As we have now spent some time away from Florida, I have had a moment or two to let the excitement settle and reflect on my likes and dislikes on the very culturally different state.
Firstly, Ant and I learned very quickly that February and the earlier cooler months of the year are prime Florida season, meaning the temps are cool, and tourists flock to the area from all over and the tourism industry knows good and well they can charge folks an arm and a leg. We were in Florida in possibly the most expensive time of the year, and also the busiest. Because the weather stays fairly dry and much more comfortable than their extremely hot and wet summers, who wouldn’t want to experience Florida in the cooler months?
I learned how deeply attracted I am to the natural beauty of the Florida Keys area. The water is unbelievably clear and bright blue and the sand an amazing white. Palm trees provide the occasional shade and also a beautiful green to the visually appealing natural color palette. I hope to spend more time in the Keys area in the future as I have always had a desire to spend days on a boat slinging fly line around trying to catch bone fish and other species in the beautiful shallows. Much is to be learned about the Keys’ pricing seasons. Unfortunately, like many other travel destinations in Florida, in order to travel to the Keys and have decent lodging, one must be prepared to toss out the dough.
Ant and I were fully aware of all of the possibilities of things ‘you have to do’ in areas like South Beach, Miami, Miami proper, Orlando, and other bigger cities in the state, but we were more interested in the equally admirable places hiding in the shadows of Disneyworld or Ocean Avenue. Hence, we spent an extensive amount of time hanging our in areas like Winter Park, adventuring into the Everglades National Park and spending many hours driving on two-lane roads through the central part of the state and in awe of the number of citrus farms.
I really enjoyed seeing the Gulf Coast area near Destin and Pensacola. The natural beauty is very similar to the atmosphere of the Keys, but the population and the crowds were nothing like the sometimes shoulder-to-shoulder action one might experience in southern Florida. The overall expenses in the area were a bit lower as well, thank goodness.
My parting thoughts as Ant and I crossed into Alabama were to explore this slowly growing desire to find somewhere to live for parts of every year in the coastal regions that allows me to spend days with a crew digging for sunken treasures. Apparently, there remains a massive amount of undiscovered artifacts in those beautiful waters :).