Discovering the flora and fauna in Florida

I had chosen Florida a little by default: strategic place to find a friend and cheaper flights. I was expecting a Florida full of bimbos and modern buildings facing the sea. It was just the opposite, a real show! I drove around South Florida and I was amazed by the fauna and flora.

My trip started in Miami: a colorful city full of restaurants. The ocean is warm and absolutely fabulous turquoise blue. Miami Beach is the perfect place to stay near the beach and restaurants (you can walk everywhere). We had rented a room in a typical Florida house, which was very convenient.

Downtown Miami (business center) is much more concrete but a detour is necessary. Despite the tall buildings, there are nice parks where you can picnic between two visits. The design district is not particularly worth the detour, unless you want to spend a lot of money there. But don’t hesitate to take a ride in the aerial metro, it gives a very different view from the top of the buildings.

Our journey then continued towards the islands (Keys) to Key West, gateway to the Caribbean. Key West is very pleasant to stroll around but especially to take a boat trip: snorkeling with fins and snorkels among the colourful, shiny and splendid fish, sea turtles and rays.

On the way back from Key West to the mainland, a stop in Islamorada is not to be missed. And here I insist, you have to sleep on a boat! We had booked on Airbnb 2 superb nights in a small sailboat at quay: ocean view and lush shared garden. If you’re going to Florida, you might as well do it all: we went to a semi-natural water park where iguanas in the wild and sharks share the space. We were able to swim with dolphins and I can assure you that both children and adults enjoyed it! A real moment of unforgettable complicity with the animal.

“Sanibel and Captiva Islands, the most beautiful beaches in the United States: shells and fine white sand, ocean as far as the eye can see.

Then we went for a tour in the Everglades National Park where alligators and turtles share the space freely. Beware of mosquitoes (XXL attacks), snakes and panthers (which I did not see), but the place is worth the detour! We also took the time to visit the alligator farm and went for a ride in an airboat (air-powered boat). Far from being ecological, it’s really nice and funny! Don’t forget the raincoat!

We went up the coast to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, where there are the most beautiful beaches in the United States: shells and fine white sand, ocean as far as the eye can see… Afterwards we made a stop in Sarasota where we could find deserted beaches but above all we visited the Ringling Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of art in general, circus art and the Ringling family. Very beautiful Venetian style buildings with a private port… splendid!

And finally Orlando. I didn’t set foot in Disney World, I preferred to visit the city and do a bit of… shopping! But the city is very beautiful: as always beautiful parks where amazing flora and fauna blend in with the surrounding buildings. Visit the Court House and attend a public hearing! In short, Florida is full of restaurants, music, sunshine, beautiful trees and plants, wild and exotic animals, but most of all… rain! All seasons are good to take to visit Florida but July is very wet. Fortunately the showers only last a few minutes each day and the sun always comes back afterwards. A state you must visit if you are a nature lover and still like to socialize! You quickly forget the sharks with whom you share the ocean!

My favorite: the wild cats and the omnipresent squirrels.

To try: an American breakfast in Miami Beach at Jerry’s Famous Deli (1450 Collins Avenue/EspaƱola Way); key lime pie, Cuban cocktails and a good alligator taco! Have a good trip!

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