105 Interesting Facts About Florida

Last updated on May 5th, 2024

Florida is the 3rd most populous, the 22nd most extensive, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 states 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. Its two bordering states are Georgia and AlabamaSee the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. Florida (nicknames: Everglade State, Orange State) has 67 counties. The state’s capital is Tallahassee. The abbreviation for Florida is FL. With this facts about Florida, et us explore more about its history, geography, culture, people, economy and more.

Interesting facts about Florida

1. Florida was named Florida after the 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”).

2. Before the arrival of the Europeans in Florida, Native American tribes have been living in the region for several thousand years.

3. Florida briefly became a British territory after the British gained control in 1763 due to the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years’ War. It was returned to Spanish rule in 1783 after the American Revolution. Formally, Florida became a part of the U.S. in 1821.

4. In 1980, Cuban refugees fled to Florida during the Mariel Boatlift, a mass emigration event from Cuba to the United States. Thousands of refugees arrived in Florida, transforming communities and leaving a lasting cultural impact.

5. Florida was the battleground for the Seminole Wars, a series of conflicts between the Seminole Indians and the U.S. government in the 19th century. These wars played a significant role in the forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands.

map showing counties in Florida.
Map showing counties in Florida.

6. Florida enjoys two time zones. Gulf County is the only county that utilizes both the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Nine counties are 100% in the Central Time Zone while all other counties are in the Eastern Time Zone. 

7. Florida is a peninsula, meaning it is almost completely surrounded by water. A peninsula is a piece of land that is surrounded on three sides by water and the other side is connected to land. The east, west and south of Florida are surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Palm Beach, Florida. Amazing aerial view of coastline.
Palm Beach, Florida. Amazing aerial view of coastline.

8. Florida has the second longest coastline of all the contiguous states. Only Alaska has a longer coastline. It is also the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

9. Florida is the flattest state in the U.S. followed by IllinoisNorth DakotaLouisianaMinnesotaDelaware, and Kansas.

10. The state also has the lowest high point (Britton Hill, at 345 feet above mean sea level) of any state.

Lightning in the sky, Florida, United States.
Lightning in the sky, Florida United States. Image via Chad Sparkes

11. 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.

12. The state also leads other states in the U.S. in tornadoes per year.

13. It is the most hurricane-prone state in the U.S and June 1 to November 30 is the hurricane season in Florida. 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 (damages estimated at $160 billion) and Wilma (damages estimated at $24.3 billion) are other hurricanes that have struck Florida in the past few years.

14. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 struck Florida, causing widespread devastation. It improved hurricane forecasting and preparedness, influencing future disaster response strategies.

15. Rip currents kill more people in Florida during an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined.

Florida on the map


16. The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It is also the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef.

17. Minnesota usually steals the thunder when it comes to being a city filled with gorgeous water bodies, but it does have a strong contender: Orlando. Not only is the city home to over 100 lakes that make its scenic beauty irresistible, but one of its more famous lakes also has a deep secret. In reality, Lake Eola is just a giant sinkhole with its depth reaching 80 feet at the deepest point.

18. 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.

19. The Suwannee River, celebrated in the iconic Stephen Foster song “Old Folks at Home,” is approximately 246 miles (396 kilometres) long. This scenic area forms the border between Florida and Georgia. It eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the few major rivers in the United States that flows entirely within one state’s boundaries.

20. St Johns River, Florida’s largest river is one of only a few major rivers that flow from south to north.

A dolphin in Cape Coral, Florida.
A dolphin in Cape Coral, Florida. Image credit – dconvertini

21. While Venice has been getting all the hype for artificial waterways and canal, there’s a much bigger fish right here in the US. Cape Coral is a stunning gem on the Gulf Coast, home to the exciting river Caloosahatchee! However, the river isn’t the only thing that makes it spectacular. Cape Coral has over 400 miles of waterways within the city, making it one of the world’s biggest interconnected waterway hubs!

22. Key West, the southernmost point in the continental United States, is located approximately 90 miles (145 kilometres) from Cuba, making it closer to the island nation than to Miami, Florida. This geographical proximity to Cuba has influenced the cultural heritage of Key West.

23. Well, well, well, do we really need to get you interested in Miami? Here’s a fun tidbit to blow your mind, the sand we enjoy sunbathing on along the beach is not native at all! The  gorgeous, pristine sand that lines the coast is imported from Caribbean beaches! Additionally, Florida State spends millions of dollars every year to restore the beaches with some top-notch sand.

24. 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.

25. Gatorland, the renowned theme park and wildlife preserve dedicated to alligators and crocodiles, opened its doors to the public on June 10, 1949. Since its inception, Gatorland in Orlando, Florida, has been a popular destination for visitors eager to witness and learn about these fascinating reptiles.

26. Cape Coral hosts a mind-boggling number of burrowing owls, which are known for their tiny frames. It comes as no surprise that locals host the Burrowing Owl Festival every year to celebrate the species.

27. The Dry Tortugas National Park, located about 70 miles west of Key West, is known for its crystal-clear waters, abundant marine life, and Fort Jefferson, a massive 19th-century coastal fortress that was used as a prison during the Civil War.

28. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers, officially opened to the public in 1974. The park’s opening marked the beginning of its role in conserving the native flora and fauna of Florida, including the elusive ghost orchid.

29. Augustine’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is believed to be the site where Ponce de León landed in 1513. The park features historical exhibits and a legendary spring that visitors can sample.

30. Stiltsville is a collection of seven houses on stilts in Biscayne Bay near Miami. These structures, originally built in the 1930s for gambling and illegal activities, are now part of Biscayne National Park.

31. The Florida Keys, a group of about 1,700 tiny islands, is a famous tourist attraction of the state.

Entrance of Walt Disney World near Orlando.
Entrance of Walt Disney World near Orlando.

32. 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.

33. Orlando is home to an entertainment center with a building constructed upside down. The Wonderworks building plays tricks on the visitors’ minds by making them think they are ‘seeing things.’ The center is billed as an amusement park for the mind because it captivates the imagination.

34. If you love baseball, you might want to drop by Port St. Lucie. This city is famous for being everyone’s favorite, The Met’s training grounds. If you’re in town between February and March, you may see the Mets in all their glory practicing there. Are you planning to go down there in the summer? Don’t worry, The Mets may not be around, but you still can catch minor baseball games at Tradition Field.

35. Lake Placid, a small town in Florida, is known as the “Town of Murals.” It boasts over 40 outdoor murals depicting various scenes and historical events, making it a unique outdoor art gallery.

36. Cassadaga, the “Psychic Capital of the World,” was founded in 1894 by George Colby, a renowned trance medium from New York. Since its founding, Cassadaga has attracted individuals interested in spiritual and metaphysical pursuits, making it a unique and vibrant community in Florida.

37. Port Saint Lucie is undoubtedly a Halloween wonderland that never fails to captivate the imagination. It hosts countless haunted venues that will keep visitors intrigued. The city compares favorably with top venues in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

38. In 1982, Key West declared itself the Conch Republic in a humorous secession protest following a U.S. Border Patrol blockade. The event is celebrated annually with festivals and mock ceremonies.

39. The Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, a unique culinary event, takes place annually in the town of Fellsmere, Florida. This lively festival, celebrated since 1990, typically occurs over a weekend in January. During the festival, visitors have the opportunity to indulge in frog legs prepared in various delectable styles, showcasing the local culinary expertise.

40. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, often referred to as FLIBS, is held annually in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event typically takes place in late October or early November, attracting marine enthusiasts, buyers, and industry professionals from around the globe.

41. The Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale is a popular venue for locals and visitors thanks to the underwater performances by real-life mermaids. Patrons are treated to stunning displays as they enjoy delicious meals and beverages.

42. The Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor World in Dania Beach, Florida, is a sprawling retail destination, covering an expansive area to accommodate its diverse offerings. The store’s indoor swamp, featuring live alligators, fish, and turtles, offers visitors a unique and immersive experience.

43. Tarpon Springs, located on the Gulf Coast, is known as the sponge capital of the world. Greek immigrants settled here in the early 1900s and established the sponge diving industry, which is still active today.

44. Established in 1738, Fort Mose in St. Augustine was the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what would become the United States. It provided a sanctuary for escaped slaves from the English colonies.

The world's first scheduled flight.
The world’s first scheduled flight. Image number SI-00133278

45. 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. The flight’s pilot was Tony Jannus and the first paying passenger was Abram C. Pheil, former mayor of St. Petersburg. The 21-mile (34-kilometer) flight across the bay to Tampa took 23 minutes.

46. NASA’s first communication satellite—Echo 1–was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 12, 1960. It was a metalized balloon satellite acting as a passive reflector of microwave signals.

47. 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.

Falcon Heavy a few seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA.
Falcon Heavy a few seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. Image credit – Wikipedia.org.

48. The second-most powerful rocket (capability refers to the maximum payload weight the rocket can deliver to Low-Earth Orbit.) currently in service is the Falcon Heavy built by SpaceX. It lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. With its three booster cores and 27 engines, the rocket creates 22,819 kilo Newtons (5.13 million pounds-force) of thrust at lift-off at sea level. Its maiden flight took place on 6 February 2018.

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