Following a barrage of Hurricanes this fall, here's what's happening right now at top tourist destinations in the Sunshine State.
With the devastation of Hurricane Irma far from repaired, those planning Florida vacations may be reconsidering their destinations. But that's not the case for Panama City Beach, whose beaches were lucky enough to stay untouched.
"We avoided getting beach erosion we might get from even a smaller storm," says Jayna Leach, VP of Marketing for Panama City Beach. "We haven't seen any cancellations in our reservations." The city pushed out social media updates and livestreams before, during, and after the storm, keeping travelers updated on how things were going in real time. After years as a spring break destination, the region is shifting to accommodate different crowds, including families—with a new, annual craft beer and wine festival Unwined, a new coastal shopping trail that connects the old, eclectic shops around the city, and a dog friendly beach.
And if you're still worried about the increasing frequency of extreme weather affecting your vacation, Leach says not to worry: Panama City Beach and other regional vacation destinations are pros—they coordinate extensively with county emergency operations systems to keep you updated on exactly what you need to know. Should things get bad enough that you'd need to take further steps, you'll be notified long in advance with plenty of time to prepare, since plans are already in place.
Heading elsewhere in Florida and looking for updates?
- In Miami, airports have reopened, shipping is resuming, and Little Havana spots like Versailles are serving as many cafecitos as ever, reports the Miami Herald. Fortunately, the widespread damage isn't as severe as it could have been, though full recovery will still take time.
- The Florida Keys were harder hit, reports Time with "basically every house" in the area impacted by the storm according to FEMA officials. Still, tourism is reopening to visitors Sunday, Oct. 1, a full 20 days ahead of the original schedule.
- Orlando tourist destinations told the Orlando Sentinel that since power was restored after the storm, they expect tourism to bounce back quickly. They say that while in-state visitors are down, international and domestic vistors have already resumed pre-storm levels.
- State and national parks like the Everglades and Big Cypress were hit hard, and, officials told Naples Daily News, will take serious effort and time to recover.