Florida became the third most populous state in the United States as its population exceeded 19.7 million by December 2014, surpassing the population of the state of New York. Among all the states in US, Florida has the highest percentage of people over 65 (17%)
Florida is the flattest state in the USA as it is the state with the smallest difference between its highest and lowest points (345 ft) Florida's mean elevation is 100 ft. Only one state (Delaware) has lower mean elevation (60 ft)
Tourism is the biggest money earning sector of Florida's economy. In 2016, more than 112 million tourists visited Florida. The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited vacation resort in the world with over 50 million annual visitors.
Native Americans were living for atleast 12,000 years in what is now Florida when first known European visitors led by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed in April 1513. He was seriously wounded in Florida, died in Cuba and interred in Puerto Rico
Florida is the largest producer of citrus fruit in the United States. It produces the majority of oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit cultivated in the United States. About 90 percent of the citrus harvested in Florida goes into juice making.
Young aviator Tony Jannus made history on January 1, 1914 when he flew the world's first scheduled passenger service airline flight from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida
Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. Located on the east coast of Florida, the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight.
Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts.
Amelia Island of Florida is the only US territory to have served under eight flags (French, Spanish, British, Patriot, Green Cross, Mexican, Confederate, and United States) The island was named for Princess Amelia, daughter of George II of Great Britain.
Greater Miami is the only metropolitan areain the US whose borders encompass two national parks - The Everglades National Park and The Biscayne National Park.
With over 1,300 courses, Florida has more golf courses than any other State in the US.
The Port of Miami is the world's largest cruise ship port. With 663 miles of fine beaches, Florida is a vacationers' paradise. According to Guy Fieri, "If you can't find something to do in Florida, you're just boring"
Saint Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. It was founded on September 8, 1565, by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida's first governor. The city served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years, and became the capital of British East Florida when the territory briefly changed hands between Spain and Britain.
South Florida is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist in the wild. The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, Everglades is a world Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance. To preserve the plant and animal life of the swamps, part of the Everglades has been set aside as the Everglades National Park.
Florida's largest lake, Lake Okeechobee, is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake (after Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states. The name Okeechobee comes from the Hitchiti words oki (water) and chubi (big)
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida. It is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States.
Established by the French Huguenots on June 22, 1564, Fort Caroline was the first Protestant colony in North America. Located on the banks of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Fort Caroline was later sacked by Spanish troops
The telephone area code 321 was assigned to Cape Canaveral and Brevard County in Florida to honor the space program. Area code 321 is the area code serving Brevard County, Florida. The code refers to the countdown sequence which has launched many spacecraft from Cape Canaveral. It is the only area code in North America that is the overlay of one area code, and the sole area code elsewhere. It is the area code used for SatCom Satellite Phone units.
The oldest existing masonry fort in the United States lies within Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The national monument is in the historic city of Saint Augustine.
Florida is yet to produce a US president. It is the most populous of the 29 states that have not borne a US president (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)
Wakulla Springs, located 14 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida is the largest and deepest freshwater spring in the World.
Crystal River is the only place in North America where it is legal to have a supervised interaction with gentle manatees.
The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is the first known European to visit the region and he called it 'La Florida' (Spanish for "land of flowers"), when he visited it in 1513. It is thought that he chose this name because he was impressed by the many colorful flowers of the region and because he visited it during the Easter season, which is called 'Pascua Florida' in Spanish ('Pascua Florida' is a Spanish term that literally means 'flowery festival', but usually refers to the Easter season)
The Brickell Financial District in Miami contains the largest concentration of international banks in the United States
Fort Lauderdale, Florida is known as the Venice of America as it contains over 180 miles of navigable inland waterways
On June 6, 1959, Florida took delivery of the only “missile mail” in history when 3,000 pieces of mail are delivered by a cruise missile fired from a U.S. Navy submarine. The mail consisted entirely of commemorative postal covers addressed to a host of government officials, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The missile was fired shortly before noon from a launcher aboard the submarine USS Barbero, cruising off the coast of Virginia. Twenty-two minutes after launch, the missile struck its target at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Mayport, Florida. The mail was retrieved, sorted and routed in the usual way from a post office in nearby Jacksonville. Though successful, the experiment did not translate into practical mode as it was deemed too expensive and dangerous.
No place in Florida is farther than 60 miles from the nearest beach.
Florida is the first, and only, state to have an “Embassy” in Washington, D.C. and it is called 'Florida House'. Located on Capitol Hill and across the street from the Supreme Court, Florida House is owned by the people of Florida through a nonprofit foundation. Rhea Chiles, former Florida First Lady and wife of Senator and Governor Lawton Chiles founded Florida House in 1973. Other states tried to follow Florida's example, but zoning regulations within the District of Columbia would now prohibit a facility like Florida House being established in Washington, D.C.
Florida is the only state that has two rivers with the same name. There is a Withlacoochee in north central Florida (Madison County) and a Withlacoochee in central Florida. They have nothing in common except the name.
Which Withlacoochee is which?
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island is the only museum in the United States that is solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them. The museum's exhibits include shells from all over the world. However, many shells on show in the museum are from Florida, and a substantial number are from Sanibel and Captiva islands. This is because Sanibel Island is one of the best seashell collecting spots in the world
The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package, a bar located on the Florida-Alabama border line, is partly in Florida and partly in Alabama. Its Annual Interstate Mullet Toss features individuals competing on the beach throwing a dead mullet (a kind of fish) from a 10 foot circle in Florida across the state line into Alabama.
Benjamin Green, a Miami pharmacist, invented first suntan lotion. While serving as an airman in World War II, Green used red veterinary petrolatum, or “red vet pet,” to protect himself from sunburn. After the war, Green developed a more pleasing product by adding cocoa butter and coconut oil to the red vet pet. This combination would later become Coppertone suntan lotion.
Florida’s longest river, the 310 miles (500 km) long St. Johns River, is one of only a few major rivers that flow from south to north. Like the rest of Florida waterways, the St. Johns has a very low flow rate 0.3 mph (0.13 m/s) and is often described as "lazy" as the drop in elevation from headwaters to mouth is less than 30 ft.
Orlando attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in the United States
More than half of the United States' supply of cane sugar is produced in Florida.
Gatorade was named for the University of Florida football team (Gators) who tested the first version of Gatorade during practices and games in 1965. It was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Florida, to replenish the combination of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes that the school's student-athletes lost in sweat during rigorous sport activities.
Florida is the only state in the US whose Constitution is reviewed every 20 years. Before 1838, only the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was briefly enacted in Florida. A monument commemorating 'La Constitución de Cádiz' still stands in front of the Government House in St. Augustine. Florida's first constitution as a U.S. territory was written and implemented in 1838. The current Constitution of Florida was ratified on November 5, 1968.
A permanent underwater laboratory was built 6 miles off of the Florida Keys. The Aquarius Reef Base is an underwater habitat located 9 kilometers off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is deployed on the ocean floor 62 feet (19 meters) below the surface and next to a deep coral reef named Conch Reef. Aquarius is one of three undersea laboratories in the world dedicated to science and education.
The Mug Race, an annual sailboat race held on St. Johns River in Florida, is the longest river race in the world. The course starts in Palatka and ends in Jacksonville. To compete, masts must be under 44 feet in order to clear all bridges along the course. The Mug Cup is awarded to the first boat to complete the 38.5 mile course from the starting line at Memorial Bridge to the finish line at Buckman Bridge
Florida had 47,300 commercial farms and ranches, using a total of 9.5 million acres, Florida ranks first in production value for fresh market tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit, sugarcane, fresh market snap beans, fresh market cucumbers and Oranges.
Fruit basket of USA
The state’s official nickname, the Sunshine State, reflects the state's tropical climate and abundant sunlight. Queensland, Australia and Ondo State, Nigeria share the same nickname with Florida.
The Sunshine State
In 1982, the Florida Keys seceded from the United States and declared themselves the Conch Republic, in order to protest the placement of a Border Patrol-run road block in Florida City. Key West Mayor-turned-Prime Minister Dennis Wardlow declared war against the United States. The independence was short-lived - within two minutes, Wardlow had surrendered and requested $1 million in foreign aid.
The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited vacation resort in the world with over 50 million annual visitors, consisting of four theme parks, 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, two water parks, four golf courses and other recreational venues. Other major theme parks in the area include Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa.