Snowbird destinations: Florida, Part 2

Think Florida, and you no doubt have thoughts of dazzling white beaches, warm ocean breezes, wind-swept palms and other subtropical plants and trees, endless citrus groves, fresh-from-the-water seafood, delicious key lime pie, space shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center, NASCAR drivers circling the track at Daytona International Speedway, well-manicured golf courses, the Everglades, Key West, and varied wildlife—alligators, great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, ibis, anhingas,—and of course, Disney World and other Orlando-area theme parks.

At Florida's award winning state parks you'll discover "the real Florida." © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Florida is the only state where you can pretty well winter anywhere.

Where to Winter in Florida?

The short answer is ANYWHERE in the Sunshine State.

There are so many choices—the variety is endless from the First Coast, Space Coast, Emerald Coast, Nature Coast, Sun Coast, Gold Coast, Treasure Coast, to the Keys, the Everglades, and the MOUSE.

Visitors are amazed at how much Florida changes from place to place—from the extraordinary Keys to the Florida Panhandle, and from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast.

It depends on your interests and budget. The cost of RV parks increases as you travel south and with proximity to the Atlantic or Gulf Coast.

Enjoy a Florida sunset. Photo above Amelia Island. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The further south you go, the warmer the winter temperature. For example, the average January high temperature in the Florida Panhandle is in the low-60s while Fort Myers and Naples is in the mid-70s.

Orlando, Land of Theme Parks

Orlando is a whirlwind of theme attractions, from alligator farms and haunted houses to the major entertainment parks, such as Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort (with Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Wet ’n Wild Waterpark), Sea World Adventure Park and neighboring Discovery Cove, Gatorland, Cypress Gardens, Fantasy of Flight, and Holy Land Experience.

In the 1900s, the Orlando area was known for its cattle farms, and later for its orange groves. But, in the late 1960s, after several devastating freezes, civic leaders looked around for other business that would not be directly affected by fluctuations in the weather.

Already operating at this time, Cypress Gardens drew over a million visitors a year with its lush gardens and lavish water skiing shows in a relatively small entertainment park.

Roy Disney toured Cypress Gardens and soon convinced Brother Walt to build a theme park in Florida—and as they say, the rest is history.

There are four theme parks to enjoy at Disney World. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today, Orlando is the theme park capital of the world and Disney World is its acknowledged leader with four theme parks—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom—and two water parks—Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

For over four decades, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has been a vacation haven for Disney World guests who crave natural, rustic charm amidst the “most magical place on Earth.”

Nestled on 750 wooded acres of lush pine and cypress trees, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort offers four different types of campsites, including new Premium Campsites, and can accommodate everything from tents to 45-foot and longer vehicles, with a maximum 10 guests per site. Amenities vary, but each campsite is equipped with privacy-enhancing landscaping, water, cable television and electrical hook-ups, picnic table and charcoal grill; most locations also include sewer hook-up.

To be continued tomorrow…

Worth Pondering…
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that’s the law.

—Jerry Steinfeld

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