It’s common knowledge for many that Florida is also called the Sunshine State and home to Disney World, Universal Studios and some of the best beaches in the country.
However, there are many other interesting things that make Florida a coveted destination for vacationers and transplants. Check out these fun facts about Florida to learn things you probably didn’t know about the brightest state in the country.
Interesting Florida History Facts
There’s a lot more to Florida beyond sunshine and alligators. Surprisingly, alligators aren’t even the state’s official animal! Continue on to learn more interesting facts about Florida.
- Florida became the 27th state on March 3, 1845.
- The Florida state legislature designated the American alligator as Florida’s official state reptile in 1987.
- A vote of students throughout the state chose the Florida Panther as the state’s official animal in 1982.
- Florida officially adopted the state motto, “In God We Trust” in 2006.
- The Florida legislature chose orange juice as the official state drink in 1967.
- The orange blossom was designated Florida’s state flower in 1909.
Source: Florida Department of State
Nature, Produce and Environmental Florida Tidbits
We all love Florida oranges, but did you know Florida is also a top producer for other types of produce like tomatoes and sugar cane? On top of being the main source of produce we use for lots of our favorite dishes and snacks, Florida is also home to many natural wonders like caves, freshwater springs, and great shrimping spots. Learn more fun facts about Florida’s surrounding environment.
- Florida is home to 11 national parks. (National Park Service)
- Florida produces more than 70 percent of the United States’ supply of citrus. (Visit Florida)
- Florida is the second to Brazil in global production of orange juice. (Visit Florida)
- As of 2017, Florida is ranked first in the U.S. for the production of fresh market tomatoes, fresh market snap beans, oranges, cucumbers, grapefruit, squash and sugar cane. (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)
- Florida’s average temperature is 70.1 degrees Fahrenheit. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Nearly half of the tree species found in the U.S. grow in Florida. (Britannica)
- The water temperature around Florida ranges from the low 50s in the winter and high 80s in the summer. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Florida has the longest shoreline in the contiguous United States measuring 8,436 miles. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Florida has 825 miles of beaches. (Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
- The St. Johns River is 310 miles long and the longest river in Florida. (St. Johns Riverkeeper)
- The Indian River Lagoon is designated an Estuary of National Significance and an Outstanding Florida Water. (Florida State Parks)
- Lake Okeechobee is the state’s largest lake at 700 square miles. (Florida Department of State)
- Florida is home to about 7,700 lakes. (Florida Department of State)
- There are more than 1,000 springs in Florida. (Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
- Florida is home to 516 recorded species of birds. (National Audubon Society)
- Florida has the most thunderstorm activity in the country. (Florida Climate Center)
- South Florida is the only place you can find both alligators and crocodiles in the wild. (United States Geological Survey)
- Florida is the flattest state in the United States. (Geographical Review)
Fun Facts About Florida Tourism, Living and Population
There are more than 21.4 million people living in Florida who call the Sunshine State their home. Many more visit every year to enjoy a range of attractions including famous amusement parks like Disney World to local eats like Pineapple Willy’s. Read on to get the facts on Florida tourism and everyday living.
- Florida has more than 1,000 golf courses. (University of Florida)
- Florida was ranked #1 in the United States for “Golfiness” based on qualities like the avidness of golfers and quantity and quality of courses. (GOLF.com)
- About 950 people move to Florida on average per day. (ISG World Miami Report)
- Florida is ranked as the second-fastest growing state in the United States (ISG World Miami Report)
- The Florida driver’s test does not require you to parallel park. (Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles)
- Visitors added $85.9 billion to Florida’s economy in 2017. (Visit Florida)
- Approximately 66.4 million people visited Florida by quarter three in 2020. (Visit Florida)
- Tourism accounted for more than $3.22 billion of the total state sales tax collections. (Visit Florida)
- Florida ranked as the third most populous state in 2019. (United States Census Bureau)
Locations of Interest in Florida
Florida is full of unique locations that everyone will love. You can find places great for snorkeling, hiking and more. Look through our points of interest to see what places you may be interested in visiting on your next Florida trip.
- Britton Hill is Florida’s natural highest point at 345 feet. (Visit Florida)
- Pierson is known as the fern capital of the world (Town of Pierson)
- Key West is home to the southernmost point of the continental United States. (Central Intelligence Agency)
- Kissimmee Prairie Preserve is Florida’s first Dark Sky Park. (Florida State Parks)
- Florida is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum. (World Golf Village)
- Fort Lauderdale is called, “The Venice of America” because of the 300 mile of inland waterways. It’s also included on their city seal! (Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau)
- Erik Jungkalus’ owner of Tony’s Clam Chowder in Cedar Key won the annual Knorr Great Chowder Cook-Off in 2009, 2020 and 2011. (Tony’s Clam Chowder)
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea park in the U.S. (John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park)
Florida Panhandle Facts
Northwest Florida is affectionately nicknamed the “Florida Panhandle.” You can find delicious food, fun attractions, and family-friendly neighborhoods all around the area. Look through our list of interesting Florida Panhandle facts below before you check out the Emerald Coast.
- Three of the five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico nest on Pensacola Beach. (Visit Pensacola Beach)
- The cross on Pensacola Beach pays homage to the first Christian mass in the United States. (Visit Pensacola Beach)
- Pensacola was the first European settlement in the United States in 1559. (Visit Pensacola Beach)
- The Cape San Blas Lighthouse District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 7, 2015. (The Cape San Blas Lighthouse)
- Seaside was the primary filming location for “The Truman Show” starring Jim Carrey. (Seaside)
- Seaside is the world’s first New Urbanist town. (Seaside)
- Legends say Spanish Shanty Point on Shell Island is home to buried pirate treasure! (Panama City Beach)
- Panama City Beach is known as the Wreck Capital of the South because of the several shipwrecks that happen off the Gulf Coast. (Visit Panama City Beach)
- Okaloosa Island, Navarre Beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore, and Destin were filming locations for Jaws 2. (IMDb)
- DeFuniak Springs is home to the oldest library in the state, Walton DeFuniak Library, established in 1886. (City of DeFuniak Springs)
- Arbor Day in Florida started in DeFuniak Springs. (City of DeFuniak Springs)
- Destin is linked to fisherman Leonard Destin who settled in Florida around 1845. (Destin Chamber)
- Marianna is home to Florida Caverns State Park. (City of Marianna)
- The City of Milton was originally called the Scratch Ankle (City of Milton)
- Carrabelle established the World’s Smallest Police Station on March 10, 1963. (Carrabelle City Hall Office Complex)
Florida is truly rich in history, culture and fun. For your next Florida trip, consider visiting a more laid back beach town like Cape San Blas to get away from the hustle and bustle.