What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Florida? The state certainly has its fair share of madness — there’s the Miami cannibal attack of 2012, the 2013 case of the mother-daughter porn duo, and Gov. Rick Scott’s staunch opposition to Obamacare, which has left 764,000 low-income adults in the state without health insurance.
But even with all that, there are many reasons to love the Sunshine State. From our awesome culture, to the amazing food, to the gorgeous scenery, there are plenty of things about Florida that make it just plain awesome. Here are 23 reasons why we still are in love with our oddly-shaped state:
1. Everyone is jealous of Florida’s weather.
And that was a warm day for New York this month. While the northern part of the country spent this winter dealing with the never-ending Polar Vortex, most people in Florida are just hanging out in very comfortable temperatures ranging from the 60s (at the lowest!) to the high 70s. Seriously, that’s usually how low it gets in the winter. Florida may have to deal with a lot of Spring Breakers, but how can you blame those people? We get to wear shorts and t-shirts 365 days a year.
2. Miami is the only major American city founded by a woman.
In 1875, Julia Tuttle first laid eyes on Miami when her father moved into the area as a homesteader. Tuttle decided to move to Miami herself and bought hundreds of acres of land. Miami officially became a destination when she convinced multi-millionaire Henry M. Flagler to extend his east coast railroad line to the area. Tuttle believed the Miami area had the potential to become a great city that would act as a trade center between North America and South America. And she was right.
3. Florida’s varying landscapes and cultures make it easy to take a weekend vacation without ever leaving.
Florida is big. It’s so big that a four-hour drive will get you from Disney World in Orlando to the shores of Miami Beach, and that’s only traversing a small part of the state. Florida’s rich and diverse culture presents a unique opportunity to only drive a few hours and feel like you’re in a whole different place. And that’s a wonderful thing.
4. There are “hidden springs” with underwater caves you can snorkel in.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
It’s easy to understand why Ponce de Leon thought Florida’s natural springs were the “fountain of youth.” They are simply breathtaking. There are close to 900 freshwater springs in Florida, ranging from small ones emitting a little more than a trickle of water, to Silver Springs, the largest spring in Florida, which emits over 550 million gallons of water per day. Experiencing one of these springs is like entering a new world — you can swim in underground caves! Even better, the water temperature at the springs averages 70-75 degrees year-round.
5. Florida has Cape Canaveral, the place that launches spacecraft into the sky.
An AtlasV rocket, carrying the Maven spacecraft, blasts off at Cape Canaveral in November 2013.
When America decided to launch its space program, Cape Canaveral’s location in central Florida proved to be the perfect place due to its close proximity to the Equator, which allows rockets to take advantage of Earth’s velocity if they head eastward for orbit. NASA began building the Kennedy Space Center in 1962, and since then it’s been the home of the Apollo space program and the location of many shuttle launches. Unfortunately, the space shuttle program was retired in 2011, but the site is still launching rockets, even if people aren’t in them.
6. Florida brought the gift of Publix subs to the rest of the (southeastern) United States.
If you’ve never sampled a Publix sub at one of the grocery chain’s stores across the South, you’re missing out. We know Publix doesn’t only exist in Florida, but it was founded in Winter Haven, Fla., in 1930. That means you owe it to the Sunshine State when you bite into that delicious Publix sub.
7. The Miami Heat is arguably the best team in the NBA.
The Heat won back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013, in no small part thanks to Lebron James, who is arguably the best player in the NBA right now. It looks like 2014 is going to be another extremely successful year for Florida’s hottest basketball team.
8. The Orlando area attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in the United States.
It seems like there is an amusement park in Orlando that caters to almost any interest someone could have. We’ve got Islands of Adventure, LEGOLAND, Seaworld and Holy Land Experience, which is a “living, biblical museum that takes you 7000 miles away and 2000 years back in time to the land of the Bible,” according to the park’s website. Oh, and don’t forget about Disney World — the behemoth of theme parks, which includes four individual amusement parks, two water parks, a downtown area, a boardwalk and a “Sports Complex.”
9. Tampa’s Cigar City Brewery makes some of your favorite beers.
This awesome brewery makes the highly popular (among craft beer connoisseurs) Jai Alai IPA. According to their website, many of the beers they produce “reflect the sensibilities and ingredients of Florida.” For example, they make a beer called Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale.
10. Florida provides the whole country with oranges.
Since orange juice is the state beverage, it’s only fitting that the glorious orange is the state fruit. The fruit is a huge part of Florida’s economy, as the state provides the country with most of its oranges. In 2012, Florida produced 70 percent of oranges in the U.S. And that’s important, since our country’s per-person consumption of oranges is higher than that of any other fruit, according to the Ag Marketing Resource Center.
The 13 other reasons why moving to Florida may be the best decision ever can be found by clicking on the link below.