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Life in the USA

Autumn in Florida

Autumn is the time of year when many of the Florida residents drive north to the New England states for the great Fall foliage spectacle.  Living in the semitropical lands does not provide much variety of seasonal change.  The palm trees and the jungle foliage stay green most of the year except when they dry out to a dull brown during the arid periods. As a contrast, the Northern Autumnal change, when the leaves on the hardwood trees turn all shades of yellow, orange, scarlet and umber, is quite a visual treat for Southern residents.

As a contrarian, I headed South to the Florida Beaches leaving behind the fall foliage spectacle.  Autumn is a great time of year to visit Florida.  The weather is still wonderful and the tourist crowds are non existant.

The real tourist season in Florida has not started yet.  The winter crowds will begin to arrive in November, and surge right after the Christmas holidays.  That is when the retired folks from the upper states and the Canadian Provinces flee the frigid temperatures for their Florida Winter homes.  The year-round residents of Florida call them "the snow birds".  They migrate south every winter, stay until April or May, then head back north to spend the summer months with their grandchildren.

June, July and August would normally be slow months due to the hot temperatures and daily rainstorms, but it brings a different influx of tourists.  Those are the months when most schools in the USA close for their summer vacation period.  Families from all across the country, take advantage of this extended school break, pack up their children and head south right into the hot wet and uncomfortable climate of Florida.  Orlando becomes packed with families visiting Disney World and the other amusement facilities.  The beaches on both sides of the peninsula become crowded with vacationing families. 

At the beginning of September, schools reopen all across the country.  The vacationing families disappear.  Florida becomes nearly deserted.  This quiet respite last but a few months before the snowbirds return.

September - October is a great time of year to vacation in Florida.  The daily temperatures are still quite warm, typically in the 80s (30 C).  The ocean waters are warm enough to swim, and the heat is not as unbearable as in the summer months.  Best of all, no tourist crowds!  The beaches are nearly deserted.  Hotels offer reduced bargain rates, and there are no long waits at the restaurants.  It is, however, the middle of the Hurricane season, so there is always a slight chance that one of those monster storms can ruin your holiday plans. 

I just spent a week in Fort Lauderdale, and there was one tropical storm off the coast of Cuba.  It sent us a few rain showers one day, but they lasted only a few hours.  Generally, the hurricane threat is quite small, and danger can easily be avoided.

I had a great time.  The weather was wonderful,  The deserted beaches were great.  The hotel rates were a bargain.  Many restaurants offered special bargain prices,  Our hotel swimming pool had only a few guests lounging in the sun.  They were mostly veteram German and British tourists that have learned to come to Florida during the slack period and take advantage of the bargain rates and the near solitude.

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