May 10th and 11th, 2024

We were really hustling through southern and eastern Florida, but we were seeing everything. We spent some time in Key Largo, and then had a quick vacation in Key West. The day after getting back to Key Largo from Key West, we headed up to east Orlando to check out a couple places before we landed again in northeastern Florida.

We had two days in Orlando, and we headed east to the shore on both of them. We didn't spend any time sightseeing in Orlando (theme parks really aren't our "thing"). First, we headed to Kennedy Space Center. We allowed ourselves about seven and a half hours at the huge installation, and we still had to skip two buildings with more fun and interesting things to do. For those who haven't been, get there when the place opens and plan on staying all day.

We did the Bus Tour, and it was really cool. They took us around the campus, and we got near the huge Vehicle Assembly Building. There was a good tour on the bus, and the air conditioning was lovely. We spent a lot of time at the Apollo/Saturn V building and had a quick lunch at the cafe there. We even sat in the bleachers where some lucky people got to see launches (there weren't any when we were there).

We saw an awesome recreation of the Saturn V rocket launch at the Firing Room, saw the real Space Shuttle Atlantis, did a bunch of simulators, and even did an immersive attraction that was like a real Space Shuttle Launch. It was very loud and vibrated like crazy. There was still so much we missed, but we had a great time. We'd do it again (if not to see the IMAX movies).

We were exhausted, but the next day we got up early to get out to the beach. We had an amazing and fun lunch at JB's Fish Camp where we fell in love with the Indian River. It would be so fun to live on a boat and tour the river restaurants and marinas.

Our main goal was the Canaveral National Seashore, a long stretch of channel island that included the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral at its southern end. We wanted to check out the park, so we went down the road to it after lunch. When we got to the gate, there was an officer who turned us away. The place was full for Mother's Day! They said we could try again later, so we turned around and headed back to the fish camp.

We talked about going back in and getting drinks riverside before changing our minds and walking across the street to the beach. We were finally at the ocean! We hadn't spent much time at the actual ocean yet, so this was a treat. We walked a distance and then came back, just to walk in the surf with our toes in the sand. Margot wore her swimsuit so she could get out in the ocean for a bit. It was gorgeous and such a fun time.

Canaveral National Seashore was set to close in an hour, so we thought we'd try again. This time, we got through. We did our visiting at the visitor center, and then we went over to Turtle Mound. Florida is very, very flat. But a long time ago the Timucuan people ate a lot of oysters. They piled up near the shore, and now it is a small hill. The park service built a boardwalk to allow you to walk to the top of it (and a bit higher on a platform), and you can see all the way around it. The Atlantic Ocean is on one side, and the river system is on the other. It was a very cool thing to see.

We drove around the park a bit before heading back to Orlando. It was a quick trip and we wished we had more time there (the site was really nice), but we had more of Florida to see. Sometimes there just isn't enough time to relax!

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