Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine State! This beautiful state, located in the southeastern United States, is known for its warm climate, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture. Florida is a top tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors yearly with its diverse attractions and activities.
From the bustling theme parks of Orlando to the serene beauty of the Everglades, Florida offers something for everyone. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as a rich cultural heritage that includes Spanish and Cuban influences.
Florida is also known for its iconic wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and a wide variety of tropical birds. And let’s not forget the state’s famous citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruits, which are grown in abundance throughout the region.
In this blog post, we will explore some of Florida’s most iconic and beloved features, from its stunning beaches and natural wonders to its vibrant culture and world-famous theme parks. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Florida!
What is Florida Known For?
Florida is well known for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches. People love the seafood there. It also has an interesting culture with many different people living in it. There are lots of reasons why it is a great place to visit, like its warm weather, beaches and food!
Famous Florida Foods & Drinks
1. Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is a dessert from Florida. It has a graham cracker crust, creamy filling made with Key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. The top is usually whipped cream. The filling tastes tangy because of the smaller and more sour Key limes.
The dessert likely started in the Florida Keys in the 1900s. Now it is a popular food people eat in the Southern part of the United States. You can get it at restaurants and stores all over Florida.
2. Stone Crabs
Stone crabs live in the waters near Florida. They are known for their big claws which can be 5 inches long. People like to eat the sweet and tasty meat of stone crabs. When people get them, they only take the claws and then put the crab back into the water so it can grow new claws. Stone crab season in Florida is from October to May.
Florida is home to the famous “Miami Vice,” a tropical cocktail made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. This fruity drink is popular among locals and tourists alike.
Florida is known for its vibrant cocktail culture, with many unique and refreshing drinks inspired by the state’s tropical climate and coastal location. Here are a few popular Florida cocktails:
- Mojito: This classic Cuban cocktail is made with fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, and rum, and is a popular drink throughout Florida.
- Margarita: This tequila-based cocktail is often served with a salt rim and can be made with a variety of fruit juices, including lime, grapefruit, and mango.
- Piña colada: This sweet, creamy cocktail is made with rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, and is a perfect drink for sipping on a hot Florida day.
- Rum runner: This fruity cocktail is made with several types of rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine, and is often garnished with a slice of orange and a cherry.
- Key lime martini: This dessert-like cocktail is made with vanilla vodka, lime juice, and cream, and is often garnished with a graham cracker rim and a slice of lime.
Florida has lots of tasty drinks. You can find a mojito at a beach bar or a rum runner in a restaurant with tiki decorations. Everyone can find something they like in Florida’s cocktail scene.
Florida is one of the largest producers of oranges in the world, and the citrus industry has been a major part of the state’s economy for decades.
Oranges have been grown in Florida for more than 100 years. Florida grows more oranges than any other state in America, making up around 60% of all the oranges grown in the US.
Florida oranges are famous for their sweetness and flavor. People often use them to make orange juice for breakfast. They also use Florida oranges in other foods like desserts and marinades. The citrus industry in Florida has had some tough times, like hurricanes hurting the crops and diseases making the fruit bad. But, even so, it is still important to Florida’s economy.
Visitors to Florida can get fresh, local oranges from farmers’ markets, roadside stands or by going on a tour of one of the citrus groves. Oranges are an important part of Florida’s culture and economy.
5. Theme Parks
Florida is home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. These parks offer a variety of thrilling rides and attractions that are sure to keep visitors entertained.
Florida is home to some of the most popular theme parks in the world, drawing millions of visitors each year. Here are some of the most well-known theme parks in Florida:
- Walt Disney World Resort: Located near Orlando, Walt Disney World is the largest and most visited theme park in the world, with four theme parks, two water parks, and a variety of other attractions, including hotels, shopping, and dining.
- Universal Orlando Resort: Also located near Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort includes two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as a water park and other attractions.
- SeaWorld Orlando: Located in Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando is a marine park that features roller coasters, water rides, and animal encounters, including dolphin and whale shows.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Located in Tampa, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a theme park and zoo that features animal exhibits, roller coasters, and water rides.
- Legoland Florida: Located in Winter Haven, Legoland Florida is a theme park that’s designed for families with younger children and features LEGO-themed rides, shows, and attractions.
These are just a few of the many theme parks that Florida has to offer, each with its own unique attractions and experiences. Whether you’re looking for thrills or family fun, there is something for everyone in Florida.
6. Beautiful Beaches
Florida is famous for its beaches. You can find soft sand and warm water there. Some of the most popular ones are Miami Beach, Clearwater Beach, and Daytona Beach. There are also many other beautiful beaches in Florida with really clear water and pretty views.
- Siesta Key Beach: Located near Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach is known for its fine white sand and clear, turquoise waters. It has been named one of the best beaches in the world by multiple travel publications.
- Clearwater Beach: Located on the Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach is known for its wide, sugar-sand beach and warm, calm waters. It is a popular destination for families.
- South Beach: Located in Miami Beach, South Beach is known for its iconic art deco architecture, colorful lifeguard stands, and lively atmosphere. It’s a popular spot for people-watching and sunbathing.
- Sanibel Island: Known for its shell-covered beaches, Sanibel Island is located on the Gulf Coast and offers a laid-back, secluded atmosphere.
- Key West Beaches: The beaches of Key West, including Smathers Beach and Higgs Beach, offer crystal-clear waters, soft sand, and a tropical atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxation.
These are just a few of the many beautiful beaches that Florida has to offer. Each beach has its own unique charm and character, so it’s worth exploring multiple destinations to find your favorite.
7. NASA and The Space Coast
Florida is home to The Space Coast, where NASA launches many of its missions into space. The Space Coast is a Florida region located along the Atlantic coast, roughly between Jacksonville and Miami. It is known for its association with the American space program and is home to many important space-related facilities, including the Kennedy Space Center, which is the launch site for many NASA missions, including the historic Apollo moon landing missions.
The Space Coast is also home to many beautiful beaches, including Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach, attracting millions of visitors annually. The area is popular for water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and fishing. Other popular attractions include the Brevard Zoo, the Cocoa Village shopping and dining district, and the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
The Space Coast is a unique and exciting destination combining space exploration with beachside fun, making it a popular vacation spot for families and space enthusiasts.
8. The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum)
The Dalí Museum is in St. Petersburg, Florida. It has artwork by Salvador Dalí, a famous Spanish artist. The museum has the most Salvador Dalí artwork outside of Europe.
The museum has lots of works by Dalí. There are 2,000 pieces like paintings, sculptures, drawings and photos. Some famous pieces include “The Hallucinogenic Toreador,” “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus,” and “The Ecumenical Council.”
The building is really cool. It has a dome made of glass that looks different colors depending on the sky and water. There are also lots of glass pieces that look like the cells in a beehive.
The museum has lots of things to do. You can listen to lectures, watch films, or go to concerts. There are also fun activities for grown-ups and kids. You can take a special tour with a guide and learn about the artist Dalí.
9. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Castillo de San Marcos is a historic fortress located in St. Augustine, Florida. The fortress was built by the Spanish in the late 17th century to protect the city from enemy attacks, and is one of the oldest masonry fortresses in the United States.
The fort played an important role in several conflicts, including the American Revolution and the Seminole Wars, and was also used as a prison during the Civil War. Today, the Castillo de San Marcos is a popular tourist attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors to the Castillo de San Marcos can take guided tours of the fort and learn about its history and significance. The fort features many interesting architectural details, including its distinctive coquina walls, made of a unique type of limestone found only in the area.
The fort also features several exhibits and displays, including weapons and artifacts from the colonial era and exhibits on the Seminole Wars and Civil War history.
The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a fascinating and important piece of Florida’s history, and is a must-visit destination for history buffs and anyone interested in learning more about the state’s rich cultural heritage.
Outdoors & Nature
10. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is a very big area of nature in Florida. It covers 1.5 million acres and is the biggest subtropical wilderness in the US. It is also special and has many different plants and animals living there!
The park has many different habitats, like marshes, prairies, rocklands, and swamps. There are also lots of animals in the park like alligators, crocodiles, panthers, manatees and birds.
The Everglades is famous for the “River of Grass”. The River of Grass is a slow river that starts at Lake Okeechobee and goes to the Gulf of Mexico. It has lots and lots of sawgrass marshes. The Everglades also has a huge mangrove forest. This forest helps keep the water clean and gives homes to fish and other animals that live in water.
11. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is a protected area located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The park is known for its crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, diverse marine life, and historic Fort Jefferson, built in the mid-19th century.
The park is made up of seven small islands, including Garden Key, which is home to Fort Jefferson, and Loggerhead Key, which features a historic lighthouse. Visitors to the park can explore the islands’ pristine beaches, snorkel or dive in the clear waters to see colorful coral and fish, or take a guided tour of Fort Jefferson.
Dry Tortugas National Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those interested in snorkeling, diving, and fishing. The park’s waters are home to various marine life, including sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins.
Due to its remote location, Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible by boat or seaplane. Visitors can book tours and transportation to the park from Key West, which is the closest major city.
Overall, Dry Tortugas National Park is a unique and beautiful destination that allows visitors to experience Florida’s natural beauty and rich history in a truly unforgettable way.
12. Natural Springs
Florida is home to numerous natural springs, which are formed when groundwater is forced to the surface through the limestone bedrock that underlies much of the state. These springs are known for their crystal-clear waters, which maintain a constant temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
Some of the most popular natural springs in Florida include:
- Ichetucknee Springs – located in north-central Florida, this park is known for its pristine waters and scenic beauty, and is a popular destination for tubing, swimming, and kayaking.
- Weeki Wachee Springs – located in Hernando County, this park is home to the famous Weeki Wachee mermaids and offers visitors the chance to swim, snorkel, and kayak in its crystal-clear waters.
- Blue Spring State Park – located in Volusia County, is a designated manatee refuge and a popular spot for snorkeling, diving, and wildlife viewing.
- Silver Springs State Park – located in Marion County, this park is known for its glass-bottom boat tours, which offer visitors a unique view of the park’s underwater landscape.
- Wakulla Springs State Park – located in Wakulla County, this park is home to one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs, and offers visitors the chance to explore its clear waters on boat tours, kayaks, or canoes.
Overall, Florida’s natural springs are a beautiful and unique part of the state’s natural landscape, and offer visitors the chance to experience its crystal-clear waters and diverse wildlife in a truly special way.
13. Mangrove Forests
Mangrove forests are very important in Florida. They give homes to lots of animals and help protect the land from floods and strong winds. Mangroves are special trees that grow in salty water. Their roots keep the soil steady, and they provide a home for fish, crabs, and other creatures living in the sea.
In Florida, there are mangrove forests near the coast and estuaries. They are most common in the south part of the state. Three types of mangroves in Florida are red, black, and white.
The red mangrove is the most common kind in Florida. It has reddish roots that stick out of the water. The black mangrove is usually found at a higher area than the red one and it has black, pencil-like roots. The white mangrove is usually found even higher and it has light green leaves with no visible roots.
Mangrove forests in Florida have lots of animals living there. These include birds, fish, and mammals like manatees and dolphins. The mangrove roots and branches provide a home for young fish and other sea creatures to live in until they are old enough to leave.
Mangrove forests are special and important for Florida’s coast. They help keep the land from eroding away, keep the water clean, and have lots of different animals living in them.
14. Palm Trees
Palm trees are common in Florida and are often associated with the state’s tropical climate and laid-back lifestyle. Some of the most common types of palm trees in Florida include:
- Royal Palm: These tall and majestic palm trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and are known for their striking appearance and large, feathery leaves.
- Coconut Palm: These palm trees are known for their distinctive silhouette, with a tall trunk and long, slender fronds. They are also known for producing coconuts, which are a popular ingredient in many Caribbean and tropical dishes.
- Date Palm: These palm trees are known for their edible fruit, which is often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
- Sabal Palm: These palm trees are native to Florida and are known for their hardy, drought-resistant nature. They are often used in landscaping and are a common sight along highways and in parks.
- Bismarck Palm: These large and dramatic palm trees have distinctive blue-grey fronds, making them a popular choice for landscaping in Florida.
Palm trees are an important part of Florida’s natural environment and are often used in landscaping to create a tropical, beachy vibe.
Florida is a place that is very likely to be hit by hurricanes. Hurricanes are strong storms that can cause a lot of damage and hurt people. They usually form in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, and they can come to land on any part of the Florida coast.
Florida has had some really bad hurricanes in the past. One was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and another was Hurricane Michael in 2018. These storms caused a lot of damage, and people died too.
Florida has the plan to prepare for hurricanes. This includes getting people ready to leave, places to go, and telling people what to do. The National Hurricane Center in Miami watches hurricanes closely and gives out advice on how to stay safe.
In Florida, hurricanes happen. It can be dangerous, but people in Florida have been able to return from these storms and get back on their feet.
Florida is known for its alligators, which can be found in many of the state’s freshwater lakes and rivers. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when visiting Florida, as alligators can be dangerous if not respected.
17. Sea Turtles
Florida is home to several species of sea turtles, including the loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp’s ridley turtles. These sea turtles play a critical role in the ocean ecosystem, and are an important part of Florida’s natural heritage.
Sea turtles can be found in many areas of Florida, including the beaches where they lay their eggs and the waters surrounding the state. They are an endangered species, and conservation efforts are underway to protect their nesting sites, reduce the impact of pollution and habitat loss, and minimize the impact of human activity on their populations.
One of the most famous sea turtle nesting sites in Florida is at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, which is located along a 20-mile stretch of beach on Florida’s east coast. This area is home to the largest loggerhead nesting population in the Western Hemisphere.
It is important to remember that sea turtles are protected by state and federal law, and it is illegal to harm, harass, or interfere with them or their nests. Visitors to Florida’s beaches are advised to follow local regulations and to avoid disturbing sea turtles or their nesting sites.
18. Tropical Birds
Florida is home to a wide variety of tropical birds, many of which are native to the state and can be found in its diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and coastal areas. Some of the most common tropical birds found in Florida include:
- Roseate Spoonbill – a large, bright pink wading bird with a distinctive spoon-shaped bill commonly found in southern Florida’s wetlands.
- White Ibis – a medium-sized wading bird with a distinctive long, curved bill and white plumage, commonly found in wetlands and coastal areas throughout the state.
- Great Blue Heron – a large, blue-grey wading bird with a long neck and legs, commonly found in wetlands and along the coast.
- Anhinga – a large, black waterbird with a long, pointed bill and distinctive fan-shaped tail, commonly found in wetlands and near bodies of freshwater.
- American Flamingo – a large, bright pink wading bird with a distinctive downward-curving bill, often found in coastal areas of southern Florida.
- Painted Bunting – a small, brightly colored songbird with blue, green, and red plumage, commonly found in forested areas of southern Florida.
- Northern Parula – a small, brightly colored songbird with blue and green plumage, commonly found in forested areas throughout the state.
Florida is a great place to visit if you like birds. It has lots of different kinds of tropical birds, so birdwatchers and people who love nature will enjoy it.
Florida is home to several professional sports teams, such as the Miami Heat, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The state also has college teams like the University of Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles.
Golf is a hugely popular sport in Florida, which is known for its warm climate and abundance of top-notch golf courses. The state is home to more than 1,300 golf courses, making it one of the top golf destinations in the world.
Florida’s golf courses offer a wide range of options for players of all skill levels, from beginner-friendly courses to championship-caliber layouts that challenge even the most experienced golfers. Many of the state’s courses are designed by famous golfers and course architects, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Pete Dye.
Some of the most famous golf courses in Florida include TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, which hosts The Players Championship, one of the biggest events on the PGA Tour; Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, which hosts the Arnold Palmer Invitational; and the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral in Miami, which has hosted the PGA Tour for many years.
20. Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a world-famous racetrack located in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is home to some of the world’s most prestigious and high-profile motorsports events, including the Daytona 500, which is widely regarded as the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing”.
The Daytona International Speedway was built in 1959 and has undergone numerous renovations and upgrades over the years to make it one of the world’s most modern and technologically advanced racetracks. The speedway features a 2.5-mile tri-oval track and can accommodate more than 100,000 spectators.
In addition to the Daytona 500, the speedway hosts other major events throughout the year, including the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the Daytona 200 motorcycle race. The speedway also offers daily tours, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the track and its facilities.
The Daytona International Speedway is not only a popular destination for motorsports fans, but it also significantly impacts the local economy. Each year, the speedway attracts millions of visitors and generates millions of dollars in revenue for the state of Florida.
History, Culture & Lifestyle
21. Cuban Culture
Cuban culture has made a big change in Florida, especially in Miami. Many Cubans moved to the US from Cuba in the 1960s. Now, more people from Cuba live in Florida than anywhere else in America.
Some of the ways in which Cuban culture is reflected in Florida include:
- Food: Cuban cuisine is popular throughout Florida, with many restaurants serving traditional dishes such as ropa vieja, picadillo, and plantains. The Cuban sandwich, made with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, is a particularly popular dish.
- Music and dance: Cuban music, including salsa, rumba, and cha-cha, is popular throughout Florida, and many clubs and venues offer live music and dance performances. The annual Calle Ocho festival in Miami is a major celebration of Cuban music and culture.
- Art: Cuban art is displayed in many galleries and museums throughout Florida, with a particular focus on contemporary Cuban art.
- Heritage sites: Florida is home to many historic sites that reflect Cuban culture, including the Cuban Memorial Plaza in Tampa and the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami.
Florida has long been a popular retirement destination for Americans due to its warm climate, low taxes, and affordable cost of living.
- Weather: Florida has a warm, sunny climate that is ideal for those who want to avoid harsh winters and enjoy outdoor activities year-round.
- Tax-friendly: Florida has no state income tax, which can be a major advantage for retirees living on a fixed income.
- Affordable housing: Florida has a relatively low cost of living, and housing prices are generally more affordable compared to other states with similar weather and amenities.
- Healthcare: Florida is home to many world-class medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic and Moffitt Cancer Center, making it a desirable location for retirees who want access to quality health care.
- Lifestyle: Florida has a diverse population and offers a wide range of recreational activities, cultural events, and dining options, making it a great place for retirees to stay active and engaged.
Overall, Florida offers a great quality of life for retirees, with a combination of warm weather, affordable housing, tax benefits, and access to quality health care. It’s no wonder that so many retirees choose to make Florida their home.
23. Spring Break
Florida is a popular destination for spring breakers, particularly for college students looking to enjoy the sunshine and party atmosphere. Some of the most popular spring break destinations in Florida include:
- Panama City Beach: Located in the Florida panhandle, Panama City Beach is known for its white sand beaches and lively nightlife, with many bars and nightclubs catering to college students.
- Miami Beach: Miami Beach is a popular destination for spring breakers looking for a glamorous and high-energy atmosphere, with plenty of beach parties, pool parties, and nightclubs.
- Fort Lauderdale: Located just north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is another popular destination for spring breakers, with beautiful beaches, great shopping and dining, and a lively party scene.
- Key West: The southernmost point in the United States, Key West is a popular destination for those looking for a laid-back, tropical vibe, with plenty of beach bars and water sports.
- Daytona Beach: Known for its long stretches of wide, sandy beaches and car racing history, Daytona Beach is a popular spring break destination for those looking for relaxation and excitement.
24. Alligator Alley
Alligator Alley is a stretch of highway located in South Florida that runs from Naples to Fort Lauderdale. The highway is also known as State Road 84 and is a popular route for travelers heading east or west across the southern part of the state.
The name “Alligator Alley” comes from the fact that the highway runs through the heart of the Florida Everglades, a vast wilderness area known for its population of alligators and other wildlife. The road was originally built in the 1960s and was considered a major engineering feat at the time, as it had to be constructed across a swampy and remote area of the Everglades.
Alligator Alley is a popular spot in the Everglades, with large alligators often seen sunning themselves on the banks. Bird watching is also popular in the Everglades, with more than 300 species of birds calling this unique area home.
25. Seven Mile Bridge
The Seven Mile Bridge is a famous bridge in Florida. It connects Knight’s Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. The bridge was built in 1912 for trains, but now it is only used for cars and other vehicles.
A new bridge was built in the 1980s. It is wider and has two lanes for cars going each way. The old bridge still stands and people can now use it as a fishing pier or to walk on.
People visit it for the beautiful blue water and to take pictures. It has been in some famous movies, like “True Lies” and “2 Fast 2 Furious”. Many people think it is one of the most amazing drives in America.
Florida is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with many anglers coming from all over the world to take advantage of the warm waters and abundant fish. It is also a great place for spring break, with plenty of beaches and activities to keep you busy. Finally, Florida offers many unique ecosystems like the Everglades and Alligator Alley as well as iconic places like Seven Mile Bridge. No matter what type of vacation you are looking for, there is something for everyone in the Sunshine State.