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Florida Recap + Vacation Workouts.

A few weeks ago, K and I spent a long weekend in southern Florida visiting family. The weather was incredible compared to back home! We squeezed in a lot of outdoor time, including great workouts and al freso drinks. Chicago, can it be summer soon please? Consider adding a few more palm trees to city landscaping too.

I’m here to share a few recommendations from our trip, in case you find yourself in Florida taking a break from winter sometime soon. We flew to Miami and spent the first night in Miami Beach at Riviera Suites South Beach. It was clean and modern, with two pools and easy access to the ocean, only a few blocks away. We arrived in early afternoon and researched lunch options on Yelp on our way to the hotel. We decided on a small outdoor lunch spot with amazing reviews, La Sandwicherie. If you find yourself in Miami Beach, you MUST visit! La Sandwicherie is a French sandwich spot with a juice bar and an outdoor counter where diners walk up to order. You can dine outdoors at stools lining one side of the restaurant {there is no indoor seating}. I ordered the tropical turkey sandwich, listed as a “signature” menu item. Sliced turkey, fresh cut mozzarella, avocado, cucumbers, tropical fruit {papaya, pineapple, mango} and a house French vinaigrette topped a soft, pillowy French baguette. I can’t wait to make my own version once summer is back!

In a sandwich coma, we wandered to the water and walked for hours – on the beach to South Pointe Pier, down charming streets, and to happy hour. The next morning, we stopped by Crema for coffee and smoothies before hitting the road. Again, Yelp to the rescue with fantastic reviews for Crema! One iced coffee and two Greek Stallion smoothies and we were good to go – kale, spinach, almond milk, cashews, dates, cinnamon, chia seeds, and mountain honey… this is another “must recreate” recipe from the trip.

We took the scenic route driving to our final destination Marco Island, stopping at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park for a 15 mile bike ride with wildlife. Beautiful birds and alligators were everywhere you looked. We saw at least 50 gators lounging in the water and in nearby grass along the ride. I highly recommend checking out this park for an active afternoon! There were also a number of walkers on the trail, and a tram is available for those wanting a ride-and-view experience.

The rest of the trip was spent hanging out on Marco Island with my in-laws – celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday, spending time at the beach, and playing Euchre. We finished two beach runs while visiting and there was plenty of hard sand available for runners. Marco Island has beautiful white sandy beaches; the beach we explored was by far the largest I have ever seen.

On the last full day of the trip, we woke up to rainy weather and decided to head north to Sanibel Island where it wasn’t storming. K and I biked from Sanibel Island to Captiva Island, through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Both Sanibel and Captiva Islands are incredibly charming, with gorgeous beach homes lining the water. Every house on Captiva Island has a unique name: Sand Dollar, Mellow Yellow, Zurich by the Sea! We ended the bike ride with a quick visit to the beach {there were epic waves that afternoon due to strong winds!} and a late lunch at RC Otter’s Island Eats. RC Otter’s has a huge list of beers on tap and we very much enjoyed seafood {blackened salmon and grouper} paired with black beans and rice.

I love an active vacation. The best way to see a new place is on foot or by bike! A recap of our vacation workouts:

    Wednesday: Active rest; walked 4-5 miles 
    Thursday: Biked 15 miles at Shark Valley 
    Friday: Ran 4.6 miles on Marco Island 
    Saturday: Biked 12+ miles to Captiva Island 
    Sunday: Ran 5 miles on Marco Island

Have you ever visited Florida in the winter? After this trip I definitely see the appeal of becoming a snowbird!



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