If you could go anywhere in the continental United States, Florida is right up there at the top of most people’s lists. It has just about anything you could want (except mountains); beaches, amusement parks, historical places, world-class restaurants, and most of all – great weather in the winter. Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to explore Florida. Here are some things you shouldn't do in Florida, these are our top mistakes to avoid when visiting the sunshine state.
With 825 miles of coastline and some of the best beaches in the world, it can be tempting to spend every day at the beach and see just how baked your skin can get. However, there is so much more to Florida than the white, sandy beaches. There are theme parks, museums, and all kinds of unique things to see and do. Plan on spending a few days away from the beach and checking out other things Florida has to offer.
You’re in Florida. You can get Wendy’s or McDonald’s anywhere. Try something new, like alligator bites, a grouper sandwich, or some conch fritters. Drive over to Tampa and get a real Cuban sandwich (it was created there). For dessert, you can’t go wrong with a slice of freshly made key lime pie!
Yes, it’s hot here and the sun’s rays are more potent than many realize, even on cloudy days. A bad sunburn is a health risk and will quickly ruin your vacation. Always use sunscreen. We like the natural kind – it’s safer for your skin. If you are going to be in the water, make sure it’s reef-safe sunscreen. Thousands of tons of sunscreen end up in the world’s coral reefs per year, causing irreparable damage.
Floridians respect the weather but just work around the rain showers. During the summer, it may rain every day, but not all day. Typically, rain showers last for a half-hour, and the rest of the day is usually sunny. So when the forecast calls for a 70% chance of rain, it will rarely rain most of the day. That being said, when you hear thunder, it’s time to head indoors until the thunderstorm is gone. Lightning is a serious matter.
Realize that from June to November, it’s hurricane season. It’s still fine to visit during these months but you should keep an eye out for weather forecasts. While hurricanes are rare, they can be devastating. Forecasters are getting better at predicting where landfall might happen with these storms, but they can still be erratic at times, so use common sense when deciding if you should delay your trip or not.
During the winter months, the weather can still be warm, but the state does have cooler temperatures sometimes, depending on what part of the state you visit. It’s a good idea to pack some sweaters and slacks, just in case.
Because much of Florida is peninsular in shape, you can catch some amazing sunrises on the east coast of Florida and some spectacular sunsets on the west coast. The sky can turn a variety of dazzling colors as the sun rises or dips over the water. For many, it’s an exhilarating moment they’re glad they waited for.
Florida’s natural environment is diverse and quite different than anywhere on the planet. Here, you can view alligators, otters, exotic birds, and manatees in the wild. Take a boat side in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean and you can see dolphins playing. You can also see wild flora and fauna through a glass-bottom boat at Silver Springs. There are many springs, lakes, rivers, and wildernesses to explore and see a completely different side of Florida. Plus, it’s usually a lot cheaper, and often way more satisfying, than the crowded theme parks.
It may be tempting… but don’t do it! For many local Floridians, this one is unforgivable. While these birds may seem harmless enough at the beach, once the food is offered, they get aggressive and bold. Within a few seconds, they and a few hundred of their closest friends will surround you and everyone else within earshot. Trust us; the scene turns into a madhouse quickly, with bird droppings an inevitable result. They will also hound you for the rest of your time at the beach. If you want to avoid the stink eye from every other beachgoer, avoid offering any food whatsoever to seagulls.
Florida has something for everyone. It’s no reason why the sunshine state is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. You can have the time of your life here, as long as you avoid these common mistakes.