So you’re thinking about spending your summer vacation in the Sunshine State?
You've been enticed by the white sandy beaches, enthralling theme parks, and perhaps the tantalizing thought of biting into a slice of key lime pie, haven’t you?
Well, as someone who took the plunge and moved to Florida in the thick of July, I can tell you that the state's summertime charm comes with some... quirks.
Starting our Florida journey in vibrant Miami and then moving to the Space Coast, my family and I experienced these first-hand, and boy, was it a tropical rollercoaster!
So, to offer you a taste of a real Floridian summer, here are 10 reasons you might want to reconsider your plans.
1. Perpetual Perspiration
Step outside and feel like you’ve stepped into a sauna. I'll never forget the surprise of stepping out my front door and feeling my palms turn sticky, not from sweat, but from the enveloping humidity.
Put simply, the Florida summer makes every venture outside feel like a free steam bath experience.
2. Vampire Sun
Experience a new definition of "hot" when the Florida sun reaches its zenith at high noon. This is not your average sunburn, this is advanced sunburn.
It's also only too easy to get de-hydrated. I remember one morning when I thought to myself I would just go out for a short walk to the lagoon and back. It was just 45 minutes there and back. At 7AM, mind. And I took water.
But not enough. And half an hour later, I was so close to a heat stroke, that I thought I was about to faint right into that lagoon!
3. Palmetto Bugs and Lubber Grasshoppers
If you're entomophobic, you're in for a treat! Meet the Palmetto bugs, giant cockroaches that aren't afraid to fly straight into your face.
And let's not forget about the Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers, the sizable, colorful critters that love to hop around and surprise you with their presence.
To be totally honest, I kinda like the grasshoppers. Yes, they're huge, but at least they don't come after you like roaches do.
And the Florida kind almost look intelligent. Or it could have been the heat stroke, I don't know.
4. Land of the Thunderstorms
After all, what's a vacation without a little bit of thrill? And by thrill, we mean daily afternoon thunderstorms that could turn the sky from blue to ominous grey within minutes.
You'd think the air would cool down, right?
But don't worry, the constant humidity more than makes up for it. You still won't need a jacket.
5. Sharks and Alligators in the Water
Thinking of cooling off in the water? Think again. Florida boasts both sharks in the sea and alligators in freshwater bodies.
Think of them as the state's natural lifeguards, ensuring you don’t get too much water time.
Although to be fair, we really enjoyed the alligators. And yes, we saw tons of them. And yes, we did get into the water. With alligators not too far away.
It's what Floridians do, and we were Floridians for that year!
Check out my guide about how to see alligators in the wild in Florida. It also includes a section about safety and addresses safety concerns of swimming with alligators.
6. Sauna-like Theme Parks
The happiest place on earth transforms into the sweatiest place on earth. Enjoy hours of standing in line under the scorching sun at the likes of Disney World and Universal Studios.
Illustration of hot crowded day at Disney (by Midjourney)
7. Air Conditioning Overload
Don't forget to pack a winter coat for when you step inside any Florida building.
The contrast between the outdoor heat and indoor chill will make you feel like you've traveled to a different season entirely.
8. Hurricane Parties
Who needs a calm, relaxing holiday when you can experience the thrill of a hurricane party?
Make unforgettable memories while frantically stocking up on supplies and bunkering down.
Seriously, though. Hurricanes can disrupt your Florida holiday, but that's more likely to happen through disrupting flights.
Hurricane parties are definitely a thing, but they're reserved for the brave locals who decide to stay and weather the storm. Tourists have enough time to leave (or cancel their vacation).
9. Red Tide Roulette
Why settle for a simple beach trip when you can witness a scientific phenomenon?
Experience the red tide, an algal bloom that gives the sea a reddish hue, kills marine life, and can even cause respiratory problems in humans.
10. Waging War with the Wildlife
If you think you can escape the bugs by staying indoors, think again. The summer heat brings out all sorts of critters, and they're not always outside.
Don't be surprised if a lizard scurries across your living room floor. You're probably seeing a green anole (even if it's brown - trust me on this one).
Frogs are another common summer guest. As are snakes.
Still coming to Florida this summer?
Remember, this is all in good fun. Every place has its ups and downs and Florida is no exception. In fact, some might argue that it's these unique traits that make Florida the place to be! Even in summer!
Have fun and safe travels!