About Florida

Florida (FL), “The Sunshine State”, encompasses approximately 66,000 square miles of the southeastern United States. Florida shares its borders with Alabama to the west and Georgia to the north, while the Caribbean countries of the Bahamas and Cuba are nearby to the south. Florida consists of a panhandle and a substantial peninsula that lies between the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.

Florida was home to 15.9 million individuals at the time of the 2000 Census. Estimates in 2006 suggest the population now lies closer to 18 million residents, which indicates a 13% increase since 2000. Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, accounts for more than 150,000 of that total. With the exception of Texas, Florida is the most populous southern state and the fourth most populous state in the nation. The state’s largest cities include Hialeah,HollywoodJacksonvilleFort LauderdaleMiamiOrlandoPembroke PinesTallahassee,TampaSt. Petersburg and West Palm Beach, FL.

Florida boasts a booming economy that is driven primarily by tourism. Florida’s reputation for beautiful beaches, family friendly attractions, and warm weather attracts more than 60 million visitors each year. Disney World has four exciting theme parks in OrlandoGatorlandand Sea World, also in Orlando, are popular destinations, as well as Busch Gardens inTampa, FL and the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Other popular attractions in FL include the Daytona International Speedway, the Key West Aquarium, several beautiful lighthousesSouth Beach in Miami and St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. Natural attractions include Everglades National ParkFlorida Caverns State Park and Fort Desoto Park, which holds a listing on the National Register for Historic Places. In addition to tourism, the banking, citrus fruit, commercial fishing, and phosphate mining industries also play a major role in the healthy economy. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Florida produced a gross state product of $550 million in 2003.

From the East Coast barrier islands and interior swamplands to the hills of Tallahassee, Florida (FL) features an impressive range of diverse landscapes. While a large portion of Florida’s geography lies at sea level, some cities, such as Clearwater, FL, feature vistas that rest between 50 and 100 feet above sea level. Britton Hill, located in Lakewood, has an elevation of 345 feet and is the highest point in Florida. The majority of the state’s climate is humid and subtropical as a result of the Gulf Stream’s influence. The Sunshine State’s mild fall and winter temperatures balance the steamy hot summertime highs that usually top out in the mid to upper 90’s. Summertime is also Florida’s rainy season, where severe afternoon thunderstorms are a common occurrence. Hurricanes also pose a threat during the summer months.

Florida has a well-established State University System. The system features nearly 30 community colleges, 10 state colleges and myriad private and independent higher learning facilities. Highly regarded universities in Florida include Florida State UniversityNew College of Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Miami and the University of South Florida.

FloridaUSA affords spectacular views of East Coast sunrises and West Coast sunsets that highlight its unparalleled beauty. Multitudes of lively cultural communities, colorful accents, and ethnic foods and music reflect the state’s diverse population, while capturing the spirit of America’s “melting pot”.

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