ORLANDO, Fla. – Living in Florida is amazing, there’s no other way to put it.
Even though there are some downsides to Florida life, there’s no denying that Sunshine State residents provoke envy across the country.
After all, there’s a reason why we say, “We live where you vacation.”
If you ask any of the 21.3 million locals why they chose to settle down here, odds are they won’t be able to pinpoint a singular justification. There are just too many things that make Florida great and this Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for all of them.
Check out the list below:
1. Air conditioning
Anyone who has ever broken out in a sweat while walking from the car to the store on an August day knows how good it feels when that sweet, sweet air conditioning blasts you in the face the second you walk through the front door. Air conditioning is one of the few things that keep us sane during the ridiculously brutal summer heat. Without it, we all would have melted by now.
Manatees are one of the few wild creatures in Florida that have no intention of hurting anyone or anything. Even though we grew up around them, you better bet we get unbelievably giddy when a sea cow swims past us. Manatees are perfect and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
3. Pub subs
A typical summer day for a Floridian involves going to the beach and eating a pub sub. Sure, Publix technically exists in a few other southern states but in Florida it’s a whole different experience -- a culture, even. Life here wouldn’t be the same without pub subs.
4. No state income tax
While some may dread April 15 knowing they’ll need to give a portion of their income back to the state, Floridians don’t have that problem. Because Florida gets so many tourists, we get to skip paying that nasty fee. Who isn’t thankful for more money in their pocket?
5. End of hurricane season
That sound you hear on Dec. 1 is everyone across the state breathing a sigh of relief. Nov. 30 marks the end of hurricane season, meaning we can all put the plywood back in the garage and drink the bottled water we’ve been squirreling away. It’s even more relieving if we make it through without a devastating storm.
6. End of snowbird season
Every Floridian knows what I’m talking about. When fall starts to roll around, normally sleepy beach towns are suddenly bustling with tourists who don’t know how to navigate the roads. While we of course appreciate their business, we look forward to late spring when we go back to sharing the shores with all locals.
7. Sweater weather
We don’t have a real fall or a real winter but a few days out of each year, we get sweater weather. Any time the thermometer dips below 75 degrees, we use it as an excuse to whip out our cardigans and knee-high boots. The great thing about sweater weather is that it comes without blizzards or frost bite.
It’s about an hour from Orlando to the nearest beach, which in Florida terms is basically landlocked. No matter where you live, it’s only a short hike to the coast, where you can enjoy the surf, the sun and the sand. Our backyard is basically a beach and the warm temperatures mean we get to enjoy it whenever we want, even in December.
9. Natural landscapes
Beaches aren’t the only beautiful thing about Florida. Sure, we don’t have mountains or canyons but we have lush green palm trees and crystal clear springs. Even large urban areas have hidden gardens and others environmental escapes where you can take a break from the city life and enjoy all mother nature has to offer.
10. Outdoor weather year-round
While some northerners tend to hibernate from fall until spring, we spend those months riding our bicycles and motorcycles, kayaking and exploring the great outdoors. You could argue that Floridians instead have to coop up indoors during the summer months, but being surrounded by water where you can easily take a dip makes the heat bearable.
11. Theme parks
There’s no shortage of entertainment options in Florida and the theme parks might be the most popular one. We have Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and countless water parks that offer a thrill and a splash. The best part? Florida residents usually get a discount on tickets and annual passes.
12. Florida man headlines
Having a good laugh is usually as easy as checking out the stories on the News 6 Facebook page. There’s always something happening that’ll make you scratch your head, roll your eyes or both. While some might be embarrassed of the notorious Florida Man, seasoned residents have learned to embrace the phenomenon with a smile.
13. Rocket launches
Just try to name another state with an area nicknamed the Space Coast. Hundreds of aerospace companies have settled on Florida as their home base, which means regular rocket launches that you can watch from a nearby beach.
14. Delicious food
If you like key lime pie, orange juice and oysters then you can thank Florida for that. Even the Cuban sandwich, despite what the name might suggest, was birthed in the Sunshine State. Because our population is so diverse, we get to dine on a variety of cuisines, oftentimes without even leaving the city limits.
15. Gorgeous sunsets
The best part of ending a day in Florida is watching the sky blend shades of gold, lavender, blue and pink as the sun sets for the day. It’s a simple but serene thing to do and you know Florida offers a view that’s better than anywhere else. Then, come the next morning, you get to watch the same colors swirl as the sun rises on another perfect Florida day.