I've sailed both coasts of Florida and driven most of it's major roadways.
Getting the automobile issue out of the way first, I find most Florida drivers pretty good; Miami
is an exception; you're certain to see people driving two or even three times the speed limit and pedestrians are in grave danger
; Florida is by far the most dangerous place to mix cars and pedestrians. Some of the highway designs are a cruel joke, for example, merging from a sharp curve into the far left lane of blistering traffic; OK if your car is right-hand drive, but dicey otherwise.
If you're the impatient type, you should avoid the retirement
enclaves; the slow and sometimes erratic land yachts driven by people wearing those large black-out glasses may offend you, or worse. I've always believed I'd meet my end under a vintage Buick, so I still tremble when I see a big hunk of Detroit iron with a tiny head
below the steering wheel
On the water
, it's both heaven and hell. In places like Miami
, you might get buzzed by speeding cigarette boats, but only if you're in a narrow channel. Florida is beautiful and has the climate, so the beaches and coast attract all kinds of watercraft, and on big holidays your favorite anchorage will be jammed with small powerboats the occupants of which will set up gigantic loud speakers and regale you with their favorite music
, chiefly country. If you're really lucky, you may enjoy an impromptu pole dance in progress on a nearby boat. On the other hand, after the long weekend holiday, those boaters will be gone and the place will still be beautiful.
On land, I can vouch only for Pensacola
. The people are remarkably friendly, laid back, and helpful. This includes other sailors, civilians, and city government
officials. I've never had a problem of any kind from law enforcement.
I did spend a few weeks shooting in Key West
. I never saw a local wearing a wristwatch and the concept
of "morning" did not exist. The only day parts
were lunch, a little after lunch, and night. Other than that change to my concept
of time, I enjoyed my stay and loved the locals. This was quite a few years ago, so things may be different now.