Exploring the Sunshine State Series

It starts early each spring, before it's warm. The longing for beaches, hot summer days, sunshine, and saltwater. No matter how many times I visit the beach in the fall and winter, there's always this insatiable longing for the beach in the summer. It has a different flavor when the temperatures are higher.

Florida calls me back. I read some gothic Florida lit that described that longing to return to Florida as "you've got sand in your shoes" and I connected with that on a visceral level, that this was the feeling I was experiencing. That, while I hadn't really appreciated growing up there that much, I now spend what feels like every moment trying to get back there. I am constantly dreaming of beaches, pool days, seafood, and sunsets over the water.            

 

            Florida gets in your blood and even when you’re remembering the annoyances like the bugs, hurricanes, swamps, the heat, and everything else, you still yearn for it. It still haunts your daydreams and fills your mind with what ifs. It fills your browser history with searches for cheap flights, beach house vacation rentals, and what the weather’s like in Tampa this time of year.

            Because once you start it’s almost like an affliction. You can’t just go once a year on vacation. You crave it most all of the time. And you can’t stand feeling like a tourist when you want to scream, “It’s okay! I used to live here!” as if that somehow rectifies the situation.

            All of this is to say I have spent a lot of time in various parts of Florida and wishing I was somewhere in Florida. So I get the other-earthly standards we hold this place up to, how it’s not always quite how we imagine it. But sometimes it is better than we imagine, and the stars line up to provide us with perfect Florida moments.

 

So anyway, all of this to say we’re going to be doing an Exploring the Sunshine State Series. Some of the posts will consist of previous trips to different Florida cities and places and other will include new trips to both new and old cities!

Cities that are coming up:

 Pensacola
Ft. Myers & Cape Coral
Orlando
Destin & 30A 

Places I’m dying to travel to (or revisit since its been a LONG time):

Tampa
St. Augustine & Jacksonville
Miami & The Florida Keys 

Old tobacco barns and shifting wooden houses rotting on the side of the streets, buried in tall grass beneath shady live oaks and pine trees with their ghosts and their people, how ‘you’ll always come back to Florida, darling — you got sand in your shoes’
— Tumblr (see link below)

Which cities are you most excited for?? Which ones do you want to see? Got any wonderful recommendations for places we should go, food we should eat or things we should do?? Leave them in the comments.

 **Link to Florida gothic writing here