The Florida Manatee

During South Florida’s mild winter months a grayish brown lump with thick wrinkled algae-stained skin gets a ton of attention. The Florida manatees return from their summer homes along the rivers of the Carolinas, Louisiana, and sometimes even from as far north as Massachusetts. Some with calf in tow, others on their own, gather in shallow warm waters to graze on seagrass.

manateeIt’s estimated that about 6,000 manatees live in the shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal waters in the U.S.—and they all come to Florida for the winter. They are gentle beasts, slow-moving, and often playful. When stressed or excited, they squeak at one another. But usually, they simply eat and rest.

Places to see manatees in and around Martin County include the Manatee Lagoon. Owned by Florida Power & Light, the wild manatees gather, sometimes by the hundreds, near the warm-water outflows of FPL’s Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center.

Manatees can be spotted along the Treasure Coast in most of Martin County’s inland waterways, near docs, waterside restaurants, bridges, and rivers during the winter. A short drive to north to Ft. Pierce is a great way to learn about these fascinating winter visitors. The Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce is a waterfront environmental education and wildlife viewing center. Closer to Floridays, the Hobe Sound Nature Center leads walks along the intracoastal waterway to look for manatees gathering between the Center and Jupiter Island, and Jonathan Dickinson State Park (JDSP) [https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Jonathan-Dickinson ] offers canoes, kayaks, and guided tours in comfortable, dry pontoon boats—all great ways to spot manatees in their natural environment.manatee

Beyond the Treasure Coast, in central Florida, the manatees gather in shallow clear waters in Crystal River. Thousands visit Crystal River in January to celebrate the manatees’s return. By now, the crowds have thinned and vendors shuttered and gone…the perfect time to rent a kayak or go on a snorkel tour at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you do it up fancy at the Plantation at Crystal River, or go local at JDSP, the manatees are waiting.

GoRVing Does it Right

GoRVing is the public face of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association representing almost all RV manufactures and parts suppliers. You probably have a black and gold RVIA sticker on your motorhome, or a silver and black seal if you have a Fifth-Wheel.

These guys keep a good eye on the industry as a whole, help us find answers to even the most complex questions about the RV lifestyle, and even help us decide where to roam.

Their website offers a plethora of information and a little entertainment too. Check out a few of our recent favorites:

Weekend Wanderers

A couple that loves adventure and gets it with their travel trailer.

Campskunk’s Story

A legend in the RV community for his creative modifications on a small RV.

Christmas Dinner for RVers

By now, you probably know where you will be for Christmas dinner, what you’ll be having, and who will join you around the table. Cooking the classic Christmas dinner in an RV may be a piece of cake (pardon the pun) for the veteran RVer, but for the seasonal traveler or RV newbie, figuring out how to fit a huge turkey into a small finicky oven can be a challenge.

The solution is to keep it simple or better yet, get together with your neighbors for a potluck dinner where every RV is responsible for just one dish.

How To GrillPlan the menu so that you can prepare some dishes ahead. Casseroles, mashed potatoes, squash dishes actually taste better when made in advance. So do many pies! Save the ham or turkey for Christmas day roasting, preferably on an outside grill. And because counter space is lacking, remember the mantra: less is more and simple is better.

You may not even need an oven for much more than warming if you cook most of it on the grill or in an outdoor dutch oven. Think “roasted veggies and grilled stuffing.” Yum! Crock-pots take up relatively little space and do a great job of making cranberry sauce and keeping those made-in-advance mashed potatoes warm until dinner time.

If having Christmas dinner in your RV or RV park is too much to handle, there are some nationally owned restaurants that are open Christmas Day. The owners of our locally-owned and famous Hobe Sound restaurants like Taste, Scooters, Catfish House, Harry and the Natives, Courtyard Grille or Prime will be shuttered, so head out for a no-mess no-fuss meal at Denny’s, Waffle House, McDonalds, and possibly Golden Corral. Here’s the list.

For instructions on how to prepare your Christmas turkey on the grill, check out Butterball.

Martin County Fun

Hobe Sound Xmas ParadeIt’s that time of year when our hearts and minds turn to the high holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and what we call around these parts, “High Season”! If your RV lifestyle is happening now at Floridays or anywhere in Martin County, or if your’e “on the road” planning to pass through Martin County, we thought you’d like to make a note of a few upcoming events in Hobe Sound and nearby.

November 22—Thanksgiving Eve Toga Party

Dance off a couple of pounds so you can put it all back on the next day with the Toga Party at Notes Music Room and Wine Bar, 872 Colorado Ave, Stuart, at 6:30 p.m. Toss on a colorful tablecloth or sheet and toga up to discounted wine and beer specials, Sake-tinis, and $2 iced coffees. Live music with all the popular songs. Learn more »

November 24—Downtown Stuart Tree Lighting Festival

Music, performances, and a host of family-friendly activ­i­ties like a “liv­ing manger” pet­ting zoo, and cook­ies and milk on the patio at Duffy’s Sports Grill. Begins at 4:00 PM. Then just after sun­set the lights go on on the offi­cial Down­town Stu­art Hol­i­day Tree. About Stuart »

Ongoing through December 31—Rock’n Riverwalk

A free open-air concert on the Riverwalk State every Sunday from 1:00 – 4:00 PM with music, vendors, and just walking around taking in the sights and sounds of the waterfront. Schedule »

November 30 to Sunday, December 3—Singing Christmas Tree

Free event at Hobe Sound Bible College at 11925 Gomez Ave, Hobe Sound, features 75 singers in a beautiful Christmas tree of 50,000 colored lights, a 25-piece orchestra, children’s choir and a drama cast of 50. See flying angels, kind and shepherds, holy family, and a spectacular message of the season. Learn more »

December 2—Santa Paws Holiday Pooch Plunge

The Humane Society’s annual dog-friendly celebration at Sailfish Splash Waterpark at 931 SE Ruhnke Street, Stuart. A fun day whether you own a pooch or not. Admission information »

December 2—Annual Hobe Sound Christmas Parade

Grab your lawn chair and line the street on Old Dixie Highway or Bridge Road to watch over 80+ entries and thousand of adults and kids strut their stuff with cars, floats, trucks, marchers, bands and surprises. This genuine old-fashioned Christmas parade and Art and Crafts Stroll along Dixie is a great opportunity to get in the holiday mood and do a little early Christmas shopping.

High Season At Floridays

Each December, the adventurous pack their bags, load up the RV, and wave goodbye to winter. The two most-visited destinations in the U.S. are Arizona and Florida. Snowbirds want two things: sunshine and budget-friendly winter RV parks. So it’s no surprise that Floridays RV Park fills up fast and has a long waiting list. For those that choose Floridays for their South Florida winter months, we have plenty of activities and amenities to make your stay enjoyable.

Amenities

laundryRoomEarly this year we held the Grand Opening of our brand spanking new washroom with separate air-conditioned men’s and women’s showers and bathrooms in the front of the building, and a generous number of new washers and dryers in the rear of the building. The laundry section is well-ventilated and has plenty of sorting and folding tables. To be sure that the washroom sparkles, a full-time resident, Patti Owen, keeps it spic ’n span daily.

old-new MailroomOther park improvements this summer included a new mailroom and lots of new plants and grass. The new stand-alone mailroom means that guests can collect their mail from a central point away from office traffic and out of the rain. New plantings add more green space, cool and clean the air, and help create a more park-like setting.

propane fenceWe’ve also brought back Propane Rentals for park guests. No more trips to the store when making last-minute BBQ plans! The tanks sit by our new boatyard fence that connects to the park office that is also going through renovations with a new roof and remodeled office.

Activities

This season our guests will enjoy “bring your own mug” Coffee Club from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday on the screened-in porch. Floridays’ event coordinator, Fran, is always dreaming up fun ways to make meet-ups in the Community Room a great way to spend time with old friends and make new ones here in Martin County.

Guests can look forward to a full schedule of activities from Bingo (90% of the proceeds go to prizes) to Open Mic Saturdays, and an occasional gig with a local band. Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, NASCAR and Daytona 500 parties, and our annual St. Patrick’s Party will keep all our guests with full calendars for the season.

George, the resident park manager, will once again be making memories as he takes park guests on excursions up and down South Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. And this season will be bigger and better than ever—George has a new 35-foot all aluminum beauty!

It may be too late to reserve a space for the 2017-18 winter season, but it’s not too late for next year—Reserve now! To stay updated on what’s new for Floridays and see more photos of our improvements for this season, please follow us on Facebook »