Waterfall Obsessions – Hiking Cedar Creek Falls “Devil’s Punchbowl”

Outside is Where I Feel the Most Alive

Nothing calms me more than being outside in nature.

The vast open land, rolling hills, and ability to hear yourself think! Too often are we wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of every day life that we forget to stop and reflect on ourselves.

We have but one life to enjoy!

You may scoff and think, well duh. But it’s true! Treat your body and mind with the upmost care, and life will unfold in the most magnificent of ways – in ways that bring you joy, peace, happiness, meaning, love, fulfillment… the list is endless!

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Aly Admiring the Hills of East San Diego County Along the Cedar Creek Falls Hiking Trail.

For this reason, I try to escape to the great outdoors as much as possible, and I try to encourage my loved ones to do the same.

Cedar Creek Falls “Devil’s Punchbowl”

Acquiring Permits

The area surrounding the waterfall requires a permit to enter.

Only 75 permits are sold daily for $10.00 each, and 1 permit accommodates up to 5 people. You may only buy 1 permit on the day of your choice – so if your group is larger than 5 people, you will have to ask someone else to purchase the permit.

Permits have been known to sell-out two weeks in advance during the peak season so unfortunately this is a hike you have to plan for.

I don’t recommend going on a whim to see if you can purchase a permit at the trailhead. I’ve never been successful with this approach.

As long as you can commit to a weekend date far enough in the future, or are available to go during the week, obtaining a permit is an easy process. Simply head to Recreation.Gov, put in your desired date, and they’ll let you know if permits are available.

This permit purchasing process is nothing like trying to get a Havasupai campsite I promise.

What You Should Pack with you

Required Hiking Items:

  1. Permit (see above for how to acquire permits)
  2. Valid Government Issued ID – dependent minors do not require ID when accompanied by an adult
  3. Lots of water! LOTS!
  4. Hat

You cannot enter the falls restricted area unless your name is on a permit for the day you’re hiking. This is not a joking matter. Last summer I watched 4 high school kids get cited by an officer for trying to enter the restricted area without a permit. It’s not worth a ticket.

You must have a valid government issued ID that matches your name on the permit. The Ranger or Officer will have you check in and out at the trailhead.

You should never attempt a hike without water. Water is vital to your survival – especially when you’re hiking in an area that has highs of 80°F (27°C) in the dead of winter. Don’t tempt fate – pack water. You can fill up your water bottles / bladders at the trailhead before and after the hike.

You shouldn’t hike to Cedar Creek Falls without applying sunscreen and donning a hat. The trail is scarcely shaded – protect yourself from the hot sun.

Optional Hiking Items:

All of these items will make the hike more enjoyable – I’m assuming you took the time to apply sunscreen before you started the hike, right? Good:)

The above are affiliate links. I will receive a small kickback if you choose to make a purchase.

Trailhead and Parking

The Cedar Creek Falls trailhead is extremely easy to find:

  1. Type “Cedar Creek Falls” into Google Maps, or
  2. Type the address into your GPS: 15519 Thornbush Road, Ramona, CA 92065

The parking lot fills up really fast, and there are a very limited number of stalls – maybe spots for 15 cars at best.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t get lucky with a parking space in the lot! Parking along the street is free, and abundant even if you have to walk a bit further – you’re going for a hike so you shouldn’t be worried about a little extra walking.

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Ranger Booth Setup at the Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead.
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Cedar Creek Falls Designated Parking Lot.

Hiking Difficulty: HARD

It’s recommended that you hike this trail from late October through early April because the trail is scarcely shaded, and it can get extremely hot (+100°F / 38°C). This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the trail wasn’t entirely uphill on the way out.

Because of the extreme heat and uphill hike out, the trail has received a rating of Hard on All Trails: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/cedar-creek-falls-trail

I complete agree with this difficulty level. However, I believe that anyone, as long as he or she is able to walk a block without feeling completely out of breath, can manage this hike. Just make sure you take your time, don’t push harder than your body can go, and conserve water for the hike out.

My furry buddy, Peyton, who is a 12 year old German Shepherd / Siberian Husky mix, and he did just fine. And no, my dog is not in shape – he’s old enough that he gets spoiled however he wants, which generally takes the form of bones, treats, and sometimes extra portions of food.

Dog Friendly – With Caution

This trail is dog friendly! Yay! I feel like dog friendly trails are somewhat few and far between these days.

Peyton made the hike from the trailhead to the falls without skipping a beat! But, as I’ve already cautioned you, the first half of the hike is all downhill.

The hike back out took us a considerable amount of time to ensure Peyton didn’t overheat. We stopped at almost every shaded spot to break and let him drink water.

And just because I did this hike with my old, out of shape dog doesn’t mean that you should perform this hike with your dog.

DON’T HIKE WITH YOUR DOG WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE SKY HIGH! Your poor, four-legged creature will not fare well when the temperatures are at their peak in the summertime. Your dog may burn the pads of his or her paws causing him or her immense pain when walking, or worse he or she might die of heatstroke.

Know your dog’s limits. They trust you!

Now Let’s Hike!

Now that I’ve talked preparation to death – sorry guys and gals, but it’s important I give you the blunt details – let’s get on to the trail!

The trail is absolutely gorgeous throughout the entirety of the hike!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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View of the Trail Shortly After Starting the Hike to the Falls.
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View of the Trail that Leads to the Falls from Julian, California.
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Imagine How Much More Beautiful This View Would Be if We Had Received Fresh Rain!
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A Grand Waterfall is Quite Near!

Every time you round a corner you get a more beautiful view of the rolling hills until you finally reach a majestic waterfall.

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Cedar Creek Falls “Devil’s Punchbowl” in Late January.

And because my Pentax K-70 has an amazing HDR Landscape mode… sorry not sorry in advance… I have to share with you one of the photos from our shoot!

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Aly and Alisa Soaking in the Beautiful View.

Hiking Cedar Creek Falls is always a true nature treat.

If you’re looking for a waterfall with more spunk than the one in my photos, I recommend hiking closer to springtime when it’s “rained” – we all know San Diego doesn’t truly experience rain.

I’ll be sure to make another hiking excursion come springtime so you can see what I mean!

Reminder to Just Say Yes and Follow Me!

As always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to the blog for more exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. I will however receive a kickback from the affiliate links if you choose to make a purchase.

NYC Idiotarod – Shopping Cart Race Circus Train Style

New York City Idiotarod!

I want you to think outside of the box when you think of New York City!

When you think of New York City, I’m sure you instantly think of the Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Knicks… Maybe you’re not a sports fan so instead you think of Broadway Shows, Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street…

Maybe you loathe or at least have a strong dislike for the crowds, congestion, and inconsiderate people that accompany tourist traps. Well I’m exactly like you!

When you think of New York City, I want you to start thinking of experiences like the Idiotarod!

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Caitlin Racing Through the Streets of Brooklyn in Her Badass Clown Costume.

So, what is the Idiotarod?

According to Wikipedia, the Idiotarod is a shopping cart race in which teams of five “idiots” tie themselves to a slightly modified grocery store shopping cart and run through the streets of a major metropolitan area.

Each year is a new route, with new bars, and a new theme! No one gets informed of the actual route until right before the race begins, and awards are given out at the finish line for Best in Show, Best Design, and more.

Brooklyn Here We Come – Idiotarod Circus Style!

This year my friends and I outdid ourselves! Instead of having just one cart, we dressed up four carts to create a circus train.

And you can’t have a circus train without a circus: a lion, bear, elephant, strongman, tarot card reader, knife thrower, tightrope artist, conductor, and most importantly, clowns! I’m the awesome blue one with the sickest hot pink wig ever.

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Circus Train Idiotarod!

It’s good to be the Clown

At each bar there are various challenges for all racers, along with interactive elements for each group.

If you’ve ever been one to fear clowns, I can tell you how to tame them in an instant: bond them and feed them strawberries. Special thanks to Bondage Brunch for the lovely memories!

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Caitlin Being Fed a Strawberry by the Bondage Brunch.

You can find my Forum Novelties Big Top Clown Teen Costume here if you’re looking to clown it up in the future, and for sure don’t forget the awesome pink wig!

This Idiotarod Circus Train is…

All of our hard efforts were not in vain either!

We ran through the streets of Brooklyn…

We bar hopped like professionals…

We drank our weight in beer / liquor / wine…

We took all our challenges in great stride with fierce competition in our eyes…

We were even bondaged and fed strawberries – at least I was!

And through the completion of all these obstacles our awesome circus train was awarded Best in Show!

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This Idiotarod Circus Train Won Best in Show!

Put the Idiotarod in your Memory Bank

This city, as well as many others, is full of quirky, fun, and out of the box opportunities!

Even if we hadn’t won, which I’m stoked we did, the Idiotarod will forever be one of my favorite NYC just say yes experiences.

I challenge you to step away from the congested tourist traps, and get yourself a shopping cart to race. You won’t be sorry.

Reminder to Just Say Yes!

And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Follow ME 🙂

Subscribe to my blog for more of my exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation.

However, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you decide to purchase your clown costume and wig by following the links above!

On Sundays, We Kubb

San Diego Living

Man oh man am I a spoiled one! Living in San Diego is an absolute treat! An expensive, but well worthwhile one.

While my East Coast friends are experiencing horrid weather shifts from 60°F (16°C) to below freezing, I’m debating on which enticing outdoor activity to partake in!

For example, us San Diegans experienced an 81°F (27°C) day with perfect sunshine this past weekend! Talk about winter isn’t coming…

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Mission Bay Crew on Sunday, 28 January 2018.
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“Our” Spot on Mission Bay.

Winter Isn’t Coming… So Let’s Kubb!

When you live in a gorgeous place you should take advantage of everything available to you! Especially when you’re blessed with perfect weather – the possibilities are endless.

And, because us Southern Californians can bank on this kind of weather regularly, my group of friends and I thoroughly enjoy rallying together to play Kubb on our days off. And, the keyword being Californians, we play Kubb in the high sand instead of on the lawn.

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Nikki Setting up for Some Seriously Extreme Kubb Playing.

This is pretty much our Sunday routine: wake up, caffeinate (duh), put a little food in our systems, and head to Mission Bay to play Kubb.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, what on Earth is Kubb?! According to Wikipedia, Kubb is a Swedish lawn game where the objective is to knock over wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing wooden batons (kastpinnar) at them. Brilliant right!

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All Setup and Ready to Play Kubb.

It’s okay if you’re not yet convinced.

I for one cannot just go to the beach, lay out my towel, and roll over like a rotisserie chicken every 15 – 30 minutes… that’s a complete waste of my time! Yes, I love the warmth of the sunshine on my smooth skin, but there are plenty of other ways to tan your sexy bod!

Being at the beach is way more fun if you’re actually doing something! Let it be volleyball, spike ball, lawn bowling, cartwheels, whatever!

Let me know in the comments section below if you would like for me to post another article about how Kubb is played or anything else related to Kubb. I may even include a video!

If you’re looking for an affordable Kubb set, I recommend this Kubb set from Amazon!

Reminder to Just Say Yes and Follow Me!

As always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. I will however receive a small kickback from the affiliate links if you choose to make a purchase.

Frolicking Amongst the Ferns: Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek National Park, NorCal

Never take what you have for granted

Home. A beautiful, four letter word that makes you feel whole, loved, and at peace. That’s how I feel every Christmas when I make my way North to Eureka, California.

I never appreciated Eureka until I moved away for college. I guess it’s something you learn as you get older – to appreciate the little things like groves of trees, crisp air, clean water… You get tied up in what could be versus enjoying what is.

I couldn’t wait to go away to college after I graduated from high school. 18 years spent behind the Redwood curtain – seeing the same people, doing the same things. I wanted something new! Little did I know that I would one day crave something old; something I only get but once a year at best.

One place in particular will always have a place in my heart, and it’s a place I strongly encourage all of you nature enthusiasts to visit: Fern Canyon.

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My Amazing Family on the Canyon Floor.

Northern California – Fern Canyon

Getting to the Canyon

The setup for arriving at the canyon entrance is magical: you drive through groves of beautiful trees and greenery and along the ocean – Gold Bluffs Beach to be exact! Then, to make things even better, you park your car, begin the hike in, and BAM! You’re greeted by a gorgeous canyon!

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View of Gold Bluffs Beach from the Trailhead.
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Entrance of Fern Canyon.

Commence “Hiking”

I’ve never hiked anywhere more beautiful! And for all you trail lovers out there like myself, there are plenty of solid trails.

My family chose the easiest trail: the Fern Canyon Loop Trail. We’re not all at the same intensity level, and we wanted everyone to have an enjoyable time.

The trail is rated as “Easy” on All Trails, and I assure you it lives up to that difficulty level.

The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is much more of a walk than it is a hike. However, it provides you with all of the highlights: walking through the canyon, heading up above the canyon to walk through groves of trees (there’s even an amazing meadow I highly recommend going slightly off trail for – it’s part of the trail so you’re not endangering the land), and then back down to the entrance of the canyon.

Soak it all in

There’s something for everyone in Fern Canyon as long as you can take a few moments to yourself and shut the world out.

Maybe you take off your shoes and dip them in the cold creek water. Maybe you stand next to a trickling waterfall, and let the moisture bounce off the moss onto your face. Maybe you just sit and take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to be alive.

Fern Canyon is perfect for any of these. See for yourself:

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Ferns Line the Canyon Walls from Top to Bottom.
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Natural Waterfalls Trickle Down the Moss and Ferns Lining the Canyon Walls.
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Looking Down the Canyon.

Up Above the Canyon

Once you’re done exploring the canyon floor, you head up a short flight of stairs through groves of trees.

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Candid Shot by My Baby Sister, Brynna.
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Groves of Trees Above the Canyon.
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Looking Up Towards the Tops of Trees Reminds Me of How Little We Are in Such a Grand World.

Fun side note, my dad and brother milled some of the planks you walk on. A couple winters back some redwood trees in my parent’s yard fell because of how bad the storm was – I can research the year if anyone would like to know. It’s nice to see a natural disaster benefiting nature lovers.

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Dad, Kenny, and Brother, Garth, Admiring Their Work.

And when you’re out of the groves of trees, you can carefully approach the edge to get an insane view of the canyon from above.

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View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Right.
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View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Left.

Visit Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon is an amazing nature spot that should be on everyone’s list to visit. Hopefully these pictures inspire you to plan a trip!

These photos are from late December. I recommend going any time of year as long as there isn’t a flash flood or storm warning. You can easily check the current weather conditions of Prairie Creek State Park through the National Park Service.

If you go in the winter time, I highly recommend waterproof shoes. My dad had to carry my sister the majority of the canyon because she only had basic running shoes.

Shout out to my Salomon hiking boots (men’s and women’s)! I wore these bad boys the entire time, even in ankle deep water, and my feet did not get wet. I also recommend pairing the hiking boots with Darn Tough Vermont socks (men’sand women’s). I’m a full cushion fan, but there are lots of different types and they truly stand-up to any hiking challenge. I refuse to put anything else on my feet when I’m on my nature adventures.

Summertime is perfect if you’re concerned about getting your feet wet – I don’t blame you! – the National Park Service installs foot bridges – makes waterproof shoes a luxury and not a requirement.

I’ll be sure to do a summertime Fern Canyon post next time I’m able to! This place is a true gem, and I try to visit every time I venture home. Maybe I’ll even camp next time! Let me know if you think I should in the comments section below:)

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I Have Major Waterfall Obsessions.

Reminder to Just Say Yes and Follow Me!

As always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. I will however receive a kickback from the affiliate links if you choose to make a purchase.

 

Touring Fort Jefferson “Dry Tortugas” National Park

What is Fort Jefferson, and Why Should You Visit?

Fort Jefferson National Park is the largest brick structure in the western hemisphere and is among the 10 least visited national parks in the United States!

Simply imagine getting flown out to a remote island where there’s a grand brick structure in almost the same exact condition as when it was in use!

You get to experience true history at Fort Jefferson National Park. There are no fences, no ropes, and no alterations to keep you from walking around the park just like when troops were stationed here! The only areas that are prohibited are those reserved for the 8 park rangers who maintain the grounds – that’s it! And the prohibited area is hardly noticeable.

And there’s more to the park than just the massive brick structure – you can go checkout exotic birds at the bird sanctuary or go snorkeling just outside of the fortress’s walls to explore all the beautiful marine life that thrives along the reef!

Hop over to my article, Irma Can’t Hold the Keys Back, for an overview of my trip to Key West, Florida!

Getting to Fort Jefferson

There are two methods of transportation you can take to get to Fort Jefferson:

  1. By ferry, or
  2. By seaplane.

I highly highly recommend visiting Fort Jefferson by seaplane. Yes, making the trek out to the park by seaplane is much more expensive than taking the ferry, but you’ll also have a much better experience – here’s why:

  • The ferry takes approximately 2.25 hours both ways (that’s 4.5 hours bobbling about on the ocean!), and you’re only allotted “a little more than 4 hours” of exploration time. More time in transport than actual adventuring time… that’s awful! The seaplane takes approximately 40 minutes each way, and… you get
  • The ferry won’t provide you with an amazing aerial view of Key West, Fort Jefferson, and shipwrecks – sharks – dolphins – sea turtles when you travel by ferry.

If you haven’t guessed by now, we traveled via seaplane.

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Boarding the Seaplane for Fort Jefferson!

Just look at the amazing view of Key West you get when you take-off! I was blown away by how gorgeous the entirety of the flight was.

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Takeoff View of Key West, Florida, from the Seaplane.

And not only is the view of Key West gorgeous, but just marvel at how cool Fort Jefferson looks when you’re making your landing!

Activities at Fort Jefferson

No matter your transportation of choice, you won’t be disappointed by the activities Fort Jefferson offers:

1. Touring the Fortress

Like I said in the opening, the fortress has no fences, no ropes, and no alterations to prevent you from exploring! You get to experience the fort exactly as it was, with some general wear and tear, when 2000 troops were stationed here!

We quickly chose a picnic table to set down our snorkeling gear, which was provided by Key West Seaplane Adventures, and headed for the courtyard! Quick note regarding leaving our stuff: no one messed with anything! What other tourist attraction can you go to and leave items without fearing they’ll be stolen? Nowhere!

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The Adventure Family Atop the Fort Jefferson Parapet.

We rounded the corner and headed up the stairs for an overview of the fortress, the grounds, and the surrounding waters. And my oh my… it was breathtaking!

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Fort Jefferson Courtyard From the Parapet.

We walked around the perimeter of the fort, along the second floor that was open to the public, and all throughout the courtyard. Of everywhere we explored, the “Chapel” was by far mine and Nikki’s favorite!

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Placard in the Bastion Explaining the “Chapel’s” Significance.

Needless to say… Nikki and I had a stellar photoshoot in the “Chapel!” Special thanks to Pentax for the bitchin HDR Landscape mode – we put it to great use!

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Aly Looking Out to Sea.
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One of the Five Bastions Known as the “Chapel.”
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Nikki Walking Down an Endless Brick Hallway.

And yes… I proudly shoot with a Pentax K-70… didn’t think they were still around did yah?!

2. Bird Watching

Of the three activities I’ve listed, bird watching was the only one we didn’t get to experience. I have this in here mainly as information for those of you who visit – there is an amazing bird sanctuary at the other end of the island. The birds were buzzing while we were there… but we chose to spend our time at the fort and in the water.

3. Snorkeling

The waters that surround Fort Jefferson are absolutely to die for! And, compliments of Key West Seaplane Adventures, we were able to experience them with an awesome snorkeling excursion!

Stay tuned for some GoPro footage of our snorkeling adventures, as well as where our favorite spots for snorkeling were!

Be Among the Few Who Visit Fort Jefferson

Nature and history in its rawest form await you at the “Dry Tortugas!” Few will ever venture here, and of those who do shall receive a touristy experience unlike any other. Take a break from drunken Duval Street and all the other mainland attractions that get congested with cruise ships and common tourists… do something different that will enrich your experience! I cannot recommend touring Fort Jefferson more.

Reminder to Just Say Yes and Follow Me!

As always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. I will however receive a kickback from the affiliate links if you choose to make a purchase.

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