What’s your favorite part about Florida?

Hold on… not so fast! When my family relocated here from Michigan in 1970, I think my mom would have said, “Warm weather and the beach.“ I can definitely see her point. My husband is a transplant from New England… and I’m certain those two attributes were factors in his decision as well.

Lately, I realize that this new “apres Covid lifestyle” has had me staying close to home for absolutely no reason! Venturing out for a celebratory lunch with a friend found us dining on Pompano Beach. Because I was avoiding the spring break traffic, I came to realize that I have not been completely embracing the Florida fun that I previously had.

We live in an area that is replete with culture, including international art exhibitions, major sports teams, nature trails, concerts, theatre, athletic competitions, theme parks, water sports, the Keys, a unique and impressive eco-system, and so much more!

So what haven’t you found yet? Did you know that Douglas high school was named after a woman focused intently on her love for the Everglades? Have you been out to see them? They are gorgeous, and an integral part of what makes our state so special. If you haven’t had an airboat tour yet, get excited, and make sure it’s on your calendar! There are actually 38 protected species in the Everglades National Park, including the West Indian manatee and the Florida panther – one of the most endangered mammals on Earth.

Have you taken a tour of the Peace River? Great fun for the whole family, and you can find amazing fossils! Have you told your kids about the barefoot mailman? Ever been to Vizcaya? Explored Coral Castle? Cross Alligator Alley to the West Coast of Florida, where Venice Beach is the shark tooth capital of the world. What kid wouldn’t be thrilled to bring one of those FREE souvenirs home?

Are you a history buff? Saint Augustine is an amazing place to explore. It is the oldest fort in America, and the rumors are… The town is haunted! But hey, if you happen to be spooked by the thought of ghosts, take the kids up to the Kennedy Space Center! That’s a great activity for the entire family! And FYI; despite us being known as the Sunshine State, Central Florida boasts more lightning than anywhere else in the USA!

Many people can’t wait to get to Florida… But then relegate their lives to just work, school, and activities near their home. We tend to get “busy,“ doing all the things that we think we need to accomplish without giving ourselves the space to expand our viewpoint and boundaries.

Congratulations! You’re finally in Florida! Please go look around, and get acquainted with our fascinating history. Get the family excited about Florida’s origins, and make sure to explore places that help to tell the story of the Sunshine State and her people. Welcome to the family, Florida neighbor. We are thrilled that you have joined us!

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