December 1st, 2015
One thing you learn living in Florida is that a lot of people that have never visited the state have a very distorted view of life in the Sunshine State. No one can dispel all the myths, but I'd like to give a try at ending some of them right now.
1) Florida is home to a million different insects.
O.K. Florida is warm year round so, yes, we do have lots of bugs, but there are actually only two types of insect in the state. The kind that are small enough to slip right through the holes in the screen door and those big enough to open the door for themselves. Seriously, that's it.
2) Everybody's from someplace else.
It's true that we do have a lot of transplanted residents here. I am one of them. I've only lived in Florida to about 40 years. I do, however know several people born and raised in the state. My son is one. I do have grown adult friends who are second third or more generation Floridians including one whose family came here to help build "Flagler's Folly". Look it up.
If you want to go on believing there is no such thing as a native Floridian go ahead. Just don't argue with me when I tell you that you are wrong because you are wrong.
3) Florida has no seasons. It's always summer.
First off, what's wrong with that? Second, we do have seasons. Four of them just like everyone else. Our seasons do kind of overlap and aside from Hurricane season there are no specific start and end dates.
Hurricane Season. Runs from June 1st to November 30th. Not that those dates really mean anything. We can get a tropical storm before or after the official season. By the way, there is no truth to the "fact" that Florida gets the most hurricanes. Historically we've had more storms hit than any other single state, but overall we get less than half of all storms.
Rainy Season. Starts sometime in what some call spring. During rainy season we get rain most every day, usually in the afternoon. These can be heavy thunderstorms, but they are seldom long in duration. When the weather people say there is a fifty percent chance of rain that means it is going to rain, but only on half of us. Literally. It might rain on your left shoulder but not your right.
Dry Season. Whenever it's not rainy season. Our lawns go into hibernation (unless you water them) and everything else turns brown. A lot of trees will drop their leaves, though they will often sprout new ones the next day.
Snowbird Season. This is when most people are in the state. It starts in October or November depending on weather up north and runs through Easter. Easter weekend usually sees more people in the state than any other time. Most Floridians have a love/hate relationship with Snowbird Season. We like the boost it gives our economy, but hate the crowded roads and restaurants.
4) All the old people live in St Pete.
The running joke is "all the old folks live in St Pete but their parents live in [insert name of your town here]". In reality there are old folks scattered all around the state. The average age of Floridians is around 45. That ain't old. The median age is even younger at around 39. Wait. What? Florida is jam packed with old folks, so what gives?
First, remember all those Snowbirds that flock down here in the winter? Many of them are not Florida residents, so they don't count. Also, it really depends on where in Florida you are that determines how many old folks you'll see. there are several planned retirement spots round the state that attract grammas and grampas by actually saying you have to be old to live there.
My city of Venice is not a planned community. it's just a great place to retire. Here the median age is around 67. .
5) Everything is close to Disney World.
Orlando is close to Disney World. Orlando is in the center of the state. You can't get an ocean view room there. Everything else is a bit farther away. Seriously, just take a look at a map. go ahead. I'll wait.
Florida is a narrow state, but it is long. If you are planning a trip to Florida do some research. A trip to Disney does not mean taking a quick trip to Miami for a Cuban sandwich (it's over three hours by car). Try Tampa instead, anyway. That's where the Cuban originated.
I'll be bringing you more info on the Sunshine state in the months to come. Most of the articles will be more serious in nature with some great vacation tips, but I'll always be trying to sell you something so be careful.