Along with the world’s largest concentration of theme parks, miles of pristine beaches, and year-round sunshine and warm temps, Florida also has plenty of intimate little towns, some of the world’s best fishing, and endless activities for every type of vacationer.
Florida’s accommodations range from quiet little B&Bs to Las Vegas-style beachfront hotels. And, don’t forget about the world’s best Conch Fritters and Key Lime pie.
25 Fun Facts About Florida
Okay, you may have guessed all of that, anyway. But, here are 25 fun and interesting facts about Florida that you probably didn’t know:
1. Florida Has More Natural Springs Than Any Other State
Florida has over 1,200 natural springs, more than any other state. Renowned for their crystal-clear, emerald-blue waters, many of Florida’s springs maintain a year-round temperature of around 72 °F.
Some of the state’s most popular springs include Wakulla Springs, Ginnie Springs, Silver Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, and Blue Spring. The clarity of the water is often due to the fact that it originates from underground aquifers.
2. Fifteen Major League Baseball Teams Hold Spring Training in Florida
Major League Baseball teams have made Florida their spring training home for over 100 years now. Typically, teams who play their regular season in cities east of the Mississippi River train in Florida each year, while the remaining 15 use Arizona for spring training.
Even though the Dodgers, a.k.a “them bums,” moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, they continued to train at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach, also known as Dodgertown, until 2008.
3. Florida Is the Southernmost State in the US
Florida is the United States’ southernmost state and has the landmarks to prove it. Located on Florida’s island of Key West, a concrete buoy painted with the words “Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A ” marks the southern tip of the southernmost state in the U.S.
4. Florida Has the World’s Largest Concentration of Retirement Communities
Okay, this fun fact probably doesn’t come as that much of a surprise. Abundant sunshine, year-round warm temps, and no state income tax have lured over two million retirees to the Sunshine State. And, don’t forget about golf.
5. Florida Golf Courses Host Over 48 Million Rounds a Year
And speaking of golf, Florida hosts as many as 48 million rounds per year. While that number might sound like a lot, consider the fact that the state has 1,250 golf courses for all skill levels. Multiply that number by 360 days of sunshine, times lots of golfers, and well, you get the idea.
6. Florida Has the Longest Coastline in the Contiguous United States
Thanks to over 1,197 miles of waterfront, Florida boasts the longest coastline in the contiguous United States. Approximately 580 miles (or about half, give or take a few miles) face the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the other half faces the Gulf of Mexico along the panhandle and its western shores
7. When You’re in Florida, You’re Never Too Far From a Body of Saltwater
With only a few exceptions, no matter where you are in Florida, you will always be less than an hour’s drive from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf Coast. Due to the state’s peninsula/panhandle shape, you’ll never be more than a short day trip from the beach.
8. Locals Call Destin “The World’s Luckiest Little Fishing Village”
The small Gulf Coast town of Destin, Florida, boasts some of the world’s best fishing. Record-sized fish caught off Destin charter boats include the largest Red Snapper ever caught in Florida, a record 130-pound Cobia, and the world’s largest Gag Grouper.
A state record 832.2-pound Bluefin Tuna was also caught by a Destin charter on Easter Sunday, 2022.
9. The Highest Point in Florida Is Only 345 Feet Above Sea Level
Britton Hill, Florida’s highest point, is a considerably low 345 feet above sea level. It also holds the title of the lowest state highpoint in the US. Britton Hill clocks in at 103 feet lower than Delaware’s Ebright Azimuth, its next closest rival.
10. Florida Has the Largest Alligator Population in the US
With over 1.3 million alligators living there, Florida has more “Gators” than any other state in the country. Florida’s alligators can grow to impressive lengths of up to 15 feet, head to tail, and live to almost 50 years of age.
Once listed as an endangered species, the American alligator has made a remarkable recovery due to conservation efforts. The American alligator was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1987.
11. The Official State Animal of Florida Is the Florida Panther
Found in south Florida, the endangered Florida Panther can grow up to seven feet long and weigh in at over 160 pounds. Florida Panthers mainly keep to themselves and get together only to mate.
With a dwindling population of only about 200 in the wild, there’s no need to worry about bumping into one along Lincoln Road in South Beach.
12. Over 130 Million People Visit Florida Each Year
Along with approximately 125 million domestic visitors, seven million foreign travelers also made their way to the Sunshine State in 2022. Its warm climate, gorgeous beaches, and many theme parks make Florida the most visited state in the US each and every year.
13. Travel + Leisure Magazine Named Seaside Florida as “The Best Beach on Earth for Families”
Tucked away between Panama City and Destin, on Florida’s Emerald Coast, the little town of Seaside offers the perfect family getaway. Its pristine beaches boast powder-white sand, teal-green Gulf waters, and lots of colorful rental cottages that feature a classic Florida vibe.
You might also recognize Seaside as the setting for Jim Carey’s 1998 hit movie “The Truman Show.”
14. The Oldest Living Palm Tree in the United States Is in Florida
A Sabal Palmetto tree estimated to be over 2,000 years old, still grows in Florida’s east coast town of Jupiter. The hardy Sabal Palmetto is salt and drought-tolerant and can withstand a wide range of temperatures.
The Sabal Palmetto is also the state tree of both Florida and South Carolina.
15. Florida Has Two Official State Songs
Florida adopted the fittingly titled “Old Folks at Home” (also known as “Swanee River”), in 1935. Written by Stephen Foster in 1851, the song contained a number of offensive lyrics and was revised in 2008.
In the same year, Florida also added the more up-to-date “Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky”, written by Jan Hinton in 1997, as its second official state song.
16. Orlando, Florida Has 14 Different Major Theme Parks
Disney World alone has six parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach.
The Universal Studios family of theme parks includes Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and the soon-to-be-opened Epic Universe.
Then there’s SeaWorld, SeaWorld’s water park – Aquatica, and SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove park. Not to mention Legoland’s theme and water parks, along with their Peppa Pig Theme Park. Whew!
17. Florida Is Home to the Largest Subtropical Wilderness in the United States
The Florida Everglades holds the title of the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. About 2,400 square miles of the area fall under National Park Service control.
The Park Service operates several campgrounds and offers guided tours as well as a variety of educational programs. It’s not uncommon to spot an alligator sunning itself along one of the park’s many wooden walkways.
18. The Florida Keys Stretch Out for Over 180 Miles
Forty-two bridges connect the 800 individual islands that make up the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys stretch 180 miles from end to end. The southernmost island – Key West – is only 90 miles from Cuba and closer to Havana than to Miami.
Driving down to Key West from Miami can take up to seven or eight hours, depending on traffic, as much of the route has only one lane each way, and also passes through many small towns with stop signs and traffic signals.
19. Florida is the Most Hurricane-Prone State in the US
Of the 292 recorded hurricanes that have landed on U.S. soil since 1851, forty-one percent (120) have made landfall in Florida.
Thirty-seven of the 120 were category 3, 4, or 5, with five having the highest winds. Florida easily outranks Texas, the next closest state on the list which has seen almost half as many hits with 64.
20. Florida Is Home to the Nation’s Oldest City
Horse-drawn carriages, centuries-old buildings, and a decidedly European flavor make our nation’s oldest city – St. Augustine, FL – a popular year-round destination.
Founded in 1565 – 50 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and 42 years before the English settled at Jamestown – the Spanish established the nation’s first enduring settlement at St. Augustine.
21. Florida Is Home to the Nation’s Oldest Street
Well, it stands to reason that the oldest street in the US, Aviles Street, would be located in the country’s oldest city, you guessed it, St. Augustine. A variety of galleries, boutiques, antique shops, and eateries line both sides of one of the city’s most popular attractions, historic Aviles Street.
22. Almost All of America’s Fresh Market Tomatoes Come From Florida
Florida’s year-round warm temperatures and sunshine make it one of the USA’s best places for growing vegetables. Along with tomatoes, Florida also produces sugarcane, peppers, cotton, watermelons, peanuts, snap beans, potatoes, and of course oranges throughout the year.
23. The US Air Force Actually Owns Cape Canaveral
While its name has changed back and forth several times, Cape Canaveral’s ownership remains the same – the US Air Force. While NASA conducts all of its launches from the site, it’s actually a US Air Force base officially known as Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
24. The World’s First Scheduled Passenger Flight Took Place in Florida
On January 1st, 1914, the first scheduled passenger flight took off from St. Petersburg and landed in nearby Tampa.
Onboard the Benoist Type XIV flying boat, operated by the newly formed Tampa Airboat Line, were pilot Antony Habersack Jannus and one passenger – St. Petersburg’s mayor, Abraham C. Pheil. Approximately 3,000 people came out to witness the event.
25. Greater Miami Is the Only Metropolitan Area in the US With Two National Parks
While the National Park Service prohibits swimming in the previously mentioned Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park’s unique mix of emerald islands, aquamarine waters, and beautiful coral reefs make it the perfect place for a day of swimming, diving, boating, and fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida?
On August 16, 1992, Hurricane Andrew leveled Homestead, Florida City, and the surrounding communities in the southeast area of the state. At the time, Hurricane Andrew was considered America’s costliest natural disaster with a financial toll of over 51 billion dollars.
Sixty-one people lost their lives to Hurricane Andrew. After the storm, Florida enacted far more stringent building codes which required many homes to install storm shutters or impact-resistant glass.
When did the first Europeans come to Florida?
The first European to grace the Florida shoreline was Spanish explorer and adventurer Juan Ponce de Leon who arrived in 1513 AD. However, modern researchers believe that the indigenous people, first encountered by Ponce de Leon, made their way to the area at least 12,000 years earlier.
When did Florida become part of the United States?
Originally ceded to the United States in 1819 as part of the Adams-Onis treaty, Florida officially became a U.S. Territory with a legislative council in 1822.
Which side did Florida join during the US Civil War?
Despite an undercurrent of Unionist sentiment in many parts of the state – especially in Jacksonville – Florida sided with the Confederacy during the US Civil War.
Who was Florida’s first governor?
Appointed by President James Monroe in 1822, William P. DuVal of Leon County served as the state’s first territorial governor. Prior to that General Andrew Jackson, also appointed by President Monroe, acted as Commissioner, with all the same power and authority endowed upon a territorial governor.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Forida Today!
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Florida has to offer. Happy travels!