Considering I'm a travel blogger, it's probably not too hard to guess that at any given moment when I'm not traveling, I would rather be exploring somewhere new or boarding the plane that's going to take me there. However, I was born and raised in Florida and I still live in the Sunshine State today. I'm sure there's a super cheesy quote about hometowns that I could use here, but I'll refrain. I will say that growing up in Florida is something that I often take for granted. People from all over the world come to Florida on vacation, and there are plenty of reasons for that. So without further ado, here are just a few:
There's nothing like a polar vortex up north to remind me that Florida is an amazing place to be during the "winter". If you have ever witnessed a Florida "winter," you'll understand the quotation marks. As I post this on February 21, the high temperature is in the 70s (that's around 25-26 degrees for all of you Celsius users). We occasionally get temperatures as low as the mid-20s (-6 to -1 in Celsius), but those days are rare and we all joke afterward about how brutal our one day of winter was. Last year when I lived in Dublin, there was maybe one day during the entire four months that I was there that came anywhere close the the temperatures Florida has all winter long, and that was in May. The point here is that even in the harshest winter months, Florida's weather is pretty sweet. Go the the beach, ride a bicycle around town or simply relax in the sun. But don't forget the sunscreen!
Paynes Prairie Reserve
When I was a kid, I don't think I realized how fortunate I was to have such incredible seafood readily available at restaurants all over town. Fish, shrimp, sushi, clams, scallops, crab legs--you name it, we have it. And it's so fresh. You can even take the extra step and catch your dinner yourself.
"So do you go to the beach, like, every day?" Throughout my entire life, almost every non-Floridian I have ever met has always asked me that exact question when they find out that I'm from Florida. The answer is no, but for a lot of Floridians, it's possible. My hometown is about a 30 minute drive from the beach, and there are plenty of them to choose from. Florida has more than 1,000 miles of coastline, and no matter where you are in Florida, you're no more than about 60 miles from the coast. And remember that amazing weather I mentioned before? That makes it possible to sink your toes into the sand all year round.
Other Natural Landscapes
Don't like the beach? I wasn't too fond of it either for a few years when I was younger (it's a crime, I know). Luckily, Florida is a diverse state and there are plenty of other beautiful natural landscapes to explore. Everglades National Park is full of wildlife and it's huge, so there's plenty of swampland to be discovered down in the southern part of the state. There's also plenty of rivers, lakes and--my favorite--springs. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, there are more than 900 freshwater springs in the state of Florida. If you have never been to one, I highly recommend it. The water is crystal clear and about 70 degrees all year long, so it's perfect for cooling down in the summer. At many springs you can rent an inflatable tube or bring your own and float along with the current for hours. You might even see a manatee!
I couldn't possibly write this post without mentioning Disney World. I can't count how many times I went to Disney World as a child (and a handful more times in the past few years), but I was one of the lucky ones. I grew up 3 hours away from Disney, and people come from all over the world to visit or they spend their entire lives wishing they lived closer. While there are other Disney parks elsewhere in the world, none of them compare to Disney World in Orlando (this is not opinion, it's just a fact, okay?) And it's fun for all ages. You're never too old to feel the magic when the castle is illuminated by fireworks.
The fun doesn't stop there! Other theme parks in Florida include Busch Gardens, Legoland and Universal Studios (my personal favorite because HARRY POTTER WORLD!!) If you like theme parks, there is something here for you.
Lots of people get bored with their hometowns and can't wait to get out as soon as they're old enough. I'll admit that I was (and still am) just like them. But with a home as beautiful and fun as Florida, I know I'll always return no matter how far away I go.
So what are you waiting for? Escape the snow and visit Florida now! Need some inspiration? Here are some of my photos of the beautiful state of Florida.
As always, comment below or contact me here if you have any ideas for future posts!