Coasts of Florida continued…
The “Treasure Coast” comes by its name naturally.
In 1715 nearly a dozen ships of a Spanish treasure fleet smashed aground in a hurricane on the Atlantic coast of Florida. The ships’ hulls were ripped and their cargoes spilled out beneath the waves in a 25-mile stretch of the shoreline, from Sebastian Inlet on the north past Fort Pierce Inlet to the south. Modern-day divers and beachcombers still turn up the relics.
Take a little time with all the “travel treasure sites” you can visit, without even getting your feet wet—unless you wish to! You can access the area via Interstate 95, which runs along its western edge, and then turn eastward to U.S. 1 and State Route A1A, which journeys through the barrier islands. From Florida’s Turnpike, you can take State Route 60 straight to Vero Beach.
Nearly three hundred years ago, Spanish galleons carrying much more than “a hundred pieces of gold,” went down near the present-day towns of Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and Stuart. Today, this area boasts another kind of “gold”—great golf, natural beauty, picturesque towns, plenty of attractions…and water all over the place.
The Florida Keys are a string of coral islands strung out 160 miles into the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Officially, there are 881 keys. This series of islands begins just south of Miami, and is connected by the Overseas Highway’s 43 bridges—one seven miles long—over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Vistas of the Keys are dominated by emerald-green lagoons, deep-blue seas, swaying palms, rustling pines, and olive-green mangroves.
The Florida Keys encompass posh marina resorts, South Pacific-style hideaways, quaint fishing camps, and rugged uninhabited islands.
The Florida Keys are best known for diving, fishing, and sunset celebrations, including daily festivities at Key West’s Mallory Square.
The island chain’s laid-back atmosphere—a world away from big cities and theme parks—is one of the reasons for its charm and why it attracted a host of characters, such as Ernest Hemingway. Key West was his home when he created some of his most famous novels, including For Whom the Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Hemingway’s former residence, inhabited by descendants of his six-toed cats, today is a public museum that honors his literary prowess and the affection he had for his Key West lifestyle.
Stroll along Duval Street for the people-parade at night, with jazz, blues, and reggae wafting out onto the street, along with the aromas of key lime pie and conch (a local shellfish pronounced “conk”) salad wafting out of the restaurants.
If your dream includes lying on the beach or hitting the surf, then you’ll be heading to Southern Florida, south of a line drawn between Fort Myers and West Palm Beach.
Very few of the parks are actually “on” the beaches. Some advertise “near beaches”—but “near” might be a lot further than you’d like.
Keep in mind that as you move south and as you near the Atlantic coast or Gulf of Mexico, prices of RV parks increase. The central part of Florida has the least expensive parks.
Florida is expensive and it’s jammed—not only traffic jams, but people jams.
In the central and northern part, you may find some freezing weather. The Florida Panhandle has fantastic beaches and great seafood, but it can get quite chilly.
Positive features of wintering in Florida: Diverse scenery, fantastic beaches, theme parks, baseball spring training, varied wildlife, birding hotspots, delicious fresh seafood, variety of golfing opportunities, fishing
Negative features: High humidity and bugs, traffic congestion, negative attitude toward snowbirds, high cost of RV parks, hurricanes
If wild birds and animals are a social assets, how much of an asset are they?