Wasn’t This Supposed to be a Spa Getaway???

Do This NOW!

Call your closest girlfriends and invite them for a non-spa weekend to celebrate getting through Irma alive, surviving the holidays, getting the kids back in school, setting new goals (or not) for 2018, and for simply being friends.

Every December, when the pace of life seems to peak in a ‘jingling-all-the-way’ kind of moment, my most adventurous kayaker friend emails a gentle inquiry to solicit available dates for the annual “Girls’ Getaway”.

Generally, a “Girls’ Getaway” elicits ideas of pampering, comfort, and luxury.

The annual trip incorporates none of these elements.

The getaway involves a trek into the wilderness, and, despite our best efforts, always ends up requiring endurance and survival skills. It is inevitable, that at some particularly grueling moment during the trip, someone will wail, “Wasn’t this supposed to be a spa getaway?! Next year, I demand we go to the spa!” And ‘next year’ we all sign on for another wilderness boating adventure.

Key Largo women's eco tourSpa Getaway vs. Wilderness Boating Adventure

The spa getaway is painfully predictable. At no point will you be covered in mosquitoes, blinded by sweat, or be bitten by wild animals. It is unlikely you will need to use your GPS to make your way to the spa. You will not get lost on your way to the spa, in the pouring rain, as the sun sets. You will never have to rescue a partner from sinking thigh deep in Florida Bay muck.

Ahhhh…the spa. It has its place. And I adore a good massage. But it simply does not meet the needs of a group of adventurous girlfriends who want to take a moment out of their busy lives to reconnect.

Get On Board for Just 48 Hours

Call your closest girlfriends. Mark off two full days. Make a plan. Gather your equipment.

And then, when the trip comes, leave in the wee hours of the morning.

Unplug the phones. Talk. Laugh. Tell stories. Tell secrets. Get wet. Search for wildlife. Watch the colors of the water change. Inspect the night sky. Eat delicious food. Get quiet.

You will return salty, dirty, and gritty. But you will return revived, refreshed, and rejuvenated. You will be recharged and ready to get on with it.

Oh, so much can happen in 48 hours. Here are three totally doable 48 hours of adventure that you and your girlfriends can plan right NOW:

Cape Sable Overnight: Watch the weather before heading out for this excursion, or have a backup plan if the wind is against you. Cape Sable is the exquisite stretch of beach in the Everglades National Park stretching from the southernmost tip of the Florida mainland up the east coast. Take a motorboat from the Keys OR launch at Flamingo and do an endurance paddle out to the point. Give it a few more months for the temperatures to drop, and the post-Irma effects to wash away, to enjoy this pristine destination. The beach can’t be accessed by road! So, stake your solitude claim.

Peace River Paddle: Take the short drive up to the southeast coast of Florida to discover this beautiful river. Cypress trees line the winding and gently flowing river and alligators, turtles, and the occasional horse, roam the shores, while herons and raptors prowl the skies. Primitive campgrounds dot the river and welcome paddlers on their journey. Give The Canoe Outpost a call (www.canoeoutpost.com) to organize a day, overnight, or multiple night excursions. This group will rent everything you need for a successful trip including the boat, the cookware, and the sleeping bags.

Explore the Turner River: This river is magical. Ducking through mangrove tunnels and passing under hundreds of air plants and bromeliads will make you think you are travelling in a land created by fairies. Even if you can only escape for one day, make the effort to get up to the Tamiami Trail to launch your own boat or connect with The Ivey House (www.iveyhouse.com) to outfit you for the day or overnight.


Captain Elizabeth Jolin owns She’s at Sea, a Boat Handling Course for Women. She has been chartering and teaching women to boat in Islamorada for the past 20 years. Contact her at shesatsea@gmail.com to comment, ask boating questions or to suggest article topics. She would love to hear from you.

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