50 Things we learned about on our Florida road trip

We’re back! We got back Tuesday and are still unpacking, catching up on emails and otherwise recuperating from our 13 day adventure.

Along the way to Florida and back, we explored Iowa, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri and perhaps a few more that I’ve forgotten.

On the way down, we went as fast as possible, not really stopping much until we hit the Georgia coast (which we loved).

From there, we drove down into historic St. Augustine (where we explored a fabulous and enormous fort and much of the country’s oldest colonized city) and spent a couple of days in Jacksonville and neighboring beaches, then to Ocala to stay with our friend’s parents.  Guy and Val (plus her mother) took the girls to Universal Studios and the Harry Potter theme park on one of the days we were down there, and we all went to a museum and butterfly house together, plus swam and explored.

On the way back, we took our time and headed to the Gulf coast first.  We drove all along that, stopping in several cities and beaches (and an island or two!).  We took the long way and drove all the way to the Mississippi coast, where we made a special trip to Gulfport to see the effects of the oil spill (that should be a post of its own), then started our mad drive home.

The kids absolutely loved it, and our friends Guy and Val seemed to really enjoy their family road trip with the kids.  They are already asking where to go next!

The weather was divine (high seventies and low eighties, blue skies every day!) and the beaches were beautiful and diverse.

I loved how every beach had a different character and feel, and there were different sorts of treasures at each.  For instance, one had dozens of tiny jellyfish washed up all over.  At another, we watched dozens of horseshoe crabs come just to the edge of the shore to mate as the waves lapped at them and buried the females.

Here’s a list we made up in the car of things we had learned about. These are the things we really experienced and learned a lot about (or made a big impact), but obviously there were hundreds more!

  1. The Gulf oil spill
  2. palm trees
  3. mullet fish
  4. Florida history
  5. horseshoe crabs
  6. how to spell Mississippi
  7. beach safety flags
  8. gluten allergies (Guy is allergic to gluten and many other things, and it was a huge ordeal at every stop and restaurant)
  9. hang gliding
  10. hibachi grill restaurants (the kids LOVED our fun chef who set things on fire and flung food into our mouths!)
  11. Waffle Houses
  12. 80’s rock bands and singers
  13. St. Augustine
  14. the UV scale (at the Georgia beach, we looked up the UV index for the day and it was a perfect 7 on a scale of 1 to 14, while back home in MN it was 1!)
  15. jellyfish
  16. Southern accents
  17. Universal Studios
  18. a 600 year old tree (and the history it saw)
  19. flood myths from various cultures and religions
  20. fetal development
  21. Spanish moss
  22. the Atlantic Ocean
  23. progesterone
  24. kudzu
  25. Spanish history
  26. the Gulf of Mexico
  27. black Seminoles
  28. butterflies
  29. shellstone
  30. sushi
  31. forts
  32. Mardis Gras
  33. religion
  34. roller coasters
  35. mule deer
  36. Florida cowboys (the museum had an extensive exhibit)
  37. clams and how they burrow into the sand
  38. sweet tea
  39. Florida Native American tribes
  40. grits, key lime pie and hush puppies
  41. German (Victoria got her Harry Potter pamphlet in German and did educational German apps on the drive)
  42. sunburn science
  43. sand (types, composition, cool things to do with it….)
  44. deer ticks and Lyme Disease
  45. keys, peninsulas and other geographic formations
  46. Georgia (back roads, small towns, beaches, plants, foods, economic state, birds…)
  47. oysters, sand dollars and other shells and creatures
  48. cannons
  49. states, geography, maps
  50. politics (republicans, democrats, liberals, conservatives, fiscal conservatives, tea partiers, famous political families and politicians, changes in parties over time, key issues, socialism, communism, Ayn Rand, Big Brother, 1984, libertarians…)

It was such an amazing adventure and such a wonderful experience for the kids.  Val and Victoria took a billion pictures each and my camera was out of commission for a chunk of the trip, so I am hoping to snag some of their pictures too.

This is why we have a 25 year old couch and a Freecycle rug, why I make dinners from scratch and shop at thrift stores for clothes.  🙂  Travel is the most fabulous gift I can give my kids.  I am so happy they got to experience all of this!

I’ll post more soon!

It’s great to be back… mostly.  😉


9 thoughts on “50 Things we learned about on our Florida road trip

  1. “This is why we have a 25 year old couch and a Freecycle rug, why I make dinners from scratch and shop at thrift stores for clothes. Travel is the most fabulous gift I can give my kids. I am so happy they got to experience all of this!”


    Looks and sounds like a wonderful trip, full of learning and growing together! Also, you are a great photographer! Wow!

    Super-refreshing to see pictures of the actual land, sea and sky of Florida, instead of just swanky houses and Disney. Thank you!


  2. Loved the pics of Jack and the birds (or was that Alex?) and the one of Anna with the ship in the background. I’m sure that Toria has some phenomenal ones as well. Can’t wait for more!!


  3. Your pictures have me considering a FL trip as soon as we can manage it!
    Glad to see you back–I have missed reading your blog!


  4. I love all the pictures! It looks like you had so much fun. The beaches look so different from our So Cal beaches. Now I want to go! Horseshoe crabs are one of my favorite and you took an awesome picture.


  5. That all sounds *fabulous!* I love the road trips I get to take with my kiddos when we travel for Mom’s Breastaurant. Awesome stuff 🙂 As for ‘where to go next’ … there are beaches in CA …


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