It’s no secret that Florida is North America’s top destination for snowbirds. After all, what’s not to love about average temperatures of 70 degrees when a lot of the continent is preoccupied with icy highways and sidewalks that need shoveling? (Well, except for those of us who wait anxiously for snow so we can hit the trails with our snowmobiles, skis, dogsleds, snowshoes, and toboggans. But back to Florida.)
Whether you’re planning a hotspot destination for the whole winter or just a week, there’s lots to see and do in the Sunshine State (nickname adopted by the 1970 Legislature).
Whether you’ve ever been or not, you may enjoy the infographic I’ve embedded below, called 50 Insane Facts about Florida, such as if you leave your elephant (yes, elephant) tied to a parking meter, then you need to make sure you plug the meter just as if you’d left your car. Crazy? Click on the tab to check out 49 more crazy things about Florida.
Click Here for 50 Insane Facts About Florida
Attractions for Snowbirds in Florida
Of all my trips to Florida, Daytona Beach is my favorite — and, I must admit, it was my first snowbirds experience. It was easy to pick out other snowbirds in December too, as we can never resist getting right into the water no matter what the temperature reaches for the day.
I find lighthouses fascinating and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum was especially so, since it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998. The tallest lighthouse in Florida, and one of the tallest in the U.S. period, it’s 175 feet high. I was out of breath at the top, for sure, but I made it up all 203 steps. And what’s there? A view of one of the world’s most famous beaches and Ponce Inlet, known to local surfers as “the wave magnet.”
Speaking of surfing, here’s a guy and his board looking out over Ponce Inlet.
While beaches are great — and surfing the waves would be the ultimate extreme sport for me — I really visited Daytona to see the Daytona International Speedway. After all, it’s one of those iconic racetracks that anyone into motorsports is familiar with. Built in 1959, it’s home to the Daytona 500, a race that every baby boomer in North America has talked about at some point!
I find vintage cars fascinating, even without a race track. So, I enjoyed a few hours at the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum. It’s an outstanding attraction and has an award to prove it! In 1999, the Antique Automobile Club of America named it the #1 Museum in the United States for the Preservation of Antique Cars.
While motorsports may head the top of my list of snowbird attractions, I do enjoy art too, and blown glass is one of my favorite mediums. In fact, a number of female Tallahassee artists are earning national acclaim for their work.
Like many other females, I dreampt of being a princess when I was kid. So, I loved my visit to Bellevue, the plantation home of Catherine Daingerfield Willis, who did get to be a princess when she married Prince Achille Murat, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Since Catherine was the grandniece of President George Washington, she was no stranger to high society. Her plantation home, Bellevue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As well as history, Florida is also known for its wetlands. The Everglades are still on my bucket list, but I enjoyed my visit to Wakulla Springs State Park just outside the state’s capital city of Tallahassee. The park conserves the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring. It’s an amazing destination with activities for snowbirds that range from nature trails and bird watching, to snorkeling and riverboat tours, which was my first choice. I could see why it was picked as the 1938 location to film some of the world’s first Tarzan movies!
Tarzan was, of course, King of the Jungle, but before Edgar Rice Burroughs created his story there were much older kings of the jungle — the dinosaurs. You can still see five dinosaurs constructed of chicken wire and cement back in 1948 at Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens in the overgrown remains of Bongoland, the theme park daydream of Dr. “Manny” Lawrence.
These, of course, are just a few of the things to do in Florida! If you have a favorite recommendation for snowbirds, please share it in the comments below.