Sunday, February 13, 2011

Florida's Gulf Coast

In the middle of a Michigan winter, many people dream of escaping to warmer climes. While I'm staying in Kalamazoo, this week's posts will take a virtual vacation on Florida's Gulf Coast, a traditional destination for snowbirds.

The Gulf Coast, for some reason, seems to attract Midwesterners while Florida's Atlantic Coast draws more New Yorkers & Easterners. I'm not sure why this is. Transportation routes could explain it since I-75 runs from Detroit to Tampa & Fort Myers while I-95 connects Boston/NYC to Miami. Before the Interstates, US-41 and US-1 made similar connections. Perhaps its origins are even earlier, going back to the days of the competing railroads of Henry Plant (through Tampa) and Henry Flagler (from St Augustine to the Florida Keys.) Or it could be a network effect: destinations based on friends' & family's prior visits. I'm not sure if anyone has applied the theory of migration networks to Florida tourism.

If you do get the opportunity to visit Florida, I'd encourage you to look beyond the tourist beaches and see some of the many natural areas of the state. These posts highlight some Florida places & wildlife that I've enjoyed seeing.

Florida posts:
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Corkscrew Swamp
Myakka River State Park
Roseate Spoonbill
Audubon Field Guide to Florida
Wood Stork
Great White Egret

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