The Comprehensive Guide to Florida: The Sunshine State
Situated in the southeastern region of the United States, Florida is a state with a rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving economy. Known for its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife, it is a popular destination for tourists, retirees, and migrants alike.
Florida is the only state in the US that is bordered by both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the third-most populous state in the nation, with a population exceeding 21 million. Florida’s major cities include Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and the state capital, Tallahassee. It is bordered by Alabama and Georgia to the north.
The geography of this southern state is characterized by its long coastline, barrier islands, and flat terrain. The state boasts the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, with numerous islands spread across its territory. Much of the state is at or near sea level, and the state is known for its sedimentary soil.
Florida’s climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. It is the only continental state in the US with a tropical climate and a coral reef. Florida’s unique ecosystem includes Everglades National Park, the largest tropical wilderness in the US.
History of Florida
The state has a rich history that dates back to at least 14,000 years ago, with various Native American groups inhabiting the area. It was first discovered by Europeans in 1513, when Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed on its shores. Florida was then the first area in the continental US to be permanently settled by Europeans.
Florida was contested by Spain and Great Britain for centuries before it was ceded to the US in 1819. It was admitted as the 27th state on March 3, 1845. Florida was a significant location during the Seminole Wars and the Civil War, and it was readmitted to the Union after the latter on June 25, 1868.
Florida has seen rapid economic growth since the mid-20th century, with its gross state product reaching $1.4 trillion. It is the fourth-largest economy of any US state and the 16th-largest in the world. The main sectors include tourism, hospitality, agriculture, real estate, and transportation.
Tourism & Recreation
Renowned for its beach resorts, amusement parks, warm and sunny climate, and nautical recreation the state boasts tourist attractions like Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami Beach and draws tens of millions of visitors annually. Florida is also a popular destination for retirees and seasonal vacationers.
Florida’s culture is influenced by its close proximity to the ocean and its colonial history. The state has been a source of inspiration for some of the most prominent American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Tennessee Williams. Florida also attracts celebrities and athletes, particularly in golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports.
Florida is considered a battleground state in American presidential elections, with particularly notable roles in the 2000, 2016, and 2020 elections.
About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, not including its many barrier islands.
Florida is home to unique wildlife such as the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, and manatee. The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States and the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world.
Florida is a state of great diversity and significance, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are planning a visit, considering a move, or simply interested in learning more, there is no shortage of fascinating aspects to explore about the Sunshine State.