Like many people that live in Florida, I’m from somewhere else. I’m a native Tar Heel from the Old North State. I’ve been here for about 7 years, and I’m finally ready to say that I love my new home. Florida can be tough on newbies- the summer heat and humidity can be oppressive, the crowded roads and restaurants due to the “snowbirds” can be maddening, and everywhere is a long way from here. But there are some pretty sweet reasons why Florida is a great place to live. Here are my favorite reasons:
Towering clouds, long, flat horizons, and lots of sunshine add up to some of the most beautiful skies I’ve ever seen. This is a picture I took while fishing one afternoon. I watched this thunderstorm slowly develop and move toward me over time. Simply spectacular.
Lots of Big Fish
Fish are everywhere down here (in the water, of course). Offshore fishing is superb, and fishing the flats in the bays is amazing. This is a 120 lb. tarpon I caught at the Boca Grand Pass near Port Charlotte. The county I live in has over 500 lakes, so you don’t have to go to the coast to catch a fish.
Wildlife is everywhere down here, and it is the most diverse I’ve ever seen. There must be a million varieties of birds (slight exaggeration, but you get the point), big gators, armadillos, coyotes, and tons of wild pigs. And that doesn’t include the reptiles and insects. Lots of lizards, bugs, and snakes.
Florida is synonymous with Disney (Hollywood Studios decorated for Christmas, pictured above), Universal, Sea World, and the newest theme park in my hometown, Legoland. Most parks offer Florida residents the chance to purchase annual passes, which give the hometown folks a price break to come more often. Unfortunately, Disney has priced me out of the market. In addition to theme parks, there are pro sports teams to follow (Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Marlins) as well as the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles. College sports fans down here are about as rabid as the UNC/Duke fans. OK, more rabid.
Year Round Golf
You have to be a little careful during the summer afternoons because of the heat, but Florida golf season goes on year round. There are plenty of gorgeous courses to play, and after the snowbirds go home, there’s no problem getting a tee time. Notice the gator sitting on the bank right behind me in the picture.
No, there aren’t four distinct seasons like there is up north, but Florida has some advantages of its own. No state income tax. Sunshine practically every day. Down to earth, friendly people. I think I’ll stay awhile.