My lovely home state of Florida (the “Sunshine” state) was recently hit hard by a severe hurricane. My local area, which is a very popular travel destination, was among the hardest hit. There will no doubt be a huge cost to repair the roads, beaches, and local businesses which suffered catastrophic losses due to the tidal surges and strong winds. There is no doubt that Florida took a hit this hurricane season, but don’t let that put you off of our state as a potential vacation spot in the months to come.
I’ve written before about the wonders that Florida has to offer vacationers. One thing I might not have made sufficiently clear though is that we Floridians are a very resilient bunch! Personally, I have been through Hurricanes Andrew, Ivan, Wilma, Charley, and Matthew (and that’s only counting the really severe named storms) and have lived to tell the tale. Our communities have done a great job of coming together, with local restaurants providing free food to those without power, volunteers helping to clear the debris, and neighbors watching out for each other during the rough weather. Many from outside of the impacted areas have asked how they can help in the wake of the storm. While donating money and time is certainly much appreciated, there are also other ways you can help; namely, come visit us!
The areas of the east coast which were impacted the most include St. Augustine and Flagler Beach – both known for their popular tourist attractions. The economy of these places is highly dependent on the money brought in from tourism, so the far-reaching impacts of this storm may be much costlier than even the steep price tags to rebuild. We lost a few treasured restaurants to flood waters and the scenic A1A roadway has been heavily eroded and remains closed in some places, but our local restaurateurs and government have already started plans to rebuild. Many of the impacted businesses are reopened along the historic St. Augustine Bayfront. All up and down the coast, small business owners are reopening their doors and are counting on your visits to recoup some of their losses. It may be some time before all of the beaches are cleared and reopened to the public, but I would urge you not to write off Florida’s first coast when you’re considering your next vacation destination.
We Floridians count on you coming to visit us to see the world renowned Nights of Lights in St. Augustine during the holidays. We depend on the long rows of bikers who ride A1A every October on their pilgrimage to Daytona Beach. Our communities are what they are largely because you bring your families to our beaches each summer to make memories that will last a lifetime. While your first instinct may be to head to areas which were not hard-hit by Hurricane Matthew, I would urge you to consider visiting us instead. The best way you can help the local communities get back to normal is to plan a vacation! IVHE has no shortage of lovely homes along the east coast of Florida which will help make your stay just perfect. Disney is still standing strong, our beaches will soon be as serene as ever, and our unique local businesses will open their doors to serve you. Pardon our dust!
Thank you travel blogger Emma Sledge.