1. Get Used To Weather That Will Make You Crazy
Source: Flickr user GunnerVV
Don’t be fooled by the sunny nickname. Florida is also the nation's lightning capital and sees some wild hurricane attacks. And the humidity is so high you’ll start to get used to your head being a giant frizz ball every day.
2. You’ll Immediately Become A Beach Person
Source: Flickr user Matt Kieffer
In Florida you’re surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, on top of the countless other bodies of water within the state. You can basically fall out of bed and go tanning, swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, snorkeling and scuba diving to look at marine life, reefs and hidden treasure.
3. And Probably Get Lost In The Swamps And Jungles
Source: Flickr user David Berkowitz
Everglades National Park is truly like no other park. You can go from swamps to jungle, prairies, forests and estuaries all within the park borders. Just be on the lookout for gators, iguanas and pythons.
4. Florida Is Where Dreams Come True
Source: Flickr user Randy Pertiet
It’s true, plenty of people come to the state just to visit Mickey and friends without ever actually venturing out into the rest of Florida. Don’t follow the crowd. Although, one of the perks of living here is that you get a resident discount...
5. You Can (And Probably Will) Live The Pirate Life
Source: Flickr user Gordon Tarpley
Florida hasn’t forgotten its history of pirates, shipwrecks and treasure, so if you’re in the mood to wear an eye patch you’ll fit right in at the pirate festivals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers games and expeditions for hidden treasure off the coasts.
6. Everyone Is More Mature Than You
Source: Flickr user Jared
The Florida city of St. Augustine is, believe it or not, the oldest city in the country, settled in 1565 by the Spanish. It’s like going back in time when you enter the city gates.
7. The World’s Biggest Beach Party
Source: Flickr user Jimmy Baikovicius
When people say they visited Miami, they’re probably actually just referring to South Beach.This Miami Beach neighborhood is the ultimate vacation spot with gorgeous beaches, world-class restaurants, nightclubs and more. Too bad the tourists have to go back home while you get to stay!
8. Florida Is A Bunch Of States Living Together...
Source: Flickr user dfbphotos
In Florida you’ll find people from just about everywhere: The Northeast, Midwest and even from other countries. You’ve got citrus country, rodeo country, and historic sites from centuries ago. Even if you’re not sure where you want to end up, there’s somewhere in Florida that’s just right for you.
9. … But No One Agrees On Driving
Source: Flickr user ND Strupler
It’s the drawback to having so many different people in the same place—everyone in Florida is used to their own driving rules, so venture out at your own risk. But if you do manage to survive a drive into town for dinner you’ll be rewarded, since…
10. Florida Food Is A Melting Pot Too
Source: Flickr user Larry Hoffman
Floridians eat a mix of cuisines, some the state can call its own and some borrowed from other cultures. You'll notice seafood fresh from the water and tropical fruit everywhere, plus key lime pie is a Florida favorite. You'll also find something known as Floribbean cuisine, which has a Florida twist on other cuisines, often with Southern, Caribbean and Asian influences.
11. You Can Take Up Celeb Stalking
Source: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa via Facebook
You might just spot stars like Oprah or Michael Jordan around their Florida homes or numerous celebrities visiting for a role or a tour. They might even be there to play, since Florida’s the perfect place for someone with cash to blow.
12. The Snowbirds Migrate To Florida Every Year
Source: Flickr user John Spade
“Snowbirds” are what Floridians call the people who come to Florida to live for part of the year and then go back home. This means that year-round residents have to deal with busier roads, higher prices and packed restaurants and stores until everyone goes back to where they came from. But you gotta grit your teeth and bear it, since...
13. All Those Tourists Are Actually Good For You
Source: Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik
While residents might want to keep the state to themselves sometimes, all the visitors keep it going. In 2013, tourism brought in over $76 billion, from 94.7 million visitors. Look at it like this: For every 85 visitors they get, one local gets a job, so tell your friends!
14. Brace Yourself: Spring Break Is Coming
Source: Flickr user Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Florida’s numbers explode in March and April when the spring breakers invade. But here’s a secret: It's not just the co-eds that flock here. Families also hit the state when their kids are out of school and they’re dying to get away from the cold.
15. You Can Make A Date With A Dolphin
Source: Flickr user Julio Enriquez
Just about everyone in Florida swims with the friendly sea creatures at some points, at locations across the state like Discovery Cove and Marineland Dolphin Adventure. There’s nothing quite like coasting through the waves with a dolphin as your guide.
16. You’ll Catch The Need For Speed
Source: Flickr user Brian Marshall
Contrary to what you might believe, the most important car race of the year isn’t in Indiana. The Daytona 500 is held right here in Florida at the Daytona International Speedway. Floridians get more than a little excited about it, so you’ll catch the fever pretty quick.
17. Move Over, Houston
Source: Flickr user Robert Linsdell
You thought the center of space flight was in Houston? At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex you can live out your sci-fi dream and see what it’s like to be an astronaut, take a tour of the space center and if you’re really lucky you’ll even see a real shuttle launching into outer space.
18. A Spring For Every Season
Source: Flickr user Paul Clark
One of Florida’s true hidden gems is the more than 700 natural springs scattered throughout the state, perfect for swimming, exploring, scuba diving and getting up close and personal with a manatee.
19. Florida Has The Venice Of America
Source: Flickr user Herb Neufeld
Fort Lauderdale has over 160 miles of intercoastal waterways perfect for exploring. You can take water taxis from place to place or even enjoy a tour of waterfront homes of the stars.
20. Key West Is New Orleans Without The Crazy...
Source: Florida Keys via Facebook
Key West’s famous main street, Duval Street, has everything that Bourbon Street could ever offer you, from nightclubs and entertainment to quaint shops and unforgettable dining.
21. ...And You Can Walk From One Shore To Another
Source: Wikipedia user Marc Averette
Duval Street can actually take you from one body of water to another in just over a mile. On one end you’ll find the shore of the Atlantic, but by the time you reach the other end, you’re in the Gulf of Mexico.
22. Everyone Loves The Taste Of Florida In The Morning
Source: Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture
Florida’s soil and sunshine produce over 70 percent of the citrus for the nation, most of which go right into those tall glasses of juice you (and everyone else in the country) enjoy so much with breakfast.
23. You Should Just Learn Golf Now
Source: Flickr user Philip Larson
Florida beats every single other state when it comes to the sheer number of golf courses. It’s no wonder, since you can play almost every day of the year.
24. Headquarters For The 1%
Source: Flickr user Chris Gosselin
Sort of. You’ll find many Florida cities at the top of Forbes’ list of millionaire capitals in America. Seven including Fisher Island and Palm Beach make it on the top 20 cities across the nation with the highest net worth. Who knows who you just might run into strolling on Duval Street.
25. One Capitol Isn’t Enough For Floridians
Source: Flickr user Fibonacci Blue
Tallahassee houses the Historic Capitol building built back in 1845 when Florida became a state, and which now holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. However, Tallahasse also has a new capitol building from the 1970s that towers directly behind the old one. You can be the judge of which one looks cooler.
26. Florida Is Famous, In A Bad Way
Source: Flickr user Erik (HASH) Hersman
When you hear about Florida, it’s usually not for a very positive reason. Controversy over “stand your ground” laws and even fishy elections are usually the reasons why Florida makes headlines nowadays.
27. You Might Just Think You’re In Vegas
Source: Seminole Casino Coconut Creek via Facebook
Gambling is pretty widespread in this state, since many different types are perfectly legal. You can gamble at the dog or horse track, casinos and jai-alai frontons without a care. At least until you lose.
28. Only The Best Play In Florida
Source: St. Lucie Mets via Facebook
Athletes can train year-round in sunny Florida, so it’s become the mecca of hardcore athletes. And it pays off: Miami is the second highest producer of NFL players, and baseball teams across the nation hold their spring training in the state.