Florida Facts: 52 Interesting Facts About Florida

Last updated on January 26th, 2020

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 52 facts about Florida, 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. A peninsula is a piece of land that is surrounded on three sides by water. The one 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.

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. Micheal C. Lynch created history when he played for the Southwest Florida Gladiators semi-professional American football team on 31 March 2018. It was not at an ordinary football match for the player who scored for his team on that day as well. What makes the achievement Guinness record worthy is that at that time, Micheal was 68 years of age. Born in 1949, and playing his match in March 2018, Micheal C. Lynch holds the record of being the oldest American football athlete.

10. The rather magnificent display saw more than 121 food trucks parade for two days. The rally took place at the fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. Generation Food Truck (USA) held the rally and also made the world record for having the largest parade of food trucks anywhere in the world.

11. People took their love for the “heroes in the half shell” to a new level when on 09 August 2014, a gathering of 1,394 people came together at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort (USA) in Orlando, Florida. Guinness was more than happy to include these enthusiasts in the list of record holders as to this day; it is the largest gathering of people in the world, dressed as ninja turtles!

12. Florida also holds the record of having the shortest donkey in the world. Born in October 2007, KneeHi is the shortest donkey measuring at 64.2 cm. The animal belongs to James, Frankie, and Ryan Lee (USA), and the donkey was ranked at the Best Friends Farm in Gainesville, Florida. On 26 July 2011, after measuring the brown jack using specific measurement techniques, Guinness named the donkey to be the shortest jack in the world.

13. The staff at Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Tampa, Florida, set a world record on June 01, 2013, with more than 700 people to witness the achievement. They prepared the most massive pitcher of Sangria in a 9-foot pitcher. Not only the attempt won them the record-breaking punch but they graciously offered the punch to all the guests with the all-you-can-drink display.

14. In 2007 during the Easter weekend in Florida, there was another reason to rejoice as the region again made a Guinness world record. At the Cypress Gardens, Adventure Park in Winter Haven in Florida, 9,753 children came with their parents and was part of the most massive Easter egg hunt of 501,000 eggs.

15. The incredible feat of strength saw  Adam Sandel from Orlando, Florida, setting a world record on December 08, 2018. His accomplishment stands at 68 pull-ups in sixty seconds! Interestingly, Adam has held the same world record three times earlier.

16. The NASA Apollo program launched the space rocket “The Saturn V” on November 09, 1967. Having a height of 363 ft and weighing 3,268 US tons, it made to the Guinness world records as the most massive rocket in the world.

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

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

19. 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.[3]

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

21. 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]

22. 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]

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

The State Flag Of Florida

Flag of Florida. Florida fact file

Read – 5 facts about Florida flag

24. 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]

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

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

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

28. 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

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

30. 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]

31. 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]

32. 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]

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

State Quarter

Florida State Quarter

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

35. 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]

36. 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]

37. 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]

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

39. 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]

40. 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.

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

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

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