Northeastern Florida

Northeastern Florida

May 12th through 25th, 2024

We were wrapping up our loop across the panhandle of Florida, down the Gulf Coast to Key Largo and Key West, and up the Atlantic side. We found ourselves near St. Augustine in the small, rural town of Georgetown. On the map, it looked like we'd be in the woods and nothing more. But it turned out our campground was on the St. Johns River, a big waterway with lots of restaurants and camps on it. Also, it had peacocks. And they were loud. But they made us laugh.

When we got to the campground, the owner was a bit overwhelmed with how monstrous we are. We pulled into a site and discovered we were too tall. So, the first order of business was to get the campground involved in cutting branches. It was a festive way to start our stay. Then, we went down the road a mile or two to sit on a restaurant's deck and have dinner on the river. It was lovely.

Being on the St. Johns River meant Margot was able to kayak. She went out on the river quite a few times and went some pretty far distances. The river was pretty amazing.

One night, our phones woke us up with a tornado warning. We grabbed Lacey and went a short distance to the cinderblock building with the restrooms in it. A few other campers were there, and we hung out with them to wait it out. Everyone was really nice, and there was no tornado. It wasn't even windy, really, so the whole experience was weird.

We also hadn't had much of a refrigerator for a little while. Our freezer was the refrigerator, and the refrigerator was barely cool. We finally got someone to coordinate with Whirlpool to have someone fix our year-old refrigerator (it needed a compressor already). It was very nice to have that back when they were done.

Our touring was mostly to the east and in the St. Augustine area. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the continental United States, and there is a lot of history there. We were finding that any ocean-side town with a major waterway on it would have old forts that protected it long ago. We went to see Fort Matanzas first.

You can only go to the fort with the park rangers in their boat, and we were able to get tickets. It was just across the river, so it was a short trip. We got to tour the fort and after we left, they fired one of the cannons. Cool!

We had time after that to go to the Castillo de San Marcos site. Fort Matanzas was small, but the Castillo was huge. Fort Matanzas was a little out of the way while the Castillo was in town. And it was very busy on a Saturday, so it took a lot of circling before we got a parking spot.

It was very hot, and the place was packed. The fort was really cool, how it was restored. We also spent some time looking out on the water at all of the boats. The highlight was watching a Cruisin' Tiki with people having drinks try to get through all of the boat traffic. There was a pirate ship on the water (a tour), and it was firing cannons at another boat for a show as the Tiki went through. It was hysterical.

We took advantage of our awesome parking spot to walk across the street for a lovely, early dinner in air conditioning. The views continued to be awesome.

Fort Caroline was our next stop, a location it shares with the Timucuan Preserve. It was raining when we arrived, but the rain let up and we were able to go on the short hike to see the restored fort. We also had a break in the weather to spend a bit of time on their dock just enjoying the river views.

Like most everything we do, these excursions were planned. We liked St. Augustine so much that we scheduled a Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour of the town on our last full day there. We really love them, because it's a great way to see the city. We rode it for just a few stops before getting off the trolley to walk over to the Columbia Restaurant. It's the oldest restaurant in the country's oldest town. How cool is that? The experience was awesome, but the food was only mediocre as a tourist stop.

We rode around most of the loop until we came to the stop right before our starting point. There, we visited Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archeological Park (say that five times fast). It was still very hot, so it was nice to hang out in theaters, learn about the place, and drink from the actual spring they decided was the Fountain of Youth back in the day (the water was kind of nasty, but we drank it anyway).

We saw more peacocks, and Margot bought some seed corn to feed them. We managed to get on the trolley in time to get back to our stop. It was an awesome time in St. Augustine.

We really enjoyed our time in the trees in Georgetown, and we were sad that our tour of Florida was over. For now!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. What an interesting area to visit! I really enjoy your pictures as these are places I have not been to see. Thanks for your beautiful work, Monica.

    1. It really was such a pretty place! St. Augustine was a really cool town.

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