I’m back in Pittsburgh after an amazing week on a Florida beach, and I’m happy to say that it was the most relaxing spring break I’ve ever had. I thought I’d share a little bit about my trip with all of you (and myself, since I’m still crying that I had to leave that magical place!). Here’s the day-by-day of my Spring Break 2015.
I met my parents in the Orlando airport after both our flights arrived within 20 minutes of each other (fist pump!). Lots of hugs and lunch in the airport. The weather was in the 60s and rainy/cloudy, and the beach was pretty cold. But it didn’t really matter since we spent pretty much the whole day traveling and settling in to the condo.
We woke up without alarm clocks (sooooooooo nice) and hit the beach for a long walk. We walked at least 3 miles down the beach and then 3 miles back. Sunburn city. But so worth it! After lunch we headed back to the beach for some quality time in the sunshine.
We decided to head inland to Blue Springs State Park, which was so cool! I love getting to see inland Florida parks; they are completely unique. We saw at least 10 manatee in the springs, a big alligator swimming, and lots of turtles. It was so fun to be able to see the manatee in the water, which was crystal clear. I would highly recommend checking out this park in the winter or early spring — they boast that in the winter, hundreds of manatee flock to the springs to escape the cold waters. The springs stay at around 70 degrees year round, which the manatee like during the winter. Then we drove back and spent the afternoon at the beach (yay!).
We headed out early to rent some kayaks and spent the morning on the river searching for dolphin and manatee. We didn’t see any manatee (this time of year is still a little bit early for manatee to come back to the river, apparently), but we saw a mama and baby dolphin, which was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. We also saw two dolphins fishing in a little cove; it’s pretty amazing to watch them swim in circles rounding the fish up and then swim through as fast as they can to catch them. The cove that the dolphins are (almost) always in is part of a little park that has a great boardwalk — we spent a lot of time daily on that boardwalk watching the dolphins. After we were finished kayaking, we spent the rest of the day at the beach, getting some much needed sun!
I woke up with the same cold I’d just gotten over a couple of weeks ago (ugh), but I guess it just wouldn’t be a vacation if somebody didn’t get sick 😛 We decided to drive over to Meritt Island, which is a natural wildlife preserve and a pretty awesome place to visit. They have a couple of really good manatee spots, and we saw at least 20 manatee feeding in the river. I could have stayed there watching them all day long! Then we drove through the Wildlife drive, and spotted 9 alligators! I saw some baby alligators, too, with their mama lurking nearby. That was pretty special! If you go through the wildlife drive, just take your time and keep your eyes open. A lot of cars missed the alligators when we were driving through! But it is so worth it and so amazing to see them in the wild.
I was so tired and feeling cruddy, so we decided to spend the whole day lounging at the beach (oh, darn, what a shame). We played with a hula hoop, built some sand creatures, and soaked up as much sun as we could. It was pretty great! In the early evening, we headed to the boardwalk to see the dolphins, and had a huge surprise: we saw 2 manatee in the river! It was exciting, because they hadn’t been back yet for the season. It was a sign that spring is on its way.
We rented some more kayaks Friday morning and went searching for more dolphins. We spent some time up close and personal with the dolphin fishing in the little cove — it was kind of scary at times because you can’t see them, and they just shoot through the water randomly and they swim so fast. All of a sudden, they’ll just jump out of the water right next to you and it startles you! But they’re such beautiful, smart animals. Really fun to watch them in their natural habitat. We spent the rest of the day lounging at the beach, since it was our last day.
We had to get up early to get to the airport. It was a truly amazing week, and I was so sad to leave. It’s been such a long, hard winter for me with no sun, and it felt so good to be on a beach, warm and happy for a week. Plus, I loved spending the week with my parents! It really was the best spring break I’ve ever had, and I feel so lucky to have been able to take the vacation this year.
Now that I’m back in Pittsburgh, at least I have something to look forwards to. Spring (and Summer!) is on its way, and I know the days are going to get warmer and the weather is going to get nicer. We may even start to see the sunshine every now and then! And I can’t wait for that.