Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cayo Costa State Park

Pathway to the beach & the hidden Lagoon!!!

Nature trails cover the island of Cayo Costa- Live Lightening Welk was a treasured find at the lagoon! It is illegal to remove the live shells of any kind- but we were lucky enough to find several that we could take home for a reminder of the day spent at one of the most remote State Parks in all of Florida!!!
Sailboats and Trollers anchor in Pelican Bay on the lei side of the island. They are always a beautiful sight to see as they come in and go out to the Gulf!

Cayo Costa State Park made for quite an adventure. Although we were only there for the day, there are rustic cabins available for rent and there is tent camping on the island as well. We have definately put that on our list of things to do in the near future!

For many years I have visited the beach side of Cayo and walked the long white sandy beach that is only accessible by boat. I finally took the time to go and explore the trails and see the camp facility. It is all very rustic and I look forward to making a longer adventure out of it! The staff was all exceptionally friendly and eager to answer questions or help in any way they can. We were visiting with an elderly friend who would not have had access to the nature trails and the interior of the island without the assistance of the staff who brought a special wheelchair down to the docks for us. The chair had inflated rubber tube tires that made it possible to push through the sand and down the trails! We all had a great time.

After about a 30 min. hike, granted we had a wheelchair and small children on hand, we reached the camping and picnicking area. There are several pavillions available with shade for a picnic. While we enjoyed our fried chicken lunch (from Publix- yummy) we spied several beautiful butterfies and a gorgeous bright red Cardinal!
Red Cardinal
The water was still a little too cold to go for a swim- though there were plenty of yankees with thicker blood than I who did !! We were brave enough to at least get our feet wet. During our walk on the sandy white beach, we found quite a few sea shells for our collection. The boys favorite find was a giant jelly-fish that had washed up on shore! Fortunately for us, he was no longer a threat, although it has been years, and years, and years since I have been stung or have even seen someone be stung on our local beaches.
The other exciting discovery of the day was a little further down the nature trails that lead to a beautiful clear blue lagoon. We came across several LARGE Lightening Welks. I did stand one up for a minute to take a picture, but it is a pretty stiff penalty for removing the live shells. We sent him safely on his way, before finding another, then another. I finally did find one I could keep (albeit a smaller version, yet beautiful and devoid of life)! That always makes me happy...

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