Summer in Florida
The Pros and Cons of Spending the Summer in Florida
If you are thinking of moving to Florida, or just spending the summer here, there are some things you should know about this beautiful and diverse state.
Number one fact is: The Heat.
Summer in Florida can be brutal if you are not used to it. But summers here have their up side as well. We will talk about both sides of the spectrum.
Some people love the heat, others can't take it and are miserable during the long, hot, summer months, so if you are not a heat lover, maybe you could be a "snowbird" and just come to Florida in the winter months when the weather is close to perfect. Some of us have no choice. Florida is our home, so we learn to adapt.
The Positive Aspects of Summertime in Florida
Florida is a very relaxed, laid-back state. All you need clothing-wise is a few tank tops, shorts, and a pair of flip-flops, maybe a sundress or two. Oh, and a swim-suit, of course. It's often too hot in the middle of the day to be active outdoors, so take advantage of this to rest, catch up on your reading, lie around in a swimming pool or under an umbrella at the beach.
The photo was taken at Fort DeSoto State Park. Florida has some awesome parks. Relaxing activities like swimming, hiking, and picnicking abound. There are lots of trees, so it's shady and comfortable. It's always at least 10 degrees cooler in the shade.
Bright Sunny Mornings
Oops! I Forgot to Wear My Hat!
The morning is one of the most pleasant times of the day in the summer in Florida. Early mornings are best for being outdoors, going out and getting things done, and doing sports or exercise. After about 11:00, it heats up and by noon, it's time for lunch and an indoor, air-conditioned break.
The mornings are normally quite pleasant in Florida, especially near the coast. There is usually a bit of a breeze and the heat is subdued enough that you will want to be outdoors doing things. So, go for a swim, run errands, go to attractions, do your outdoor chores like cutting the grass or gardening. Then have lunch and rest indoors for a while or do inside chores if you can. If you must work, wear a hat, take a big bottle of water, and stay in the shade as much as possible, otherwise the extreme heat can cause headache, exhaustion, and crankiness.
Sun Hats - My Three Favorites
These are the hats I like the best. They all have a chin strap (detachable) so the breeze won't liberate your hat.
This hat company has some really cool styles.
Don't be a redneck! This hat will also protect the back of your neck.
Look like an archaeologist!
After 6:00 PM, the temperature begins to cool down. This is time for a walk on the beach to watch the sunset, a jog in the park, attend an outdoor concert, take the dog to the dog-park, or just hang out on the patio having a cocktail. There are generally balmy breezes and the air feels delicious on your skin. There are spectacular sunsets. You might even want to go for a boat ride. Because Florida is a boaters paradise, there are lots of different cruises you can take. The evening is a great time for a sunset cruise, a dinner cruise, or even a gambling cruise, if you are so inclined.
Loads of Fun Activities
In Florida in the summertime, you will find so many things to do, like music events, plays, sandcastle contests, arts and crafts shows, various festivals. Florida can be lots of fun in the summer, as long as you pace yourself and make good choices.
You can find things to do indoors during the hot part of the day. Movies, the Mall, Fitness and Recreation Centers, bowling alleys and libraries all have interesting activities to keep you entertained (and cool) during the summer months.
Ahhh! The Beaches!
Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. I like the beach best in early morning or about sunset. Sometimes the blazing light and blistering heat is too intense for me in the summertime. If you do brave the beach at mid-day, arm yourself with products to shield your skin and eyes from damage.
The Tampa Bay Area has some award-winning beaches: Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island have both been named Best Beach in Florida.
I took this photo of Indian Rocks Beach. It's quieter and more secluded than Clearwater Beach. Not many high-rise buildings, just a beautiful, serene beach. Madeira Beach and Treasure Island Beach are also less hectic. If you desire activities, Clearwater and St. Pete Beach are the places to go.
Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach
The Dunes at Clearwater Beach
Clearwater was named 2013 Best Beach Town in Florida by USA Today. It's a happening beach town. If you are looking for beach activities, it's a great place to visit.
Bring your own shade to the beach.
Clearwater Sandcastle Festival - Clearwater Beach
The annual Sandcastle Competition in Clearwater Beach is a fun outing for the whole family. The fact that it takes place in a huge tent gives you a break from the sun while still being on the beach
Flowers! Florida takes its name from the Latin "flora" meaning flower. And the summers flowers are spectacular: Hibiscus, Bouganvilla, Oleanders, Plumerias. The list of lovely blooms is endless. So if you love flowers, you will learn to survive the heat and stop to smell the magnolia blossoms.
Botanical Gardens are a wonderful place to escape the heat as the plants and trees have a cooling effect.
Image credit: Bird of Paradise Bloom. Wikipedia Public Domain Images.
Flowers of Florida
A great pictorial series with colorful photos.
Cool Florida Springs
Florida has a large number of natural springs. The water is clear and refreshing. Sometime the cool temperature of the water will take your breath away when you dive in on a hot day. but the dip will keep you cool for quite a while.
There are springs all over Florida, but the majority of them tend to be in the Central and North parts of the state. There are a lot of State Parks and camping areas around Gainesville and the Suwannee River areas. If you go camping in Florida in the summer, consider staying near a spring where you can cool off frequently.
Image credit: Photo of Blue Springs State Park from Wikipedia Commons.
Guide to the Springs
This guide will show you all the wonderful Florida springs and rivers and the activities you can enjoy in these lovely areas.
If you like observing wildlife, Florida has a diverse array of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea-life. You don't even have to go to a zoo or an aquarium to see the amazing wildlife - it's all around you. Just in my own yard, I see colorful butterflies, lizards, cute little brown bunnies, eagles, ospreys, wood storks, egrets, ibises - and I live in the city. It's only a short drive if I want to see dolphins, pelicans, or manatees. There are many parks that have boardwalks where you can walk into a swamp and see alligators and other amazing creatures.
Florida is an awesome place for wildlife. You can swim with the Dolphins in the Florida Keys or the Manatees in Crystal River.
Image credit: Manatee. Wikipedia Public Domain Images.
Florida Wildlife - Get to know the Wild Side of Florida
The Downside of Florida Summers
The Disadvantages of Summer in Florida
I don't know why there has to be a down side. But there almost always is, isn't there? I guess it's the Yin and the Yang, or the light and the dark, or the good and the bad - one often goes with the other. Life in Florida in the summertime is no exception. We enjoy perfect weather much of the year, so maybe there has to be something to temper all that perfection.
The best thing we can do is to find ways to make the unpleasant parts a little more bearable. And there are ways to do that.
I've lived in Florida since 1965, so I have picked up some habits that enable me to still love my state even during the summer months. Oh, and, by the way, the summer here lasts for about five months!
Image credit: happyhousewifeuk.com (from Google Images)
Summertime in Florida is the rainy season. We often have a daily rain storm. I guess all the heat builds up like a pressure cooker, and finally something's gotta blow. It's a relief to get the rain - it cools off , but if the rain comes in the afternoon, as it often does, then the suns comes out and it's like a sauna. Guess what loves those conditions? Mosquitos! Other bugs proliferate too, but the mosquitos are the worst. There are some really big varieties here and when they bite you, it itches like crazy!
Help for Itchy Bites
Here are some remedies for mosquito bites:
Hold an ice cube on the bite for a while.
Break off a piece of aloe plant and rub it on the bite, or use an aloe-based product.
Applying vinegar helps.
Prevention is a great idea. Use a mosquito repellent when you go outside.
Chemical-Free Insect Repellent Products
The sun is very intense in Florida during the summer, especially if you are close to the water. If you are on the beach or out on a boat, there will be a nice breeze, so you might not realize you are getting burned. This can be very dangerous and bad for your skin, so apply a good sunscreen - at least 30 SPF.
I would also recommend wearing a hat with a brim and a T-shirt during the hottest part of the day.
My solution is to stay indoors from the hours one to four. I don't completely shut myself up during that time. I might go outside for a while, but if I do. I spend the time on my screened porch or under the trees.
Image credit: webmd.com
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Amazon has some great sunscreen products. I have not even seen some of these in the shops in my area. I go for sunscreen products that are safe and natural.
It's Always Cooler Under a Big Tree
At the beginning of summer, the warmth is euphoric. You just want to bask in the glorious feeling of the sun's rays on your skin. But as the summer marches on and it gets hotter, it gets more difficult for some people to cope. especially if you have to be outdoors a lot. Too much heat can cause many problems, including headache, heat stroke, rashes, sunburn, exhaustion, dizziness, and general crankiness. So don't overdo it. If you experience any of these symptoms, go indoors or get in the shade of a tree as soon as possible.
Cool Relief from the Sun - Cloths and Bandanas
I have one of these cooling bandanas and it is awesome. Keeps you cool on a hot day. I just found out about the cooling cloths and towels. High tech comfort stuff!
Storms... - and Hurricanes
I got this photo of the sky at sunset just before a thunderstorm. We get amazing skies during the summer rainy season. You have to be quick with the camera though. This scene changed seconds after I took the picture.
Besides the normal afternoon thunderstorms, Florida is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane season begins in June and runs through November. Take the warnings seriously. A hurricane is a bad storm to experience - remember Katrina? If you are in a situation in which you get an evacuation order, please do evacuate. Even if you're not advised to leave the area, make sure you are in a safe place.
If you are caught in a thunderstorm and you see lightning, take shelter. Every year I hear at least one report of a person struck by lightning.
Undesirable Florida Critters
Snakes and Alligators, Oh My!
Florida has a sub-tropical climate. That means that we have more than our share of critters. I once shared an old house in Key West with a girl from Iowa. The first time she saw a huge flying cockroach on the kitchen wall, I thought she would never stop screaming. Apparently, they don't have enormous cockroaches in Iowa. Roaches are pretty harmless - they just look gross.
However, there are some species to be cautious of.
Summertime is breeding season and alligators can get aggressive, so just be careful not to get too close and never feed an alligator. They can become unafraid of humans, and that's not a good thing.
So don't go swimming in ponds or lakes, unless it is a designated swimming area.
Usually these reptiles don't want to bother you. If you are hiking in a wooded area, wear heavy shoes, carry a stick to warn away critters, and watch where you are walking.
Sharks attack people very seldom. Don't go swimming out too far and listen to reports of shark sightings. Don't wear shiny jewelry while swimming. If you are bleeding at all, stay out of the water.
What to Wear - My Summer Uniform
The most comfortable clothing for me for the summertime is shorts (or a little skirt) a t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops. I caught a sale at Old Navy the other day and flip-flops were $1.00 a pair. The line of buyers went all around the store, out the door, and down the sidewalk. We Floridians love our flip-flops!
Image credit: dreamstime.com
AYG Clothing - Great Gear for Hot Weather
AYG makes t-shirts, sport briefs and boxers for men, and bikini and boy shorts for ladies. They are made of a wicking fabric that absorbs perspiration and is antimicrobial. They hold up well in the wash as well.
I Love Flip-flops!
Drink lots of Fluids
When in the hot Florida weather, you will perspire a lot. And I mean a lot! So you have to be constantly replacing the fluids.
Get a good water bottle and keep it filled. I like to fill mine half-way and put it in the freezer. When I'm ready to go out, I fill up the other half with water. The ice part will begin to thaw out quickly but it will keep my water cool for quite a while.
My favorite way to drink water is to squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime into it. Sometimes I even add a packet of Stevia to sweeten it a bit. No soft drinks for me.
Image credit: Wikipedia Public Domain Images
I saw this innovative bottle in a store the other day. I always drink more if it tastes yummy!
Make-Up That Can Take the Heat - No Sweat!
Rae Cosmetics has a line of make-up formulated for high performance in the heat. They use clinical-quality nutrients, anti-oxidants, and non-chemical sunscreens to protect your skin from the intense rays of the sun.
Check Amazon for more Rae Cosmetic products.
One More Great Thing About Florida...
And now, because I believe on ending on a positive note, I'd like to add one more advantage of summers in Florida..... Rainbows!
With all the rain we usually get in the summer, there has to be some rainbows. Right? Absolutely!
Quite often the sun will shine through the rain and that's when we get a beautiful, colorful, radiant, heart-warming rainbow. Summers in Florida totally rock!
Image credit: healingpaths.com
Florida Guide Books
New Link List
Check out the City of Cleawater's website. Look for the Dolphin Trail, a display of 50 six-foot fiberglass dolphin sculptures.
So what do you think? Would you spend the summer in Florida? Or wait for the cooler winter months? Or if you live in Florida, what do you do to survive the heat?