Florida--why go?

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Jan 31st, 2004, 07:11 AM
  #1
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Florida--why go?

I have never been to Florida and therefore know little about it (besides the obvious--beautiful beaches, Disney everything, Spring Break).

For people who travel there--why do you go? Is there a specific draw?

For people who don't--why not?

I am not just being a freak--I am doing a project on Florida tourism and although I have read a guide book and researched the web I would love to hear from people themselves.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 07:55 AM
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Florida has thousands of miles of coastline, decent weather during portions of the year when it may be less agreeable in other places and a highly developed system of tourism amenities/infrastructure that makes it easy to visit. It also offers a full range of options for travelers at various price points from economy to luxury and everything in between.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Reasons to go:

Warm weather, beaches, Cuban-American food and culture, Art-Deco, orange groves, to see alligators, to see the Everglades, to snorkel Key West, to party on South Beach, and because every kid has to see Disney World at least once.

Reasons not to go:

Huge over-commercialization (especially in Orlando), strip malls galore, high humidity, superficial South Beach party culture, tacky pink houses, and because frankly, one trip to Disney is more than enough.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 09:07 AM
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Florida rules!!

We came here 6 years ago to visit a friend, fell in love with it and moved here 6 months later.

I LOVE: never having to leave the state for vacation. We have the west coast calm gulf of mexico and the waves of the east coast. We live about 10 miles from clearwater beach and love to go grab a quick dinner on the beach and watch the sun set or just walk along the beach on a winter morning. For our vacation we head over to the west coast to the beautiful waves and clear blue water in Miami. We can take a cruise from 3 ports. We have no reason to leave the state, except to visit family in NJ and every time I come home I am reassured that moving here was the best decision ever! Life is good!

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Jan 31st, 2004, 09:16 AM
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The major reason to go:

the weather in the winter

The major reason not to go:

the weather in the summer

We have several family members who have retired there and come back to New York every summer because its hell to leave your house for 3/4 months every year. Conversely, my retired parents do a 6/7 week road trip to florida every January to visit assorted friends/relatives and miss the worst of the snow.

Ever thing else has just followed the weather (other places have beaches just as good and similar amusements/attractions).
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Jan 31st, 2004, 11:05 AM
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I live in Florida. I would suggest you get on the websites of a number of the major Florida cities and ask them to send you information, brochures, etc. on all the attractions in their area. They will be happy to do so. That's really the only way to get good info to do a paper. Reading a guide book is OK, but you need to do a little more research.

As for why here rather than elsewhere, well, climate is the primary reason most people come. And surprisingly, in spite of what you have heard, the summer temperatures along the coastal regions are lower than highs in the northern U.S. for most of the summer. Of course, inland Florida (for instance, Orlando) gets warmer and more humid. I live on Florida's western Gulf coast and we have generally mild weather in the summer (rarely above the low 90's) and of course, mild winters.

A wonderful aspect of Florida generally missed by most visitors is the great number of really interesting and non-touristy small towns. A visit to Florida should always be planned with spare time to get around and visit the towns you probably never heard of. That's where the real character of Florida is still alive.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 11:18 AM
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The allure of Florida has always been to come here and be somewhere unlike anyplace else -- the tropical environment of Florida is unlike the rest of the continental US. Early Florida tourism touted the exotic, the nouvelle -- and that theme re-created itself in fantasy architecture, theme parks. Increasingly, as people move to Florida from so many other places, fantasy architecture and exotic themes are increasingly played out in stores, clothing, night spots, restaurants, you name it. In Florida, anything goes. The rules are different here.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 12:54 PM
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I'm interested in Wayne's comment about summer temps on the gulf coast. My brother in law moved from chicago to Bradenton (near Sarasota) last July and he claims the summers are no worse than Chicago.

I find that hard to believe. Yes, we do get some really hot, humid weather spells every summer in Chicago, but they usually last a few days at most, and we have many days in the 70s and 80s in May- Sept. I'm thinking it must be upper 80s pretty consistently in Floriday during those months, even on the gulf coast, no?

My hubby and I were just talking about this the other day because we found Hilton Head, S.C. unbearably hot and humid during the two trips we made there in the summer years ago. We were staying within a block of the ocean, but still couldn't stand to go out between 10-3 every day. He speculated that Hilton Head might not get as much of a cooling breeze as Sarasota, since prevailing winds come from the west, where they are cooled by the Gulf. Any thoughts on that, anyone?

I certainly can't argue that Florida's winters are far superior to Chicago's! I just wouldn't choose to visit Florida in the summer as my b-in-law in encouraging us to do.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 12:59 PM
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The water.
 
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Feb 1st, 2004, 08:19 AM
  #10
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Thank you so much for your replys!!!!! I cannot believe the amazing information you have all listed! I am in San Francisco and often time people here travel to Hawaii or Mexico for a beach vacation so Florida is completely unknown to me.

I will definitely look into having individual cities send me information--great idea!

If anyone else has any information or expirences to offer I would love to hear it!!!
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Feb 1st, 2004, 09:46 AM
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The wildlife (not clubbing, I mean the animals) is amazing too. Alligators, shore birds, bird sancuaries, sea turles on the beach, manatees, lots of unique animals not found in other places in the U.S.
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Feb 1st, 2004, 10:13 AM
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The reaason people in the northeast go is that this winter it has been zero degrees or below so often my brain has frozen. Florida is a 2-3 hour flight from the northeast, airfares can be had RT for just over $200. By shopping around and not being right on the beach, hotel rooms can also be had at a bargain. It is still the US, so you don't have to worry about language, culture, currency.

Now that plain-vanilla sameness is also a good reason not to go - but for a short vacation just to relax and escape the cold, even on short notice, it is great.

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Feb 1st, 2004, 10:53 AM
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I live in the Orlando area and we love it down here. Yes, the Disney/Universal Studios part of town is soooo commercialized, but Central Florida is a great area. We are within a one hour drive to Daytona Beach area, and a 2 hour drive to Tampa/Clearwater/St Petersburg. And if you venture out of the cities and suburbs in Florida you find incredible diversity in wildlife---black bear, bobcats, deer, manatees, marlin, sharks, bald eagles and other raptors, tons of birds of all kinds either native or migratory, tons of fish both freshwater and saltwater. There are hundreds of lakes, many connected to each other to form chains of lakes. There are beaches that are so secluded and those that are full of people. There are underground caverns and springs that feed rivers and lakes. There are many rivers that are still so wild and unspoiled. You can travel by boat from Orlando area, all the way up the St Johns River to where it empties out into the ocean at Jacksonville. There is so much nature, and it changes all the time, if you just get out and see it. And there are some really great and interesting little towns all over Florida with so much history and local flavor, both along the beaches and rivers, as well as out in the middle of nowhere! There are large outdoor art festivals in the spring and winter all over the state. And specialty foods/seafood festivals, Christmas boat parades on the lakes and rivers, a Pirate festival in Tampa, Bike Week (motorcycles that is)and Biketoberfest in Daytona, triathalons in Clermont, hot air balloon festivals in South Florida---always something to do or see outside all year long!

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Feb 1st, 2004, 11:51 AM
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hi kikahead ~ how fortunate for you living in CA.
Florida is an affordable family vacation spot w/so much versatality! If you lived in the northeast like I do (we received 4 feet of snow over the past 3 days, my kids have only been to school 8 days out of the entire month of January ~ it's hellish!), you would really appreciate the warmth of Florida. With airfare now so affordable, we go each April. For me, a trip to Florida in the spring helps me handle the hassles of winter in upstate NY. I just think about all that sunshine....
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Feb 1st, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Florida is a great state. As one said the ocean waves breaking on the beaches on the east coast to the soft ripples coming into the beaches on the west coast. We fell in love with it and came to visit in the summer and found that on the gulf side (Bradenton-Sarasota area) the temperatures are usually in the high 80's and there's GENERALLY a very nice breeze. This is especially true if you live on a beach. There's always something going on in Florida whereas up north people tend to stay inside more frequently.

Another thing is housing costs are generally not as high as in the larger cities as are the utilities.

As far as Bucky's brother-in-law - I'd agree Bradenton is no more humid than the Washington DC area - now that's humid!!
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Feb 1st, 2004, 04:24 PM
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yes, i've been to washington d.c. and it is a warmer climate than chicago's. chicago gets high humidity in the summer, and high temps, but not consistently in the high 80s day after day, month after month. it's more like hot "spells".

i love florida, and i love the ocean. i just don't think my brother in law should get to brag that the weather is better year round!!
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Feb 1st, 2004, 07:31 PM
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When your folks retire to Florida, it is a lot easier for us to fly down then to have 70+ 80+ folks fly up. We have gone down to Clearwater 18 years in a row.

Everyone I know in New England and NYC have relatives that retired to Florida. That generates plenty of travel.
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Feb 2nd, 2004, 07:07 AM
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I never knew there were so many animals in Florida (sorry for my ignorance!!).
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Feb 2nd, 2004, 07:19 AM
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I think that people who have lived in the northeast generally choose to retire to Florida for the climate; and they are still only a 2 hour flight from the families/friends they left.
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Feb 2nd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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We live in Ponte Vedra Beach, within an hour's drive of Amelia Island (charming Victorian homes and gorgeous beaches), St. Augustine (nation's oldest city), Jacksonville (2005 Superbowl site) and some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. The Tournament Player's Championship ("5th major") is played here every March. PS: I live on a golf course...just looked out my window and there are people playing today wearing shorts! I'll admit that August and September can be brutal, but wonderful falls, springs and "winters" make it worth it to live/travel here.
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