First up, a trip to the Florida Keys. Room rates are ridiculous right now, so we just did a day trip to Key Largo, which is about 1.5 hours from our apartment. It was our first time at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and it's a place I definitely want to visit again.
There are quite a few activities to choose from there, including kayaking and snorkeling / scuba tours. This time around we opted for the glass-bottom boat ride. It sounds great in theory but in reality, there were a lot of motion sick people on the boat.
After departing a boat full of pukers, we headed to Knaus Berry Farm since Homestead was on the way home and I had heard rave reviews. Almost all of South Florida's farming happens in Homestead, which is also where our CSA farm is located.
I knew Knaus was popular but the line still shocked all three of us. Thankfully it was well organized into three separate lines - bakery, produce and ice cream. We stood in the bakery line under the blazing hot sun for awhile before deciding the short ice cream line looked much better.
I was jealous of the people with umbrellas, and plan to bring one next time when we determine if the bakery line is worth the wait. Here's what cracks me up, despite the hot temps and the need for an umbrella in order to stand in the sun people are still wearing long pants.
Bri and I both got strawberry shakes, which were so good! Just based on the ice cream offerings, I would recommend a visit to Knaus Berry Farm, if you're in the area. By the way, those are capris not long pants that we're wearing the photo below :)
The next day we headed to South Pointe Park which is at the southern tip of South Beach. Again, it was a place I'd heard great things about but after visiting I'm not quite sure I understand the attraction.
However, I know a lot of recommendations come from people who are there during sunset, so maybe that's a worthwhile time to visit. There's an ok view during the day (photo below) and there's a small beach but it's quite a hike from the parking lot. Oh and parking is $20. Yeah, we likely won't be back.
Our fun for the day was parasailing with Miami Beach Parasail. Neither Bri nor I had been parasailing before and we both loved it!! I think Bri said it best, when she said it felt like sitting in a swing. It was very stable and surprisingly quiet. We could easily hear each other as we chatted in the sky.
You have the option to stay completely dry while parasailing, otherwise they will dip your feet in the water as you're coming back onto the boat. However in our case it was a full splash-down. The boat driver said it looked like we were having so much fun he thought we'd enjoy getting completely soaked. I wouldn't use the word "enjoy" but it certainly made it memorable!
Chris' favorite dive bar in Miami is the Sandbar Lounge, so we had to take the recently turned 21 year-old there. When we explained the occasion the bartender suggested we order sex on the beach, which was perfect for a young kid in a tropical destination who likes fruity drinks.
I really like the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, so I took Bri there on a vacation day when Chris headed back to work. I still find it awkward that Hollywood chose the term broadwalk instead of boardwalk, because anyone not from around here assumes you misspoke and that you meant to say boardwalk.
According to the Travel Channel "In Hollywood, a vintage Florida beach town 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, they call their 2.5-mile coastal path the Broadwalk to emphasize the wide proportions that allow joggers, strollers, skaters and bikers to share the space with ease."
We tried hard to enjoy our time at the beach, but it was so windy that we were being pelted with sand. It kind of hurt on our legs but we called it quits when it started hitting our faces.
From there we headed to The Counter, a new restaurant in Aventura, for lunch. I was impressed with the number of vegetarian options, especially considering that it's first and foremost a burger place. It's a unique restaurant with locations mostly in California, Ireland and the Middle East.
On Bri's final night we headed to Fort Lauderdale to check out Las Olas Boulevard, a one-mile stretch of road with restaurants, bars and boutique shops. On the far end is Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar.
A place that gets great reviews but doesn't take reservations. We arrived at 8:30 pm on a Tuesday night to a line of people hanging out the door and decided it wasn't worth the 1.5 hour wait time we were told by the hostess. I'm even more curious about Rocco's now and hope to attempt dining there again soon.
From there we headed to American Social based on Yelp reviews. I too give it high praise because they remade my watermelon margarita after I burned my throat on the jalapeno pepper garnish that I incorrectly assumed came on the side and not mixed into the drink.
It was so fun spending time with my sister in the Keys, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It was also great timing to get out and enjoy some warm weather activities because I'm heading to Wisconsin tomorrow...for a month! I return April 28th and will be spending time in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison and Door County.