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August: Time for a Stay- & Sea-cation in South Florida

Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
South Florida Vacation : Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks

When the hazy, hot and humid days of August hit and there’s no time to for a long road trip, consider a stay- and sea-cation in South Florida. Here is a sampling of three fun nautical events happening this month.

Take Man’s Best Friend for a Paddle!
Whether you’re paddlin’ with your own dog, considering adopting a dog or just looking to hang out with some fun people, Paddlin’ & Pups is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Florida Bay Outfitters, located off the Overseas Highway in Key Largo, teams up with Marrvelous Pet Rescue for this monthly event next set for August 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Outfitters rents boards or kayaks, while the rescue organization brings out several of its adoptable dogs to show off. Those who don’t want to paddle can hang out on the beach and watch the dogs play and splash in the water.

South Florida Vacation“We had a great dog in rescue who was rather big and a bit shy,” tells Kat Spiegel, rescue coordinator for Marrvelous Pet Rescue, who shares a story of the magic that can happen during Paddlin’ & Pups. “We were having a hard time finding a home for him.  His name was Bruiser and that probably didn’t help his case. Brew came to Paddlin’ & Pups and met a couple who had a dog about the same size.  The dogs chased balls in the water, splashed and swam together for two hours. Brew (they wisely changed his name) met his furever family that day.  Something about the salt air, the water and the Keys vibe makes everything better!!” www.facebook.com/keyspetrescue, www.paddlefloridakeys.com

Visit the Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Parks for Free!
Enjoy boat trips, seaside hikes and incredible marine life without having to pay the $10 per visitor entrance fee at the Dry Tortugas National Park and $20 per car fee at the Everglades National Park from August 25 to 28. These four days are among a total of 16 in 2016 that are admission-free in celebration of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) celebrating its Centennial.

South Florida Vacation : Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks

“We plan to have student singing groups in our visitor centers at Everglades National Park on Founders Day, August 25, to sing the NPS Centennial song,” says Allyson Gantt, chief of public affairs for the Everglades and Dry Tortugas parks. “In general, come prepared for hot weather and mosquitos when visiting the Everglades in August. Lightweight long pants and possibly even long sleeves or bug repellent, sun protection and water are a must. While ranger-led programs are limited, there are tram tours and boat rides available through our concessions in various locations in the park.”

The Dry Tortugas National Park will host a Living History event in salute of the centennial. The celebration will take place at Fort Jefferson on Garden Key from August 25 to 27.

“Re-en-actors will portray life as it was at the Fort during the 19th Century,” says John Nicholas Fueshsel, Dry Tortuga park ranger. “There will be daily demonstrations of cooking, blacksmith work, rifle drills, and Civil War era medicine conducted between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM each day.”

South Florida Vacation : Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
Dry Tortugas Image courtesy of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks

August can be a great time to visit Dry Tortugas as the waters are often calm which makes for good snorkeling. www.nps.gov/ever/ or www.nps.gov/drto/

South Florida VacationGo to Marlin Park with the Marine Industry
Batter up! This phrase takes on a whole new meaning when nautical affectionados are invited to come out in force to Marlin Stadium on August 27 at 7:10 pm when the Miami Marlins play the San Diego Padres. Proceeds from this special evening support the Marine Industry Cares Foundation (MICF), a non-profit organization that helps needy children and families.

“We have a whole section blocked off for us,” explains Gordon Connell, managing director of the Fort Lauderdale-based MICR. “The 50/50 raffle that night benefits the Foundation and at some point during the evening there is a shout out to the Marine Industry and ongoing promotion of the 50/50 on the billboard announcements.”

Most recently, MICF has partnered with the YMCA, Hispanic Unity of Florida and Children Services Counsel to offer two two-week hands-on Marine Industry Immersion Summer Camps. These camps, for high school students at Dillard High School and Stranahan High School, include tours of marine businesses, designing and testing of boat propellers and building testing Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). www.marineindustrycares.org

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