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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Gulf Coast Adventures

Seeing the world and enjoying life is sort of at the top of my to-do list. I love to travel to new places and experience as much as I can while I'm there. This past month I had the opportunity to explore the sunny and beautiful Saint Petersburg. Florida.  I got lucky enough, in between attending a conference, to experience some of the best parts of the area. My wife came along for the adventure and I gotta say, I will definitely be going back at some point. 
The trip started with stepping out of the airport to the most perfect weather I have ever felt. April in Florida is amazing. I left Pittsburgh in a hoodie and landed in perfect sunny Florida. After finding the hotel and unloading we went on the hunt for some food. My wife spent a good amount of her 20s in Japan, so she was ecstatic to find a legit ramen noodle place. The food was delicious and according to her, super authentic. 
After filling our bellies we took an Uber to the Weedon Island Preserve  and rented a couple of kayaks from a cute little side of the road stand and spent the next two hours beneath the mangrove trees. A fantastic place to kayak! 

Day 2 was filled with conference sessions and networking while the love of my life lounged at the pool and explored a little of downtown. After session ended, we walked (through a part of town where Rottweilers were running around without a human) and made our way to a rental car place. I just want to say we had awesome Uber drivers and they gave awesome advice but if you want to see the best sites, rent a car. 

So with rental car on the road we headed straight for a Sunset Booze Cruise at Madeira Beach. For super cheap, my wife and I spent a couple hours cruising around the inner harbor at John's pass while ending on the gulf for a stunning sunset. Oh and did I mention, free beer and wine? A must do if you're looking for some evening fun. 

After that we landed at Mad Beach Brewing for some delicious food and awesome craft beer. 

Day 3
, bongo bands and more conference followed by a drive back to the beach. This time, we got our toes in the gulf while we waited for our parasailing appointment. This was our most expensive venture but, well worth it. If you have never been lifted 400 feet in the air for unbeatable views, I highly recommend. The guys at Gator Parasail  kindly waited for us (we got a bit lost finding the place, make sure you read the email a couple of times) and helped ease our nerves as they hoisted us up. 

Parasailing is an unforgettable experience, how many times in your life to you honest to goodness get to feel like a bird? Do it. 

Our last day, after the conference ended, we found ourselves at Fort De Soto Park, where we hoped a little ferry to Egmont Key.  While seeing dolphins follow the boat, we listened to the captain and first mate tell us about the island we were heading on where we would be spending the next several hours. Egmont Key is not drive-able and the only way to get there is on a ferry or boat. This was my kind of place, uninhabited. We spent our time there exploring the island, snorkeling, gathering shells and chasing Manatees. 

There is something so beautiful in places like this....

After a week packed with sight seeing and exploring the beautiful gulf coast every second we had, we headed to the airport.. sad to leave. 

I have never been a huge beach lover, mainly because sand fleas love the taste of me, but also because of how commercial and congested they can be. St. Petersburg is happening, don't get me wrong but you can find so much adventure there, if you look. 

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