5 Reasons Why You Should Go To Florida This Year

One major reason to visit Florida: the beach!

The other evening, I was out with a group of women in New York City. When the conversation turned to winter plans, almost a third of the group was headed to Florida — including me! Ah Florida, it’s the kind of place Americans totally take for granted. Almost everyone has some kind of Florida memory, whether it was annual trips to visit Snowbird grandparents, that special trip to Disney World or a wild college spring break.

I’m looking forward to my Christmastime trip to Florida, but I’ll confess that I always feel that Florida is just not exciting or exotic a destination. So then I have to remind myself that everything is relative… For me, Florida is not so exotic as I’ve been there maybe 40 times and I only live 1,000 miles away. But for someone coming from Europe or Britain, Florida would be very exotic! And there’s so much to see and do in a relatively small distance.

Here’s five reasons why you should go to Florida this year:

1. Siesta Key Beach: Dr. Beach has rated Siesta Key Beach #1 for the past several years. With its calm turquoise water and white talcum powder sand, this Gulf Coast beach could easily be mistaken for a Caribbean beach — and one of the better ones at that. This fabulous Gulf Coast beach was totally unharmed by the catastrophic BP oil leak. Lucky for me, Siesta Key Beach is a short drive from where I always stay in Sarasota.

2. Miami: Why didn’t I put Miami first? That’s because Miami is just so obvious… Miami is a constantly evolving city and it’s just getting better. It went from being a retirement home to the crazy South Beach scene of the mid-80s through 90s to the cool international arts and culinary scene that it is today. I was lucky enough to go during Design Miami Art Basel and I would highly recommend that you go then if you get the chance. It’s when the city is at its artsiest and most international, and it’s really an amazing experience.

3. Key West: If there’s one place in Florida that feel exotic even to an American who visits several times a year, it’s Key West. It has a really fun vacation vibe, kind of like being in Mexico. I had a blast listening to the cover bands at Ernest Hemingway’s hangout Sloppy Joe’s. The sunsets are unforgettable, as is the Key Lime pie. Plus, there’s a really well-preserved historic district. The Southernmost Point of the US, Key West likes to remind you that it’s only 90 miles from Cuba.

4. Disney World: Sure, there a lot of theme parks around the globe but there can only be one Disney World. If you can only do one park, you do Magic Kingdom (where you can dine with princesses) and if you can do two (and have older children) then you have to do Epcot. People talk about conquering Disney, Disney strategies and Disney survival. Disney is Florida’s Mt. Everest or Macchu Pichu. Only more complicated.

5. Everglades: I haven’t actually been to Everglades National Park, but I really want to ride one of those airboats around the swamps and see the birds and alligators. I thought that I was doing Everglades light by taking an airboat ride in Myakka River State Park (which is near Sarasota where I usually go). I was looking forward to being scared by seeing the hundreds of alligators that live in Myakka Lake, but I went on an unseasonably cold day so all the alligators were allegedly hiding underwater to stay warm. I need to go to the Everglades for a much richer wildlife viewing experience!

What are your favorite things to do in Florida?


8 Responses to 5 Reasons Why You Should Go To Florida This Year

  1. Adrienne December 2, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    I have felt the same way but now that we seem to go more frequently since my parents became snowbirds – I love this relatively easy to get to, warm weather spot! We have found so much to do and our visits to family have made us go outside our comfort zone too. I can now check off that I’ve gone to NASCAR (never saw that coming)!
    Adrienne recently posted..Tips for Getting Kids Their First Ski Helmet

  2. Ann December 8, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    As a former Floridian I’m guilty of not getting too excited when we end up there, even though everyone I know is surprised I would leave the sun for Germany. But, it does have its charms and your list is a good starting point. I would add Saint Augustine and Apalachicola, too!
    Ann recently posted..Thanksgiving abroad, done right

  3. Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) December 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    We love a trip to Florida. It is so much more than theme parks! One Christmas we visited Crystal River, Florida and went swimming with the Manatees and the next day went on an Air Boat tour. It was awesome! The kids still talk about it every Christmas season with “Remember when…”
    Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) recently posted..Unique Holiday Gift Guide – 15 Gifts With Little to No Footprint

  4. Paige Conner Totaro December 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hmmm… it has been a while since we went to Florida. This might be a good time to check some rates for a mid-winter getaway. I would love to swim with the manatees!
    Paige Conner Totaro recently posted..A Family-friendly New Year’s Eve in Old Town Alexandria

  5. Elena December 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    I keep hearing such great things about Sonesta Key–one of these days. I have also never been to Key West but would love to go.
    Elena recently posted..Find Your Holiday Zen

  6. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    December 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Right now, it’s really cold here in MI. I’m dreaming of a beach!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Vale Nelson Mandela

  7. MikesRoadTrip January 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Hey Liz! I have seen very little of Florida, but may be road tripping around the state this summer…maybe I’ll get a chance to check out some of these locations.
    MikesRoadTrip recently posted..52 photo overview of 2013

  8. Gerard Walen January 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    How about the craft beer scene exploding across the state? OK, I may be a little prejudiced because I write about it, but we’re the next big destination for beer tourism.
    Gerard Walen recently posted..Cigar City Brewing Hunahpus Day preliminary details released

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