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Serene & Deserted
By LIZZY ROSS
Just the way I like them, nice and quiet. Do you think the fact I'm turning 30 might have something to do with it?

Florida beaches are more than top vacation spots, they are among the world's best beaches. Sparkling white sand contours the Gulf of Mexico out west while Atlantic waves crash along the coarser east coast beaches providing ample pleasure for sunbathers and surfers alike. While water temperatures on the Atlantic side drop significantly during winter months, the Gulf side remains warm enough for swimmers, wind surfers and other hardcore water sport enthusiasts.

Hectic, messy and often dawn right gross, summer on Florida beaches can be quite traumatic with temperatures flirting daily with the 100 degree mark. Add burning hot sand, profanity and under age alcohol consumption and you end up with a recipe for family disaster. Maybe it's just me but there's something quite attractive about deserted beaches and empty trash cans.

Then there are those breath taking west coast sunsets. Summer monsoons often blow in heavy cloud covers which hold the sun's light captive but winter skies offer many more colorful Kodak moments. Bright oranges, reds and yellows paint heavenly masterpieces over the Gulf bringing all of God's magnificence into perspective. How lucky are we Floridians to witness such awesome beauty almost daily?

It seems millions of tourists agree as more than 3.5 million vacationers flock to Florida beaches each year, one third of which fly in from Europe (mainly Great Britain and Germany) while another third originates from Canada. Offering more accommodations than the entire city of New York, Orlando alone features more than 4,500 hotels rooms. The "Vacation Kingdom of the World" employs over a half million people in the tourism industry alone fueled by the world's largest cruise ports respectively in Miami and Cape Canaveral. Located on the Atlantic coast, Florida cruise ships board more than 1.2 million visitors each year, most of which are compared to snowbirds tempo rarely migrating to a warmer climate.

With the holiday break right around the corner, I plan on making the most of our beaches while we can. What's to do in Central Florida during the winter? I like to go camping at many of the state parks, my favorite is Fort Desoto in St Petersburg, or attend beach worship services, run a 5K and even hit the theme parks at Disney World when attendance is at a minimum.

I'm also thinking about buying a metal detector thingny so my daughter and I can find buried treasures along the Gulf coast where it is believed thousands of gold coins await to be dug out. Can you imagine? No way I could be doing any of this back in Ohio when I'm from. While I am well aware skiing, hockey and ice fishing are great hobbies, I'm partial to sandy beaches and the warmth of the sun on my face. I praise God each day for His blessings and pray He will keep me here a while longer.

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