What comes to mind when you think of Florida? Vibrant white sandy beaches, palm trees galore, a variety of different cultures and warm sunny weather all year round. If you thought of any of these, they are all true. Although, just beware that hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 1st. Just keep this in mind when you start planning a vacation a year or less in advance. Planning in advance has allowed me ample opportunity to find places to visit or even deals that I did not know of right when I decided on going.
As I mentioned in my first post, my first vacation was to Florida. I honestly had no idea where to start or where to buy online tickets. I did not even know what to pack to take with me, I will touch on that more later. Neither of my parents knew where to buy tickets, as the internet was still a newer concept to them in 2010. Finally, I stumbled upon Expedia during an internet search. I put in Miami, Florida and the lowest price ticket was around 200 dollars. I reached out to my grandma about the price, she suggested I try an airport a little further away from her. That airport was Fort Lauderdale, Florida and they had airline tickets cheaper than Miami. Therefore, I went with the cheaper ticket even though it was a little further drive for my grandmother. In just a few short months, I was on my way to Florida.
When we arrived I was filled with so many different emotions from nervous to excited to being antsy. When I stepped outside in March at the airport, I was shocked at how warm the weather was. When I had left Kansas it was about to snow and approximately around 35 degrees Fahrenheit. My grandparents took us to many different places Miami Beach, Coral Castle, a fruit stand, Everglades Alligator Farm, Biscayne National Park and Key Largo. I highly recommend all of them. Miami Beach was the first beach I had ever seen in person, I will admit I cried. Seeing the ocean is a spectacular and overwhelming experience, at least it was for me. I was in shock and awe of how beautiful and peaceful it was in person. Each and every time I still go, it is as spectacular as the first time I went.
Miami Beach tends to always have a lot of people on the beach, unless you go in the early mornings. Be sure to get a spot early if you plan on spending the day at the beach. Coral Castle is a castle partially finished by a guy named Edward Leedskalnin. The castle and everything inside it is built with mostly limestone formed from coral. This place was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. My grandma took us to explore a fruit stand near the highway, they had fruit I had never heard of. The one that stood out the most to me was ugli fruit, if you are in the Florida area I would try it! It was very delicious! Everglades Alligator Farm was an amazing experience in itself. We opted to buy the tickets that included an airboat ride in the Everglades. Let me tell you that the upgrade on the ticket purchase was definitely worth your money. When I finished with the airboat ride, my face hurt so bad from smiling and I was grinning ear to ear. Biscayne National Park is worth a trip, it is peaceful, quiet and full of history. There is a man made beach that you can relax on. My grandma took me there when I told her I wanted to go to the beach for my birthday. I definitely recommend spending some time out there. We took a glass bottom boat tour from the park. I could not keep my eyes off of the bottom of the boat, there was many different sea life to see. They offer many different tours from island tours, snorkel trips and etc. A restaurant I highly recommend is Shivers Bar-B-Q in Homestead, Florida. I still can to this day taste the great food from years ago. They had excellent food, clean restaurant and a good environment for anybody to be in.
Just like in every other state, Florida has their rough spots or not so nice beaches. Make sure you do your research before picking out which one you would like to go to. Also beware of the parking fees in some hotels near the beach and parking at the beach itself. I have paid my fair share of money for valet parking (which some hotels require) and just to pay to park to go to the beach. One hotel made me pay 30 bucks a night to park at their hotel, in which I still had to park a mile to get to the hotel or get back to my car. I enjoy walking, so it did not bother me as much as it could have. I would highly recommend staying in Miami Beach or in Clearwater (near Tampa). Those are my two most favorite beaches in Florida. I still have a lot of places to explore in Florida, after all it is a huge states with plenty of different beaches.
MY TOP 5 REASONS TO GO TO FLORIDA:
1.) The warm sunny weather year round.
-Like I said before, beware of hurricane season. Although you never know a year in advance where the hurricanes will hit, there is always a chance. Most days have at least some rain in them, but it is generally for only a few minutes.
2.) The variety of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.
3.) The vibrant white sandy beaches.
4.) The many cruise ports with ships that leave to go to a variety of different places in the Caribbean.
5.) Each city you go to is different from the next.
Overall, Florida is one of my most favorite places to go. Each city I have been to is full of life and different from the next. Most of the beaches I have seen have been vibrant white sandy beaches that are clean of debris and trash. After taking a 13 day trip to visit my grandparents, Florida left me yearning for more. I’ve been back 2 times since the first time I went for cruises. I went back to Kansas and immediately started day dreaming about the next place I could go. This trip made me fall in love with traveling and also made me realize there is much more to it. During this trip, I made sure I was never alone without someone I knew. The furthest I would be away from someone is right down the street. My grandmother would send her dog after me if I stayed in a particular place too long. To this day, I still do not understand how the dog knew where I was but that’s okay. This helped my anxiety and helped me learn to trust myself being in different places. I also made sure I got enough sleep and wore sunglasses so I would avoid my seizures. This journey left me with a different frame of mind and a new passion for travel.
Thank you for traveling with me to Florida! Stay tuned next week to see my next adventure! See how I survived a stay in the hospital, with no one who knew about my condition around.
Incoming Rainstorm in Miami Beach, FL (2017)
Skyline in Miami, FL (2015)
Beach in Miami Beah, FL (2015)
Beach in Miami Beach, FL (2017)
Palm Tree House in Clearwater, FL (2017)
Sunset Dolphin in Clearwater, FL (2017)
Beach in South Beach, FL (2015)