State Bird: Mockingbird
State Flower: Orange Blossom
Ever stumble upon some truly bizarre and fascinating Florida facts? Well, we sure have, and we’re not keeping them to ourselves. In fact, we’ve got quite a handful – more than a handful, to be honest. Who knows, these Florida facts might just be your secret weapon at the next pub quiz!
Unique Coral Reefs
Florida is home to the only coral barrier reef in the United States, and it ranks as the third-largest barrier reef globally, trailing only behind Australia and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Florida Keys, famous for their beauty, are all formed from exposed coral, emphasizing the vital role coral reefs play in supporting ocean ecosystems. Exploring these reefs is an incredible experience, but tread lightly to preserve their fragile beauty.
Invention of Sunscreen
When you think of sunscreen, think of Florida. Benjamin Green, a pharmacist from Miami, was the inventor of sunscreen lotion. During World War II, he used red veterinary petrolatum to shield soldiers and himself from harsh UV rays. After the war, he concocted a mixture of cocoa butter, red vet pet, and coconut oil, giving birth to the famous Coppertone sunscreen cream. It’s a Floridian innovation that’s become a global necessity.
Southernmost Point in the U.S.
Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States. While the iconic marker in Key West is the most recognizable symbol of this distinction, the official southernmost point is found on the beach within Fort Zachary State Park.
It lies 150 meters (500 feet) farther south than the marker and is, astonishingly, closer to Cuba than Miami. If you ever find yourself on a yacht in Key West, you’ll be just a short 140 km (90 miles) away from the shores of Cuba.
When it comes to cars in Florida, there are some rules to follow. State law dictates that if your car spends more than 90 days in Florida per year, it must be registered in the state, even if you’re a part-time resident. And that 90-day rule doesn’t require consecutive days; it’s cumulative.
Even if you’re from out of state, you’ll need Florida insurance and must meet the state’s minimum requirements. If you’ve never had a regular driver’s license anywhere else, you’ll also need to complete a Florida TLSAE (Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education) course.
Florida is a golfing paradise. With over 1,300 golf courses scattered across the state, enthusiasts have no trouble finding their perfect fairway. To top it off, Palm Beach County boasts more golf courses than any other county in the entire United States. If you’re a golf history buff, don’t miss the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.
Picture this: every day, roughly 1,000 people pack their bags and head to Florida. What’s the draw? Well, it’s all about the weather. Florida’s hot and sunny climate, paired with mild winters, has transformed it into the go-to spot for retirees seeking year-round comfort. So it’s no surprise that the state’s population continues to swell.
If you had any wild ideas about digging up dino bones in Florida, well, prepare to be disappointed. During the age of the dinosaurs, the Florida peninsula was submerged underwater, making it nonexistent as a landmass. Bummer, right?
The State Flag
Florida’s official state flag, adopted in 1900, is a visual marvel. It features a red cross of St. Andrew on a white field. At its center lies the Florida state seal, depicting the sun, palm trees, a steamboat, land, water, and a Native American woman scattering flowers—a true representation of the state’s diverse beauty and history.
Land of No Hills
Florida’s landscape is exceptionally flat. The state’s mean elevation hovers around a mere 100 feet, earning it the title of the flattest state in America. The highest natural point, Britton Hill, barely scratches the sky at 345 feet above sea level. In fact, it holds the distinction of being the lowest high point of any state in the country.
Florida’s State Mascot
In 1987, Florida’s legislature bestowed a special honor upon the American alligator by naming it the official state reptile. This iconic creature symbolizes the extensive untamed wilderness and sprawling swamplands found throughout the state. If you spot one sunbathing on a golf course, remember it’s just a local celebrity!
An astonishing 75% of all oranges grown in the United States come from the Sunshine State. But that’s not all – Florida also holds the crown for supplying a staggering 40% of the entire planet’s orange juice. So, the next time you relish a refreshing glass of OJ, remember that every delightful drop is bottled right at Florida’s orchards.
Florida has the longest continuous coastline of any state in North America. Measuring 1,350 miles on land and a whopping 8,426 miles when you include the tides, Florida’s shoreline is truly colossal. The state uniquely borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Adding to this is the Gulf Stream, a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico which has a significant influence on Florida’s coastal climate. This current creates a favorable habitat for manatees and other marine creatures.
Florida’s is also home to the gentle and chubby sea cows, known as manatees. While these lovable creatures are friendly and often curious about humans, remember never to reach out and touch them. Homosassa State Wildlife Park offers a unique opportunity to swim among manatees, and Crystal River is a designated refuge for their protection. These peaceful creatures might even be the mythical “mermaids” that sailors spotted back in the good ol’ days when folks mistook flippers for flirty waves.
America’s Oldest City
St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest city in the United States. Founded in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Avile of Spain, it holds the distinction of being the longest-inhabited city settled by Europeans in the US. When you visit, you can walk its historic cobblestone streets and admire the centuries-old architecture.
First Wildlife Refuge
Yellowstone might be the oldest national park in the U.S., but Florida claims the nation’s first wildlife refuge. President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island federal bird reservation in 1903, a significant step in the conservation of America’s natural treasures.
So, there you have it folks! Hopefully you’ve learned something new about Florida that you didn’t know before. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to check out VisitFlorida.com for more information and travel guides.
Read Also: My Florida License
Q : Are there any lesser-known attractions in Florida worth exploring?
A : Of course! Consider visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park, the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, or the historic town of St. Augustine.
Q : What’s the state’s official dish?
A : Key lime pie is often considered a quintessential Florida dessert. It’s a must-try!
Q : Which sports teams are based in Florida?
A : Florida is home to professional teams like the Miami Heat (NBA), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Miami Marlins (MLB), and many others.