If you look at the official tourism website of Florida, you will know that it is one of the states in North America that is frequented by visitors. The beaches and theme parks of Florida drew as many as 80.9 million visitors in 2009.
The state is reasonably safe as the crime rate is moderate, but you have to wary of the subtropical climate. Further, you must also have concrete plans to deal not only with the weather, but also traffic and native wildlife.
Sun and Heat
Though extreme south Florida experiences tropical climate, most parts of the state is in the humid subtropical climate zone. Summer period is long, hot and humid with the mercury often climbing to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The intensity of the sun will be high during late mornings and early afternoons because of its latitude. Even during spring and fall, heat stroke, sunburn and heat exhaustion are common problems that you can face. It is, therefore, important that you drink a lot of clear fluids or water, especially if you are going to be outdoors for a long period of time, use sunglasses that block UV rays, apply sunscreen when going out and wear a hat. You must also take small meals frequently and avoid salty snacks as much as possible.
Thunderstorms are common in the afternoon on most days during the summer time. The storms may last only for a couple of hours, but they may be very violent. Florida is known as the lightning capital of the world and more people get injured in lightning strikes in this state when compared with other places in the U.S. Hurricane season is from June to November with major activity happening between August and September. You have to protect yourself by seeking shelter, monitoring weather forecasts and remaining indoors when storms are predicted. If thunderstorms happen when you are outside, you should move away immediately from water bodies and trees. You may go into a building or get inside your car. You have to be careful if you are driving because roadways may get flooded quite unexpectedly.
Safety at Beaches
Generally, the beaches of Florida are guarded, well-maintained and are reasonably safe. However, jelly fish and rip currents can challenge you even if you are a great swimmer. It is, therefore, important to pay attention not only to the instructions of the lifeguard, but also to the warning signs. Never, ever go out of the marked zones and wear shoes to protect your feet from hot sand and glass. If you go on a boating, monitor the weather forecast on your radio as frequently as possible. You should also not operate a boat or swim when you are under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
The crime rate in Florida is slightly less when compared with the national average. However, keep your purse or backpack safe, especially at the time of shopping or visiting places of tourist interest. You should also keep your car locked as well as put away valuables out of sight. It is a good idea to avoid walking alone, especially at night, in neighborhoods that are unfamiliar.
Traffic will be heavy during morning and evening peak hours. It is better to avoid driving during these times. Follow lane rules and allow some extra time so that you can reach your destination on the scheduled time. As the roads can be confusing, it is a good idea to use a GPS system.