Cathy Salustri, in a white sweatshirt, sitting in a green kayak, paddling through the mangroves

Cathy Salustri

Cathy Salustri and her dachshund, Calypso
Calypso and Cathy Salustri in the RoadTrek, ready to roll!
Cathy Salustri

Cathy Salustri writes about Florida lifestyles and history. Her portfolio includes USA Today, Flamingo Magazine, Visit Florida, regional magazines, the Tampa Bay Times, Creative Loafing, and other Tampa Bay press.

In late 2016, UPF published her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era driving tours of Florida, Backroads of Paradise, and the New York Times featured it in its travel section. Her next book, Florida Spectacular: Extraordinary Places and Exceptional Lives, comes out in fall 2024.

Every week, Cathy Salustri and co-host and Florida author Rick Kilby celebrate Florida travel, history, and culture on their podcast, Florida Spectacular.

Cathy Salustri’s Background

Cathy studied radio and television broadcasting as an undergraduate, earning a BA in Communications from the University of Tampa. She also has an MLA in Florida Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. As a graduate student Cathy studied Florida history and culture under Drs. Gary Mormino and Ray Arsenault. Her research focused on the WPA’s Federal Writer’s Project Guide to the Southernmost State.

Under the guidance of  Gary Mormino, Cathy wrote what she calls “possibly the least academic master’s thesis ever,” logging almost 5,000 miles retracing driving tours from that guide, in search of Florida’s forgotten destinations.

From 2003-2015, Cathy Salustri reported on hyperlocal news  for one of the final family-owned papers in the state, The Gabber Newspaper. During her tenure at The Gabber, she penned an opinion column, Hard Candy, and wrote a monthly Florida travel piece. For fun (and money) she attended city council meetings and, on several occasions, aggravated elected and appointed officials.

From 2015-2019, Cathy Salustri worked as the  arts + entertainment editor of Creative Loafing Tampa.

In June 2020, during the pandemic, Cathy and her husband bought The Gabber Newspaper.

Cathy Salustri’s  non-writing resume includes giving tours at Walt Disney World, ground crew for an aerial banner towing company, kayak tour guide, sailboat crew, and stage managing for professional theater companies. She also works as a private investigator.

A man in a yellow shirt standing next to a woman in a yellow bikini top and white tank, at sunset
Sunset in the lower Florida Keys, 2010.
Photo taken by random driver on US 1, via Cathy Salustri

She lives in Gulfport with her husband, Barry, their two hound dogs, three cats who may or may not have a sugar addiction and, most likely, a frog the cats brought in as a present that no one has discovered yet.

A black-and-tan coonhound on a beach, running toward a black-and-tan dachshund. Both belong to Cathy Salustri.
These two dogs have seen more of Florida than most people.
Photo by Cathy Salustri

More Work from Cathy Salustri

Cathy’s currently working on a series of local travel books about Gulfport. She’s also working on a series of pulp fiction novels about a mythical Florida town, Mermaid’s Key.

Contact Cathy Salustri

You can reach her at, on Instagram (@cathysalustri) or Facebook (@salustricathy), or Twitter (@cathysalustri). You can also subscribe to Cathy Salustri’s monthly (well, monthly-ish) newsletter, The Florida Spectacular.

Florida road trips.