15 Things You Didn’t Know About Florida


Florida has long been home to tales and lore of strange happenings. Perhaps that is what makes it such a popular place to visit! But even the most experienced Florida visitors may be surprised to learn that there is more to Florida than initially meets the eye. Today, we’d like to share 15 interesting things about Florida that you probably do not already know. To keep things interesting, we’ve ordered this list from the most normal facts to the weirdest, craziest things that have happened in Florida.

  1. Florida’s state song is “Swanee River (Old Folks at Home).” That makes sense, considering that by 2030, a quarter of Florida residents will be over the age of 65.

  2. No matter where you are in the state, you are never more than 60 miles from salt water. This means that no matter which of our vacation pool homes you choose, you’re just a short drive from our beautiful white sand beaches.

  3. Florida is a melting pot where all nationalities – and species – live harmoniously. Particularly, the Florida Everglades are believed to be the only place on earth where crocodiles and alligators coexist.

  4. Miami is home to the first automated bank teller (ATM). This was created due to the large number of rollerbladers who were upset that they could not enter the regular bank on the skates.

  5. In 1971, one-day tickets for Disney World were only $3.50, and it took another 10 years for it to surpass $10 per ticket. Today, tickets vary from day to day depending on whether or not it is a “peak” day. But a one-day ticket for the Magic Kingdom park (the main section of Disney World) will run you about $115. If you want to experience all parks that make up Disney World, be prepared to pay around $170 per ticket. For a family of four to spend one day in all the parks at Disney, that’s almost $700 – and that doesn’t include food or souvenirs. Thankfully, your Disney Vacation Rental will save you some money, and provide you with a private pool!

  6. Humans aren’t the only tourists who come to Florida and want to stay forever. Florida has one of the highest populations of invasive species in the world. These invasive species have no natural predators so they can easily overtake native species by using up natural resources. These species include 8-inch-long snails, pythons, boa constrictors, and various reptiles.

  7. State building codes require every commercial or public building to have outward opening doors. This is due to the strong winds we face during hurricane season so that people can take shelter inside without the wind blowing the doors open. Another great benefit of this standardization? Hopefully you’ll never have to wonder whether to push or pull.

  8. Although Florida is the “Sunshine State,” it is also known for having one of the highest concentrations of lightning in the world, beat out only by Rwanda. The expanse of land between Tampa and Titusville experiences hundreds of thousands of bolts every year. On average, about 70 people are killed by lightning every year in the US, and Florida in particular experiences about 9 deaths by lightning each year. This could be because Floridians spend time outdoors year-round enjoying leisurely activities, meaning they are more likely to be out in the open during a lightning storm.

  9. Florida is home to the oldest European-established town in the United States. While many people learn in their history classes that Jamestown is the oldest settlement in the United States, Saint Augustine was actually established over 40 years before Jamestown by the Spanish. This makes it the oldest continuously inhabited city in the US.

  10. Speaking of Saint Augustine, this town is supposedly one of the most haunted places in America, if you believe in ghosts. From the Old Jail where inmates were tortured and kept in inhumane conditions, to the Spanish Military Hospital, which sits on a Timucuan Native burial ground. Ghost sightings are frequently reported in the town, and ghost tours make up a large portion of the town’s economy.

  11. Florida is home to some unique museums. For baseball fans, check out Schrader’s Little Cooperstown exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum to see nearly 5,000 autographed baseballs. Or, if your interests lie elsewhere, head to the South Florida Museum to see the largest collection of fossilized feces in the world..

  12. Skunk Ape is the new Bigfoot. Apparently, during the 1970s, an eight-foot-tall ape-like creature terrorized the swampland in Florida. He got his name from the supposed foul smell he gave off, ranging from rotten eggs to manure. While Skunk Ape’s existence has never been confirmed, to this day people still claim to spot the creature in their backyard or on the side of the road. At it’s peak, the sightings were reported so frequently that a state representative tried to pass a law that would make it illegal to “take, possess, harm, or molest anthropoid or humanoid animals.”

  13. In 1982, the Florida Keys seceded from America in opposition to a border patrol blockade. This blockade isolated citizens of the Keys from the mainland. This meant that US citizens had to prove their citizenship just to get to the mainland. In protest, Mayor Dennis Wardlow announced the Keys’ secession and renamed the land the Conch Republic. Immediately after declaring the Keys to be its own country, the mayor-turned-prime minister declared war on the United States… and then surrendered within two minutes and asked for millions in foreign aid.

  14. Apparently there was once a cotton-candy colored cloud that chased people through forests, swallowed them whole, and spit out their bones. It is important to consider that this was in the 60’s when recreational drug use increased – we’re just saying. This was most likely low-hanging fog that was hit by just the right light, making it look pink. Nonetheless, this sensation turned into a local folk tale shared by kids and adults.

  15. Florida was once home to the 5th oldest tree in the world – a 3,500 year-old cypress affectionately nicknamed “Senator.” So why are we talking about this tree in past-tense? Well, in 2012, a meth addict climbed into Senator (yes, into it, not up it) to smoke and caught the old tree on fire. She allegedly said in a statement, “I can’t believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus.” We literally could not make this stuff up.

Well, there you have it. This is only a fraction of the bizarre facts we found about our beautiful state, and there are hundreds more to still be discovered! Why not experience some of these phenomenons for yourself? At Vacation Pool Homes, we make vacationing in Florida easy, inexpensive, and fun for the whole family. When you choose one of our beautiful Florida vacation home rentals, you are able to truly enjoy all that Florida has to offer while staying in a place that feels just like home (if your home is equipped with a private pool and luxury amenities). Check out our entire selection of Orlando villas and Florida vacation rentals today, and start planning your next trip with us!