Last updated on May 17th, 2018
Florida is the 3rd most populous, the 22nd most extensive, and the 8th most densely populated of the United States. It is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. Florida attained statehood on March 3, 1845, becoming the 27th state to join the union. It has two (2) bordering states that include Georgia and Alabama. See the full list of states and their borders here. Florida has 67 counties. The state’s capital is Tallahassee. With these facts about “The Sunshine State”, let us explore more about its history, geography, culture, people, economy and more.
1. Florida is a peninsula, meaning it is almost completely surrounded by water. Just two states border Florida, they are Georgia and Alabama.
2. The Florida Keys, a group of about 1,700 tiny islands, is a famous tourist attraction of the state.
3. The Walt Disney World Resort is in Florida. It is the planet’s most visited and biggest recreational resort. It was established in 1971 and is about the same size as San Francisco, California.
4. Before the arrival of the Europeans in Florida, native American tribes have been living in the region for several thousand years.
5. Between 1763 and 1783, Florida was ruled by the British. Formally, Florida became a part of the U.S. in 1821.
6. It has the second longest coastline of all the contiguous state and it is also the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Only Alaska has a longer coastline.
7. The state also has the lowest high point (Britton Hill, at 345 feet above mean sea level) of any state.
8. Florida was named Florida after a first contact to the land was made by a Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon on April 2, 1513. The explorer named the region, La Florida (“land of flowers”).
9. Central Florida is known as the lightning capital of the United States because the region experiences more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country.
10. The state also leads other states in the U.S. in tornadoes per area.
11. June 1 to November 30 is the hurricane season in Florida and it is the most hurricane-prone state in the U.S. Hurricanes in the past have cost the state billions in damages. For example, hurricane Andrew, devastated the state in 1992 and lead to a loss of $25 billion in damages. Hurricane Katrina and Wilma are other hurricanes that have struck Florida in the past few years.
12. Florida has the highest percentage of people over 65.
13. There is no personal income tax in Florida.
14. Florida is famous for the highest auto insurance fraud in the nation amounting to 1 billion in 2011.
16. Cuba is just 100 miles away from the southernmost tips of Florida’s peninsula.
17. Florida is ranked among the states with fastest-growing immigration population. The reason is the rapid growth in the tourism sector in the state due to the climate and the scenery of the Sunshine State.
18. Florida is also known for the establishment of the first commercial space launching industry in the United States. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on July 16, 1969.
19. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously settled city in the United States. It is situated on a peninsula between two saltwater rivers. It was founded in 1565.
20. Florida became the 27th state of the U.S. union in 1845.
21. Florida is mostly flat, less than 100 feet above sea level.
22. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida. It is also the third largest freshwater lake (after Lake Michigan and Alaska’s Iliamna Lake) located completely within the United States.
23. Everglades National Park in Florida is the only place in the world which is home to both the American crocodile and the American alligator. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
24. Florida is the largest producer of citrus fruits in the United States. And the majority of the harvest of citrus fruits goes into juice making.
25. Florida is the world’s leading producer of grapefruit. Florida ranks second only to Brazil in global juice production.
26. Castillo de San Marcos (a symbol of former Spanish power, a national monument now), built in 1672-95 in St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest masonry fort standing in the United States.
27. The world’s first scheduled passenger airline service operated between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. The first flight on this route took place on January 1, 1914.
28. Located near Tallahassee, Florida, the Wakulla Springs is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring.
29. Florida has more golf courses than any other U.S. state. The number exceeds 1,250.
30. There is only one state embassy in Washington and that is Florida House.
31. Rip currents kill more people in Florida during an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined.
32. Florida has more toll roads and bridges than any other state in the Union.
33. St Johns River, Florida’s largest river is one of only a few major rivers that flow from south to north.
34. The state also has the world’s largest occupied wooden structure – The Belleview Biltmore Resort and Spa.
35. Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in the United States.
36. Mechanical refrigeration was invented in Florida in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie.
37. In Florida, it is illegal to confine a pregnant pig to a cage.
38. According to a law in Florida, it is mandatory for all doors to open outward in public buildings.
39. Florida and California each produce fresh market tomatoes on 30,000-40,000 acres every year, which is equal to two-thirds of U.S. tomato acreage. Florida is the second largest tomato producing state.
Florida – Quick facts and State symbols
|State Size||Total (Land + Water): 65,755 sq miles; Land Only: 53,927 sq miles|
(Estimate July 1, 2017 from United States Census Bureau)
|Statehood||March 3, 1845|
|State rank by population||3rd|
|State rank by date of formation||27th|
|State rank by area||22nd|
|Number of Counties||67|
|Bordering States||Alabama, Georgia|
|Religion||Protestant - 46%|
None - 24%
Catholic - 21%
|Highest Point||Britton Hill|
345 ft (105 m)
|Lowest point||Atlantic Ocean|
|Length||447 miles (721 km)|
|Width||361 miles (582 km)|
|National Parks||Biscayne National Park |
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
|Governor||Rick Scott (R)|
|State Motto||In God We Trust|
|State Nickname||Sunshine State|
|Nobel Prize Winners||George F. Smoot (Physics, 2006)|
|Famous People||Derrick Brooks (Linebacker. Inducted in 2014),|
Tim Raines (Left Fielder. Inducted in 2017),
Mitch Richmond (Guard. Inducted in 2014),
William H. Macy (Actor)
|Festival||"Calle Ocho-Open House 8"|
|Song||"Old Folks at Home"|
|Anthem||"Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky)"|
|State Fresh Water Fish||Florida largemouth bass|
|State seal||Seal of Florida|
|State coat of arms|
|State Flower||Orange blossom|
|State Marine Mammal||Florida manatee|
|State Salt Water Mammal||Porpoise (dolphin)|
|State Tree||Sabal palm|
|State Wildflower||State Wildflower|
|State Horse||Florida Cracker Horse|
|State Butterfly||Zebra longwing|
|State Reptile||American alligator|
|Loggerhead sea turtle|
|State Shell||Horse conch|
|Longitude||80° 02' W to 87° 38' W|
|Latitude||24° 27' N to 31° 00' N|
|Time Zone||Eastern Time Zone, Central Time Zone|
|Area Codes||239, 305, 321, 352, 386, 407, 561, 689, 727, 754, 772, 786, 813, 850, 863, 904, 927, 941, 954|
|Data Source||Wikipedia, 1Keydata, State Symbol USA|
|Table last updated||March 30, 2018|