How to Tan Like a Floridian

There are certain things you should know about Floridians before you go to Florida.

First, let's define "Floridian."

A Floridian is someone who actually lives in Florida year round. People who live in Florida only in the winter are called snowbirds.

A Floridian is someone who moved to Florida before they turned sixty. If you move there after 60, you can own property, have a Florida drivers licence, and be a permanent resident, but you are NOT a Floridian. You are a retiree.

Magda from Something about Mary  lived in Miami but was NOT a Floridian!

If you are under 60 and you moved to Florida because you made a ton of money, say, being a pro golfer, basketball player, or selling your book, and you want to avoid state income taxes, you are only a Floridian if you actually live in that big mansion in the gated community.

A person who was born and raised in Florida, but now lives elsewhere, is definitely a Floridian.

Every area of the country has its own way to identify the non-natives from the natives. New Yorkers can spot a local from a tourist in a New York minute. It's not just the way they hail a cab or cross the street, it's a certain attitude unique to New Yorkers.

Floridians are the same way. There are subtle ways to spot a true Floridian.

Here are three basic rules on how NOT to stand out as an outsider in Florida.

1. Don't come to Florida in February in your white shorts and flowered Lily dresses.
Floridians dress appropriately for the season, even if it is a bright, sunny 85 degrees. In the winter they wear dark clothes, sweaters, boots, blue jeans, and sometimes even scarves. If you are wearing summer clothes in Florida in the winter, you are a either a tourist or a snowbird. Would you wear your cotton sundress and lime green flip flops on a warm day in February at home? Of course not.

2. Don't spend the day lying in the sun.
Floridians get anxious sitting in the sun for more than two hours. The die hard sun-worshipers are not Floridians. When they go to the beach, they like to walk, bike, swim, surf, paddle board, fish or go boating. Sitting in the sun serves no purpose; they would rather be inside out of the heat if they are just sitting.

3. Don't get a tan.
For those who love to come to Florida to work on their tan, this is impossible. "Up North," having a tan is a badge of honor. It shows you're living the good life. Everyone looks better with a dark tan, right? Not if you're a Floridian.

Some Floridians have an occasional slight glow from the rays they capture on the way to the grocery when their sunscreen has worn off. Or after a Saturday round of golf. But overall, having a dark tan when you live in Florida is, frankly, undesirable. It means you are irresponsible and unconcerned about your health (anything less than 30 sunscreen is unacceptable). It implies that you are lazy and spend your time sitting around the pool reading trashy novels. Or, God forbid, you are a tourist.

How to tan like a Floridian

You don't. It's that simple.The Floridians I know are just as pasty white as you are in the winter, only they are that way all year. Remember, Floridians don't like to get sun. When Floridians want a little color to even out their skin tone, darken their bare legs, or if they are going on vacation, they use self tanner.

Yep, that's the secret to a Florida tan. It comes out of a bottle.

I have tried many self tanners. Unfortunately, I am very sensitive to the smell of self tanners, so I'm rather limited in what I can use. I have also used some tanners that turned my skin bright orange.

I think the following self tanners are the best. These are true gems (nuggets!) that will make everyone wonder whether you were born in Orlando or Ft. Lauderdale..........

These drops are a great little nugget. They make you bronze without the sun. You just add the drops to your favorite moisturizer or lotion and overnight you are tan! You can buy them on Amazon, or at Sephora. Isle of Paradise

For the face, my hands down favorite is Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanner

This self-tanner has a beautiful scent, and is a light, creamy moisturizer. You will not notice a tan after the first application (unless you are really pale) but the natural tan builds with use. I use it about two times a week on my face, neck, and chest. It does not break my face out. I find when I use it my dark sunspots from the past seem to blend in and my skin looks much smoother and even. This is a MUST HAVE product that I use all year and will not go without. At around $36 it's not cheap, but this is a bargain considering the results. Love, love, love my Clarins Liquid Bronze!

You can find it on Amazon by going HERE.

For the body, I have used St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Lotion for years.

I use it when I need some color on my legs, and if I am going to be in a bathing suit, on the exposed parts. I have used the lotion and the mousse, and I think I like the lotion better, but they are both good. I like them because they actually go on in a bronze color so I can see where I've been. It will dye your hands so I recommend wearing gloves.

You can buy St. Tropez at Sephora, Ulta, or from Amazon for about $42. Yes, it's expensive. But it lasts a long time and it doesn't turn you orange. A spray tan will cost about $35. It's all relative.


  1. You are so right Annie. I am a Floridian who doesn't like to get sun! I get enough just driving in my car. Love the picture of Magda and all your tips. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Kriss! I've heard from several Florida friends who told me they NEVER get sun. I sure don't want to look like Magda!

  3. Hi, I love your blog, Annie. My name is Annie too!
    I assume you are a Floridian as well, like me? I did want to add that if it's 85 degrees out in February, we won't be in pants but in shorts.
    I had someone on the bus say to me and my sisters and cousins, you must be tourists because you are so white. Made me mad, lol.

    1. HI Annie! Thanks so much for reading Annie's Nuggets. You are correct, I am a Floridian.


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