“We’re going on vacation this summer in our own backyard!” What? You got to be kidding me. I just graduated high school. I’m ready for one last outstanding family vacation to some exotic place where I can create lasting memories before I venture into the world of the unknown: college. Luckily, Mom was being slightly sarcastic. Even though we live in Pinellas County, recent home of two of the top ten beaches in the United States, we rarely take advantage of it since we get caught up in our daily routines. So we decided to pack the car and take time to enjoy the great state that we live in and headed to Ft Meyers Beach.
In Ft Meyers Beach, we stayed at the Pink Shell Resort. It was so unique with the sound of its cascading waterfalls from conch shells surrounding the pool to the few steps it took to be on the beach. Even though the sand is not as white as Clearwater or St Pete Beaches, the view was exceptional as you looked over the Gulf of Mexico and the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva where the shells are in abundance. It makes a great day trip and while you are there, enjoy one of the best grouper sandwiches ever at the original Lazy Flamingo.
As if the pool and beach weren’t enough to enjoy, we found a great 50% off deal online to rent a boat at Fish Tale Marina. We spent one morning exploring Estero Bay and even ventured into the Gulf. We lost count of how many dolphins we saw and also caught a glimpse of a sting ray as it glided on top of the surface. Sometimes you just have to take time out to appreciate the beautiful surroundings we have here in Florida.
The fun wasn’t over yet. In fact the laughs had just begun since my family decided to rent a little two person scooter. As Mom and my sister took off cruising the beach and looking totally ridiculous, Dad and I chuckled at the fact that we too would look that way shortly. But who cared, we didn’t live here. When it was our turn, Dad was half hanging out but we had fun being the tourists for a change..
When we had enough sun, we tried something very different, a mystery dinner train ride on Seminole Gulf Railways. Once we got on and starting going, I felt a little queasy with the back and forth rocking motion as well as the clickity clack sound coming from the train. It didn’t help that the tracks went over water in a couple places and made it feel like I was traveling over a black lagoon.. It did, however, make it easier once the mystery play started and I was distracted from my surroundings. The best part of the train ride was when my mom screamed loudly when I accidently touched her leg with my foot since we just had a conversation about snakes falling from the trees and slithering down the train window. She thought my foot was a snake. Everyone in the train car started staring at us as if we were part of the play and all we could do was laugh hysterically. It was “Snakes on a Train” rather than “Snakes on a Plane”.
Even though our big vacation was just in our “backyard”, it made me realize what a wonderful state that I live in and how many parts of Florida there are still to explore.
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