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Canoeing with Gators at Kings Landing

Our first post comes from a trip not far from home. Everyone thinks you need to travel out of the country for an ‘out of this world’ experience but it’s surprising the hidden gems you can find just a few hours from your house.

Would you swim with alligators?

The Adventure

We found a hidden (or so we thought) gem called King’s Landing just 30 minutes north of Disney World. As Game of Thrones fans, we had to go. Our first attempt was a FAIL. We arrived at 10:30am on a Sunday and there were no rentals available. This time around, we arrived at 8:45am and were surprised they were already out of double kayaks, but still had canoes.

The trip started out calm. Slowly we pull away from the inlet into what must be the slowest moving river in Florida. Once we met the river, we were welcomed with a palm tree that had grown so far across the river it could barely support itself anymore.

We paddled down the river enjoying the views of riverfront houses and families fishing. With no cell service, you have no choice but to relax. All you can do is sit back and crack open a drink (bring a tumbler)!

Just after this house we came across our first alligator! The story goes that every body of water in Florida has had a gator in it at some point… this river was INFESTED. I’ve always watched gators from afar, so I figured we’d run into a few. I don’t think Jenelle expected to see any, based on her subtle panic attack.

I recommend the FULL 9 mile trip to enjoy all the lilies and desolate forest. There is an option to turn back after the first mile marker, but not nearly as a fulfilling experience as the 9 mile trip.

We separated from other travelers on the river for some privacy to talk and enjoy a hard seltzer. A bit ahead in the river, I saw something… it was an alligator!! No more than 30 feet ahead of us, in a 20 foot wide river is a gator cruising our direction. We quickly stop our canoe and had the most eerie showdown. Somehow we understood each-other the same way two cars trying to pass on a narrow street understood each-other. We pulled to the side while we watched him use his tail to safely slither past us.

We end our trip at what must be one of the strangest ‘island getaways’ I’ve ever seen. Wekiva Island seems like your average pools bar with cabanas, lounge chains and people swimming with inflatable rafts. Would you swim with alligators?! If I hadn’t just seen SEVEN gators on our trip it would have seemed like a perfectly relaxing way to spend my weekend. We were fine to just have a beer and be on our way.

Food

I died and went to sushi heaven.

It wouldn’t be a true Florida adventure without being offered a little bit of a gator food. We just opted for a drink but they had gator tacos and even a fried gator tail! As tempted as we were Jenelle was HARD set on a sushi place in a cute small town not far from us – Wave restaurant in Mount Dora. It was probably 20 minutes out of our way, but worth it! This place posts the most ridiculous sushi PORN on instagram. The price was reasonable considering the amount of fish they load onto everything. The sushi hotdog, yes hotdog – was freaking amazing. We also ordered sushi nachos and signature rolls. I died and went to sushi heaven.

How to find the time (and money)

King’s Landing was quite the adventure, but it wasn’t quick to get to. Knowing we needed to get there early we got a cheap hotel outside of Disney (about $120/night) and made a trip out of it by visiting the boardwalk in Disney Springs the night before. We avoided the outrageous food prices at Disney by grabbing quick food on our drive over, but still got to enjoy the scenery and entertainment. All said and done, we made it home with our entire Saturday evening still open, though we took it to catch up on sleep.

Essentials

  • Water-proof backpack
  • Yeti tumblers
  • Water shoes
  • Beers & cooler
  • Towels (for cushions)
  • Camera
  • CASH!! (Kings Landing is CASH ONLY)

Spending a conference in HOLLYWOOD!! …Florida

We watched storms roll over the coast from our hotel room balcony. Not too shabby Hollywood!

The hills is all we know HOLLYWOOD, *Florida !

Hollywood, Florida is a small beach town just 20 minutes outside of Fort Lauderdale. Before attending a conference in Hollywood – we drove out a day early to enjoy a night out in Fort Lauderdale. It started off with Jenelle trying the electric scooters for the first time. Let’s just say, it would have been faster to walk…

Miami definitely rubs off on Fort Lauderdale – between the Ferraris, swanky brunch attire and high priced drinks … we were a bit out of a place but we had a BLAST. We started with the best 4-7PM happy hour in Ft. Lauderdale at El Camino with $2 tacos and $5 margaritas. Afterwards we hit up American Social for a classic bar experience and then headed to Rhythm and Vine for an outdoor chill vibe. Miles got yelled at by a drunk guy for ALLEGEDLY cutting him in the bar line then he bought Miles a drink… so first they’re sour then sweet? Then we headed to America’s Backyard for a pool party themed bar, where Miles got ANOTHER free beer… and guys say chicks get all the free drinks!

There was a Polynesian dance act along with FOUR bachelorette parties… definitely a popular fun spot!!

We finally ended the night with tacos and bacon guacamole. The next day we were ready to hit the beach!! The traffic on the Ft. Lauderdale beach strip was horrible (in the middle of summer!), so we decided to go down to Hollywood beach where our hotel was. The two locations seem to be polar opposites to each other. Ft. Lauderdale is overpopulated, with a road almost on the beach, and Hollywood is tranquil but almost seems abandoned. What Hollywood gains in peaceful beaches it loses in empty buildings. With the same beautiful view we gladly took the unpopular choice over the masses. The weather wasn’t the best day for the beach but it just made for better pictures!

The beaches were beautiful, clean and well kept – it made us wonder why there was so many deserted motels…

In between rain storms, we walked down the boardwalk to find a place to eat (its also bike-friendly with bike lanes!). We stopped at a hole in the wall restaurant on the beach and you could tell they didn’t get much business. The server wouldn’t even let us order the crab dip which had been sitting out for ‘too long to serve’. At least the drinks were good!

After this picture was taken we had to quickly move inside due to the typical Florida little monsoons!

We got to see quite a few interesting things while spending some time in Hollywood. We noticed a jet ski rental attendee working with a bird, yes an actual bird, chilling on his shoulder… only in Florida! But nothing could beat the view of the sunrise over the ocean.

I wasn’t expecting a family to be on the adjacent balcony when I went snapped this wearing a towel

Jenelle was able to work from the balcony and hotel pool with incredible views… when it wasn’t raining. I guess that’s just one of the differences between a tropical and desert Hollywood. Overall we had a great time seeing the night life in Ft. Lauderdale and enjoying drinks on the beach of Hollywood.

Tips:

  • Fort Lauderdale is EXPENSIVE but not as bad as Miami… Check out happy hour deals otherwise expect to pay $13 for average cocktails
  • The hotspots in Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood are either a long walk or short Uber from each other so you can hit them all in a day
  • Check out what your accommodation has to offer for working spaces – I worked in multiple spots around our hotel resort, but charging up the laptop is KEY!

About Us

Traveling brings people together and it certainly did that for us. We’re Jenelle and Miles and we’re just about as opposite as you could get. Never thought a Jersey girl at heart coming from the northeast would end up with a southern California boy. We started dating while living halfway across the county but we always found a way to travel together.

We hiked through the rockies in Banff (Jenelle’s favorite place)

In our first year together we visited 6 countries and more cities than we can count on our hands. We both work full time but continue to travel the world seeking beautiful views and enjoying cold drinks along the way.

We’ve done quick trips to Costa Rica – staying in beautiful resorts overlooking coves and mountains on all sides. Which sounds perfect, but the trip started with Jenelle puking over the side of the rental car while I nervously drove a stick down windy roads. Sometimes traveling is a lot a work and a little uncomfortable but it’s always worth it.

We never cleaned the puke off the car… but this is us being super touristy in Jaco, Costa Rica!

We’re not embarrassed by the good, bad and especially the ugly, because it’s all part of the fun. And who knows… maybe getting travelers diarrhea together while traveling in morocco makes you a stronger couple? I guess we’ll just have to find out!

A selfie of us riding dromedaries in the Sahara Desert (this was pre – food poisoning)