Updated: May 1
When venturing to the Everglades, bringing friends with the last name, Wild, is a must! Located three and half hours from the Treasure Coast, Collier-Seminole State Park proved to be a nice backdrop to our three-night adventure. With an onsite boat ramp (likely designed for kayaks and john boats) the area for overflow parking also included a new, all metal dock, sprawling playground and many picnic areas.
Our boat trailer fit nicely beside our friend’s trailer that hauled their can-am which served us well that next morning when we used it to launch our boat, the River Roamer (video is on our website). Though, that side by side proved handy to have throughout our stay; it is not something we are used to having and what a bonus it was!
Upon our arrival, the Wilds and us (just Anna, Michael and Seger, no Charlie this time due to Spring break with his father) made quick work of setting up camp and exploring the massive property complete with a Seminole Indian Village scene, bust of Mr. Baron Collier, Blockhouse and commercial dredger machine which was massive in size and instrumental in forging much of south Florida as we know it today. Once night fell, we used the Wilds new griddle grill to cook up thinly sliced steak, pepper and onions seasoned with a generous amount of garlic salt (He thought it said powder) for sandwiches as we sat around the glow of our tiki torches. Due to dry conditions, no open fires were allowed. That night we swapped stories, enjoyed the fresh air and thousands of stars and cheered to a good weekend ahead.
Day two welcomed us with sunny skies. Loading up the back of the can-am made it easy to transport our cooler with lunch and drinks along with all our gear for the day to our boat. Once our River Roamer was in the water, we were on river 57, Blackwater of South Florida. The path looked big enough to fit our sweet little 16’ pontoon, but ht further south we went the tighter it became. Robert was instrumental in holding back large branches that allowed us to sit up straight though there were many a time we had to duck down to the floor of the boat to get through. Let’s just say our boat now has a few well-earned scratches from the mangroves we meandered through. There were even times in our journey where kayakers were hot on our trail as we slowly crept through the long river in our journey to the big open water of the Blackwater Bay.
At about lunchtime, we made it to the open waters and stopped off on an island, full of abandoned horse-shoe crab shells to allow our dog, Seger a chance to get off the boat and swim. With twenty minutes of fetch and swimming, we set off towards Big Marco River. Once in the crystal blue of the bay, laced with tiny islands, the large homes adorned with American flags began to appear and we took advantage of the slow speed zone to enjoy some sandwiches just as we heard the prop spin out. Thankfully, my friend Vicki and I have handy husbands who knew what to do with the backup prop onboard; if only we had the socket wrench required…(my husband is getting one for his birthday as a result). We putted our way to the marina we passed and once there were able to borrow a piece of wood and tool that made do for our needs. While at the marina and store, Vicki and I got ice and was able to look around at maps of Big Marco Island and find random statues to take pictures of. We tipped our dock-gal generously for allowing us to borrow the space and with the new prop on, set off back to the Blackwater River to make it back to camp before the full high tide set in. That evening we enjoyed my famous tuna pasta salad, Vicki’s bean salad in a vinegar-based dressing, and country style ribs; so good! We sat out and played some games and laughed until the wee hours of the morning.
Day three was not so sunny and the overcast kept us cool enough for sweatshirts. We tooled around the park on the can-am and enjoyed a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs. Just outside of the park, was a bar named Gator Crossing which housed baby gators outside, and that day had a full band playing in the parking lot. We went inside for a drink and took lots of pictures with random props they had throughout. Our bartenders must have been sailors with their language, but they made good drinks and had interesting senses of humor (e.g. soup of the day: Jack with water croutons). Soon we jumped back into the can-am and headed back to the campground so Vicki and I could play games while the men headed to the store for ingredients for smash burgers for that night’s meal. After a while we headed back to the bar and sat outside for the music with cold beer from the outdoor bartender; talk about people watching! In the later hours came the rain; which was peaceful and added to the entire experience.
Come Monday morning, we were up early and breaking down camp. The Wilds left first, and we took our time strolling about the park with Seger before finally leaving ourselves. It was three nights of great sleep and two rivers accomplished: happy glampin’ everyone!