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Florida is the third-largest U.S. state and home to over 21 million inhabitants. Aside from its size, the Sunshine State also has diverse natural landscapes. Also, these are vibrant and admirable sceneries. Still, the state is a stimulating land of interest and artistry. It displays hundreds of lakes and serves as a cultural melting pot. So, knowing all the peculiarities and truths about it is the key to understanding it better.
Hundreds of Florida fun facts about various interests can make your trip exciting. After all, the state has unusual cultural practices, historical events, and natural features. For instance, can you tell who discovered Florida? How many inhabitants does the state have? Would you happen to have any idea about the annual mullet toss?
You will want to know new and weird facts about Florida for your amusement. Discover them, whether you’re visiting for the first time or on your next trip. So, get ready for an enthralling Florida trivia!
20 Fun Facts about Florida
The Sunshine State lives up to its name by welcoming visitors with 250 days of sun. If it’s your next travel adventure, here is our list of interesting Florida trivia:
1. Florida has Spanish Roots.
Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, named the state “La Florida.” It means “the Land of Flowers!” At first, the Spanish traveler was searching for the “Fountain of Youth.” But, in the end, he found the Florida Peninsula.
In April 1513, Ponce de Leon landed on the Coast of Florida. The number of wildflowers there stunned him. Also, the lush landscapes and variety of feast flowers made him name the region La Florida.
2. Florida’s Coastline
The Sunshine State has nothing but a coastline. After all, Florida is the only U.S. state between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Also, about two-thirds of the entire Florida population lives in coastal areas.
Florida is not an island but a peninsula. Water borders the state on three sides. The eastern side has the Atlantic Ocean, and the west has the Gulf of Mexico. Likewise, the southern part has the Straits of Florida.
So, Florida is perfect for those who love places with wide-open waters. One fun fact about Florida is that it has the longest coast in the contiguous United States. It has 825 miles of accessible beaches for locals and visitors alike. In contrast, Alaska is the state with the longest coastline in the entire United States.
3. Florida’s Hurricane Season
More than the wildlife and theme parks, hurricanes are one of the most famed things about Florida. The state is one of the favorite places where storms occur, and Floridians know it very well. If you plan to visit Florida, we recommend you do your due diligence and check the weather forecast.
Moreover, Florida is a prime target for summer storms due to its watery surroundings. One of Florida’s fun facts is that about 40% of hurricanes approaching the U.S. hit Florida. Likewise, while most of these hurricanes are mild, they are often stronger each season. That’s why cyclones like Irma and Ian have triggered enormous wreckage around Florida.
4. The Moonstone is Florida’s Official State Gem
Every state holds a unique history behind its designated symbol. Florida is not an exception. In 1970, Florida’s State Department established the moonstone as the official state gem. But one of the weird facts about Florida is that this stone doesn’t come from the state.
So, how come they designated the moonstone as Florida’s official gem? The reason is simple. The Sunshine State is home to the Kennedy Space Center. It was where the Apollo 11 spacecraft launched to land Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on the moon.
Florida wanted to honor and celebrate their role in America’s first-ever space program. Hence, it designated the moonstone as the state’s official gem.
5. Florida’s Key Largo is the Dive Capital of the World
Places like Hawaii, Thailand, and other tropical destinations often get all the hype. After all, they offer excellent diving opportunities and more. But can you identify the diving capital of the world? One of the interesting facts about Florida is Key Largo. People know it as “the diving capital of the world.”
Beyond their awestruck beauty, the Florida Keys offer outstanding diving opportunities. Key Largo, in particular, stretches from mile marker 90 to 112. It allures divers by providing them with a new world to explore. You will find many coral reefs, sunken ships, statues, and more.
6. Florida is the Flattest U.S. State
Many people think Kansas is the flattest state in the United States, which is not valid. One of the weird facts about Florida is that it has the crown for being the most level state in the nation. The highest natural point, Britton Hills, measures only 345 feet above sea level. Besides, Britton Hill is also the lowest high point of any state in the United States.
7. Miami Airport Is One of the Busiest Airports in the World
Since Florida is among the most famous destinations, it is no surprise that its airports are busy. In 2021, Florida’s Miami International Airport received an award. After all, folks saw it as the most active international cargo airport. It’s also the most hectic United States gateway for international passengers. As of now, it is among the ten busiest airports in the U.S., with 17,500,096 passengers in 2021.
8. Florida is Ranked #1 in the Nation for Higher Education
It does more than showcase unique wildlife, stunning beaches, and fantastic theme parks. The Sunshine State also tops the list for higher education in the U.S.
United States News and World Report’s ranking is due to the schools. After all, colleges and universities have low tuition fees.
Moreover, more than half of the students seek a two-year degree on time or within three years. Thus, it explains why the state has three universities belonging to the top 100.
9. Florida’s Driving Test Do Not Require Parallel Parking
One of the interesting facts about Florida involves the local driving license demands. Applicants can get it without passing the parallel parking test. Yet, new drivers must complete other essential tasks to pass the exam. Florida’s driving test includes the following assignments:
- Turn your vehicle around within a 30-40 feet space.
- You must have the skills for a smooth gear change.
- New drivers must park their cars straight in a parking area.
- You have to stop your vehicle when while driving at 20 MPH.
- Drivers must have the skills to back up for 50 feet.
- You must have the ability to understand traffic signs.
- New drivers should use turn signals 100 feet before taking a turn.
- Show that you can keep your vehicle in the right lane.
- Florida Produce Over 70% of Total U.S. Orange Production
10. Florida Produce Over 70% of Total U.S. Orange Production
Do you love oranges? Florida produces over 70% (almost 11 million tons) of oranges yearly. Also, the Sunshine State’s orange season kicks off in October and reaches June. The active months produce Hamlin, amber sweet, pineapple, and Valencia oranges.
But, the state’s orange production has decreased recently. It makes the production levels the lowest since 1940. Florida often ships over 240 million 90-pound packages yearly. The state only shipped about 44.5 million boxes in 2022. One of the significant reasons for the shortage is bacterial infection. The contamination made trees yield bitter fruit.
11. Florida’s Golf Courses – An 11 Billion Dollar Industry
One of the weird facts about Florida is its golf courses. The Sunshine State features over 1,100 golf courses. These locations host more than 48 million rounds annually. It includes 54% by locals, 14% by non-locals, and 33% by out-of-state visitors. According to stats, about 49% of total rounds played occur from January through April. In contrast, fall is the second most popular season, with 28% (16 million) games.
Florida boasts the most golf courses in the United States. Yet Michigan tops the list for the most open golf courses to the general public. Because of this, the state’s sports authorities are taking a proactive approach. They aim to market the Sunshine State as the “world’s best golf destination.”
12. St. Augustine – The Oldest Inhabitant City in the U.S.
Florida also has the honor of housing the oldest inhabitant city, St. Augustine. It is about 41 miles south of Jacksonville. Settled by Spaniards in 1565, St. Augustine also features a 17th-century fortress. Yet, according to some sources, New Smyrna Beach, a small coastal town, is older than St. Augustine.
Florida has other historical cities. Milton, Tampa, Micanopy, Jacksonville, Key West, and Fernandina Beach are examples.
13. Suntan Cream is a Product of Florida
Did you know that Florida is the birthplace of the first Coppertone suntan cream? With 237 sunny days on average, it is no surprise that Florida is home to the first-ever suntan lotion. Benjamin Green, a pharmacist from Miami, Florida, invented it. He made a smooth paste called “red vet pet” in 1944. While this product was heavy and uncomfortable to apply, it protected the skin from the sun.
Later, he enhanced its formula, which led him to invent the Coppertone brand. So, when you apply suntan cream, remember this interesting fact about Florida.
14. Florida Is One of the World’s Leading Grapefruit Producers
Other than oranges, Florida also leads in grapefruit production. Florida’s grapefruit is famous worldwide for its delicious taste and nutritional benefits. The subtropical climate helps growers produce the juiciest grapefruit. After all, the place has moderate temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and abundant rainfall. Thus, creating a flavorful fruit is possible.
Much of the state’s grapefruit comes from the Indian River region. On the east coast, the Indian River encompasses over 200 miles from Daytona to West Palm Beach. Florida grapefruit growers ship their products worldwide. The recipients include South Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom. It is one of the exciting facts we have mentioned for grapefruit lovers in our Florida trivia.
15. Lake Okeechobee is Florida’s Largest Freshwater
Florida boasts more than 7,500 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Likewise, the Sunshine State also has 12,000 miles of fishing rivers, canals, and streams. One of Florida’s fun facts is that Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake. Clewiston and Pahokee stretch over 700 square miles and have an average depth of 12 feet.
Moreover, while Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in the U.S., it is far from the deepest lake in Florida.
16. Florida Has No Dinosaur Fossils
A few regions of the U.S. became famous for having dinosaur fossils. Yet no excavator discovered traces of ancient reptiles in the state. It only has many in its collection of relics.
Do you know what’s the reason? When dinosaurs reached North America, the Sunshine State was underwater. The region was a hostile environment back then for the ancient terrestrial creatures. After all, they came from America’s southeastern parts and were in favorable conditions.
17. Alligators and Crocodiles Exist Together
People also recognize the Florida Everglades National Park as perfect for sightseeing. It is the only place on the planet with coexisting alligators and crocodiles. Still, it is worth mentioning that crocodiles live in both fresh and saltwater. Alligators thrive in freshwater environments only. When visiting Everglades, you will likely run into these wild creatures.
Moreover, you might wonder about their differences as they look very similar. While alligators feature a broader, U-shaped snout, crocodiles have a pointed, V-shaped snout. Moreover, crocodiles are giant and more aggressive. Gators are more petite and timid.
18. Florida Boasts the Only Coral Barrier Reef in the U.S.
Also, Florida’s coral reef covers beyond 350 miles of area. It comes from the Dry Tortugas near Key West and reaches St. Lucie Inlet.
19. Greater Miami’s Metropolitan Area Has Two National Parks
Our Florida trivia also includes two national parks in Miami, Florida. It is the only metropolitan place in the U.S. that boasts two national parks. Also, 18 miles apart, Everglades and Biscayne National Park make an ideal gateway. Travelers can choose it for a weekend trip to South Florida.
Biscayne National Park has Biscayne Bay, considered one of America’s hottest diving sites. Also, the national park has over 90% of wet areas. It also has an extensive mangrove forest and the third-largest living coral reef in the world.
In contrast, Everglades National Park is one of the best national parks. Famous are its sawgrass prairies and mangroves. Still, it has a freshwater slough that feeds Lake Okeechobee. Thus, the wildlife here is incredible.
20. Florida Is The Birthplace Of The A.C.
Florida has nothing to do with the breeze and cold. Yet it is the birthplace of the A.C. unit. In 1840, a Floridian doctor, John Gorrie, invented it in the beautiful town of Apalachicola. From him came the first-ever air conditioning machine. Keeping Florida’s warmth in mind, he thought cooling was the key to people’s comfort.
So, he developed an internal cooling system. He transported massive blocks of ice from frozen Florida streams and lakes. Also, he did this to keep his hospital rooms cool. Still, John Gorrie tried to patent his invention. But, alas, he passed away with his vision never reaching the market. Yet, his story paved the way for what was to come.
These truths prove the state has a lot to offer! The place has a rich history and diverse culture. Also, it has preserved wildlife and endless fun opportunities. Do you plan to travel to Florida? If yes, could you be sure to keep these Florida fun facts in mind?
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed learning about some astonishing facts that make Florida unique. If you wish to share what appeals to you or your travel plans, leave us a comment. Have a happy and safe trip!
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