The idea for this post goes back to September of last year. Emily of Freedom Laughs asked me if I had ever thought about doing a post on what it is actually like to live in Florida. I, of course, never even considered it, but I loved the idea the moment I read it, so this one is for you, Emily!
Born and raised in Casper, Wyoming, I am mostly accustomed to wind, snow, and very dry air. I’ve never been one for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, etc., so the winter never did anything for me except hurt my face. Having very low cold tolerance, our 8-month winters are absolutely miserable. You think I’m joking, but it can snow as early as October and as late as June in the higher elevations (I know that adds to 9 months, but I’m trying to make it sound better than it is!).
I first visited Florida with my family in 2011. I fell in love immediately and knew that I would go to college there and one day, I would move there. Fast forward to 2013. I just graduated high school and am considering several colleges to attend (most of which are in Florida). Semi-last minute, I decide to stay in Casper for my first two years (what can I say … I got paid to stay!). Fast forward to 2015. I just graduated with my Associate degree. I am once again considering colleges to attend and finally decide on a school in West Palm Beach, Florida (Palm Beach Atlantic University).
I lived in Florida for two years during college. They were the best two years of my life. I am even more in love with it than I was in my fantasies! However, what is it really like to live there? Why do people give so much warning about the humidity, heat, and bugs? Well, let me tell you about all of my experience!
Okay, let me start off by saying I LOVE humidity. I come from the driest air in the freaking world! Humidity is the golden egg I need in my life! I have acne, and my skin has never been clearer than the two years I spent in the heavenly humidity! I’m serious, y’all, that stuff is MAGIC! Now, how humid is it? Well, it depends on where you are. In northern Florida, I don’t remember hardly any humidity at all. Same with around the Orlando area. In WPB, I lived only a mile from the beach (this is what dreams are made of), and I didn’t hardly notice the humidity at all. However, 20 minutes south, in Boynton Beach, my glasses would fog like crazy when I got out of the car. And don’t even get me started on the humidity in the Everglades! You get out and feel like you stepped into a shower! I won’t complain…I dig it. Every time I would come back to Wyoming, I swear I could feel all of the moisture leaving my body, and I would be miserable until I went back! Fair warning though, don’t even bother trying to curl/straighten/do anything with your hair. Unless you want to 1980’s the crap out of your hair and use an entire can of hairspray to keep it from falling, there is exactly zero hope for it. There is a rainy season in FL. This happens around May through October. The humidity is crazy high during this time. It’s a little slice of heaven if you ask me! In short, if you love humidity, you will love it here. If you hate it, well, you’re probably just SOL!
You probably think that Florida is nice and warm all year long. WRONG! However, it is hot most of the year. While Casper was setting records for being the coldest part of the US (and sometimes colder than Antarctica … not joking), I enjoyed sitting on the beach in 70-80º weather! For me, August through October were the worst months. Partly because the rainy season is still in full swing and heat mixed with high humidity is brutal, no matter how much you love it! The best part about the heat, though, is that the ocean and intracoastal waterway are warm most of the year! Perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving! The sunburns can be epic though, so wear your sunscreen! That being said, it gets colder than you might think! It dropped into the 30’s on several occasions while I was there. Once Autumn rolls around, I was in sweatshirts most of the time if I was outside when the sun was down. There were nights I really missed my heated blanket! Once you get accustomed to the normal Florida heat, though, 50º will start to feel cold to you! When my parents would come out to visit, they would think I was crazy for wearing jeans and a sweatshirt in 55º weather while they are in shorts and tank tops!
Let’s talk bugs, shall we?! Now, I lived in an on campus apartment both years that I was in Florida. Even so, I did experience some (usually) friendly little visitors here and there. My first year, my roommate was terrified of cockroaches. There are definitely cockroaches in Florida! I found a few in our apartment through the year, and I would just pick them up and throw them out the door (I’m not about that killing life). Granted, we were on the first floor of the building and our door led right out to nature, so we were bound to get more insects than others. One thing I will warn…don’t leave food on the floor if you’ve already seen ants in your apartment (lol…oops). I would see an ant here and there in the apartment and thought nothing of it. Then one day, I heated up a Taco Bell burrito and put the plate and wrapper (with minimal food left) onto the floor while I finished watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Thirty minutes later, I go to put my plate into the kitchen sink and see that it is COVERED by ants (my skin is crawling right now just thinking about it). My roommate is in her bed at this moment, so I very calmly grab the ant-covered plate and turn on the sink and wash all the ants down the drain. I then go back to the room and vacuum up all of the other ants on the floor and surrounding area. The next time she was out, I went hard-core cleaning every inch of our bedroom (gotta destroy those scent trails!) … I never saw another ant in our apartment after that! I don’t think I ever told my roommate about that, so Alex, if you’re reading this, sorry I infested our apartment! Other than roaches and ants, the only other critters you’ll find indoors for the most part are silver fish and millipedes, which are both completely harmless and extremely cool to observe.
Outdoors, however, are the mosquitoes! Florida is known for its mosquitoes, but let’s be real. Unless you are in the Everglades, or hiking in another humid forest or by a lake, you aren’t going to have hardly any problems. I don’t think I got bit once at anyone’s house or in the city. Now, in the Everglades, they will practically swarm you. Not fun! I got eaten alive even with bug spray on! Keep windows and doors shut! They like to attack from within!
As I’m sure you know, Florida is known for is reptiles and amphibians. If your like me, that is the actual dream! However, how often do you actually get gators in your swimming pool and snakes in your toilet? Very, very rarely. I always heard stories of people finding snakes in their backyards, so I was going in with the thought that I would probably see snakes all the time … yeah, not so much. I only ever saw a snake one time in someone’s yard. That’s it. Other than that, I went out and had to really look for them to find them. If you know where to go, they are easy to find, but they really aren’t hiding around every corner waiting to attack you. As for gators, I looked every time I was near or passing any water. Unless I was outside of town, I don’t think I ever saw one. Now, I don’t golf, so I can’t say about gators on the golf courses, but in backyard swimming pools, you’re not likely to see them.
Do You Actually Go to the Beach Every Day?!
In short, definitely not. One of the original reasons I wanted to move to Florida was so that I could go to the beach and surf every day (I was younger, and I still don’t know how to surf well). There are two things wrong with this thought … 1. there are no waves in Florida to surf unless there is a tropical storm/hurricane. 2. you really don’t go to the beach every day. Now, I lived a mile from the beach. Easily only a 5 minute or less drive or a 15 minute walk. Even so, my first year, I went to the beach TWICE in the ENTIRE YEAR. My second year, I went to the beach maybe 5 times. However, my boyfriend and I found an intracoastal beach called Phil Foster Park that had AMAZING snorkeling, so we went a lot more after that. But life gets crazy, as life does, and you put it off. Weekends come around, and it is really nice to just relax. Unless you have someone to go with, it is not the most fun to go, and parking rates can get ridiculous. I had friends that went to the beach a lot more than I did. I liked to focus more on my studies. But most of the people I met there said the same thing. It is just not something that you do as much as you think you’re going to!
Well, there you have it. That is my experience with living in Florida. I loved every single second of it. I would move back in a heartbeat if the opportunity ever arose, and I hope to do so in the future.
Have you ever considered moving to Florida or anywhere similar? Is there anything else you would like to know about? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!