Our next stop was Palmetto, FL, just south of St. Petersburg. We were lucky to get a reservation anywhere in the area, considering that we didn’t make reservations until just a month or two prior. We ended up at Fiesta Grove. It is primarily a full time residence park, which we don’t typically like. However, we found it to be very clean, quiet and friendly. We had a very large paved lot close to the pool. We’d have no issue staying there again. It was centrally located for us, as we were visiting lots of family and friends within a 20 mile radius of the park. We also felt safe leaving the RV there for the weekend when we headed to St. Petersburg to stay with friends.
We enjoyed catching up with many friends and relatives. We also really enjoyed our stay in downtown St. Petersburg with good friends, and fellow RVers, Van and Jane. We had lots of fun walking around the downtown area, shopping at the Saturday Farmer’s Market and eating at various local restaurants. The Farmer’s Market is fabulous and our favorite was the Red Mesa Mexican Restaurant. We highly recommend it.
One morning we drove over to Ft DeSoto Park for a photography shoot. We were on the hunt for birds and a nice sunrise. The early morning colors in the sky were spectacular.
Following a week in the St. Petersburg area we made our way down to Ft. Myers. We were scheduled to spend a week there. However, we did not care for our RV park so we cut our visit short by a few days. We stayed at the Ft. Myers Beach Encore RV Resort. The positive was the staff was very friendly and the park was centrally located for getting to the beach. The negative was we were crammed in next to our neighbor so much so that we could not even put up the small outdoor window shade without touching our neighbor’s RV. The roads were very narrow, no more room than the width of an RV. Across from us were cabins and cars parked in front of them. We had to search around for the car owners and get them to move their vehicles before we could pull the RV out. We would not stay at this park again.
Cramped space, as seen from our RV window.
During our stay in Ft. Myers we toured Sanibel Island. It is a beautiful island with fabulous beaches. The island is also home to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We enjoyed a slow drive and occasional walk through the refuge, spotting many birds and even an eagle, along the way.
We spent an afternoon kayaking in Lovers State Park. We spotted numerous manatees and dolphins swimming nearby.
On another day we visited the Audobon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, referred to as the Western Everglades. We strolled along the 2.5 mile boardwalk through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America (www.corkscrew.audubon.org). We spotted alligators, snakes and numerous birds, including an owl. It was an enjoyable adventure.
It was a little too chilly to hang out at the beach and since we felt we had seen what we had desired to see in the area and did not want to hang out at the RV park, we packed up and headed to Naples.