As the “Sunshine State,” Florida is no stranger to busy summers. Every year, millions of people come to Florida for its amusement parks and beaches.
However, Florida is also no stranger to heat. Every year, more than 700 people in the U.S. die from extreme heat, according to the CDC.
In Florida, that number ranged from 10 to 28 people per year between 2010-2020.
Record temperatures have only made it more dangerous — especially for children, older people, people suffering from chronic illnesses and even pets. Extreme heat can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes.
Some signs of these heat-related illnesses include heavy sweating, nausea, fast heartbeat, dizziness and fainting.
If possible, stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings. However, if people must spend time outside, make sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, avoid drinking and drug use outdoors, take regular breaks and wear loose and light-colored clothing to prevent heat-related illnesses.
In addition to these recommendations, several Gainesville residents and students offer tips on how to stay cool and safe for the summer.
Ash Reinhart, a 20-year-old UF art junior, was born in Gainesville and grew up going to the springs with friends when it got too hot.
After swimming or floating down a river for the day, they would make a stop at Yogurtology, a frozen yogurt restaurant on Archer Road, where she would usually get the salted caramel flavor.
Her biggest recommendation to find cool things to do in Gainesville is to put yourself out there and make new friends.
“That's the first step to having a great time in Gainesville,” Reinhart said. “Just broaden your horizons and you'll find a lot of fun stuff to do.”
Victor Prieto, a 24-year-old UF master’s student, was born in Gainesville as well. He moved away 10 years ago but returned this summer to start his graduate degree in entrepreneurship.
Like Reinhart, Prieto thinks the best way to find new places is to meet new people.
To stay cool with a treat, he recommends Jeremiah’s Italian Ice in Butler Plaza. Jeremiah’s offers Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. It also serves gelati, a layered mixture of Italian ice and soft serve.
With the variety of flavors, there is “something for everybody,” Prieto said.
For more indoor places to cool down, Milly Soto, a 19-year-old UF psychology sophomore, recommends The Spot and the other restaurants located at University Park.
“It's cozy, and you can go there to study if you want to,” she said. “But overall the food and the drinks there are amazing, and it's really chill.”
Soto mostly goes to get boba, a drink with chewy tapioca balls.
However, if boba doesn’t sound appealing, Gainesville still has a variety of restaurants scattered throughout town. People are sure to find their favorite cuisine and also discover new places if they’re willing to explore, Soto said.
Other than staying indoors, another way to avoid the heat is to avoid the daytime altogether.
University Club, also known as UC, has drag shows almost every night. The How Bazar holds a night market twice a month where they sell vintage clothes and pieces made by local artists. The Harn Museum of Art hosts Museum Nights every second Thursday of the month with special themes and limited exhibits.
Veronica Yap, a 20-year-old UF digital arts and sciences sophomore, believes Gainesville nightlife is definitely worth exploring.
From energetic drag shows at UC to laid-back art exhibits at the Harn, Yap appreciates the variety of options.
“I think if you want to do something calm, you have your options,” she said. “There are things that you can do solo and things that you can also do with your friends.”
The nightlife is also a very close community, she said.
Many of the artists who participate in the Harn’s Museum Nights are also involved with Artwalk Gainesville.
The Artwalk is a self-guided tour of local art galleries and artists’ studios in downtown Gainesville held the last Friday of every month from 7 to 10 p.m., and it features new exhibits every month.
“It's nice to see everyone sort of connected and showing you all that Gainesville has to offer,” Yap said.
As summer continues, be mindful of the heat. Don’t leave pets or children in cars. Schedule outdoor activities carefully to avoid the hottest times of the day. Drink more water, and use the time to explore the cool, hidden corners of Gainesville.
Contact Aubrey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @aubreyyrosee.
Aubrey Bocalan is a third-year journalism major. She is also pursuing a double major in Art. When she isn't writing, she's probably watching TV with her dog, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Bocalan.