There was an ad campaign some years ago with the
tagline, “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
That same message can be applied to vacationing
here in Florida. What used to be a vacation
destination just during the cold winter months,
is now a popular family destination year round!
My husband Vic and I have watched the phenomenon
occur over the last three decades plus as our
business has grown in step with the increase in
year round visitors. Over the last Memorial Day
weekend, that growth really hit home for us as
we drove around portions of Southwest Florida.
The roads were busy and the crowds were
everywhere from restaurants and shopping malls
to the parking lots of hotels and motels. That’s
great for all of us who operate businesses here
in the Sunshine State, as well as residents who
benefit from that tourism growth.
Our state tourism officials recently reported
there were 97.3 million visitors to Florida in
2014, setting a fourth year-in-a-row record and
that was nearly four percent over 2013. Here in
Lee County visitation for 2014 was more than 5
million. Just for the heck of it I took a look
back at visitor records for the county a decade
ago in 2004. That year there were just a bit
over 1.1 million visitors to our county. That’s
five times more visitors in a decade, Wow!
So what’s it all about? How come families have
made Florida a year round vacation destination?
Sure the theme parks have done a good job of
promoting and growing their offerings and the
cruise lines have done so, too. But there’s
more, a lot more.
In addition to the theme parks and cruise
offerings, Mother Nature has been very good to
Florida. Whether you’re a boater, sailor,
fisherman, water skier or just someone who
enjoys nature and the waters in and around
Florida, we’ve got lots for you to see and do.
Our beaches are some of the best in the world,
and if you want to shell, we’ve got you covered.
There are some new things, too. Agritourism is a
growing visitor area of interest. You can see
and touch how things grow here in Florida and
that includes citrus, berries, vegetables,
cattle and more. If you want, you can even help
harvest some of those items. We’ve got golf
courses galore and new ones opening all of the
time. I feel pretty confident that whatever it
is that your family enjoys, we have here in
Florida. Just check out our Visit Florida
and the one operated by our very capable tourism
folks here in Lee County at
Both sites will help make it easy for you to
plan your vacation.
Some other important things for you to keep in
mind about year round family vacation
opportunities in Florida: they are safe,
friendly and economical, especially compared to
a trip to some far away island in another
country, going to Europe or taking a cruise with
4,000 or more people you don’t know.
Just like I said at the start, “it’s not your
father’s Florida”. Check us out and Come see us.
You’ll be glad you did!