You can call Florida a theme park state/ tourist trap state/ sunshine state, actually, it’s one of the best tourist destinations.
Living in Florida is both a blessing and a curse. You find yourself holed up in a beautiful suburban area, palm trees flanking the entryway to your corner of heaven, not twenty, thirty minutes from some of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States, and in one of the first states to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic (which, hopefully, you’ve found yourself in a place that’s reopening safely). And it seems as though your state is overflowing with tourists, flying down to spend a week hitting all of the parks and playing down on I-Drive, treating your state like their own personal utopia. Moreover, that utopia can seem so far away as your spirit, at times, just gets subsumed by the rigors of daily life; The first time a tourist cuts you off in traffic on the way to Disney, you might be okay.
The 50th time, however? A whole different story.
It can seem as though you and these tourists are occupying two completely different states: they’re living out their dreams in a bustling utopia while you’re trying to make ends meet in a state that frequently gets mocked for its infamous “Florida man” headlines. If this is you, you might need to get away for a while; to plan a little vacation for yourself and try to enjoy the things that make Florida such a beloved travel destination.
Here are some things you can do to help recapture the “magic” of the tourist trap state for yourself.
The Theme Park State: Visit the Parks
While some may want to put this off, given the still-circulating variants of COVID (and that is completely understandable and acceptable), you may be able to visit the theme parks safely if you’re vaccinated and willing to put a mask on indoors; keep in mind, however, that there is always a risk, and should you choose to vacation in any public setting, you should be prepared to accept it.
However, the theme parks encapsulate so much of what makes Florida unique (and what draws tourists to the state), with many fun places to visit and things to do. Magic Kingdom has Florida resident ticketing options, so if you feel like you need to get away from the dreariness of daily life and experience a staple of Florida’s entertainment industry, you can always pay a visit to Cinderella’s castle for the day. Seasonal events at the theme parks also tend to be quite a bit of fun; What is Halloween without Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights or Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream? Or Christmas without Disney’s Merry Menagerie? Just be careful to pack a mask, put on some sunscreen, and download and check your weather app to make sure you won’t get rained out, and the theme parks can provide a short, fun getaway for Florida residents.
Check Out the Beaches
The beach can also be a fun way to get away from your day job, basking in the natural beauty of the state while reading a good book or even cooling off in the waves. It also has two significant advantages over theme parks. First, going to the beach will likely be free, especially if there’s one close by. Second, you can choose to go at a time when few tourists will be around, such as early in the morning or late in the evening; you’ll get no such assurances (or peace) at the parks.
Whether you’re walking the beach collecting shells or taking a boat out from the nearby pier, make sure to pay attention to any signs or codes displayed at lifeguard stands: our beaches are beautiful but can also be dangerous, and keeping abreast of any potential hazards will serve you well in the long run.
Recapturing the Magic
Being a Florida resident doesn’t mean that you have to ignore, forget, or despise the touristy end of things; in fact, being so well-positioned to enjoy them, you are one of the luckiest people living in the States. Take some time this weekend and treat yourself. Living in the most magical state in the US, you have ample opportunity to get away and enjoy the thriving culture that is the envy of the nation.