Florida is unique in so many ways. It is the only peninsular state surrounded by the powerful Atlantic Ocean on the East coast and the warm salty Gulf of Mexico on the West coast. Each coast offers a completely different feel with its own range of waterways, wildlife habitat, beaches, islands and attractions. If you’d like to visit both coasts, you can drive from one side of the state to the other is less than 4 hours. The panhandle area provides even more options for miles and miles of beaches with sand dunes made from sugary white sand.
Located midway down Florida's Gulf Coast, the Tampa Bay Area is a center for business, industry, tourism, retirement, and professional sports. Making up the bay area are the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and numerous smaller towns and resorts. This area offers an amazing range of activities, attractions, and some of the best beaches in the country. The city of Tampa (which had fewer than 1,000 people when the Union Navy captured it during the Civil War) and the surrounding communities are home to over two million people.
Hubby and I were both born in Tampa as were our three children. A few years after we were married -even though we stayed in the same county --we moved out of the “big” city to a small town immediately north of the city limits. We decided it a good place to raise our kids on a quiet out-of-the-way street and still have the amenities of big city life close by. Our one-street-subdivision which has 26 nearly-acre lots dead ends into a cul-de-sac. Even though we have neighbors we have loads of privacy, due to the lay of the land, which is just what we were looking for all those years ago and still enjoy.
Being that I am so enamored with water, wildlife and the fabulous outdoors that is where I will focus my “where in the gardening world are you” challenge. Jodi at Bloomingwriter is not only a talented and gifted published author but she creatively came up with this idea to publish a post directing readers to our geographical location.
Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest open-water estuary stretching 398 sq. miles. Estuaries like Tampa Bay, where salt water from the sea and fresh water from rivers and uplands mix, are nurseries for young fish, shrimp, and crabs. The freshwater sources of the Bay are distributed among over a hundred small tributaries, rather than a single river. Wildlife abounds along the shores of Tampa Bay. As many as 40,000 pairs of birds--from the familiar brown pelican to the colorful roseate spoonbill--nest in Tampa Bay every year. Others, including sandpipers and white pelicans, are seasonal visitors. The bay is also home to dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees.
The Gulf Coast is best known for beautiful white-sand beaches and exciting offshore fishing. I am a big fan of the Gulf Coast and it is my preference for beaches. We are about an hour from the closest one. The waters are warm, shallow, and most often calm. Beaches are located along a string of sandy barrier islands created by wave-washed quartz sand.
Just north of the Gulf Coast is the Nature Coast of Florida. "A string of counties studded with emerald-like gulf waters, deep springs and rivers, stretching along the same Florida coast." This was how world-famous naturalist John Muir described The Nature Coast in 1867 and enchantingly the coast still holds this charm today.
Much of the area has remained unchanged from its original appearance. The west Indian manatee, Florida black bear, bald eagle, Florida sand hill crane, red cockaded woodpecker, least tern, gopher tortoise, Florida panther and many other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are some of the endangered species that call the Nature Coast home.
At times it seems rather odd to me that I have lived here all my life. Florida natives are few and far between these days- much less Tampa natives. Hubby really likes the heat, which I do not. But I am in love with everything else about Florida. If I could change one thing it would be to plop some mountains somewhere close by so I could get from beach to mountains in minutes. But then I guess it would be California.
Now as I got this project completed just under the deadline- hubby and I are headed off to one of Florida's gorgeous beaches for the weekend. See you when we get back. Have a wonderful weekend in your corner of the world.
Thanks, Jodi, this was fun.