Florida… It’s one of those places just isn’t really part of the United States, though it really is.
- Go to the beach:
Florida is known for its miles and miles of beaches. And though they are high commercialized, especially Miami and South Beach, they are completely worth it. Try to hit the beach at a not so busy time, because the huge influx of people on Memorial Day weekend can put a damper on your holiday. Each beach has it’s on Vibe: Miami and South Beaches attract a young and vibrant crowd and provide a great music scene. Naples and Tampa beaches are more laid back, and the Key’s offer a quirky and peaceful atmosphere, unique to themselves.
- Visit the Everglades:
The Everglades, or River of Grass, is one of the most unique places in the world. There is nowhere else in the world like it. The Everglades used to cover the state of Florida from Lake Okeechobee south, but now it only extends about 2.5 million acres of south Florida. Take an airboat ride, go biking, or talk to one of the park rangers; they will all provide a great insight that Florida is not just Miami Beach. Just don’t go during the summer, the mosquitoes are horrible.
- Find a local fruit stand:
These places are amazing. They have milk shakes to die for, made of tropical fruits such as mango, star fruit, passion, and dragon fruit. You can also get local honey, produce, sea shells, and jams. Many places will also sell freshly made bread and sweets. Don’t forget your boiled peanuts either, made right in front of you, and can be found in a variety of flavors such as regular, Cajun, and “great balls of fire.” If you make it to the Everglades, Robert is Here is a world renown fruit stand near the main park entrance, and is loved by tourists and locals alike.
- St Augustine:
Long before the settlers made it to Plymouth Rock, the Spanish were already settling Florida. St. Augustine boasts some of the country’s oldest buildings, including the oldest school house as well as great shopping and beaches.
- Disney World:
What visit to Florida isn’t complete without a trip to Orlando? The parks are awesome for all ages, but when outside the park, I recommend finding a local specialty instead of large chain restaurant. Make sure to check out the Food Networks, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to look for local hotspots.
- Indian Tribes: Florida is home to many unique Native American Tribes, but instead of visiting a casino, check out a local festival instead. These festivals feature traditional crafts, clothes, dances, and alligator wrestling. Some tribes include the Seminoles, Timucua, Creek, and Miccosukee. In fact, the Miccosukee were the only Native American Tribe to NOT sign a treaty with the American Government. The festivals are great fun, and offer a different type of experience from downtown Miami.
Florida is one of those places, that, even if you live there, you never get to see the whole things because there is just some much to do! Locals, especially in the keys, tend to stick to themselves and avoid the touristy parts of town, because they love their way of life. If you get a chance, make friends with a local and they will be able to recommend a place that offers a unique taste of Florida, be it a restaurant of a piece of shoreline. Florida offers a great Latin culture, quirky beach towns, southern courtesies, and adventures galore.