Florida is known as The Sunshine State, and the name evokes images of orange juice and beaches. A long state, it has diverse offerings and great wildlife. Up north, Pensacola is peaceful. You can explore barrier islands, bays, and birds such as osprey and herons, or old forts and the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum. The views of the Gulf Coast from the top of the lighthouse are worth the climb! The Keys offer a laid-back culture, including Bahama Village in Key West. The Hemingway House has a lot of information about Ernest Papa Hemingway, who lived and wrote here in the ’30s. You may find the best mojito in the United States here, some 100 miles from Havana as the crow flies. Miami is the pulsing heart of the state, with trendy South Beach, Little Haiti, and the Cuba-in-miniature known as Calle Ocho (8th Street). Have a sweet, ultra-strong cafe cubano (like a Caribbean espresso) and let the rhythm of the streets get you. Let’s not forget the dark allure of the Everglades’ swamps, and their gators and crocs.
The cuisine of Florida is diverse, like the people. You can have world-class Haitian cuisine in Miami, fine conch with collards and plantains near Palm Beach, and stellar farmstand offerings in Homestead (a great jumping-off point for the Everglades and the Keys). Excellent Latin American cuisine is all around, and restaurants in far-flung locales offer haute cuisine such as an elevated version of mofongo with local seafood. You can get organic in Orlando with vegan Vietnamese and teahouses. Up near the Georgia border on Amelia Island, you can get positively decadent Southern food made with locally sourced eggs and honey. Eat lobster corn dogs, sweet teaÔÇôbrined pork chops, donut bread pudding, and more. If you get there, save me a seat.