Hold on to your seats everybody! With wanderers coming back to Florida, planning their escape from it, and feeling nostalgic about the constant sunshine, Unexpected Wanderlust is continuing its discussion: Florida Week!!
Next up, we’re talking about everybody’s favorite part of Florida’s natural landscape: the beach!
What is your first Florida beach memory?
Hamilton: A beach day during a family reunion in Palm Coast! It was the first time that I had ever been to any sort of event on a beach. I learned that I am not very graceful eating a full meal on a blanket in the sand.
Lucia: When I moved to the States, my dad’s cousin picked me up from the airport and we drove by the beach. She pointed it out to me and asked me what I thought but I was a little 10 year old who had just been forced to leave everything she loved behind so I wasn’t in a praising mood and I just coldly replied that I didn’t see what the big deal was…rude!
Stuart: When I was younger, I won a trip to Disney World for a Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis conference. I remember sunshine and a lot of clear water. I used to think I went to the beach. When I moved to Florida, I realized that Disney World is landlocked in Central Florida… My actual first Florida beach memory was at Treasure Island in Saint Petersburg for July 4th celebrations. I had only been in Florida for about 2 weeks, and randomly one of my friends from Massachusetts was in the area for vacation. We drove up on the beach, posted up, and watched the sunset and fireworks show.
Which Florida beach is your favorite?
Hamilton: Tree beach. It’s a place in Sarasota where the blue sky and the equally blue ocean seem to meet at the horizon. Trees spring from the sand and the water. I’ve yet to see anything else like it.
Lucia: Siesta Key in Sarasota! Rated #1 beach in America by someone somewhere. The sand is glorious and the water is beautiful, I’m so excited to go next week!… Hollywood beach comes in a close second for it’s awesome walkway and Nikki Beach in third as the best beach in Miami.
Stuart: Lido Key in Sarasota. I love how accessible it is, especially North Lido. I’m not a beach person. So I like to be able to park easily, hop onto the beach for a nice vista, and then leave at my leisure. North Lido Beach allows for that.
What makes Florida beaches special?
Hamilton: The warmth and the clarity of the Gulf coast deserve a mention. But ultimately the fact that Floridians treat the beaches like their own personal playgrounds where they put their quirks on display makes them special.
Lucia:It’s one of the few states where you can go watch the sunrise in one coast and see the sunset in the other on the same day.
Stuart: I’ve never experienced east coast beaches, but I really like the gulf coast beaches in Florida. For two years, I’ve vacationed at South Padre Island Texas for New Year’s Eve; while I liked the beach there, I liked the other side of the gulf coast better.
What has been your greatest Florida beach experience?
Hamilton: All of the times that I went to the beach to escape the pressures of my school work with my closest enablers, I mean, friends.
Lucia: One time I went with two friends to watch the sunset in Lido Beach. We saw a gorgeous sunset that gave way to a clear view of the milky way band (first time I’d ever seen it!), and then there was the most beautiful thunderstorm inside of this huge cumulus cloud. The stars were so beautiful and we couldn’t help but decide to go in after the sky was dark. We dived into the sea, opened our eyes, and saw our bodies glowing! We hadn’t realized it but there was bioluminescence at the beach that day. It was one of the moments of most intense connection to the beauty of nature I have ever had (and yes I do realize I am a hippie).
Stuart: My time in Florida is coming to an end and with that, I’ve been hanging out with some really great friends. An attempt to cherish these moments. A week or so ago, we were hanging out at a restaurant that abruptly turned into a bar/club (that was quite awkward), so we ended up hanging out on a beach. And it was amazing. It was serene. We could see the stars. We could sing to the ocean. We could cherish our time together. It was kind of like time stopped for a bit while we were out on the beach.
What has been your worst Florida beach experience?
Hamilton: That would be my only experience on a Florida beach at night. A few friends decided that I could not leave Florida until I had experienced the beach after the sun had gone down. Walking across the sand, the sound of crashing waves, a full clear moon, and creatures, creatures everywhere scurrying across the sand. I couldn’t even see what these creatures were. I could just see them popping out of the sand, moving quickly, and in one case, felt one of them running over my feet. Never again.
Lucia: One time I bought a bathing suit from H&M. I went to the beach, went in for a swim, and after I got out of the water I realized the bathing suit became see-through when it was wet…
Stuart: My roommate and I took the day off to go to the beach. Spring was in full bloom, and we wanted to get some sun and relax. Too bad the winds were a little too high and the sand pelted. So many granules in my teeth that day…
What do you love the most about Florida beaches?
Hamilton: The variety of beaches: beaches with powder soft sand, beaches with shells, beaches with trees, beaches with warm water, beaches with cool water, beaches with imported sand…
Lucia: People watching! We have such a different array of people so you can get everything from the swimsuit model to the giant family so it’s always fun.
Stuart: The sand. It is very soft. It doesn’t retain too much heat but it’s warm enough to be comfortable.
What is the worst Florida Beach faux-pas?
Hamilton: Blasting bad music like you’re the only person on the entire beach.
Lucia: Littering. There is no excuse for littering. If you do it, please don’t visit Florida or anywhere else for that matter.
Stuart: People who mess with beach animals. One time I was at the beach, and this family just let their children run into a group of birds. Over and over and over again. It’s cruel to the animals plus it affects other beach goers too.