Florida Beach FAQs
Everything you wanted to know about Florida...
Over the years we've been asked hundreds of questions about vacationing in Florida. While we answer the most commonly asked questions below, feel free to drop us a line if you can't find what you need on our pages.
What's a snowbird?
A snowbird is a retired North American who moves South for the winter and returns home in the spring. Like migratory birds, they follow the warm weather.
What's an eco-tourist?
Eco-tourists seek vacations that allow them to explore nature preserves, wildlife sanctuaries and wilderness - not cities. While most are keenly aware of protecting the environment, anyone who wants to enjoy an untouched beach is considered an eco-tourist.
What's a spring breaker?
Spring breakers are college students who come to Florida to party during spring break. Their parties have a reputation for over-the-top antics like Jell-O fights, and usually last late into the night.
What's a Florida Key?
The word "key" comes from the Spanish word "cayo" meaning little island. Florida is home to more than 800 keys, with Key Largo being the longest at 30 miles.
Does Florida have seasons?
While Florida definitely has seasons, the weather isn't as pronounced as in the northern U.S. states and Canada. From a vacation point of view, Florida's four seasons are:
- Spring: This popular vacation time has mild weather. While major attractions are less crowded and some hotels offer discounts, humidity can be unbearable in April, and many avoid this season because it's spring break in Florida.
- Summer: Sizzling hot and humid, sudden and sporadic thunderstorms cool things off a little. Summer is also the heart of hurricane season.
- Fall: Beautifully mild, fall offers the highest discounts in accommodations, since many vacationers have returned to school. But be warned: hurricane season lasts through November, with highest risk in September and October.
- Winter: Generally mild and sunny, some areas have a few days near the freezing level. Keep in mind that winter is prime season for snowbirds, so accommodations are driven high and popular cities like Orlando and Tampa get crowded.
What time zone does Florida observe?
Most of Florida observes Eastern Standard Time (EST). The Florida Panhandle works on Central Standard Time (CT), which is one hour behind of EST.
What is the legal drinking age in Florida?
The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol is 21. Proof of age is required at bars, nightclubs and restaurants. While beer and wine can often be purchased at Florida supermarkets, you'll still need ID to buy alcohol.
How much is the standard gratuity in Florida restaurants?
In restaurants, bars and nightclubs, 15 to 20 percent of the check is a standard tip for wait staff. For bartenders, calculate your tips at 10 to 15 percent. Other service staff, like baggage carriers, usually receives $1.00 per bag.
What nighttime activities should I do with the kids on a family vacation?
Depending on where you stay, your hotel or resort might have planned family activities. Common evening family entertainment includes mini golf, movies on the beach, sunset sandcastle building, shelling, stargazing and nighttime nature walks. For more family vacation ideas, check out our Top Ten Family Beaches.
What holidays does Florida observe?
Florida's financial institutions, government offices and post offices, as well as many shops, restaurants and museums, are closed on the following statutory and national holidays:
- New Year's Day: January 1st
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 3rd Monday in January
- President's Day: 3rd Monday in February
- Memorial Day: Last Monday in May
- Independence Day: July 4th
- Labor Day - 1st Monday in September
- Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
- Veteran's Day - November 11th
- Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thursday in November
- Election Day - Tuesday following the 1st Monday in November (held every 4 years)
- Christmas - December 25th
Is there standard etiquette to follow when visiting a nude beach?
Yes. For details read our Florida Nude Beach FAQ.
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