Moving to Florida seemed like the perfect idea. Sun, sand, and surf. But wait, it’s not always all sunshine and rainbows. There are some things nobody tells you about moving to the beach, or at least I wasn’t warned.
Want to move to the beach? Think twice.
For starters, the guilt. Yes, the guilt of enjoying a day inside when it’s sunny and gorgeous outside. With over 300 days of fabulous weather, anything that isn’t sun-worthy evokes great guilt. You’re lucky enough to be living at the beach, and some people would kill to be in your place.
Having lived in WV for years, with four distinct seasons, I grew accustomed to only a few months of sunshine. Imagine my surprise on my first Florida Christmas holiday when the 90-degree temps made it a swimming pool holiday party, much different than the years past.
Oh, and you can’t cool off in your pool because the water temperatures are easily pushing 100 degrees. Priscilla, our King Charles Cavalier, feels no guilt staying inside all day.
Suddenly, Everyone Wants to Visit
Since moving to Florida, I’ve had an influx of friends wanting to visit me. Like they literally crawl out of the woodwork wanting to say hello while in Florida. It’s a big state, ya know.
It seems living in a vacation zone makes us a “must-see” destination. Luckily my extra bedroom is always open to receiving guests. So come on down and enjoy beautiful Vero Beach, Florida, with me!
Healthy Food Markets
While the beach scene has plenty of healthy food choices, it may not be for everyone. Especially if fitness and looking beach-body-ready is part of the culture.
Enter me, who isn’t beach-body material, and typically craves a corndog from Sonic rather than a “big healthy salad” choice that my book club friends always pick on our lunch outings.
Again, guilt brought on based on geography for not choosing the healthy options we have. Perhaps Germany would be a better address for me, since I would choose fattening sausages, spaetzle, and sweet red cabbage over hamster food any day.
Citrus Fruit Overkill
Living in the citrus capital of the USA means I can buy citrus fruits cheaply, but they are not a rarity! Everyone wants to sell or offer me these fruits. It’s time to stop treating citrus like a commodity.
Living at the beach means dealing with extreme weather conditions, such as torrential downpours, maximum humidity, high winds, and heavy rain. And let’s not forget the power surges! I’ve had to learn hurricane procedures, such as installing plywood over windows or pulling storm shutters, but luckily Google is always there in case of a real emergency.
While there are downsides, the Florida beach climate is perfect for tanning and enjoying the outdoors.
Old People and Snowbirds Test Your Patience
My town is half full-time residents and half snowbirds (retirees who move south in the winter). This means that getting a seat at a restaurant or running to the grocery store, late November to mid April, takes twice as long due to the sheer number of vehicles on the road. While I am sure the economy is much greater because of the snowbirds, having to fight for a spot with these honkin’ big cars is not one-bit fun.
I absolutely love old folks, but their driving skills tend to be horrible. You may be dodging red light runners one minute, then stuck behind a blue hair going 15 in a 40 mile zone for miles. Patience is definitely a virtue living at the beach, also a vacation destination.
I’m not exaggerating when I say there was a fatality on 40 mph roads almost daily.
Sun Damage and Age Spots
Growing older isn’t always a walk in the park, especially when your skin starts to sport brown age spots from living at the beach. The sun used to bring out a light dusting of freckles across my cheeks; cute, per all the romance novels say. But, now you can connect the brown age spot dots, which is not one bit attractive.
So the lesson here is, despite wearing SPF 30 sunscreen and taking proper precautions, the sun can be harsher than expected.
A Very Limited Wardrobe
On the bright side, my wardrobe is now simplified to my beloved beach attire. Dressing up is a rarity, and when we do, we tend to look “vintage” by today’s standards. My everyday uniform is shorts, a travel-related t-shirt, and flip-flops.
When I travel to cold destinations for work, the thought of wearing pants makes me want to drink myself under the table.
Living in Florida also introduces you to an exciting array of wildlife. Beware of raccoons and armadillos invading your yard (this is an every week occurrence), and don’t expect to have a peaceful conversation with the constant chatter of birds in the background. And God forbid you try to Zoom someone with all the outdoor distractions.
And while sharks and manatees may be fascinating, they’re not worth coming face to face within the sea.
Fun Fact: Raccoons are notorious for doing their business on our pool cover, while even soft-shell crabs have made their way to the mainland to burrow underneath our grill. And we don’t ever mention the mangled rat we saw crawl out of our pool cover after being attacked (apparently) by a bobcat or opossum.
Bugs and Other Creepy Crawlies
Dealing with bugs and other creepy crawlies can be quite daunting, especially if you didn’t grow up around them. As someone who didn’t raise sons or have brothers, I’m not fond of bugs and tend to scream like a madman when I see them.
Among these creatures, geckos are the worst, though through the years, I’ve devised some very creative ways of catching them and taking them outside. It took me nearly three years to perfect my techniques.
I don’t like killing anything, so I usually trap them up and scoop them into a box and cover it with a magazine before releasing them outside. I used to rely on my friend’s 12-year-old daughter or neighbor’s five-year-old son to help me, but now I feel accomplished and all grown up. However, dealing with these pests is non-stop, as I constantly need to rescue them from my pool and other places.
No Make-up and a Ponytail
Living at the beach may also affect your grooming habits. In a hotter-than-hades climate, doing hair and makeup is pretty much useless. You’ll save a bundle on cosmetics and hair products.
The downside? You’ll also look rather average, which may not be your ideal dating profile.
A Hard Job, But Somebody’s Gotta Do It
Living at the beach is fantastic, but there are some things I wish I knew beforehand to make the transition easier. That’s why I want to share my secrets with you so that you can be more prepared than I was. Although there are some unexpected things you may need to deal with, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Do you have any interesting stories about living at the beach?
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