We all like to laugh at the antics of the so called “Florida man”, but we shouldn’t let these take over the fact that the state of Florida is one of the most amazing states that we have in the United States. Of course, there are multiple beautiful things in every state and there are a lot of hidden gems that we are not privy to. Locals in any state know where the coolest locations are and the most amazing facts about their state, and Florida is no different!
We have gathered some of the best local only known facts that are omitted when it comes to tourists and which not many end up finding out about. From who founded the capital of the state, to a very interesting fauna, there is something about everything on our list.
Let us know which of these facts surprised you and which ones you knew about already!
It isn’t every day that we find out that a city was founded by a woman. Given the history of our country, it is quite rare and even more so to find out that a major city has been established by a lady! Miami stands with the impressive title of being the only major American city founded by a woman, and Florida by extension gets to claim the title as well.
Julia Tuttle came to Miami in 1875, and she loved the region so much that she ended up moving there permanently in 1891. She bought a square mile of land along the Miami River, which started at the mouth of the river. Eventually, she managed to convince Henry Flagler to extend his already existing train service from Palm Beach to Miami, by sending him orange blossoms! That is how she came to be known as “Mother of Miami”.
Many people think that Kansas may be the flattest state, but this record is held by Florida and even backed up by people in the American Geographic Society. There is no denying that Florida is one flat state. It is so flat, that Britton Hill, which is the lowest state highpoint in the United States, is found in Florida! Not only that, but it is also Florida’s highest natural point!
Located in Walton County, only 2 miles southeast of Florala, Alabama, it stands at an impressive 345 feet above sea level. It is truly the flattest high place in the whole country!
Dreaming of waterfalls!
Florida is home to 663 miles of gorgeous beaches, hundreds of running springs, and millions of acres of impressive wetlands. Despite all these natural beauties, it is pretty hard to find a waterfall in Florida. It could be because the state is pretty flat.
Of course, man found a way to overcome that and there are a few man-made waterfalls, including some near Dunnellon, at Rainbow Springs State Part. Yet, this still doesn’t make up for the fact that there are only three (yes, three) natural waterfalls in what is dubbed the Sunshine State.
One of them can be found in Gainesville’s state park that has quite a remarkable name. Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is home to a 120-foot deep, 500-foot-wide sinkhole, that has several small waterfalls trickling down its limestone walls. However, as you can imagine, the waterfalls aren’t the main attraction there.
When the state is not visited by an onslaught of draught, you can find another one north of Lake City. Falling Creek Falls is an impressive sight, as the 10-foot waterfall flows through a deep ravine and then disappears into the earth.
The tallest one yet is near Chipley, in Falling Waters State Park. The waterfall there roars at 73 feet only to plunge into a 20-foot cylindrical sinkhole, which, as the one previously mentioned, disappears underground!
However, we’ll give you a pointer: if you want to see these waterfalls at their best, make sure you visit during the rainy season. Obviously, none of the three are comparable to Niagara Falls, but if you want to see an impressive water flow, you should avoid very dry seasons.
Another first for the state of Florida is the fact that located in Delray Beach is the one (and only!) museum dedicated exclusively to Japanese culture and arts! The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a gorgeous location that you have to visit, be it because you are interested in Japanese arts and culture, or just because the gardens are breathtaking.
A fact unknown by most, except for the locals is that the museum celebrates a century-old connection between South Florida and Japan. According to the museum’s site, in the early 1900s, in what is now known as Boca Raton, an agricultural colony called Yamato was formed by a group of young Japanese farmers. Unfortunately, it did not last long as by the 1970s all, but one returned to Japan. George Sukeji Morikami, the only one who remained in Boca Raton, chose to donate his land to Palm Beach County.
By 1977, the museum and gardens opened their gates to the public and since then they have strived to create a cultural understanding between the two homelands of Morikami. An honorable undertaking that we can all benefit from today.
It may be in part due to how good the weather is most of the year, but it could also be in part because a lot of people come to retire in Florida. After all, golf has ended up being associated with rich or old people. Or both!
The reason doesn’t matter as much, because regardless of it this Florida is the No.1 state that has the most golf courses out of the whole country! According to an independent website that has become dedicated to finding the best golf courses in the world, Top 100 Golf Courses, you have the best chances here due to the sheer amount of golf courses you can find.
Apparently, on the peninsula, there are more than 1,250 courses! We do not know how many of those are private or open to the public but we are sure you are bound to find one to your liking.
And we aren’t talking about your own but rather the ones of sharks! Yes, you heard us right. According to Visit Sarasota County, which is the official tourism marketing entity of this county, Venice is the shark tooth capital of the world! Venice, just 19 miles south of Sarasota, is definitely a stop you should add to your travel plans.
Venice is home to numerous beaches along the Gulf and even inside it, and they are home to tons of fossilized shark teeth. Not exactly the whitest of pearly whites, but definitely a souvenir like no other! That is because ten million years ago, Florida was not where it is today: it was completely underwater. With the movement of the tectonic plates, the water eventually receded and all the sharks in the area fell prey to them, leaving the most unlucky out to die. Their skeletons are long gone, but their teeth survived!
According to Visit Sarasota, Venice rests on top of an 18- to 35-foot-deep fossil layer, and the waves and strong storms in the area push the teeth onto Venice’s beaches. There is an abundance of them to find, and locals have been turning them into precious souvenirs. However, you can also take this chance to find your own! The best places to find them are at the beaches south of the Venice Jetty, among which are Casey Key and Manasota Key.
Happy hunting! Just make sure to support the locals too while you’re there.
Crocs and gators!
No, we are not talking about Crocs and their myriad of colorful iterations. We are talking about crocodiles and alligators. Famously, these two big reptiles are not found in the same habitat. Everywhere else around the world it would be a challenge to find them in the vicinity of one another. But here Florida scores yet another first: the Florida Everglades is the only place in the world where the two coexist!
In the massive Everglades National Park, which spread on 1.5 million acres, we can find both tropical and subtropical habitats, making it one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The difference in these habitats is exactly the reason for which the croc and the gator can live together.
Locals can tell the difference between those two easily, but can you? Alligators have a U-shaped snout while the crocodiles have a pointed one, also known as a V shape snout. Their colors are also different, as the crocodiles are a light grayish brown, while the alligators are black.
If Florida is too humid and hot for you. don’t worry! We suggest you give these Vermont destinations a chance!