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Published: March 4th 2012
Today we drove from Key Largo, back up to Miami up the Florida Turnpike (beware of the toll roads, everything is chargeable but you just have to accept it as it takes a picture of your number plate and charges the car hire company automatically!) and across the Everglades National Park on the interstate 41 (also known as the Tamiami trail).
As you move across the Everglades, you see more and more adverts for airboat rides, so we decided to stop in a little place called 'Coopertown Airboats'. Little did we realise, there were much bigger places further along the road, if only we had waited a little longer - so don't go to the first place you see!
The airboat glides across the top of the water, and we were given cotton balls (very upmarket!) to protect our ears from the sound of the boat - which is really loud. The tour was actually really good - the boat goes fast, and the everglades is a mix of narrow lanes of water surrounded by marshland and copses of trees.
We saw a few alligators, which came right up to the boat, and plenty of wildlife. The tour
guide was enthusiastic and friendly - and certainly knew his stuff. He pointed out birds to us such as the large grey heron and the grey ibis.
The tour lasted about 45 minutes, and we then walked around the few alligators that were in pens back at the land (the places further along the road were a lot larger and I'm guessing would have a lot more to offer in this department).
We then continued along towards the east coast. We planned to stay in Naples, but as it was presidents day weekend all the hotels were booked, so we ended up booking a hotel in a place called Ft. Myers, around 15 miles from Naples. We actually went to Naples on the way, and parked on the harbourside to take a look around.
The first thing you notice about Naples is the number of retired and older people there - the place is very relaxed, very upmarket, and surrounded by what americans call 'gated communities' - big areas which everything you would ever need inside them - where people live when they have retired and have lots of money!
After a whistle stop tour of
Naples, we then drove up to Ft. Myers and settled into our hotel, a Comfort Inn, cheap but perfect for what we needed.
That evening, we went down to the local shopping district, a massive place known as the 'Gulf Coast Town Centre' (www.gulfcoasttowncenter.com
) for a lovely meal to finish the day.
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