The Sunshine State of the United States of America, Florida is packed with thrill and plenty of unique facts that will leave your jaws dropped!
You can safely overlook the frequent news of stupid criminals and weird things happening in Florida because that’s only a tiny fragment of the state. There is much more to explore.
So, without further ado, let us begin exploring 185 fabulous Florida facts.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Quick History | 1-5
001. According to National Geographic, the first people who lived in the place now called Florida arrived there some 12,000 years ago.
002. These people were basically hunters and gatherers. They used to hunt small animals. They also gathered plants for meeting their food requirements.
Did you know that these people started practicing agriculture in the villages that were located around Okeechobee (a lake) in about 450 BCE.
003. Over thousands of years that followed, many Native American tribes lived in the area.
004. The major Native American tribes that lived in that place included Creek, Calusa, Apalachee, and Timucua.
005. Finally arrived a Spanish conquistador (or conqueror) in the year 1513. His name was Ponce de León.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Quick History | 6-10
006. Ponce de León’s prime target was that of finding the legendary Fountain of Youth and as well as silver and gold. He was disappointed.
007. He however did find vast expanses of farmland along with extensive coastlines. He immediately knew that the place would be great for shipping.
Did you know that Ponce de Leon returned to the place in 1521 but he was attacked by the indigenous people?
008. That was time when almost every European country was in a race of conquering new places. So, over time, Great Britain, Spain, France – everyone tried to take control of Florida.
009. Spanish people first managed to establish the first permanent settlements in Florida but the British people managed to take over the control of Florida in 1763.
Did you know that the French was the first people to establish settlement in Florida in 1564?
The French Protestants built a fort called Fort Caroline in a place that is today known as Jacksonville.
The Spaniards built a fort called St. Augustine in the year 1565.
010. Spain gave the control of Florida to Great Britain in exchange of another land that today goes by the name Havana (in Cuba).
Fabulous Florida Facts: Quick History | 11-15
011. Twenty years later, the Revolutionary War came to an end because of a peace treaty.
012. As part of this peace treaty, Spain regained the control of Florida.
013. Over time, new US settlers started pouring into Florida and Spain had to finally give up Florida to the USA in the year 1821.
014. Though Spain gave up Florida, Spain managed to get an exchange. Spain took the rule of Texas.
015. Florida was finally inducted into the United States of America as the 27th state in the year 1845 on March 3.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Naming and Seminoles | 16-20
016. The original Spanish name for Florida is ‘La Florida’. In English it translates into ‘Place of Flowers’.
017. There are some historians who think that the name was given by Ponce de León when he saw the flowers that bloomed there.
018. Some historians argue that name was given in honor of Easter Celebration of Spain which goes by the name ‘Pascua Florida’, which in English means ‘Feast of Flowers’.
019. Did you know that Florida is still today the home to Native Americans known as the Seminoles?
020. The Seminoles are actually a combination of tribal people who, in order to avoid conflict with other tribes and Europeans, migrated to that area in the 1700s.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Geography | 21-25
021. Did you know that Florida is a peninsula? Water surrounds the state from almost all sides.
022. Northernmost edge of the state connects with two other states – Alabama and Georgia.
023. Alabama connects with Florida in the northwest while Georgia connects with Florida in the northeast.
024. Swimming off the west coast of Florida will take you to the Gulf of Mexico.
025. Swim off the eastern coast of the state and you will be straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Geography | 26-30
026. Swim off the southern coast of the state and you will be in the Straits of Florida.
027. Florida’s upland part in the north is quite hilly. In the northwestern Marianna lowlands however, you will come across sinkholes and caves.
028. Coral reefs, islands and sandy beaches adorn the coastal plains.
029. Towards the southern part of the state you can canoe through the famed Everglades National Park.
Did you know the Everglades National Park is spread over 1.5 million acres? It is a swampy marshland that is home to a wide range of wildlife.
030. If you prefer island hopping, you can get to Florida Keys – an archipelago. It is a group of 1,700 tiny islands, many of which are connected to each other with 42 bridges and a causeway.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Wildlife and Plant Life | 31-35
031. Florida has a rich collection of wildlife. The state has some incredible mammals like Florida panther, black bears and armadillos.
032. Snakes, crocodiles and alligators are some of the reptilian life forms that you can find in the state.
033. Some of the incredible bird species that can be found in Florida include cranes, owls, raptors and mockingbirds.
035. Did you know that there are over 300 different tree species that are native to Florida?
Fabulous Florida Facts: Wildlife and Plant Life | 36-39
036. In the northern part of the state you can find cherry trees and apple trees.
037. The swamplands have mangrove forests and they look absolutely stunning.
038. In the marshy areas you can find the Tall sawgrass, which is quite a common sight.
039. The orange tree is perhaps the most famous plant of Florida.
Fabulous Florida Facts: State Symbols | 40-47
040. Mockingbird is the state bird for Florida.
041. The Florida Panther is the state mammal for Florida.
042. Manatee is Florida’s state marine mammal.
043. Florida’s state salt water mammal is the Dolphin/Porpoise.
044. Florida also has a state insect and it is the Zebra Longwing Butterfly.
045. Alligator is the state reptile for Florida.
046. State saltwater fish of Florida is the Sailfish.
047. The Largemouth Bass is the state freshwater fish of Florida.
Fabulous Florida Facts: State Symbols | 48-55
048. Horse Conch is the state shell of Florida.
049. Florida’s state wild flower is the Coreopsis.
050. Orange blossom is the state flower of the state of Florida.
051. State beverage is the Orange Juice.
052. Can you guess the state tree? No, it is not the Orange tree. It is the Palmetto Palm.
053. The Moonstone is considered as the official state gem.
054. Agatized Coral is Florida’s state stone.
055. Though not official, the Eupatagus is considered as the state fossil. Eupatagus is an extinct sand dollar.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Natural Resources | 56-61
056. Phosphate, which is generally used as a fertilizer, is one of the most important natural resources of Florida.
057. Apart from that, the state also has petroleum, fish, and sugarcane as abundant natural resources.
058. Yet another very important natural resource of the state is orange.
059. It is believed that Ponce de León – the Spanish conqueror – was the person who first planted orange seeds in Florida.
060. 300 years after Ponce de León planted the seeds, orange growers of Florida used the newly-built railroads to export oranges to rest of the United States.
061. Did you know that most of the orange juice that is sold in the USA comes from the oranges that Florida supplies?
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 62-67
062. Did you know, Central Florida is known as United States’ Lightning Capital? There are more lightning strikes in Central Florida than anywhere else in the USA.
063. Also, when it comes to the total number of tornadoes per area, Florida stands out as winner among all other US states.
064. Of all states in the USA, Florida is known for having the ‘Lowest High Point’. The point is 345 feet above mean sea level (MSL). It is the highest point of the Britton Hill.
065. Of all the contiguous states of the United States of America, Florida boasts the second longest coastline. The first spot is taken by Alaska.
066. Florida is the only US state that is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
067. Florida as something called the Hurricane Season. It starts on June 1 and ends on November 30. The state has been hit by some of the most devastating hurricanes known to us.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 68-73
068. Some of the most devastating hurricanes that made a landfall on Florida include: Hurricane Katrina (2005 – estimated damage of 160 billion USD), Hurricane Wilma (2005 – estimated damage of 24.3 billion USD), Hurricane Andrew (1992 – estimated damage of 25 billion USD), etc.
069. The whole of Florida is mostly flat. The average elevation above mean sea level is less than 100 feet.
070. We spoke about Everglades National Park earlier. Did you know that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
071. The Everglades National Park is where you can find both the American Alligator and the American Crocodile.
072. Florida is the second largest producer of Grapefruit in whole world. The first position is captured by Brazil.
073. Florida is the home to world’s largest as well as the deepest freshwater spring. The spring is known as the Wakulla Springs and it is located near Tallahassee, Florida.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 74-79
074. Did you know that the total number of people who die in Florida because of Rip Currents is more than the number of people dying because of tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning combined?
075. Sunshine State is the nickname of Florida. But, did you know that Florida is not the sunniest state of the USA? Arizona is the sunniest state followed by Nevada on the second spot.
076. In whole of US, Florida ranks 3rd in terms of overall population.
077. Did you know, no matter where you go in Florida, you will always be 60 miles away from the nearest salt water body.
078. In Florida, Jacksonville is the most populous city. By area, it is also the largest city in whole of contiguous USA.
079. In 1994, a crime watch meeting was being held in Florida. It is then that a bag of cocaine weighing 75 pounds fell from a plane right at center of the meeting.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 80-85
080. Quite weird but, in Florida, excessive farting in school can lead to your arrest. Yes, a 13-year boy faced that!
081. A 15-year boy was so inspired by 9/11 attacks that he stole a plane and flew it directly into a skyscraper in Tampa, Florida. The incident happened in 2002. The boy was the only person who died.
082. In 2009, a person from Florida was accused of downloading child porn. His defense was that the porn clip was downloaded by his cat.
083. In Florida, you are allowed to smash a car window to prevent a pet (inside the car) from overheating. You will not get into any legal problem for that.
084. If Florida, you are not allowed to fall asleep under a hair dryer. You cannot do that even if you are the salon owner. It is completely illegal.
085. Florida is home to 131 public airports. Now, that’s quite a lot.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 86-92
086. In entire world, Florida has the largest collection of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne buildings.
087. In 2013, the total number of boats sold had a total worth of USD 1.96 billion.
088. A private citizen is tasked with carrying out executions in Florida. The citizen receives USD 150 for each execution.
089. Voter fraud or shark attacks – which one is more common in the Sunshine state? Shark attacks!
090. In case you want to live in Nalcrest, Florida, you need to be a retired letter carrier. Even weird, there is no mail delivery service in that town!
091. Though it is a popular notion that Kansas is the flattest state in the USA, it is not! The honor goes to Florida.
092. Harris Rosen – a millionaire adopted an urban neighborhood in Florida. He gave daycare to all families. The graduation rate in the neighborhood bumped up by 75% and crime rate was slashed down by 50%.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 93-99
093. Clothe yourself in liquid latex and appear in public in Florida and you will get into legal problems. It is illegal!
094. If you own or find a pregnant pig in Florida, never dare to confine her in a cage. It is illegal.
095. A Florida law states that doors of all public buildings should open outwards.
096. Florida is the place where mechanical refrigeration was invented. Dr. John Gorrie was the inventor and he did that in 1851.
097. Florida is the second-largest producer of tomatoes in whole of USA. Both California and Florida grow tomatoes of 30,000 to 40,000 acres of land every year. That is 2/3rd of total tomato acreage in whole nation.
098. Florida is home to Walt Disney World Resort. It is the biggest and most visited recreational resort in the whole world.
099. On an average there are 45,000 people visiting Disney World every day. On busy days, the visitor count can increase to 100,000. Disney World gets 17 million visitors on an average each year.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 100-105
100. The size of the Walt Disney World Resort is about the same size at that of San Francisco in California. The resort was established back in 1971.
101. One person swam all the way to Florida from Cuba in 52 hours 54 mins and 18.6 seconds. The person was Diana Nyad.
102. Diana achieved this feat on September 2, 2013. She swam without any fins or shark cage!
103. Did you know that Diana succeeded in her 5th attempt. She failed four times before succeeding. She swam 103 miles!
104. Echo 1 – the first communication satellite of NASA was launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. The date was August 12, 1960.
105. Echo 1 was a metalized balloon satellite. Its job was to work as a passive microwave signals reflector.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 106-111
106. Life Fellowship Bird Sanctuary in Florida’s Seffner was the home to Goliath from 1960 to 2002.
107. Goliath was a tortoise and was considered to be the largest tortoise to have ever lived (albeit, we are not talking of prehistoric times).
108. Goliath weighed 417 kilograms and measured 4 ft 5 inches (135.8 cm) in length, 3 ft 4 inches (102 cm) in width and 2 ft 3 inches (68.5 cm) in height.
109. Manchineel Tree – the most dangerous tree in whole world is found in Florida.
110. Every part of the Manchineel Tree is known to have very strong toxins. Even if you come in touch with the sap of the tree, you will get blisters on your skin.
111. World’s most powerful rocket – the Falcon Heavy (built by Space X) lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The maiden flight was on February 6, 2018.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 112-117
112. In 2011, Florida became the US state with highest auto insurance fraud amounting to a stunning $1 billion.
113. If you are a Floridian, you do not have to pay any personal income tax. Yes, the concept of personal income tax doesn’t exist in Florida.
114. When it comes to people over the age of 65, Florida holds the highest percentage among all states.
115. Among all states in the USA, Florida tops the list in fastest growing immigration population. But why? Here is the reason:
Tourism is Florida is expanding rapidly. The rapid growth is because of the scenery and the climate that the state has to offer.
116. The first commercial space launching industry in the USA was established in Florida.
117. Kennedy Space Center is from where Neil Armstrong was launched back in 1969. He was launched on July 16 and he became the first person to walk on the Moon.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 118-123
118. St. Augustine – a city in Florida is America’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement that was established by the Europeans. The city was founded in the year 1565.
119. Florida’s largest freshwater lake is Lake Okeechobee. It is also the third largest freshwater lakes that is contained completely inside the USA.
120. The oldest masonry fort that still remains standing today in the USA is the Castillo de San Marcos. It is located in St. Augustine, Florida. The fort was built between 1672 to 1695.
121. The first every scheduled passenger airline service of the world operated between the city of St. Petersburg, Florida and Tampa, Florida.
122. The first flight on St. Petersburg-Tampa route took place on 1st January, 1914.
123. The flight took off from St. Petersburg and flew to Tampa. The distance was 21 miles and it was covered in 23 minutes. St. Petersburg’s former mayor (Abram C. Pheil) was the first paying passenger of the flight.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 124-129
124. Florida has over 1,250 golf courses. That is more than any other state in the USA.
125. Washington has only one state embassy and it is the Florida House.
126. The total number of bridges and toll roads present in Florida exceed any other state in the USA.
127. The largest river of Florida is the St. Johns River. It is one of the few major rivers present in the USA that flows from the South to the North.
128. Belleview Biltmore Resort and Spa located in Florida is the largest occupied wooden structure of this world.
129. Approximately 40% of all exports from the USA to the South America and the Latin America pass through Florida.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 130-135
130. In 2013, Florida ranked 5th in terms of lowest tax burden among all states in the USA. Only four other states had lower tax burden than Florida.
131. United State’s only metropolitan area with its border encompassing two national parks is the Greater Miami.
132. Greater Miami borders the Everglades National Park and the Biscayne National Park.
133. Sanibel – a city and an island in Florida – houses a museum that boasts of a collection of 2 million shells. It claims to be the only museum in the whole world that is dedicated to mollusks.
134. The Orlando Amusement Park gets more visitors compared to any other amusement park in the whole of USA.
135. The city named Clearwater in Florida has the highest number of lightning strikes per capita in the whole of US.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 136-141
136. Gatorade, the sports-themed beverage was originally made for Florida Gators. The drink was developed at University of Florida in 1965.
137. Florida’s Key West city is known for having the highest average temperature in the United States of America.
138. Florida’s Ybor City was once known as the Cigar Capital of the world. The city once had 200 cigar factories that employed a total of 12,000 cigar makers or tabaqueros.
139. At the industry’s peak the Ybor City churned out 700 million cigars every year.
140. Plant City in Florida is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. The city made it to Guinness world record by creating the largest strawberry shortcake in the world.
141. The strawberry shortcake weighed 6,000 pounds and measured 827 square-foot. It was made at McCall Park in 1999 on February 19.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 142-147
142. DeFuniak Springs in Florida is the home to one of the two naturally round lakes existent in the whole world.
143. Florida is home to the Venice of America. It is none other than the Fort Lauderdale. The city has 185 miles of local waterways.
144. The only museum in whole of the United States of America that is dedicated to Japan’s living culture is located in Florida. It is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. The museum is located at Delray Beach.
145. The only state in the USA which has two rivers with same name is Florida. The two rivers have the same name – Withlacoochee.
146. One Withlacoochee is in central Florida. The other Withlacoochee is in Madison County of north central Florida. The two rivers have nothing in common except for the name.
147. Florida has a city by the name Venice. The city is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. Visitors as well as residents of Venice have been collecting prehistoric sharks’ teeth for years.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 148-153
148. Florida was the site of largest battle fought during the American Civil War. The battle is commemorated by the Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site.
149. The Annual Mug Race, which is the world’s longest river sailboat race takes place along St. Johns River. It is a 42-mile event that starts from Palatka and ends at Jacksonville.
150. Key Largo (it is an island in Florida Keys) in Florida is known as the Dive Capital of the World.
151. Islamorada (it is an incorporated village) in Florida is known as the Sports Fishing Capital of the World.
152. Jacksonville was the busiest military port in the whole of USA during the 1991 Gulf War. The port moved far more people and supplies compared to any other port in the country.
153. After its completion in the year 1989, the Dame Point Bridge became the world’s 3rd longest cable-stayed bridge, longest concrete span (of its kind) in whole of the Western Hemisphere and the longest cable-stayed bridge is whole of the United States.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 154-160
154. Built between 1845 and 1866 in Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor was under the control of the Union during the Civil War.
155. The Union used the fort for successfully blocking Confederate ships. According to some historians, the fort played an instrumental role in shortening the conflict by at least 1 year.
156. Fort Zachary Taylor was actively used during three more wars – Spanish-American War, the World War I, and the World War II.
157. Fellsmere – a small town in Florida is known for hosting the annual Frog Leg Festival. The town has entered the Guinness World Record for hosting the largest Frog Leg Festival.
158. Yes, the Frog Leg Festival is all about eating frog leg dinner. However, you can also get gator tails to satiate your taste buds.
159. The outskirts of Tampa has “Wildlife on Easy Street”. What on earth is that? That’s a place where you get to cuddle with your favorite endangered cat against a donation of $100.
You get to select from baby leopards, baby cougars and baby bobcats. What were you expecting – adult wildcats?
160. Did you know that the Seven Mile Bridge was built in pieces in 1982 and shipped to Florida Keys and then assembled? The Seven Mile Bridge is a part of the Overseas Highway.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 161-166
161. Brevard County in Florida has an area code of 321. The code is in service since November 1st, 1999. What’s so special about the code? It refers to the countdown sequence of 3-2-1 that is used in Kennedy Space Center.
162. The Flora-Bama Beach Bar located in Pensacola hosts an annual “Mullet Toss”. Thousands of Floridians stand at the state border line and toss dead Mullet fish into Alabama. It is just a huge beach party excuse.
163. The longest continuous sidewalk of the world is the Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.
164. Dick Pope is known as the Father of Florida Tourism. He founded the Cypress Gardens.
165. Florida is not really United States’ southernmost state. Hawaii is. However, Hawaii is not in continental US.
166. The space industry in Florida makes up $4.5 billion of the Florida economy.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 167-172
167. Florida has nearly 20,000 kilometers or 12,000 miles of streams, waterways and rivers.
168. Florida has a coastline of 2,000 kilometers or 1,300 miles. It has 800 miles or 1,200 kilometers of sand beaches.
169. There are a whopping 7,800 lakes in Florida that are larger than 10 acres each.
170. Of all the states in the USA, Florida has the greatest number of first magnitude springs (first magnitude springs are those that have a flow of at least 100 cubic feet per second).
171. Approximately 1,000 people move to Florida every year!
172. Of the total area of Florida, 7% is water.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 173-178
173. Did you hear the name of the rapper Flo Rida? He was actually born in the state of Florida.
174. Many famous actors are from Florida. Some of them are Faye Dunaway, Sidney Poitier, Gloria Estefan and Burt Reynolds.
175. Tallahassee is the capital city of Florida. The city is home to less than 200,000 people.
176. After Florida became a US territory, General Andrew Jackson was appointed as the military governor of Florida.
177. In 1994, the first suntan cream was invented in Florida. The inventor was a pharmacist by the name Benjamin Green and he was from Miami.
178. Green invented it by cooking cocoa butter in a granite pot. He used his wife’s stove to do so.
Fabulous Florida Facts: Fun Facts | 179-185
179. Benjamin Green actually invented it to protect himself and the US soldiers from harsh sun rays during World War II.
180. Benjamin Green eventually founded a company by the name Coppertone Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee.
181. John Glenn – the first American to orbit around Earth was lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
182. Moonstone, which is considered as the official gemstone of Florida was accepted as the official gemstone after lawmakers passed and sent a bill to the Governor on May 20, 1970.
183. Interestingly is not found in Florida naturally and neither is it found on Moon.
184. The Old Kings Road is the first graded road that was built in Florida in year 1763. The road was named after England’s King George.
185. Did you know that the state motto of Florida has no official designation? The motto says, ‘In God We Trust’. The Florida Legislature never formally adopted it but it is widely used.