It was so nice to catch up on sleep on this trip. While I still had to wake up around 6:15, getting a good 8-9 hours was awesome. While Harper does make funny noises throughout the night, she doesn’t actually wake up. She’s so good to us!
Once the alarm went off, we changed and fed Harper, and enjoyed coffee and muffins on the patio while we watched people run up and down the beachside. There was a 5k of some sort going on and quite a lot of people! We eventually joined them for a stroll about a mile up the coast to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
Originally, we were going to do an hour long drive to the Everglades to explore for the day, but we opted to keep it local and do the Park instead. It was a nice morning; about 80 degrees and a bit humid but the beach breeze made it really nice. Once we got into the Preserve, the trees blocked the breeze and it was muggy and HOT. We had to be careful with Harper since her stroller was not vented and the little fan was just not cooling enough. We also quickly realized that the trails were not paved and off-roading in the stroller was pretty bumpy. Ryan walked in the front on the trails to help lift the stroller over big roots in the path that were pretty frequent.
After we found our way along the trail, we came up to this massive, 20O+ year old tree. The only thing I’ve ever seen like it was was in El Salvador, but I think this one was bigger. It seemed like the roots grew out from the top and then down, making more and more trunks from the same tree as it grew. So cool!
As we walked, we also noticed about a million mosquitos and we didn’t bring our bug spray. Mozzies love me and I was getting eaten right and left. The trail led us into marshy section and this guy in front of us was being followed by 20+ mosquitoes. The trail was slightly flooded so we decided to turn around and walk on the paved road instead where there were not as many mosquitoes. Harper was getting hot so we were holding her as well. After about an hour of walking, we decided to turn around instead of continue the loop so we didn’t overheat. Overall, the park was nice but would have been much better on a cool day with bug spray. Thank goodness we didn’t go to the Everglades instead!
Thankfully, a quick shower helped us cool down and we were back out the door to head to the water Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi station about 5 mins down the road. The closest station was pretty shallow, so only the small water taxis stoped there and you had to call ahead. I did and the lady said it would be about a 20-30 minute wait for the next taxi. We hung out under the shade of a tree and a few more families showed up. About 45 mins in, we were getting impatient and I called again and the girl said it would be another 20 minutes, not the next way to spend vacation time. Some do the families decided to walk another .5 miles to the next station. We decided it wait it out and finally, after an hour, a taxi showed up. Good thing we waited since some of the walkers didn’t make it to the stop in time to be picked up by our boat (Yikes!).
We got settled and put Harper’s headphones on so it wouldn’t be too loud for her between the boat engine and the taxi driver’s speaker. The driver pointed out the big homes along the drive, who owned them, the cost, and the major yachts that went with them. The sheer number of billionaires that had places along the canals was incredible and the boats were really impressive.
Harper was so interested in looking all around. It was about a 45 minute ride to Stop #2 of Los Olas Blvd where we were going to hop off for lunch. Just a few minutes before our stop, I moved my hand from holding Harper and realized it was slightly wet. Oh no! I tried not to panic Ryan and asked him gently to get the diapers and wipes out. I had poop all over my leg and it was all the way up Harper’s back to her neck. It was probably one of her biggest blow outs yet. Ryan got the wipes out but put them on top of the diaper bag and then put them back in the diaper bag and shut it. He didn’t understand what was happening so I had to tell him. He couldn’t hear me over the engine so I raised Harper up like Simba in the Lion King and showed him. His eyes went really wide as he saw the organge, goo all up her back, and it was business time. We got the wipes out and her outfit was just completely destroyed. Thankfully, I had a change of clothes in the diaper bag (and diapers this time!), so it was a quick change. Both the diaper and the onesie went into the garbage. There was no saving that really adorable outfit! As soon as the bag was packed, it was time to hop off the taxi. We cut it really close but everything was fine and we had a good laugh about it all.
We hopped off a taxi and were on our way to find something to eat. At this point it was 1:30 in the afternoon and we had breakfast at 6 AM so we were starving. El Camino was the first restaurant we came across and looked really good so we got a patio table. I ordered a strawberry basil margarita, chips and salsa, and we split some tacos. They were really tasty and filled us right up. Of course, Harper got her second lunch of the day at that time too. We only had about an hour left because I had to get back to the hotel and pump. Being on a 4 to 4 1/2 hour schedule really does make things a little complicated and the hour wait to get on the taxi really messed that up.
There were a few people walking around the boulevard with drinks in their hand so I asked the waiter if he could take some margaritas to go and he said the boulevard is actually open container! With two margaritas in hand, we started walking the boulevard. There were tons of really cute boutiques and galleries. I would’ve loved to go through all of them but we didn’t really have time. Effusion Gallery caught our eye and allowed drinks inside, so we popped in for a look. We like to buy art when we go places because there’s so much more meeting than just going to home goods and buying something off the shelf. We started this trend when we were in Santa Fe with a piece of abstract art featuring Marilyn Monroe. Given this was Harper’s first vacation, we had to get her something!
There were these really cool donut pieces of art that could not have been more perfect. Harper’s favorite onesie that she wears all the time has donuts on it and the donut art fate! While it doesn’t really match her room, it will definitely go somewhere in our house and will go with her for the rest of her life. We ended up buying three donuts and the gallery owner told us that the artist was actually her daughter. She was one of nine kids! The art had so much more meeting with our love for donuts for Harper and then the fact that this gallery owner’s daughter made the art.
With our big purchase made and ready to ship we had to walk back to the water taxi. We made it just in time to do a quick FaceTime call with my parents at the taxi station, check out some iguanas that were hanging out on the dock, and then hop on the boat. It was about a 45 minute ride back to our stop and went relatively easy compared to the first go-round. Harper was an angel, of course, and the weather was nice. This taxi driver definitely as an interesting facts about the homes etc. We even passed International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum which has the highest diving planks in the world at 880 feet. You if you drive off the top, you enter the water going over 55 miles an hour! The only other diving platform in the world that is as tall is in China! Really interesting to see considering I used to be a swimmer.
We were pretty exhausted and sweaty by the time we got back to the hotel. We freshened up and decided to take a bit of a siesta before heading out to dinner. We had reservations at a waterfront restaurant called Shooters Waterfront. Shooters was one of the stops on the water taxi route but, after how long the taxi took, we decided to drive there in our rental car. There was also a storm rolling in so we took a risk by sitting on the patio where we had a good view of the canal and all of the boats going by. One of the waiters kept running up and down the wharf yelling at the boats to slow down because they were causing too much of a wake.
I ordered this absolutely amazing strawberry frozen lemonade. It was probably one of the best drinks I’ve had in a long time (but also probably also a ton of calories – eh, it’s vacation!). Harper was very interested in trying some, but I only let her touch the glass.
I also had macadamia-crusted mahi-mahi with a peanut curry sauce. It was pretty decent but could’ve used some basil and a little more salt. Shooters was our least favorite meal of the entire trip.
We are pretty exhausted when we came home. We fed Harper and, while doing so, Ryan discovered his new favorite show Below Deck. It was dreaming on Bravo the entire trip and we ended up watching it every time we were back in the room! Ryan wanted us to sign-up for Peacock so he could watch it from start to finish. His obsession was is OK with me because it might inspire a chartered boat trip through the islands at some point, right?! I am always thinking of the next place to go and how to get Ryan’s OK to go there!
Ps. If you are a new mom or day and traveling with a little munchkin, I put together a quick guide with tons of tips and tricks for traveling with a kid. Check it out!