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Vero Beach - The Journey – Drive From Key Largo (and back to Orlando)


Yes it took eight hours, but you could normally do this drive a lot quicker however these were the stops I made along the way:


Key Largo Conch House for breakfast and shopping


John Pennekamp Park for sightseeing and shopping


Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, for sightseeing, swimming and lunch (conch fritters did not agree with me though.)  A great spot if you fancy somewhere a little different, but if you have the option of swimming at your first hotel – Coconut Palm Inn in Key Largo or the next one – Costa D'Este in Vero Beach personally I'd skip it.  The dry tour (not swimming) is a $1 and parking is not great on a Saturday so remember there is a parking lot across the street.  (Don't park anywhere else – this is Coral Gables – posh neighbourhood and they don't take bad parking lightly.)


Scenic driving tour through Miami, all the way to the beach, very slow as the traffic is extremely slow on Saturday but worth it to see all the Art Deco buildings and incredible mansions along the old Route 1 up the East Coast.  Also nice to see the change in neighbourhoods as you head up through Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.


Gumbo Limbo – incredible place which I visited to see rescued turtles and it didn't disappoint.  Fast Track – a green turtle who races round his tank with one arm spinning him in a circle is one I fell in love with and seeing the loggerhead turtles up close is also awe inspiring.  If there is one thing that will get you to cut down your plastic bag and bottle usage it is visiting these guys.  There is also a research facility filled with hundreds of baby turtles.  At first some of this looks cruel as there are many turtles separated in plastic boxes and some attached to leashes in buckets… until you read through.  The turtles are kept here a few weeks for research and are separated as they are not social animals and do not like being in close proximity to each other.  Also the ones on leashes are turtles which naturally swim as far as they can when hatched, so if they are not restrained in some way they will bash themselves on the side of the tank.  There is also a cool box at the front of the building for people to drop in recovered turtle hatchlings – so cute.


Morikami Japanese Gardens- too late – they were closing up for the night when I got here, but if you make it a little bit earlier apparently this has one of the best restaurants in any museum or state park.


The drive back to Orlando is a very easy drive of about an hour and a half, but make sure you factor in extra time for weather and traffic.


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