You know exactly who isn't a local in Florida when you see people in summer wear.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Florida winters are what locals live for. The baking hot temperatures decrease, the humidity lowers and we can finally get perfect hair days on the usually sweaty beaches for our "we live where you vacation" Instagram posts.
However, it's also a season where our already saturated cities get way more packed with vacation goers from up North. It becomes a quick annoyance when things we typically do with ease are a little less efficient.
As an ex-server at a beachside restaurant, I practically smelled the seasons' change when the regular customers didn't look so regular, and it's that time of year again.
Many Northerners and first-time visitors make unforgivable mistakes every tourist makes. So, as someone born and raised here, I'm here to tell you what you might be doing that cramps our style.
Traffic is horrendous.
The Florida roadways are already congested as it is. There are pockets in Fort Lauderdale that are busy, and once you hit Miami, just tack on another hour to your automated maps ETA. When it's the winter months...forget about it.
With already backed-up drives, now you see license plates from all over the country driving under the speed limit, making the wrong turns and always popping a U-Turn.
Beyond their license plate, they stick out like a sore thumb when you see their blinkers going left then right and they come to a near stop at every road opening. Miami city roads are sometimes one-way roads only, and it gets dangerous when driving into the city.
The clothing confusion is so real.
You know exactly who isn't a local in Florida when you see visitors in summer wear. Yes, this is annoying to the cold-blooded Floridians. Once it drops below 65 degrees, it's time to get a heavy jacket. It's even cold enough to rock a beanie, jeans and riding boots.
It does get hot in the sun and the afternoons, but if you're not even carrying around a jacket with you, we just assume you're European.
Bathing suit attire is another thing I constantly see contrast to. So many people from up North wear banana hammocks. I'm not saying anything against the speedo, however, they are typically only around for the season, if you catch my drift.
Miami is practically another country. Stop asking about it.
Miami is glorious and is quite prestigious in the state, as it is most known for many things. However, Northerners must know that the Magic City is only magical at Florida's tip.
It is about an hour away from Fort Lauderdale, and the traffic between the two cities is so bad, that it seems almost like its own country for the sole purpose of time and distance.
You can take the Brightline train, where you avoid stoplights and roadways, so you cut a mere two-hour drive into 30 minutes.
It's recommended you stay in the city you're in to get the most of your time there and don't waste too much of it sitting in dead-stop traffic.
Restaurant wait times get so much longer.
The state is well known for its local establishments and larger franchises that take root in the different towns, and the meals are delectable. You can choose so many different cuisines for whatever mood you're in, and it's a whole experience to have a night out nowadays.
Seasonally, this is prime tipping time for waiters and waitresses and prime wait times for hostesses and customers.
Without a reservation, you might be out of luck on a place to go, but, on the flip side, it's a great time for local Floridians to ditch the typical spot and head to the hole-in-the-wall mom and pops shops that always have delightful treats.
There's no place to sit on the beach.
There is so much more to Florida than the beach. Although we know most people come here to see the picture-perfect postcard views, it is so irritating when you get to the shore and it's filled with bodies on towels.
Had high expectations for #clearwaterbeach #florida So glad we didnt end up staying here. Super over crowded and nasty.
Usually, locals know to move to the other side of the pier, which sometimes can be a stamina challenge against the sand, but it's the most private place you can be on a crowded beach day.
Solutions for vacation goers: head to the art districts, shopping centers, and gorgeous waterfront parks.
We don't want to hear about how you do things up North.
...And for some reason it always revolves around pizza. Northerners take pride in their cuisine and of course, it's delicious. That's why we have Chicago deep-dish restaurants and New York-style advertised spots, but we also have Florida pizza at Florida restaurants.
The Sunshine State is a unique place to be and we do things differently than most, but that's why you're here, right? Not to campaign about the place you just flew away from. So sit back, relax, have a cocktail if you choose and enjoy the way the South does it.
We love meeting people who come down to visit and enjoy the best part of the year with us, weather-wise, but just like anything else, change can be uncomfortable, and added people means we, locals, need to get creative with our lifestyle.
If you feel my pain, we're in this together, if you are surprised by this article, I can't wait to meet you! As always, happy vacationing.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
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