Five things I Love About Florida

By: Kanika Jelks

ADD TO FAVORITES

Growing up in Florida I've had a chance to experience so many elements of our fabulous state. It won't take more than a minute for you to start compiling your own list of Florida faves once you come to visit, but until you get here, check out my top five. Dream about them and then make plans to come see them for yourself:

1) St. Pete's Straub Park Kapok Tree in full bloom: You've never seen anything quite as stunning as this made-for-climbing tree in springtime. For a few wonderful weeks, the tree paints the sky red with a sea of Kapok blossoms that fall gracefully to Earth for passers-by to enjoy. No photo does it justice, but I snapped this pic with my Kodak Zi8 so you can catch a glimpse. While in St. Pete, take a trip west to the Gulf Beaches. You'll enjoy more than 20 miles of top notch beach and views that crawl along the coast from St. Petersburg to Clearwater.

2) Watching the sunset at the southernmost point: Key West touts its cool factor of being the continental United States’ southernmost point and even the sun gets in on the action with a breathtaking final bow every day that is prettier than a picture. As the day turns to dusk, the sky becomes a kaleidoscope of water colors that crawl across the sky. Brilliant shades of pink and purple mix with cool hues of gray and lavender to create a new masterpiece each day.

3) Shuffling through the silvery sands of Naples Beach: Pop up a cabana and get lost in paradise on the beautiful beach behind the Ritz-Carlton Naples. Crystal blue waters kiss the coast while you are pampered like a princess; with some of the best service offered anywhere. Now that's what I call vacation.

4) Treasure Hunting in Havana: In a cozy corner of North Florida, Havana sits waiting for you to explore its many antique shops. A postcard version of Main Street USA, Downtown Havana, just miles outside of Tallahassee, is a soothing nod at good old days gone by. A day trip to Havana adds lots of serenity to life.

5) Wearing my sunglasses at night on South Beach: Have you ever wondered where the cool kids go to grow up? Wonder no more. South Beach is a conglomeration of all things and people cool. There's plenty of room for individuality and an overflow of international flavor that results in everybody feeling welcome. Plan to come for a weekend; you'll leave wishing you could stay forever.

It's hard narrowing my faves down to just five mentions. I didn't get a chance to tell you about the fabulous shopping in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach; sunbathing in Sanibel or sailing off Boca Grande. But there's plenty of time for that.

I can't wait to hear about your favorite places to visit in Florida. Let's hear all about your experiences on our signature beaches, shopping districts and divine dining spots. Your suggestions help me plan my vacations, just as I hope my insights help you get a handle on your holiday trips. I find it hard to leave Florida, even for vacation.

Where is there to go when you're already living in Paradise? Another part of Paradise is the best I can come up with.

I'll meet you there!

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