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Florida - Miami, Fort Myers and St. Petersburg

Again this year, we went for the third time in a row over Christmas and New Year to Florida.

Bild: Karte der3. Reise nach Florida

We had the added advantage of our neighbor dropping us off at Hamburg airport at 9am Sunday morning. We were waiting in line when an Air France employee instructed us to drop off our baggage at the counter and self-check in at the machines.

Bild: Palme an einer Häuserwand am Strand von Estero Island in Florida

 

 

Unfortunately, the machine showed little flexibility because the country in which we were traveling to (USA) was not accepted. We had to be specific and enter 'Florida', which was then accepted. We were not the only ones who had issues. Another couple ended up going to the counter to resolve their issue.

 

The flight from Paris to Miami departed on time. The service on board Air France was quite good, however, it would be ideal if the 10 hours flight could somehow be shortened.

In Miami, we went back to the self-service machine, but again, it was not an absolute time saver because you are still required to take a photo and fingerprints at the counter.

At Alamo, we hired quite a large car, a Dodge.

The route from the airport to Miami Beach was an easy to drive and it made it even easier with our smartphone navigation.


Travel Table with Actions and Sights

Day Actions - Sights
20.12.15 Flight from Hamburg to Miami via Paris
21.12.15 Key Biscayne, Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue
22.12.15

Boat trip from Bayfront Market Place in Miami with Queen Island Tour

Trip from Miami to Fort Myers (bad weather with strong rain)

23.12.15 Estero Island
24.12.15 Barefoot Beach (Park) South of Bonita Springs
25.12.15 Pine Island and Outlet Miromar
26.12.15 St. Petersburg, Dalí Museum, Pier, Treasure Island, St. Pete Beach
27.12.15 Day at the pool
28.12.15  Delnor-Wiggings Pass State Park
29.12.15  Day at the pool 
30.12.15 Barefoot Beach and Fort Myers Beach
01.01.16 Trip back to Miami and flight back to Hamburg

Information über Florida: http://www.florida-infoguide.de/index.htm


 

We had to wait more than an hour until we could check into our accommodation in North Miami Beach, 'Seaside Apartment Hotel'. Firstly, the receptionist was extremely slow at the front desk and then she gave us keys to an apartment which was already taken.

At the end of this  long ordeal, we called it a day and resided to our camp.


The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at Key Biscayne.

Key Biscayne

If you decide to drive by car to the National Park, there is an entry fee of US$8. Towards the end of the park you can see a pretty lighthouse which you can climb and enjoy the magnificent views from atop.

The beach, which was referred to in guide books as "the most beautiful beach in Florida", we found quite disappointing. But the Lighthouse Café, we found enjoyable. The food was good and reasonably priced.


From Key Biscayne we drove to Ocean Drive in Miami South. We were lucky to find a car park quite quickly.

Ocean Drive

We strolled through Ocean Drive right to the end, crossing the street from time to time. From the sea, you have the wonderful beach, then comes park-like strips and then comes Ocean Drive. From one side you had the wonderful view of gorgeous old houses, some with old street cruisers or exquisite expensive sports cars and on the other side you have inviting restaurants and cafés with good music enticing people to stay and visit.

Ocean Drive is only passable in a northerly direction and then terminates.


Collins Avenue

Collins Avenue is filled with many exquisite shops in both directions. This road was in the opposite direction to Ocean Drive and we had enough time to come back to our car before our parking voucher expired.

There are so many restored houses in Ocean Drive but even more so on Collins Avenue. The old facades remain standing and the houses are completely refurbished (see the first photo below).


Boat Trip: Island Queen Cruise

After a magnificent second night, the next morning we made a boat trip of 1 1/2 hours.

Two years ago we had taken a boat trip in Fort Lauderdale. If we had to have an option, we would always favor the boat tour in Fort Lauderdale.

This is how the super-rich live in Miami!

You can't remember who lives in which stunning estate and how much it costs. Ultimately, its not important if it has a cost of 10 million more or less, these mansions are well worth a look!


After our boat ride we power up with a huge salad at Hooters, then we're off. Loading our luggage into our car and driving north on 95 heading toward Fort Lauderdale.

 

After we changed to 75 and finally to 27 we go through two strong downpours. Unfortunately a dam blocks the view to Lake Okeechobee.

In hindsight, driving this way doesn't make sense. So we would recommend the faster route on 75.


Bild: Pyramiden Villa in Florida
www.pyramidvillagepark.com

 

We are pleased and happy to return to "our" pyramid in 7020 Constitution Loop in Fort Myers, situated in a central location to explore new things!

Here we can recover and rejuvenate.


Estero Island


Barefoot Beach

 

Barefoot Beach is situated in Barefoot Beach Park, south of Bonita Springs. The entry is US$ 8 for a day.

On the palm-lined road towards the car park are large impressive villas. Left of the road are also magnificent villas with access to the river, which is a little reminiscent of Cape Coral.

It's worth it from the parking lot to take a walk parallel to the beach until you reach the end, then sit on the beach for sunset.

Those who are lucky enough can also experience turtles crossing the road. 


Pine Island and Matlacha Island

 

Pine Island was not a favourite, many parts were not open to the public. However if you go towards the northern point of the island, you can park the car and have a drink in a restaurant, apart from that, everything else is private. Too bad. Even the end of the pier may only be entered by fishermen who also have to pay US$8. The southernmost point of the island has no parking and is not open to the public.

Only the colorful painted houses and huts of Matlacha Island were the highlight of this trip. 


St. Petersburg

On this day we try as early as possible to make our way to St. Petersburg. The ride on the 75 takes quite a long time, because although you may drive 70 mph, equivalent to 113 km maximum. We also endured a lot of traffic, which didn't help our cause.

First we went to the Dali Museum. For US$10 you can park at the Museum. Entrance to the museum will cost another US$24, but this includes speakers for an audio guide. This is very rewarding, because you can also get information on the individual works of art that are needed for an in-depth understanding and comprehension of each artwork. Dali has a remarkable talent to paint pictures, in which you can see 2 pictures in one.

Dalí Museum

The construction of the Dali Museum is quite impressive, and this alone would be reason to visit. Apart from the Dali exhibition the exhibition of Escher was also on at the same time. Unfortunately, no pictures were to be taken at the Escher exhibition.

Treasure Beach

 

After the museum we took a walk along the pier, passing the marina. The pier will open in 2018.

By car we took 1st Avenue South directly to Treasure Island.

St. Pete Beach

After we basked in some sun on St. Pete Beach, we headed back to our pyramid hotel. This time we took an alternative route, taking 41 instead of 75, which is not recommended, because you need much more time for this route.


Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

Bild: Stand in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

The Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park can be driven to at a cost of US$6 per car. Altogether there are five parking lots on the peninsula. However the beach is very narrow. Only towards the end there is a wide sandy beach, but swimming is prohibited because of the strong current. There are toilets and picnic areas and only a short walk away for swimming. Shaded picnic areas are also found at the other parking lots.



Take a look at my report: Florida