Trail of the Pirates is a travel series exploring maritime history, culture and lore between Key West and St. Augustine on the east coast of Florida.
Skull and crossbones mark the spots were treasure is found and pirates roamed. More Florida Jolly Rogers to come in the future.
The first edition of my Florida east coast road trip in search of pirates has come to an end for now, though I will be undoubtedly exploring more in the future. Obviously, no Trail of the Pirates would be complete without investigating the west coast of Florida and the Panhandle!
The journey is only just beginning. As much as I learned, I'm sure I only scratched the surface. I'll be updating this series as I roam more around Florida and beyond. It'll be a never ending quest for me as there is so much to explore when it comes to pirates and maritime history. Don't be surprised if I send dispatches from the Caribbean later this year.
To support my first-hand experience, I'm currently taking a Florida history course at Miami-Dade College with Dr. Paul George. But pirate mayhem is just around the corner, too: I'll be be attending the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa next weekend, which I hear is quite a wild party.
I definitely had pirate on the brain after a week of traveling. Yours truly with a special pirate friend in St. Augustine. And yes, had we been authentic, we wouldn't have been wearing the sunglasses or taking portraits with an iPhone.
ITINERARY [UPDATED DECEMBER 2011]
Anybody who's willing to do a road trip can explore just like I did. Here's a recap of my Key West to St. Augustine itinerary. Follow each link for more information on each destination.
FLORIDA KEYS - MONROE COUNTY
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Pirates in Paradise and Fort Taylor Pirate Invasion
MIAMI - MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Biscayne National Park and History Miami Museum
Florida Renaissance Festival - Pirate Weekend
HUTCHINSON ISLAND & STUART - MARTIN COUNTY
Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge Museum
VERO BEACH - TREASURE COAST - INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
McLarty Treasure Museum and Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum
SAINT AUGUSTINE - ST. JOHN'S COUNTY
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
St. Augustine Pirate Gathering
Gasparilla Pirate Invasion
Dear Miamians, you really don't know beaches and ocean until you get out of damn Ocean Drive. If you've only ever lived in Miami-Dade, do yourself a favor, get out there and explore the rest of this beautiful state and no, I'm not talking theme parks.
I've made it easier for you on Google by creating a map of Trail of the Pirates. And as always, feel free to ask questions in my Trail of the Pirates thread at Miami Beach 411.
I'll leave you now with a little pirate humor. What if pirates had Twitter?
I wouldn't have been able to do this without the businesses, organizations and folks that supported my wanderlust but more importantly, my mission to teach the world about Florida and the Caribbean through travel writing.
Once again, thanks to the following for supporting this journey:
Annie's Costumes, Captain Hiram's Resort, Discover Martin County, Florida’s Historic Coast Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Florida Keys and Key West, Hilton St. Augustine, History Miami Museum, Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort and Marina, Hyatt Pier 66, Indian River Chamber of Commerce, Pirate Republic Seafood Grill and Bar, Visit Florida, and Westin Key West Resort.
And of course, thanks to all the people I interviewed for their time and enthusiasm.