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20 Facts About Florida

Updated on March 25, 2019
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Florida is world famous as a major tourist destination, for its sports teams and facilities, and as a producer of citrus fruits.

A peninsula located in the southeastern USA, the state has the Gulf of Mexico to its west, the Atlantic ocean to its east, and the Straits of Florida to the south. To the north are the US states of Georgia and Alabama.

20 Interesting Florida Facts

  1. Florida Became the 27th state to be Admitted to U.S. in 1845
  2. The State’s Nickname is “The Sunshine State”
  3. Tallahassee is the State Capital
  4. Saint Augustine is the Oldest Continuously Inhabited Settlement in the USA
  5. Gatorade Originally Comes from Gainesville, Florida
  6. Key West is the Hottest Place in the USA, Measured by Average Temperature
  7. Florida Has 663 Miles of Beaches
  8. It is the Southernmost State in the Contiguous United States
  9. The State has the Highest Percentage of People Over 65
  10. Florida is the Flattest State in the USA
  11. The State's Name Comes From a Spanish Explorer Who Called it "La Florida" (Flowery Land)
  12. The Official State Song is “Swanee River”
  13. The Florida Everglades is the Only Place in the World Where Alligators and Crocodiles Coexist
  14. The State is the 3rd Most Populated in the USA
  15. Florida has More Toll Roads and Bridges Than any Other State
  16. Central Florida is Known as the Lightning Capital of the United States
  17. The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral has Been the Launch Site for Every American Manned Space Flight Since 1968
  18. The Saint John's River is One of the Very Few Rivers in the USA That Flows North, Rather than South
  19. Jacksonville, Florida, is the Largest City by Area in the Contiguous United States
  20. The British Ruled Florida for 20 Years in the Late 18th Century

I will give more detail regarding each fact, plus some extra facts, below.

1. Florida Became the 27th state to be Admitted to U.S. in 1845

The state was admitted as a slave state and stopped being a safe place for runaway slaves, which it had been previously. Michigan was the 26th state to be admitted to the U.S. (January 26, 1837), and Texas was the 28th in January 26, 1837.

2. The State’s Nickname is “The Sunshine State”

Many of the cities have nicknames too, for example, Miami is known as "The Magic City", Jacksonville is often called "Jax", and Orlando as "The City Beautiful". Ocala is known as the "Horse Capital of the World".

3. Tallahassee is the State Capital

Located in the panhandle area of Florida, Tallahassee was estimated to have a population of 191,049 people in 2017, making it the 7th most populated city in Florida, and the 126th largest city in the the United States. It has been the state's capital since 1824.

4. Saint Augustine is the Oldest European-Established Continuously Inhabited Settlement in the Continental USA

The city was founded in 1565 by the Spanish explorer, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. It was the capital of Spanish Florida for more than two centuries. The distinct historical character of the city has made it into a modern tourist attraction.

Cannons on top of the Castillo de San Marcos, St Augustine.  The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, construction of the fort began in 1672, following the designs of  Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza.
Cannons on top of the Castillo de San Marcos, St Augustine. The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, construction of the fort began in 1672, following the designs of Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza. | Source

5. Gatorade Originally Comes from Gainesville, Florida

Gatorade was invented in 1965 by a team of researchers led by Robert Cade at the University of Florida. It was made for the Gators, with the intention of replacing the carbohydrates, water and electrolytes that the school's student-athletes expended during sports activities.

6. Key West is the Hottest Place in the USA, Measured by Average Temperature

Key West is also known for its beautiful sunsets. A number of famous writers have made the island their home, including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost. Former US president, Harry S. Truman also stayed there regularly.

7. Florida Has 663 Miles of Beaches

It has the second longest coastline of all the contiguous states. The state also has many lakes, the largest one being Lake Okeechobee, which covers an areas of 700 square miles and is the second largest freshwater lake in the USA.

8. It is the Southernmost State in the Contiguous United States

It has land borders with Georgia and Alabama in the north and is surrounded by water on other sides. It is the only state that borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Although the island of Bimini, part of the Bahamas is the closest Caribbean island to state, Cuba is just 100 miles away.

9. The State has the Highest Percentage of People Over 65

Residents of the state are known as “Floridians”. It is ranked as one the states with fastest-growing immigration population. People are attracted by the climate and the scenery.

10. Florida is the Flattest State in the USA

The highest hill in the state measures just 345 feet, or 105 meters above sea level. The next five flattest U.S. states after Florida are Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota, Delaware, Kansas.

Juan Ponce de León led the first European expedition to Florida and give it the name La Florida (Land of Flowers).
Juan Ponce de León led the first European expedition to Florida and give it the name La Florida (Land of Flowers). | Source

11. The State's Name Comes From a Spanish Explorer Who Called it La Florida (Flowery Land)

Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans during the European Age of Discovery. The first European explorer was called Ponce de Leon and he arrived on April 2nd 1513. He was also the first Governor of Puerto Rico and later became associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth.

12. The Official State Song is “Swanee River”

The song is also known as "Old Folks at Home" and was originally a minstrel song written by Stephen Foster in 1851. The song has been the official state song of Florida since 1935, but in 2008 the original lyrics were revised to make them more politically correct.

American crocodile.  Alligators are common throughout Florida, but crocodiles can only be found at the southernmost tip of the state.  Florida is the only place where crocodiles and alligators can be found living side by side.
American crocodile. Alligators are common throughout Florida, but crocodiles can only be found at the southernmost tip of the state. Florida is the only place where crocodiles and alligators can be found living side by side. | Source

13. The Florida Everglades is the Only Place in the World Where Alligators and Crocodiles Coexist

Alligators prefer freshwater environments and live across a wide area of the southeastern United States. Crocodiles exist both in freshwater and saltwater, and the Florida Everglades is the only area of the U.S. where they live.

14. The State is the 3rd Most Populated in the USA

The state has 21,299,325 inhabitants according to United States Census Bureau.estimates in 2018. Florida's economy is the fourth largest in the United States, if it were a country, the state would have the 16th largest economy on the planet.

15. Florida has More Toll Roads and Bridges Than any Other State

Paying with a SunPass is the best way to deal with toll booths when traveling through the state. The pass is scanned by an electronic reader and tolls are deducted from your prepaid account. As well as being less expensive than paying by cash, the SunPass can also save time spent at toll booths.

16. Central Florida is Known as the Lightning Capital of the United States

The area receives more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country. Florida also has more tornadoes per area than other states and has experienced more direct hits by hurricanes than any other state (117 if you include Irma).

17. The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral has Been the Launch Site for Every American Manned Space Flight Since 1968

The Kennedy Space Center is remarkable in many ways. For example, the NASA installation features the Vehicle Assembly Building, which was the largest structure in the world when it was built in 1965 (it is now the fourth-largest). In all, the 144,000 acre site has around 700 facilities and buildings, including a visitor center where tourists can visit.

18. The Saint John's River is One of Very Few Rivers in the USA That Flows North, Rather than South.

The slow-flowing St. John's is also the longest river in Florida. Historically, it was important commercially as a route into the interior of Florida. The English composer, Frederick Delius, drew inspiration from the St. Johns River for his orchestral piece, the Florida Suite.

19. Jacksonville, Florida, is the Largest City by Area in the Contiguous United States

Sprawling Jacksonville is also the most populous city in Florida with an estimated population of 892,062 in 2017. Miami has the second largest city by population in the state with 463,347 people. Tampa is the third most populous with an estimate of 385,430 people in 2017.

20. The British Ruled Florida for 20 Years in the Late 18th Century

The British were temporally in charge between 1763 and 1783. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the region was home to native American tribes.for thousands of years. Spanish Florida was established in 1513 when the peninsular was claimed by Juan Ponce de León for Spain. Florida officially became part of the U.S. in 1821.

Florida’s flag: a red St. Andrew’s cross on a white background, with the state seal in the center, which shows a Semiole woman spreading flowers, a sun, a steamboat, shoreline and palm trees. The design was adopted in 1900 and updated in 1985.
Florida’s flag: a red St. Andrew’s cross on a white background, with the state seal in the center, which shows a Semiole woman spreading flowers, a sun, a steamboat, shoreline and palm trees. The design was adopted in 1900 and updated in 1985. | Source

Florida is a place of unparalleled diversity of backgrounds, experiences and vision. It makes our culture unique, but it can also make it difficult to define a common identity and create a sense of community that reaches beyond our neighborhoods to all corners of our state.

— Jeb Bush
Key West
Key West | Source

The Florida peninsula is, in fact, an emerging plateau, honeycombed with voids and vents, caves and underground waterways. Travelers on Interstate Highway I-75 have no idea that, beneath them, are cave labyrinths still being mapped by speleologists - 'cavers,' they prefer to be called.

— Randy Wayne White
St Augustine Beach.  The state has numerous world class beaches situated on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides.  Surfing and sailing are also popular in the Sunshine State.
St Augustine Beach. The state has numerous world class beaches situated on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides. Surfing and sailing are also popular in the Sunshine State. | Source

I go to Florida sometimes for vacation. I actually really like Florida. It's a weird place, it's surreal. It's so close, but you feel like you're in another world or on an island.

— Jemima Kirke

Have you been to Florida?

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© 2012 Paul Goodman

Comments

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    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      interesting and informative article. Always good to learn something new about the sunshine state. Welcome to hubpages.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Another neat article! I enjoyed reading this - thanks!

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