Florida manatee snorkel safaris
Thousands of manatees frolic in Florida’s rivers. It is very popular with tourists to get close to the gentle giants. But the state in the southeastern United States also offers vacationers a lot of fun outside of the water.
FFor the usually more than 96 million vacationers and winter refugees (“Snowbirds”), the sun, 2000 kilometers of beaches and Mickey Mouse are reason enough for a visit. As soon as the Germans are allowed to travel to the USA again, Florida will again be at the top of their wish-lists.
Before Corona, 2019, 403,000 guests came from Germany. Most visit Orlando with its amusement parks in the center, Tampa and the beaches to the west, and Miami and Fort Lauderdale at the bottom of the peninsula.
Only a few travel 42 bridges further on the Overseas Highway to Key West, the southernmost city in the USA, on the island chain of the Florida Keys. Or take the ferry 100 kilometers further: the coral banks of Dry Tortugas are among the best snorkeling spots in the Gulf of Mexico. Camping is allowed – then you have the islets to yourself as soon as the day visitors are gone.
Those who prefer to look for shark teeth will find them at Venice Beach. Or should it be a photo of Florida’s highest mountain? Then on to Britton Hill near the capital Tallahassee. It measures 105 meters.
3000 manatees live in the rivers
They like it warm, not below 22 degrees water temperature. That’s nice, Florida vacationers are not much different. 3000 manatees, called manatees, live in the rivers. Snorkel safaris to the harmless and playful chubby are allowed under supervision. Then the animals like to nudge, nudging back is forbidden.
A golf course with a treacherous hole
There are now 1,481 golf courses in Florida, more than any other US state. For comparison: Germany only has 720 places. In principle, anyone in Florida can swing a golf club, because almost all courses are public, inexpensive (from $ 20 green fee fee), and usually without any annoying minimum requirements such as golf license or handicaps.
The most famous: TPC Sawgrass near Jacksonville with the treacherous hole 17 – on an island. Even professionals constantly sink their balls into the water here.
There is a party atmosphere on the island of Key West
There is always a reason to celebrate on the good-mood island of Key West, but 2022 will be the party year par excellence. Because then it will be the 40th anniversary of a particularly strange event: the proclamation of the Conch Republic, the symbolic and not entirely serious split from the USA, named after the local conch shell.
The fun motto is: “Relief of world tension through the exercise of humor”. In the “drag race”, for example, drag queens with shrill wigs and incredibly high heels race against each other, there is a curious bed race and a parade for everyone.
The real lime grows in the Florida Keys: the key lime, as small as a foosball ball, even more aromatic than the normal lime. Aunt Annie, a legendary cook in the Florida Keys, conjured up the key lime pie at the end of the 19th century: a cake made from lime juice, shortbread, sweetened condensed milk.
You can get it served for dessert in pretty much every restaurant. Because since 2006 it has even been the official state pie (“Florida State Pie”). Better as a souvenir: Key Lime Jelly, a tart, tasty jelly.
Fly screens at the pool
Vacationers like to sit outside in the evening, but in Florida you stay under gauze whenever possible. Countless pools, ponds and terraces are protected with black mosquito screens that often span half the garden. Luckily. Then mosquitoes, tiny sand flies (“no-see-ums”) and marsh flies (“love bugs”) stay outside.
“The state with the most beautiful name that swims in brackish water, held together by mangrove roots”
Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979), a poet who loves to travel and Pulitzer Prize winner, loved sending sea grape leaves, parrot fish scales and poems to friends around the world from Florida. Your Key West wooden veranda has just been restored to its original state.
Quirky, record-breaking, typical: you can find more parts of our regional geography series here.