121 Interesting & Fun Facts About Florida

Are you ready to explore a state where the sun always shines, the beaches stretch for miles, and the adventures never end? Let’s take a magical trip to Florida, a place known for its warm weather, amazing theme parks, and fascinating wildlife. Florida is not just any state; it’s a playground of fun and wonder. So, let’s dive in and discover some cool facts about Florida!

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Did you know Florida is called the “Sunshine State”? That’s because it has some of the most beautiful sunny days you can imagine. With its gorgeous beaches, people from all over the world come to play in the sand, swim in the clear blue water, and watch the stunning sunsets.

But Florida isn’t just about relaxing on the beach. It’s also home to the most magical place on Earth – Walt Disney World! Imagine a world where you can meet your favorite characters, ride thrilling roller coasters, and explore lands filled with pirates, princesses, and talking animals. And that’s just one of the many theme parks in Florida!

And here’s a wild fact about Florida: it is home to the Everglades, a huge park full of interesting animals like alligators, manatees, and flamingos. It’s a place where you can take an airboat ride and zoom through the waterways, watching for wildlife and learning about this unique ecosystem.

Are you excited to learn more facts about Florida? From its sunny beaches and magical theme parks to the wild Everglades, Florida is a state full of surprises and fun. Let’s keep exploring and find out all the amazing things that make Florida a fantastic place to visit and learn about!

Be sure to discover even more interesting facts with our Facts about Kentucky and our Facts about Idaho.

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Facts about Florida

  1. Ray Charles was raised in Greenville, Florida, and educated at the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind.
  2. Florida has 67 counties. The most populated is Miami‑Dade, with 2,763,366; the least populated are Lafayette (8,034) and Liberty (7,974). 
  3. In 1954, segregation of public schools was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.
  4. Carabelle is the world’s smallest police station. It is in a small town on the Gulf Coast.  It is a phone booth with “Police Department” written on the side.
  5. Cape Canaveral is where NASA conducts its launches. However, you might be surprised to know that the U.S. Air Force owns it.
  6. There are no dinosaur fossils in Florida because it was underwater during the age of the dinosaurs.  There is a nice attraction called Dinosaur World in Plant City to make up for it.
  7. Florida officially adopted the state motto, “In God We Trust” in 2006.
  8. Florida has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state. There are more of them in Palm Beach County than in any other Florida county.
  9. In 1864, the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle that took place in Florida went down, with the Confederates winning.
  10. In 1538, the first horse was brought to Florida by the Spanish. The horse would go on to dominate the entire country.
  11. Things invented in Florida include sunscreen, key lime pie, air conditioning, incandescent light bulbs, Famous Amos cookies, and concentrated orange juice.
  12. The state’s highest natural point is Britton Hill, which is only 345 ft (105 m) above sea level (the lowest of any state high point in the US). Britton Hill is near DeFuniak Springs in North Florida close to the Georgia state line.
  13. Florida is the flattest state in the country.
  14. Freedom Tower in Miami, built in 1925, played an important role in hosting Cuban refugees after the 1959 Cuban Revolt. Today it serves as an art museum and part of Miami Dade College.
  15. In 1961, the first American manned space trip was made from Cape Canaveral, near the Kennedy Space Center, where dozens of rocket launch pads are located.
  16. Florida has long been a magnet for retirees. Just over 21.3% of the state’s population is over 65, compared to 15% nationally. Only Maine has more.
  17. Miami city proper is in 2nd place, with 460,00 people. However, the Miami metropolitan area, which includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, is the largest metropolitan area in Florida and 9th largest in the country, between Atlanta, Georgia and Phoenix, Arizona.
  18. The state has 4510 islands with an area of 10 acres or larger. Only Alaska has more islands than Florida.
  19. The state is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Alabama to the northwest, Georgia to the north, the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Straits of Florida and Cuba to the south.
  20. Biscayne National Park is a mostly (95%) underwater park at the northern end of the Florida Keys and just south of Miami. It provides shelter for 16 endangered species. It was nearly included in Everglades National Park.
  21. Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, is home to the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR.
  22. Some famous companies that started or are based in Florida include Gatorade, Tupperware, Perry Ellis, NASCAR, Planet Hollywood International, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Hertz, Spirit Airlines, and Burger King.
  23. In 1819, all of Florida was ceded to the United States.
  24. Three professional sports teams were introduced to the state in 1993: the Florida Panthers hockey team, Miami Marlins baseball team, and Jacksonville Jaguars football team.
  25. The six‑month hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Florida has had many bad storms, and Florida hurricane history is well known. Most Floridians head for high ground when a storm threatens their area.
  26. There is a Skunk Ape Research Headquarters on Tamiamai Trail through the Everglades.  Many people report to  have seen this Big Foot kind of creature. Available photos are always too hazy to tell much.
  27. Magic Kingdom is the single most visited amusement park in the world, bringing in around 20 million visitors per year.
  28. With a $1 trillion economy, Florida’s economy is the 4th largest in the country and 16th largest in the world.
  29. Pelican Island is a bird sanctuary in the Indian River Lagoon near Sebastian established by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1903.
  30. Gambling was legalized in Florida in 1931. Today, it is illegal, with some exceptions.
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  1. In 1601, a map of Florida was drawn as per the orders of King Philip III of Spain. A fort was included that he wanted built in the area presently known as Miami.
  2. Famous Floridians include actor Wesley Snipes, actresses Eva Mendes and Victoria Justice, singer Ariana Grande, blogger Perez Hilton, and comedian Carrot Top.
  3. PortMiami is the busiest cruise port in the world, serving around 5.5 million cruise passengers annually.
  4. The resort was the dream of Walt Disney, but he died while it was still in the planning phase.
  5. Florida is home to the largest occupied wooden structure in the world. You’ll find the beautiful, old-fashioned architecture if you step into the Belleview Biltmore Resort.
  6. The world’s largest alligator was found in Florida. Measuring a whopping 17 feet, 5 inches long, this massive alligator weighed in at 1,043 pounds.
  7. On October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World opened, which changed the landscape of Florida tourism.
  8. The name “Florida” comes from the Spanish word for “flowery,” which is felicitous given the state’s abundance of flowers and plants. 
  9. Florida residents get a reduction of $50,000 in their homeʹs assessed value for property tax purposes.
  10. On April 2, 2013, the state celebrated 500 years of European discovery by Ponce de Leon. The celebration was called “Viva Florida 500”.
  11. Fort Caroline of Jacksonville was established by the French in 1564.
  12. Florida is the only state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
  13. The state’s biggest agricultural output is the orange. Florida produces more than 70% of the nation’s oranges.
  14. Orlando is also home to SeaWorld, which operates 11 theme parks across the US.
  15. There are 175 state parks in Florida, with the most visited being Honeymoon Island State Park, followed by Sebastian Inlet State Park.
  16. The Mockingbird is the official state bird of Florida
  17. The state marine mammal is the Manatee, also known as a Sea Cow.
  18. The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) is the official state saltwater mammal.
  19. There are 1,000 identified springs in Florida. Of these, 27 are classified as first magnitude, meaning they produce at least 100 cubic feet of freshwater per second.
  20. With a population of over 21 million, Florida is the 3rd most populous state in the nation, after California and Texas, but with more people than New York state.
  21. The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago that form the southernmost part of the continental United States. They extend in an arc to the southwest, terminating at Key West.
  22. The Florida state seal has a Seminole Indian woman scattering flowers by a shore. In the middle distance, a sabal palm tree is featured with a steamboat on the water. The sun is setting on the horizon.
  23. There are a total of 47 National Historic Landmarks in Florida, a list that includes several forts, cathedrals, the first free Black settlement, a shipwreck, a canal, historic hotels, and monuments to the space age.
  24. Due to Florida’s climate, the state is an ideal breeding ground for extreme weather conditions like lightning strikes, heavy rain showers, hurricanes and tornadoes.
  25. Mullet Fish was a staple of early Florida pioneers.  Today it is celebrated in Perdido Key by the annual mullet tossing contest where you throw a dead fish over the Florida-Alabama state line.
  26. Florida’s number one international agricultural export is meat. In fact, the state is home to 9 of the nation’s top beef producers (which are 25 in total).
  27. Portuguese explorers spotted Florida and mapped the region on the Portuguese Cantino map in 1502.
  28. In 1908, Jacksonville became the state’s “Hollywood”, with many early movies being produced there.
  29. Florida has more than 483,000 hotel and motel rooms spread over 4,514 separate properties.
  30. This Florida Panther is an endangered species that is slowly making a comeback in the areas surrounding the Florida Everglades.
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  1. Florida has a season each year where people are allowed to harvest scallops along various Gulf coasts.  This popular activity involves being in shallow water in a small boat or walking on the bottom and scooping up the little guys.
  2. In the town of Zephyrhills, you’ll find the shortest donkeys in the world. They are just over two feet tall, and they’re a popular attraction in the town. 
  3. In 1605, a “Period of Friendship” began between the Spanish and the Native American tribes of Florida as a result of the diplomatic trip by Alvora Mexia.
  4. Florida is home to the most dangerous tree in the world.
  5. Florida has more toll bridges and roads than any other state, and these bridges are used to cross the many waterways in the state. 
  6. The bands Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Lynyrd Skynrd, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Creed, Matchbox 20, The Allman Brothers, Less Than Jake, and Death all started performing in Florida.
  7. Florida’s beaches are popular places for nesting sea turtles and the nests are rigorously protected by law.
  8. The World Golf Hall Of Fame is in St. Johns County
  9. The US and Spain recognized the 31st parallel as the northern boundary of Florida in 1795.
  10. Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry in 2003, resulting in the deaths of all 7 crew members.
  11. Florida has been inhabited by various Native American tribes for at least 14,000 years.
  12. The only living coral barrier reef in the continental US is the Florida Reef. In fact, it’s the world’s third largest coral barrier reef system.
  13. Singing in a swimsuit is technically illegal in Florida. So, if you’re planning on doing some karaoke at a pool party or on the beach, you may want to cover up first.
  14. Nearly 7% of Florida is protected in state and national parks, surpassed only by 5 other states (Hawaii, Alaska, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey).
  15. Other nicknames for Florida are “The Peninsula State” and “The Alligator State”. The alligator is the official state animal, and only Louisiana has slightly more of them.
  16. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States (the lower 48 states), at approximately 1350 mi (2170 km), and that’s not counting the state’s islands.
  17. Orange Juice is the official state beverage of Florida, and the state is known nationally (and even in neighboring countries) for its oranges and orange juice.
  18. Florida has two federally recognized Native American tribes: the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  19. Florida has three national parks: Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Everglades National Park.
  20. The John. F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida is where most human spaceflights have been launched, including the Apollo (which got humans to the moon), Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs.
  21. If you’re considering starting an orange-selling business, avoid selling oranges on Miami Beach’s sidewalk. If you do so, you could risk facing a 30-day jail sentence.
  22. In 1513, Florida was explored by Ponce de Leon, the first European to step foot in the area. Florida was become the first area in the US with permanent European settlers.
  23. Florida has about 7,800 lakes, some as small as one acre. The largest is 448,000 acre Lake Okeechobee. 
  24. Charles Bennett (1910-2003) served in the U.S. Congress from 1949 to 1993. He is the longest-serving member in either house of Congress in Florida’s history.
  25. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida, and it’s a famous spot for fishing and boating. The lake is also home to wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and birds.
  26. Florida is one of the few states in the US in two time zones. The eastern part of the state is in the Eastern Time Zone, while the western part of the state is in the Central Time Zone.
  27. Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes per capita.  
  28. In 1845, Florida became the 27th US state admitted to the Union.
  29. In its 2023 report, U.S. News and World Report says Florida ranks first in the nation in higher education.
  30. Florida is home to the only living coral reef in the continental US. The reef is off the coast of Key Largo, a popular spot for diving and snorkelling.
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  1. Florida is home to the Florida manatee, a large marine mammal weighing up to 1,000 pounds. 
  2. Florida produces 70% of the country’s oranges
  3. Plant City is known as the “Strawberry Capital of the World” and celebrates with an annual strawberry festival.
  4. Florida was readmitted into the Union in 1868.
  5. In 1803, West Florida and Pensacola, its capital, was claimed by the US as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
  6. In 2021, the Superbowl LV was hosted by Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Because of COVID restrictions, it was the least attended Superbowl in history.
  7. A pharmacist from Miami invented the first suntan lotion during World War Two and it became the Coppertone brand.
  8. A Spanish fort built in the 16th century, the Castillo de San Marcos is one of the oldest fortifications in the US. The fort is located in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the country and is well worth a visit. 
  9. Florida is home to a large immigrant population, and nearly one-quarter of the state’s residents are foreign-born. 
  10. Florida has no income tax. Only 5 states in the U.S. have a lower total tax burden than Florida, including property taxes and sales taxes.
  11. In 1565, Fort Caroline was attacked by the Spanish, who defeated the French.
  12. Florida is the only state in the US with two rivers named “Withlacoochee”
  13. In the past, horse theft was punishable with death by hanging in Florida. It’s since changed to a five-year prison sentence and fine of up to $5000.
  14. The state’s highest temperature ever was 109°F (42.8°C), recorded in Monticello in 1931, while the lowest was -2°F (-18,89°C), recorded in Tallahassee in 1899.
  15. Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando is the most visited entertainment resort complex in the world, with an average 58 million annual visitors.
  16. The Florida state flag features a white field background with a red saltire that represents the cross on which St. Andrew was crucified. Florida’s state seal is superimposed in the center.
  17. Tampa, Orlando, and St. Petersburg are other major cities in Florida.
  18. Florida is appropriately nicknamed the “Sunshine State,” as it’s known for its beautiful sunny weather and has more than 250 days of sunshine annually. 
  19. Key West is the southernmost terminal of US Highway 1, the longest north-to-south highway in the country. It lies less than 100 miles north of Cuba.
  20. Everglades National Park is in the state’s southwest region and is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. At 2358 mi2 (6,107 km2), it is larger than Palestine. It is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
  21. St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States.
  22. The writer Ernest Hemingway used to spend his winters in Key West, Florida, and summers in Wyoming.
  23. Some of Florida’s athletes include Deion Sanders, Cris Collinsworth, Dwayne Wade, Doris Hart, Bob Hayes, Steve Carlton, Chris Evert, Emmitt Smith, Deacon Jones, and Rowdy Gaines.
  24. Grapefruit was first grown in Florida. The state is now the largest producer of grapefruit in the US alone. 
  25. In 1824, Tallahassee was chosen as the capital of the American part of Florida because it was halfway between the two main cities at the time, St. Augustine and Pensacola.
  26. It was followed by SeaWorld in 1973 and Universal Studios Florida in 1990.
  27. Dr. John Gorrie built the first machine that produced ice to keep his patients cool.  This Apalachicola invention was what made Florida boom after World War Two.
  28. You can find alligators in Florida’s swimming pools.
  29. More than 26,000 mi² (67,000 km²), or almost half of the state is covered in forests.
  30. Florida has more golf courses than any other state, at around 1,250.
  31. Florida is known as “The Sunshine State”, although it ranks #10 in the US when it comes to annual sunshine.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Florida? Share them with us in the comments!

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