Myths About Florida…
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
1. It must be too hot in the summer. This is the myth heard most often. People from the U.S. mid-Atlantic and mid-West regions or Central Europe who visit in the cooler part of their year at home think that if it is that much warmer here then that summer must be unbearable. What they do not know is that Florida’s summer is much like that in Washington, DC or St. Louis, but without the extremes, and with a nearly-constant breeze. While DC gets an average of several days over 100° F each summer and occasional heatwaves up to records of 104 to 107° F, the all-time record high in Ft. Lauderdale is 99°, and that only ever happened once.
Summer is warm, but not extreme in the Sunshine State, and yes, “everything is air-conditioned”!
2. There’s nothing to do if you are not a “beach person”, or “you won’t find culture here”. While it is true that Florida has more miles of coastline than California, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey combined, there is much more to our state. South Florida has a wide range of historical attractions, botanical gardens, and great museums. With many concert venues, and numerous theatres, we always have the fine arts and fine entertainment in abundance. Almost all of Broadway’s traveling shows get to one or more of several beautiful theatres. At least four symphony-orchestras are based in South Florida, and it this the second home of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra which has multiple performances each year in Miami. If that’s not enough, we also have two well-reviewed opera companies as well.
The world’s great artists, musicians, and performers can go wherever they want. With that flexibility, they go to Florida!
3. Florida is mostly for older people. While Florida is truly a great place to retire, and you may have had great times here many years ago when you visited your grandparents, we have a lot more beyond the shuffleboard courts at the retirement community where they lived. In addition to the nightlife that made South Florida a famous destination for college students at Spring Break, we have every imaginable kind of warm-weather outdoor sport and recreation year-round. Outdoor festivals, carnivals, rock concerts and many types of entertainment reach their peak in mid-winter, when the rest of the country is hibernating.
Come and join the excitement and fun!
4. Florida doesn’t have seasons. This is another cliché which just isn’t so. If seasons means: a few glorious months of warmth, followed by watching leaves die, followed by slipping on ice, followed by waiting for warmth; then it is true that we don’t have those. But do have distinct times of the year, each with events, a mood, and feeling of its own. They are more subtle, and you may not notice as an occasional visitor, but when you live here you will not be starved for seasonality.
In Florida summer, the pace is slow and always warm enough for a day or evening at the beach, the stores have sales, July 4th is a great celebration, and you can get into some popular places without having to wait in line. In autumn, Florida starts to wake up again, events, concerts and fairs become more frequent, and some of the seasonal residents (known as “snowbirds”) return and reunite with friends. Halloween is a giant event here in a place where it’s warm enough to enjoy it fully. In winter, people who has the choice come here – the cabin fever of homes up north is replaced with a joy and zest for life shared by all who have been freed from the frigid clutches of Jack Frost. We take walks on warm nights and marvel at the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations (and at how people turn palms into Christmas trees!). New Year’s Eve is the giant freewheeling indoor-outdoor party that you might expect, in a place where the fun is never frozen out of it. Something blooms at every time of year, but the most flowers are seen in spring. Florida gets its name from the word “florid”, which at the time meant “abundantly covered with flowers”. In springtime, you will truly know it is beautiful and well-named.
5. You will get wiped out by a hurricane. You probably know a few Californians who have never been trapped in rubble after an earthquake, and few folks from Kansas or Oklahoma who have never had their houses lifted by a tornado, and people in Florida who have not yet been blown away in a windy tropical storm. Because Florida has more coast than any other state except Alaska, it is more likely that a hurricane will hit somewhere in the state, but that does not make it more likely that it will hit any specific place. (Friends near Washington, DC called and asked if everything was okay when a hurricane hit near Tallahassee, not realizing that is as far from South Florida as DC is from Boston or Detroit!)
Coastal areas are great risk from storms, no matter where they are. If you add the number of damaging hurricanes to the number of damaging winter storms, most locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States have equal or greater probability of storm damage as locations in Florida. While no place is risk-free, you will not likely be increasing your chance of such problems if you move here from New York City, Boston, most of New Jersey, the Tidewater region, or anywhere in the coastal Carolinas. Regions such as Washington-Baltimore, Richmond, or Philadelphia have a slightly lower storm risk, and a longer drive to the beach.
6. “I can’t afford it.” You have heard of the grand Florida estates of the Kennedy and Rockefeller families, and too many celebrities to mention here, so the Sunshine State seemed out of reach.