Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
Florida, often referred to as the ‘Sunshine State,’ is a captivating and diverse destination with stunning beaches, unique wildlife, and plenty of natural and manmade attractions that have made it a beloved spot for tourists and residents alike.
In this article, we’ll embark on a journey through the land of alligators and oranges, uncovering some of the most entertaining and surprising fun facts that make Florida one of America’s most exceptional states.
Florida is One of the Most-Visited Destinations in the World
With so many incredible attractions in Florida, it probably comes as no surprise that the state is one of the most-visited destinations in the world. The Walt Disney World Resort alone draws in 58 million visitors annually, and Panama City Beach has been titled the spring break capital of the world, seeing an influx of 1.5 million students throughout the spring period in search of a break from studying and classes.
Throw in places like Miami Beach, Universal Studios, and the Everglades National Park, and Florida quickly becomes a hot spot for vacationers.
Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport Rank in the Top 10 Busiest US Airports
As so many people fly into Florida each year, both Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Miami International Airport (MIA) have found their way onto the top 10 busiest US airports list.
Roughly 24 million tourists are welcomed into Florida via MCO and MIA each year, placing the airports 8th and 9th on the list for 2022.
70% of America’s Oranges are Grown in Florida
Due to Florida’s regular sun, rain, and ideal year-round temperatures, orange trees are able to thrive, which is why 70% of all America’s oranges come from Florida.
In total, each year, around 11 million tons of oranges come out of the state, with over 2000 farms producing the citrusy fruit.
The State Flower of Florida is the Orange Blossom
Unsurprisingly, with the state’s impressive orange production, the state flower of Florida is the Orange Blossom. The flower was selected as the state flower in 1909, and if you ever visit the Sunshine State, you’ll find orange blossoms on state artwork and in flower arrangements.
Florida is the Third Most Populous State in the US
Florida isn’t just a popular vacation spot, as many Americans have decided to settle down in Florida and call it home. Currently, over 22 million people reside in the Sunshine State, making it the third most populous in America after California and Texas.
Panthers are Indigenous to Florida
Everyone knows that Florida is home to one of the highest populations of alligators. But did you know that panthers are native to the Sunshine State? You can find the big cats all over Florida, however, they tend to prefer Florida’s south.
Key West is the Southermost City in the Continental United States
Key West is known for its incredible beaches. But something you probably didn’t know is that the island is the farthest south you can go without leaving the continental US.
Florida is Home to the Most Golf Courses in the USA
Golf lovers will be happy to know that Florida has the most golf courses in all of the US. In fact, there are over 1200 courses to choose from, and with Florida’s weather conditions, it is the perfect place to play a round with your friends.
Apollo 11 Launched from the Kennedy Space Center
Only 53 years ago man walked on the moon, and this important part of US (and world) history is all thanks to the Apollo 11 mission that launched from the Kennedy Space Center—now the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Crocodiles and Alligators Only Live Together in Florida
Florida is home to a whopping 1.3 million gators and roughly 2,000 crocodiles. The Florida Everglades which is the ideal habitat for these giant reptiles is the only place in the world where the two species coexist naturally.
You can tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles thanks to their head shape. Alligators have wider heads (U shaped) while crocodiles have thinner heads (V shaped).
The Very First Passenger Flight Flew From St. Petersburg to Tampa
We often don’t put much thought into catching a flight. But there was a time when airplanes were completely alien. The very first airplane took off from North Carolina in 1903, but it wasn’t until 11 years later that the first scheduled flight took passengers on board.
In January 1914, passengers flew 23 minutes from St. Petersburg to Florida—a journey that would have taken them 11 hours by train.
Tallahassee is the Capital of Florida
You probably haven’t put much thought into the capitals of America’s states, but it may surprise you to know that Florida’s isnt Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or even Miami. Tallahassee, the eighth most populated city is actually the capital of Florida!
West Indian Manatee’s Call Florida Home
If you’ve never heard of a manatee, then they’re essentially a giant marine mammal. You can think of them as giant seacows as they only eat seagrass and other aquatic plants. Manatees are completely harmless creatures, however, they’re a threatened species and conservation efforts are in place to help their populations grow.
One of the best places to see manatees in their natural habitat is in the Crystal River. However, you can also find them in Biscayne Bay and various other places all over Florida.
Florida is Home to the Only Coral Barrier Reef in the Continental US
There are no other states in America besides Florida that has a coral barrier reef within its waters. Coral barrier reefs are a vital part of ocean ecosystems and Florida boasts one of the largest systems in the world with over 40 million different oceanic species.
The Oldest Inhabited City in the US is in Florida
St. Augustine in northern Florida is the oldest city in the US as it was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez. People have continually resided in St. Augustine since it was founded making it an important part of US history.
Florida Experiences the Most Hurricanes of all US States
Thanks to Florida’s watery surroundings, it is a prime target for hurricanes. Roughly 40% of all hurricanes that hit the US will pass through Florida and although many are mild and only cause slight damage, every season there are larger hurricanes that wreak havoc on Florida and it’s structures.
There are 11 National Parks in Florida
The United States has a grand total of 63 National Parks that are spread out across the country. However, 11 of those parks can be found in Florida. The most famous park is by far the Everglades, but many people also visit the Biscayne National Park and the Dry Tortuga National Park when visiting the sunshine state.
Florida Keys has 800 Keys in Total
In the Florida Keys there are 800 keys in total that stretch 180 miles from Key Largo to Key West. Connecting the keys are 42 bridges with the longest bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge measuring in at 35,716 feet long.
Florida was the United States’ 27th State
The United States acquired Florida in 1821 through the Adams-Onis treaty and 24 years later it officially became the 27th state of the US after it was approved the United States Congress.
Florida is One of Two US States to Have a Tropical Climate
Florida and Hawaii are the only two states in the US to have tropical climates.