a floridays journey

a floridays journey

2023 Recap

We did not travel as much as we wanted to in 2023. Mostly due to the campgrounds being booked in the winter and spring, so we took that time and redesigned our front yard with native plants and added a driveway so Floridays will have a proper spot in our side yard. We were actually picked to be on the Florida Native Plant Society Yard tour.

Number of trips – GoalWe did not have a nightly goal but wanted to get out of Florida camping which we accomplished when we camped at Jekyll Island in GA
Number of trips – Actual13
Number of miles driven:5791
Number of State Parks visited:3 additional to the ones we camped at
Number of State Parks we camped at:9
Number of county parks camped at:3
Number of National Parks camped at:2
Number of nights camping:45
Easiest thing:Driving the van
Hardest thing:Planning the trips as most Florida campgrounds are full and we are more last minute planners.
Most important thing we learned:To be flexible sometimes plans change and you need to go with the flow
Most memorable encounter:Margaret: Dolphins in Bimini
Wayne: Sunrise at Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
What are we looking forward to for 2024:More nights in the van, exploring outside Florida to possibly Okefenokee or Cado Lake.

The wildlife we saw this year was abundant. Some firsts for us was the rattlesnake at Mahogany Hammock in the Everglades, Flamingos in the Everglades, Gulf Fritillary butterflies and beetles in scat at Lake Louisa State Park, seeing and learning about the scrub cattle and Florida Cracker horse at Lake Kissimmee state park. Exploring Florida does not get old. From the swamps, to the prairie, hammocks, and pine-lands to the springs and beaches Florida’s environment is very diverse.

Waynes Favorite Photos of the year

Great Blue Herons, Apopka Wildlife Drive
Osprey fly over, Apopka Wildlife Drive
Snowy Egret feeding, Apopka Wildlife Drive
Lemon shark off Big Pine Key
Sunrise, Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, GA
Cypress tree with fall colors on Lake Norris

Margarets favorite photos of the year

Male Wood Duck on Silver Springs
Cypress tree with fall colors on Lake Norris
Greater Flamingos in Everglades National Park
Me filming Spotted Dolphin in Bimini, Bahamas

These travels would not be fun or enjoyable without my better half going along for the ride. There are no complaints when going down rivers infested with mosquitoes and having to duck into his kayak to get under mangrove roots.

Wayne going through the mangrove tunnels on Turner River in Big Cypress.

We only have 1 trip planned for 2024 so it will be interesting to see what the year brings.

NOTE: All photos and videos are the property of Wayne and Margaret Shoemake. Please click on the contact us page and email us if you want to use any of the photos or video.