Florida (nicknamed the Sunshine State and known for its balmy climate and natural beauty) – Spanish for „land of flowers“ (name in tribute to Spain’s Easter celebration known as „Pascua Florida“ or Feast of Flowers) – is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida’s most populous urban area. The city of Tallahassee is the state capital.
A peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, it has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida in 1513, possibly near present-day St. Augustine, to claim Florida for Spain. This is when written records about life in Florida began. First permanent European settlement is established in 1565 in St. Augustine by Spain. During the first half of the 1800s, U.S. troops waged war with the region’s Native American population. Florida becomes a U.S. Territory in 1821.
Beginning in the late 19th century, residents of Northern states flocked to Florida to escape harsh winters. In the 20th century, tourism became Florida’s leading industry and remains so today, attracting millions of visitors annually. Florida is also known for its oranges and grapefruit, and some 80 percent of America’s citrus is grown there.
Home to many state parks, amusement parks, beautiful beaches, and numerous other attractions like Walt Disney World in Orlando, The Everglades National Park, The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station, Sea World Orlando, Busch Gardens, Dry Tortugas National Park, The Salvador Dali Museum…The Sunshine State offers a plethora of options regardless of the type of traveler you are. It is easy to see why Florida is a popular vacation destination.