The Florida tourist high season is January through
April. So, I suppose that makes the spring, summer
and fall months our “low” season.
Well, I love the low season.
“Real Florida,” as our state tourism officials
call it, really comes alive in those months and
that’s when we locals take the time to enjoy our
Here at Southwest Florida Yachts the pace of work
and life in general is a tad more relaxed. Vic and
I can finally push our desk chairs back and plan a
cruise for ourselves instead of just arranging
charters and yacht classes for others.
Cruising is as good as it gets. Just as the
automotive traffic softens on I-75, so does marine
traffic soften on the Gulf ICW behind our famous
outer islands like Captiva, Sanibel, Useppa, Cayo
Costa, and Gasparilla.
Bridge tender language still goes pretty much by
the book but this mate hears a friendliness in
their voices that I don’t detect during the
wait-your-turn season. At the little dock at
Cabbage Key there is always a slip for a boat and
a table for two.
Dockmasters actually sound happy when we radio
them and ask for a slip. At this time of the year
we can find an empty lounge chair to lounge by the
pool at 'Tween Waters Inn.
Everybody’s metabolism slows down a notch in the
summer. We walk a bit slower, talk a bit slower,
watch the clouds build and look forward to that
afternoon storm and the cool air that follows.
Then we watch the sun go down. The breezes off the
water blow cool even in the warmest months and the
Margaritas are always cold. No worries, mon.
Florida’s wildlife has its own high season and it
seems to kick in just about the time so many
tourists go home.
Tarpon -- bow to the king -- migrate along the
Gulf beaches toward Boca Grande Pass in huge
numbers May through July. So do Florida’s tarpon
anglers. Snook find their way along the mangrove
roots from the upper rivers and bays back to the
Gulf passes. Local flats anglers stay right with
them. Florida’s low season mornings are picture
perfect for jumping tarpon and plugging for snook.
Migratory birds that have wintered in Mexico and
Central America fly across the Caribbean and the
Gulf of Mexico and make landfall here, hungrily
biting all the new berries, buds, seeds and
insects they can get their beaks on. Florida
birders (you can recognize them by their expensive
binoculars) hover around mulberry, fig and sea
grape trees and yell out to their
comrades-in-optics. “Hey, here’s a female Rose
Breasted Grosbeak with red juice all down her
chest.” The yelling starts in late April and
continues well into the summer. Come September and
October, we see the birds again as they rest up
and feed up for that long flight back to their
wintering grounds. And, with those first cold
fronts of the fall, south Florida welcomes back
its own migrating snowbirds such as loons and
white pelicans from Canada.
I like showing off our lovely part of Florida to
visitors during the low season and I’ve always
thought it way too sad that so many fail to come
here at a time of the year when Florida really
I don’t know what the tourism officials are saying
but it seems to me that each year more northern
visitors are choosing to come to Southwest Florida
in spring and summer.
Lower rates are inviting, I’m sure, but I’m happy
for them because they will get to experience the
Florida that we year-round Floridians enjoy.