Florida Facts: 44 Interesting Facts About Florida

Last updated on November 14th, 2019

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 Alabama. See the full list of the 50 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.

facts about Florida state: Florida state on the map with 50 states
Florida (in red) on the map with bordering states.

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. On September 02, 2013, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or fins. She completed the dream run in 52 hr 54 min 18.6 seconds. She had attempted the 103-mile swim four times before she finally did it successfully.[17]

5. 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.[18,19]

6. Goliath, considered being the largest tortoise that ever lived, resided at the Life Fellowship Bird Sanctuary in Seffner, Florida, USA from 1960-2002. He weighed 417 kg, was 135.8 cm (4 ft 5 in) long, 102 cm (3 ft 4 in) wide and 68.5 cm (2 ft 3 in) high.[20]

7. The U.S. state of Florida is also home to the world’s most dangerous tree – the Manchineel tree. All parts of the tree contain strong toxins. Mere contact with the sap from this tree can cause blisters on the skin.[21]

8. The 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 kiloNewtons (5.13 million pounds-force) of thrust at lift-off at sea level. Its maiden flight took place on 6 February 2018.[22]

Falcon Heavy - the most powerful rocket in the world (current)
Falcon Heavy a few seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA.. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

9. Before the arrival of the Europeans in Florida, native American tribes have been living in the region for several thousand years.[16]

10. Between 1763 and 1783, Florida was ruled by the British. Formally, Florida became a part of the U.S. in 1821.

11. 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.[3]

12. The state also has the lowest high point (Britton Hill, at 345 feet above mean sea level) of any state.[1]

13. 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”).[1]

14. 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.[1]

15. The state also leads other states in the U.S. in tornadoes per area.[1]

State Flag Florida

Flag of Florida. Florida fact file

16. 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 (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.[1]

17. Florida has the highest percentage of people over 65.[1]

18. There is no personal income tax in Florida.[1]

19. Florida is famous for the highest auto insurance fraud in the nation amounting to 1 billion in 2011.[1]

20. Florida has the largest collection of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne buildings in both the United States and the entire world.[1]

Florida on the map

21. Cuba is just 100 miles away from the southernmost tips of Florida’s peninsula.[2]

22. Florida is ranked among the states with the 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.[3]

23. 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.[5]

24. 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.[3]

25. Florida became the 27th state of the U.S. union in 1845.

State Quarter

Florida State Quarter

26. Florida is the flattest state in the U.S. followed by Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota, Delaware, and Kansas.[25]

27. 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.[3]

28. 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.[4]

29. 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.[6]

30. Florida is the world’s leading producer of grapefruit. Florida ranks second only to Brazil in global juice production.[6]

31. 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.[15]

32. 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.[8,24]

world's first scheduled flight
The world’s first scheduled flight. Image number SI-00133278
Credit: National Air and Space Museum Archives.

33. Located near Tallahassee, Florida, the Wakulla Springs is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring.[9]

34. Florida has more golf courses than any other U.S. state. The number exceeds 1,250.[7]

35. There is only one state embassy in Washington and that is Florida House.[10]

36. Rip currents kill more people in Florida during an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined.[11]

37. Florida has more toll roads and bridges than any other state in the Union.[12]

38. St Johns River, Florida’s largest river is one of only a few major rivers that flow from south to north.[12]

39. The state also has the world’s largest occupied wooden structure – The Belleview Biltmore Resort and Spa.[12]

Belleview-Biltmore Hotel, in Clearwater, Florida. The Fact File
Belleview-Biltmore Hotel, in Clearwater, Florida. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

40. Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in the conterminous United States.[23]

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