bird. I captured these images of Brown Pelicans at the Fort Pierce Marina. You can see another post on the marina here.

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Groups of pelicans are known as a “pod” and they are said to be the largest flying bird and feed mostly on fish. You will find them on and around many a fishing boat and pier.

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Adding The Brown Pelican to another “find” on my Checklist of Florida Birds.

The Little Blue Heron

Continuing to get to know my Florida wildlife a little better today with my friend here. When I was first told he was a little blue Heron, I thought they meant a baby Heron. Alas, that was the proper name. Little Blue Heron Everglades You will find Little Blue Herons in the shallows of marine and freshwater marshes. I found this friend above wading in the everglades. Notice the slate blue plumage and the long neck and legs.
20140302-082510.jpgThis little guy was on the banks of the Saint Lucie River in Stuart, Florida. He looked like a Heron, but where was his long neck? He was simply just sitting with his neck tucked in. I didn’t realize they could do that. I clearly have not been paying that much attention to my featured friends. At first I thought this was a different species of bird. I’m learning! I didn’t realize Herons could change their appearance so drastically. Now that I do know, I think that’s pretty impressive, giraffes certainly can’t do that.

Herons are an unusual looking bird, yet a common sight around Florida waterways. However, there were twice as many of these beautiful birds 40 years ago. Their population is in decline due to loss of feeding habitat.

This is another bird that I wasn’t exactly sure what he was. As I noted in the purple gallinule post, I decided to get to know the subjects of some of my photos better and to keep track of new birds I encounter.

The Little Blue Heron gets marked off my Checklist of Florida Birds.