Coast to Coast in Florida with the Capra #waterFam
What would you do if you got a last minute phone call asking you to drive 3 hours across the state (with your kids) to pick up some paddleboards? We said, "Hell yea!" Adventure calls! After some quick planning we decided take our oldest two girls with us on the trip. We made sure we could take full advantage of our travels and packed our snorkel gear, camping gear, and a cooler full of snacks and beer.
The nicest part of packing was that we only needed to load up our oldest daughters Tahoe SUP Grom board and our paddles. We would be picking up plenty of boards to play with! The girls, Kai and Marleigh, are locked and loaded with books, toys, tablets, pillows, and blankets. So we were off.
Florida is a pretty eclectic place to travel through. We were leaving one beach town and heading to another. We live in Vero Beach on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. St. Petersburg is on the Gulf coast. Both towns are super cool, but it's the endless stretch of old Florida beauty in between that we love to travel through the most. When heading west through the state there's a point where you feel like you've stepped back in time. There's loads of cattle ranches, horse farms, oak hammocks and empty roads. It's a far cry from the "Florida" that most people picture. So we sat back and enjoyed the journey.
It’s approximately 98 degrees when we arrive in St Pete but it feels more like 128... We arrive at our first destination to pick up over the paddle boards and try our best not to melt as we load up the truck. Now that our "business" is done we rush over to our final destination of the day. A sweet little hotel right on the Gulf of Mexico. The highlight of our stay there was the magnificent sunset overlooking the water and then taking out the alpine explorer inflatable sups in the morning. After a few hours of fun playing in and on the water we loaded up the truck once again and set off for more adventure, camping at Kelly Park to do the Rock Springs Run.
Sounds like a brilliant idea right?! Camping in the middle of July in the middle of Florida. Trust me, it's worth it. Magical. Simply magical. It's the only word I can think of to describe our camping experience. We settled into our site with a traditional Florida thunder storm looming in the background.
The lightning alarms signalled for all the bathers to evacuate the spring which led to a mass exodus. A summer day at the spring is usually a busy, loud, crowded experience. It was delightfully serene after the day visitors took off. As the storm fizzled, Tim and I took the girls down to the crystal clear water to float with the current from the spring head down to the swimming beach. We had the whole place to ourselves and it was startlingly delightful as we dove in. Floating along in what must be one of the most beautiful spots in all of Florida. Midway through we stopped dead in our tracks as a giant doe paused at the edge of the spring for a drink before prancing across to the other side. She was so close to us! The girls were giddy over her. Giddy over having ownership of Rock Springs for just that short amount of time. It was one of the coolest family adventures yet!
Back at the camp site, night fell and with it came swarms of fireflies. I hadn't seen them in years!!! It was as of the whole forest was glittery! Between the rain and our proximity to the cold spring our temperatures stayed cool and we had a wonderful nights sleep. Resting up for our big paddle adventure the following day!
Sunday involved an 8.5mile paddle with 17 of our great friends for our little Florida paddle community. Rope swings, gators, crystal clear water.... You name it, we had it. We launched our boards from Kings Landing just a few minutes up the road from Kelly park where we camped. $10 gets you on the river and $10 more gets you a shuttle back from the end, Wekiva Island. Wekiva Island is a sweet little spot where you finish that has ice cold beer and tons of entertainment. The 8.5 mile paddle took us about 5 hours to finish. Super relaxed paddle with lots of stops along the way. We tried out rope swings, swam, had a picnic, did head stands and just plain goofed off. It was a blast! Tim and I rode the inflatable Alpine Explorers and Kai rode her Grom inflatable. Mars rode with me mostly and took a nice long nap too! The inflatables proved to be the best choice for getting under, over, and around all the trees, branches, and other obstacles that we found on the river. It was a super relaxing fun filled family adventure that rounded out our weekend so nicely.
We're already plotting out our next trip! There's plenty of springs in Florida that the Capras haven't hit yet!! Stay tuned....