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FAMILY SUMMER FUN IN THE SUN Road Trip to the Florida Keys
Summer is not only one of the hottest, busiest times of the year, but also one of the most fun.What I enjoy most about summer is the chance to spend extra quality time with my family.The children being home from school gives us the opportunity to travel.When planning travel, considerations of when, where, and for how long are sure to stimulate interesting dinnertime discussion with my family. Will we drive or fly?What time will we leave? Can we take any toys with us?Where will we stay?What will we do? From choice of destination to each little adventure and activity in between (and trust me, there will be many), everyone in my family has their own perspective on our family vacation. Nevertheless, the rule is simple: If our destination can be reached in eight hours or less, we drive.And when we drive, not only do we have the flexibility to come and go as we please, but we also have the freedom to take toys with us. I mean, you just
can’t reasonably expect to stow an ATV or skiff on a plane! And when I talk of a boatload of fun, I mean we physically load the boat with fun stuff — fishing poles, rafts, snorkel gear, a cooler full of our favorite beverages, and of course, plenty of water and one of my family’s favorites, Martinelli apple juice.
One of our favorite family summer travel spots is less than a seven-hour drive south and is an absolute tropical gem. Every shade of green, deep crystal-blue water, white “You don’t always recognize the beautiful moments in life when you’re living them, but when I look back and remember, they strike a chord inmy heart.” sand bottom, and lush tropical flowering vegetation lend to the sight and sound of one of Mother Nature’s most magical places — the Florida Keys. Lush purple foliage, clear water, palm trees, and gorgeous sunsets provide a backdrop for some of our most recent memories on our last family trip. As it turns out, I learned just before we headed south that my cousin Nader and his family were vacationing in the Keys as well, so I hoped to at least meet up with them.We departed for the Keys just after 3 a.m. Sunday morning and arrived before 11 a.m.As soon as we hit the blue median wall at the beginning of the overseas
highway, the excitement of our arrival begins and never really goes away until vacation is over and we drive past the blue median wall on the way back home. Having planned to stay at the former Pittsburgh Steeler player’s resort, I asked Nader and his family to meet us at Oceanview Inn and Sports Pub for lunch. Our families enjoyed lunch together in the Keys, and we enjoyed the food at OV’s.As it turned out,Addison did not approve of the swimming pool at OV’s, so Alison suggested we stay at Pelican Cove Resort.As it turned out, we were all glad we did. With great restaurants, fun attractions, and a variety of activities, Islamorada has some of the best places in the Keys for our family to spend time together.We took Jonathan and Addison to the Theater of the Seas, which is a marine mammal wildlife sanctuary.We learned about various sea mammals, and Addison got to hold a parrot on her arm for the first time.Addison caught her first mangrove snapper, and on the same trip, she caught a small shark that quickly broke her line.We enjoyed having the new, conveniently located Publix in
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