State: Florida – FLPublished on June 16th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography
The Florida state abbreviation is FL, it is located in the southeast United States and bordered on the west by the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and Alabama to the north. While not very large in comparison to the other 50 U.S. states, this location is the 3rd most populated, surpassing New York in the last Census.
Here are some key facts about FL:
- State capital: Tallahassee
- Largest city: Jacksonville
- Motto: “In God We Trust”
- Nickname: The Sunshine State
- State Flower: Orange Blossom
- Animal: Florida Panther
- Bird: Northern Mockingbird
- Reptile: American Alligator
- State Fruit/Beverage: Orange/Orange Juice
- State Flag
- Official website
Join us today as we explore an overview, history, geographical survey, and examination of famous places and attractions in this state. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, everyone will find something to learn.
A Broad Overview of The State
This place is a peninsula extending from the southeastern corner of the United States. It has the longest coastline in the mainland, approximately 1,350 miles to be exact. It is also the only location that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Most of the location is at or below sea level and characterized by sedimentary soil. The American Alligator, crocodile, panther, and manatee can all be found in the iconic Everglades National Park, a state symbol in and of itself.
The first European to discover the area was Juan Ponce de Leon who called it La Florida which means “The Flowery.” He landed during the Easter season, a time when flowers were abundant. Today there is a large Hispanic community and a high population growth. This raises environmental concerns as populations move into more and more natural areas.
The economy here is focused on tourism, agriculture, and transportation. The area is home to iconic amusement parks, orange production, and the Kennedy Space Center. The culture is a mixture of various influences from Native American, European, Hispanic, and African American cultures.
This place and it’s pristine beaches and tropical climate continues to bring a variety of celebrities and athletes. Golf, tennis, racing, and water sports are all a major focus. In south Florida, there are countless million dollar homes and condominiums along the beaches.
Florida’s Rich History
The earliest historical records who that Native American tribes inhabited this area. They included the Apalachee, the Timucua, the Ais, the Tocobaga, the Calusa, and the Tequesta. These tribes were spread across the various areas of the peninsula.
This was the first location in the North American continent to be visited by European explorers. It began with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon who discovered the peninsula on April 2, 1513. These Spanish explorers brought Christianity, cattle, horses, sheep, their language, and more with them.
The settlement of St. Augustine was established in 1565. It still stands today despite being attacked and burned multiple times throughout history. Through incursions and growing conflicts, the First Seminole War broke out in which the U.S. gained control of a good portion of the area.
The growing tensions between settlers and Native Americans led to multiple conflicts and eventually a Second Seminole War which ended with 3,000 Seminole and 800 harbored Black Seminoles were moved to Indian Territory. The state of Florida joined the Union on March 3, 1845 as the 27th state.
FL Geography and Climate
For the most part, this is a peninsula barring the region in the north known as the “panhandle.” It spans two times zones as a result of the odd shape and size. In the north, it is bordered by Georgia and Alabama. It is also extremely close to many popular Caribbean locations, which makes it a popular place to travel from.
The climate varies in different parts of the state. It ranges from tropical to subtropical depending on where you are. Hot and dry summers are joined with cool and wet winters. As a result of this climate, snow is extremely rare. It has happened on a couple occasions, but it is very rare.
While the nickname here is “The Sunshine State” severe weather is a common occurrence. It has one of the highest average levels of precipitation in the nation. Afternoon thunderstorms are common from late spring to early autumn. This location is also a leader in tornadoes per area.
In addition, hurricanes are a major threat each year. The hurricane season stretches from June 1st to November 30th. Water temperatures on the coastlines make this an incredibly prone hurricane state. Between the years of 1851 to 2006, there were over 114 hurricanes that hit Florida, 37 of which were category 3 and up.
The most costly weather disaster in U.S. history was Hurricane Andrew, which caused over $25 billion in damages. It was superseded by Hurricane Katrina.
Major Attractions and Parks
There are a wide variety of world renowned attractions in this area. Join us as we explore some of these in-depth:
1. Disney World
While California has Disney Land, Orlando is home to Disney World. This is composed of several major amusement parks that represent brands, characters, and films that are recognized around the world. The individual parks are as follows:
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
These major parks are supplemented by smaller attractions such as Typhoon Lagoon, Disney Quest, and more. Since tourism is such a major focus of the economy, these areas bring rides and shows unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
2. Universal Studios
The other major theme park chain in this state is known as Universal Studios. In addition to the main park there is another called The Islands of Adventure, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is a replica of major areas from the hit film and book series.
These parks bring a focus on major film franchises and hollywood blockbusters. They play home to some of the most iconic Star Wars rides for example. Each year the park is also famous for hosting the Halloween Horror Nights where they turn major areas of the park into walk-thru haunted houses where park employees are given Hollywood level makeup and costumes to bring these terrifying things to life.
3. The Everglades National Park
The most famous natural area of the state is the Everglades. This swampy region of the state is located in the south and encompasses miles of unique foliage and species of animals found nowhere else in the world. Various conservation projects are in place to preserve this incredible natural habitat.
4. St. Augustine
Known as the oldest settlement in America, this historic town is a must see place for both history buffs and visitors to the state. Many of the original buildings and forts are still standing and preserved in incredible detail. Tours, gift shops, and attractions litter the city to bring you back to this iconic time.
This is truly an amazing place with so much to offer. Before you leave though, be sure to check out our list of Florida State Facts to round out your knowledge of this place. Be sure to tell us about your experiences here in the comments below!