We left Lake Manatee State Park after only a two day stay. I really wanted to stay longer in the area but couldn’t find an affordable park for a short term. We really enjoyed our secluded site in the state park and it was close to all the beaches in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida.
Our last day at Lake Manatee State Park was enjoyable as we took a driver over to Sarasota and Bradenton. Sarasota reminded me a bit of Naples, Florida as it was a larger more populous city with lots of shopping and bistros along the sidewalks. From Sarasota we made the drive over to the keys just off shore to check out the a few of the area beaches.
We took 789 over to Lido Key and headed north taking in all the sights until we got to Coquina Beach on Longboat Key. The beach is fairly wide and stretches along the entire length of the Key. The beach was pretty crowded for a Thursday but it was warm and the surf was a moderate chop making for a pleasant beach stay.
Further north on 789 we stopped in at Holmes Beach which is even wider than Coquina and even more crowded. After walking along the shore people watching we had enough as there were tons of young kids on the beach. It was interesting to see a couple of Pentecostals at the beach in the normal garb rather than swimsuits.
We did see a nice pod of dolphins feeding in a cut just under a bridge. This was the same spot I caught several pinfish while trying my hand at fishing. I even caught a spider crab, a first for me… I tried to throw it back but it kept coming ashore and the tourists kept playing with the ugly looking crab. We stayed and watched the dolphins frolicking in the sea until it was time to go.
The next morning we left the state park and landed at Red Oak RV park in Bushnell, Florida. We arrived here and set up camp in site 347, a nice large, open site with three big live oaks on it. The park is huge and mostly park models but there are still probably over 100 RV sites mixed in. We got here and the temperature was 84 but the next morning we were greeted to the mid fifties. It will be chilly and gray during our stay here for the next three days. Next it will be off to Jacksonville, Florida for another visit to the Mayo Clinic before turning westward…