Description - Nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida is one of the leading tourist states featuring ocean breezes, swaying palm trees, fabulous wildlife and world famous resorts. Discovered in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon, Spaniards established America's oldest city, St. Augustine. Today, this northeastern town, with its surrounding fortifications, is one of Florida's most visited areas.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Eighty-four percent of Florida's gross state product is derived from the service industry and over 40 million people come to relish those services annually. The largest segment of society to visit Florida is the senior population.
Sandy soils, rich swamplands, huge limestone beds and thick cypress forests are home to some of America's most spectacular birdlife, plant life, and wildlife. Floridian's have capitalized on this extraordinary feature creating scenic drives, observation platforms, and boardwalks easily accessible to all ages and abilities.
Florida is also famous for its citrus crops. Approximately 80% of all orange and grapefruit crop enjoyed throughout America is grown in Florida.
- Florida boasts subtropical and tropical climates with 1,200 miles of coastline. The state can be dissected into four regions: panhandle, northern, central and southern. The Florida panhandle is the most heavily forested area of the state. It contains the Apalachicola National Forest, which harbors unique hardwood swamps. Other large natural areas in this region are Blackwater River State Forest and Gulf Islands National Seashore. The region is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, which provides endless water sport opportunities.
Northern Florida's major landform is wetlands. Two major rivers flow through this region of the state, the Suwannee in the west and the St. Johns in the east. Ocala National Forest and Osceola National forest encompass over 500,000 acres of natural area within this region. Other attractions include Atlantic Coast barrier islands and historic sites in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.
Central Florida contains more natural areas than any other region. These include Canaveral National Seashore, Withlacoochee State Forest, several national wildlife areas and state parks. The Kissimmee River flows through this region connecting several large lakes and wetland areas.
Southern Florida lies in the transition zone between subtropical and tropical climates. It is the least populated region in the state. In this region you'll find Everglades and Biscayne Bay National Parks, which support mangrove forests, prairies, cypress swamps and coral reefs. Lake Okeechobee lies in the northern area of south Florida. It is the largest lake in the state, encompassing 3,900 acres.
Recreation - Recreation in this state is focused upon water. The coastline alone provides endless opportunities for boating, water-skiing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, etc. The inland regions provide canoe trails, wildlife viewing and fishing opportunities on lakes, rivers and wetlands. The Florida National Scenic Trail provides a facility for long distance hiking that extends throughout the state.
Climate - Florida's weather is dominated by the water that surrounds it. The Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Gulf of Mexico in the west provide a stabilizing force that maintains the mild climate. Northern Florida is considered sub tropical, although it does receive some snow. This area is drier than the rest of the state. Southern areas of the state, definitely the Keys, lie within a tropical climate. Humidity is high, a characteristic of the climate, although the temperatures usually don't extend past 90 degrees F.
On the average the state receives 50 to 65 inches of rain. Summer is the rainy season, which extends into October in the south. Hurricane season begins in late August. Some hurricanes can bring up to 25 inches of rain. An average of two hurricanes per season reach the Florida peninsula. Most often these storms reach the Atlantic Coast rather than the Gulf Coast.
Florida is the southernmost state along the eastern Atlantic-Gulf Coastal Plain in the continental United States.
January 1 through December 31.