Birthday Trip 2016 – Little Palm Island and Jules Undersea Lodge
Growing up, I went to the Florida Keys every summer for a week or so to stay with my grandparents and go fishing. They were retired, but fished for 7 hours a day or so everyday except Sunday. They lived on Little Torch Key and as we were heading out to their fishing spot, we would always pass Little Palm Island. I have wanted to stay there since then and finally got the chance for my birthday trip this year. We drove down from Tampa and took the boat shuttle out to Little Palm Island in the early afternoon. The island is beautifully landscaped and the rooms are nice also. There is also a pool and a giant size chess board. It is a very relaxing spot. However, if interested you can take out a kayak, paddle board, etc or sign up for different activities. The meals were all excellent and we looked forward to going to each meal. We saw dolphins, manatees, iguanas, and a Key Deer in addition to a lot of waterbirds. Our next stop was Jules Undersea Lodge. As the name implies, this lodge is located underwater, in a lagoon in the northern Florida Keys. You either have to be SCUBA certified or do what we did and take a Discover SCUBA course and pass the exam to be able to swim to the underwater habitat. It was a little stressful learning SCUBA under the conditions that you couldn’t go to the hotel without it, but the instructor was very helpful and got us through the course. The lagoon is actually off of a canal and there is not a lot of fish passing through, but it was still a very unique experience. We even got underwater pizza delivery for dinner. The lodge has a living quarters, bathroom, and living room/kitchen area with fridge. There is someone above water that you can contact at any time with any issues. Our final stop was Venice, Florida. My wife had been a few times as a kid and it is one of he best places to find shark teeth. We stayed at the Inn at the Beach which was a nice location where we could walk to the beach. The next morning we went to Caspersen Beach which is probably the best place to find sharks teeth in Florida from what I’ve read. We found around 10 teeth even though a number of other people had already been walking the beach. Then it was time to return home.