Our Nation’s Favorite Sun Spot

I’m originally from Connecticut but have lived in the Sunshine State for a total of 20 years…15 of them here in Orlando. Some of my greatest childhood memories are the trips my family took to Florida. In fact, it’s a memory emblazoned not only in my mind but in my heart as well. That’s what Florida does. It gets you right in the old ticker.

A Very Warm Welcome

There were eight of us that would vacation together, so we would drive down, piled into 2 cars. We would follow each other as we passed through state after state until that festive sign announcing “Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine State” greeted us as we finally crossed the state line.

I adored that sign because it featured an orange where the “O” in Florida should be which was quite possibly the coolest thing my 7-year-old eyes had ever seen. But also because it was a landmark, signalling a near end to our long journey and what I knew was coming: sunny days filled with fun at theme parks and castle-building visits to sandy beaches. Shell-hunting. Swimming. Ice cream. Mickey. Coconut palms and warm, caressing breezes.

Sure we had a few hours left before arriving in Orlando, but the destination was close and we all, the young and the old, were excited. Not saying the drive was bad. We’d seen some beautiful American countryside, stopped in greasy spoons (fun food as a kid) and I especially loved the souvenir shops dotted along the side of the highway offering the ultimate in Florida kitsch: crates of fresh citrus, pecan logs, stuffed gators (no, just no), state-shaped fridge magnets and keychains, and my favorite—miniature crates of orange gumballs.

But the best souvenirs I have from my childhood Florida vacations are the fond memories I hold. Family, sunshine, days filled with magic. They have stayed with me all these years.

Are We There Yet?

I have a sneaking suspicion that it was a child, bundled into the back seat of a 1973 Chevrolet Caprice, headed to a dream vacation in Florida that originated that infamous question. It could have been me. Just sayin’.

Times have changed. Florida remains the same.

During our visits, we slept in tents at campgrounds and that was fine. I could not even imagine a week in a luxury villa with my own room and a patio overlooking a private pool. Today, it’s different. You have the opportunity to vacation in luxury, only enhancing your Florida experience. Not only will you enjoy everything our glorious state has to offer, but you can relax in maximum comfort after the long day is done.

This year, let your family anticipate the arrival, the wonder, the magic and the memories that only Florida can forge. If you’ve been here before, you’ve already experienced the #ForeverFloridian feeling…and that is why you are returning. If this is your first trip here, let this be your introduction to the beauty and charm that is Florida.

The sun shines special here, like nowhere else in the world. There’s a vibe in Florida-like the Aloha Spirit-that envelops you as soon as you arrive and lingers on long after you leave. That’s what Florida does.

Create truly warm and wonderful memories, and be #ForeverFloridian.