The “Southern Alabama” of Florida. Floridians often point out that the farther North you travel in Florida, the more southern it becomes. The Panhandle is full of Floridians that want to be Southern, but just can’t quite give up the beauty and essence that Florida has to offer. This area is extremely confused- it is inhabited by lifted trucks, backwoods roads, Florida State University fans and the State Capitol. The Panhandle is also home to some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches and famous spring break destinations such as Destin, Florida and Panama City Beach, Florida. Not sure if you want to be a beach bum, or a southern belle? This is the place for you.
Nothing. There is literally nothing in this green blob on the Florida map. Gainesville is the most notable real estate in this area, home to the University of Florida Gator’s. The geography between The Panhandle and Central Florida is Paul Bunyan’s paradise- Ocala is a city of pine trees, natural springs and the Ocala National Forest. Slice off a pair of Wrangler jeans above the knee, throw on a tank top, and you’ll fit right in at Cafe Risque. If that’s not your style, keep traveling down Interstate 75 as fast as you can.
The land of Interstate 95 and endless waffle houses. This area of Florida is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida’s oldest city- St. Augustine. You’ve probably been in this region in elementary school to visit St. Augustine. If you don’t recall that memory, it’s probably because the trip there isn’t very exciting. Look out the window at any given time and you’re likely to see a billboard for Ron Jon’s Surf shop or a Waffle House. Interstate 95 is one of the most dangerous roads in the country, and also one of the very few roads that exit Florida- drive safe, the ’95’ does not refer to the speed limit.
Traveling South down Interstate-95 you will ride through the land of Snowbirds and Spring Breakers: Daytona Beach. That’s right, the home to miles of 3-star hotels, old people, bikers and college students depending on the time of year. This region hosts the most popular tourist locations, Florida’s most famous beaches, Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach. Looking to swim with sharks, and experience wild sea-animal life, without paying Seaworld’s outrageous prices? This is your place. The East Coast is home to New Smyrna Beach, The Shark Bite Capital of The World. Swim at your own risk.
Not one for spending days covered in sand and salt air? Head East to Central Florida, the land of theme parks, terrible drivers and tourists too afraid of the beach. Located in the dead middle of the state, is Orlando, Florida. Disney World, Universal Studious, Islands of Adventure, Wet-n-Wild, Sea World and just about every other tourist attraction you could ever think of are all located in O-town. I have never understood why tourists travel thousands of miles to wait in line, and sweat $9 bottles of water out of their system for weekends at a time. But I guess that’s just the spoiled Floridian in me, since it’s practically in our backyard. Central Florida is home to the “Most Magical Place On Earth” and also the most hated theme animal park on Earth. It’s a strange place. Word of advice- stay away from the minivans with out of state license plates on Interstate 4, sporting “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!!” sloppily traced on the rear windshield.
Tampa, Clearwater and Naples. If you’ve made it here, you’re safe. Crazed and confused Northern drivers have exited I-4 in Orlando, and you’re almost to paradise. There isn’t too much negative with this region of Florida, and there also isn’t too much exciting going on here. Home to the most ironic team in professional sports, the Tampa Bay Lightning are strangely exceptional at hockey. For a team that practices a few hundred miles north of the equator, and has never seen temperatures below freezing, the Lightning perform at a very high level in the NHL. The West Coast of Florida hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Naples and Clearwater Beach areas. For an area that has a more reputable professional hockey team, than professional football team, the West Coast of Florida is a very confusing part of Florida.
Alligators. That’s right. You see it. Alligators and swamps. The no man land surrounded by Florida’s hottest tourist destinations. This region is kind of like the cousin that you know about, but not really sure what he does. Home to the Everglades and farm land, this isn’t the most desirable real estate in Florida unless you head east. Travel back to the East Coast of South Florida and you’re likely to drive past some of the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen riding shotgun in a Mercedes driven by a senior citizen. Sound familiar? You’re probably in Boca Raton. South Florida beach towns are a mix of luxury cars, mansions and Publix stores to match the scenery. Searching for a sugar daddy? South Florida is your place. Keep caution of the iguanas running around like stray cats.
North Cuba. The region of Florida so full of culture it could be considered it’s own country. The money from South Florida trickles into this cultural crockpot and creates for a serious night life scene. South Beach is a breeding grounds full of tanning bronzer, skimpy bathing suits, fast beating electronic music. and expensive drinks. High rises and neon light fill this city in the night time. Obscure street art, strangely dressed pedestrians, blazing heat and mile long traffic jams are the daytime scenery. With all that said- Looking for a good Cuban sandwich? Head to Miami.