Doing my research as Visit Florida’s UK Insider, I come across lots of weird and wonderful facts about Florida. So I thought I’d share a few. You never know, they may even come in handy at a pub quiz too!
1. The state of Florida is roughly the size of England and Wales, covering an area of approximately 65,578 square miles.
2. Florida means ‘feast of flowers’ in Spanish. Florida was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, on April 2, 1513. He named it ‘Pascua de Florida’ and claimed it for Spain.
3. The first permanent European settlement in America was established in 1565 in St Augustine, Florida, by Spain. Florida was the 27th state to join the United States on 3 March 1845.
4. With more than 3,000 lakes and more than 1,000 golf courses - more golf courses than in any other US state - Florida is a golfer’s paradise.
5. The city of Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America because of its canal system, with 185 miles of local waterways.
6. Did you know that The Florida Everglades are the only place in the world where alligators and crocodile co-exist?
7. Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about shells you can find out at the Baileys Matthew Shell Museum in Sanibel. It has over 2,000 shells, 30 exhibits and claims to be the world's only museum devoted solely to mollusks.
8. Florida is the only state that has two rivers both with the same name - Withlacoochee in north central Florida (Madison County) and Withlacoochee in central Florida.
9. Key West has the highest annual average temperature in the US of around 25°C.
10. It’s claimed that the first sunblock was invented in Miami Beach, in 1944, by pharmacist Benjamin Green. Called Red Vet Pet (it was a red gel) it was used to protect American GIs from the sun in World War II. He later added cocoa butter to develop what eventually became suntan cream.