Off the Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path: Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Thanks to bridge construction, the next part of our trip almost didn't happen.  It was scheduled, planned, booked, etc, but while we visited rocket ships in Alabama, the Outer Banks lost power.  All of the Outer Banks, including our destination: Cape Hatteras National Seashore.        While contractors were digging the pilings for a new… Continue reading Off The Beaten Path: Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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Off the Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path: Biscayne National Park

Sometimes a little spontaneity pays off.  After leaving Key West and stopping in Big Pine Key for breakfast, we headed off to an unscheduled national park.  We pulled into the Dante Fascell Visitor Center of Biscayne National Park at 10:00am. We had not originally planned to stop at Biscayne.  However, the Junior Ranger badge for… Continue reading Off The Beaten Path: Biscayne National Park

Off the Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path: Dry Tortugas National Park

While most of the island visitors were still sound asleep, we headed into downtown Key West to the Ferry Terminal.  On the way downtown, we encountered something unique to Key West - the famous Key West Gypsy Chickens.  We parked the car and crossed the street to the Ferry Terminal.  A short wait in line… Continue reading Off The Beaten Path: Dry Tortugas National Park

Off the Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path: Everglades National Park

When thinking of Florida, most people picture beaches, Disney World, dolphins.  Why not swamps?  Much of Florida is swampland just waiting to be explored, including Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades. The Everglades includes three visitor centers, all miles apart.  Driving between them would take several hours, which indicates the sheer size of this National… Continue reading Off The Beaten Path: Everglades National Park

Off the Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path: Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

After a day of driving and beaches, my legs ached for some stretching and we were ready for some new scenery.  Just outside of Naples, Florida, is Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve, our first stop for the day.  I originally planned a visit to the Welcome Center followed by driving the scenic Loop Road through… Continue reading Off The Beaten Path: Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path: Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is not actually off the beaten path as the title implies. I do not have a category for "tourist traps based on nature". After dinner, we took time for a walk on the beach with ten-thousand of our closest friends.  The gulf beaches are acclaimed for their beauty and people generally seem… Continue reading Off the Beaten Path: Fort Myers Beach

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path: Grant Park (in the sun)

Here comes the sun (do do do do).  Are you singing along?  Finally, after a day and a half of rain, the sun came out on our trip to Chicago.  We had spent the day indoors at the Field Museum of Natural History, and we were ready for a walk. Before completely leaving Museum Campus,… Continue reading Off the Beaten Path: Grant Park (in the sun)

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path: Grant Park (in the rain)

Chicago hosts several beautiful parks along Lake Michigan, but Grant Park is absolutely my favorite. Bordered by Michigan Avenue on the West and Lake Shore Drive on the East, Grant Park is south of the Art Institute of Chicago and north of the Museum Campus.  Home to numerous fields, baseball diamonds, and fountains, including our… Continue reading Off the Beaten Path: Grant Park (in the rain)

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path: Little Canyon River National Preserve

After leaving the US Space and Rocket Center, we headed to Little Canyon River National Preserve.  Unfortunately, the visitor center was closed when we arrived, which meant we couldn’t get our passport book stamped, so we will have to go back some other time.  We drove into the park a little ways to a scenic… Continue reading Off the Beaten Path: Little Canyon River National Preserve

Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path: Mammoth Caves

When we left the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park we were doing great on time.  We knew we needed to be at Mammoth Caves in time to eat lunch before the 12:45pm tour which I had scheduled online.  Unfortunately, what we didn’t know was the GPS was going to take us to the completely… Continue reading Off the Beaten Path: Mammoth Caves