Florida, the 27th state of the United States of America, is located on the east coast and is the southernmost state in the continental United States. It borders Georgia to the north, Alabama to the northwest and lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to this climatic and geographical location, Florida (also known as the Sunshine State) is ideally suited for beach holidays and all kinds of water sports.

Even in winter, the sea water is pleasant for swimming, with the Atlantic (Gold Coast) cooling down even less than the Caribbean (Sun Coast) during the cold season.



Florida Panhandle
with Tallahassee, the capital of Florida

with the cities of Jacksonville and Saint Augustine

with the cities of Orlando, Tampa, Saint Petersburg and Daytona Beach

Sun Coast (southwest) with the cities of Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples, Gold Coast (southeast) with the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Hollywood, southern tip with the Everglades and the Florida Keys archipelago



1 Daytona Beach. known for its 37 km long beach, which can be driven on by car and motorbike at a slow pace.
2 Fort Lauderdale
3 Fort Myers
4 Jacksonville
5 Key West . End point of an island chain worth seeing.
6 Miami
7 Orlando
8 Tallahassee
9 Tampa


Other destinations

Big Cypress National Preserve is situated 45 mi (72 km) West of Miami, Florida in United States. It covers an area of 2,500 sq mi.

Biscayne National Park is situated just outside of Miami, Florida state in United States. It covers an area of 172,971 acres.

Bulow Plantation, thus ruins you can see in the park, was originally constructed in 1821 after Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow bought 4,675 acres of surrounding lands.

Castillo de San Marcos is situated at 11 South Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, Florida. It was constructed in 1672 by the Spanish army when it was part of the Spanish Empire.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is situated in Collier County of Florida in United States. This nature reserve covers an area of 17 sq mi.

Dry Tortugas National Park is situated in Monroe County of Florida Keys in United States. It was known formerly as a Fort Jefferson and it covers an area of 64,700 acres.

Everglades National Park is situated across Collier, Miami-Dade, Monroe counties of Florida. It covers an area of 2,354 sq mi.

Fort Matanzas National Monument is an old Spanish fortress located in St. Johns County, Florida. It was constructed in 1740-42 to secure Spanish possessions in the New World.


As a relatively "young" country, Florida is largely free of classic ABC (Another Bloody Church) category attractions, which for some may well contribute to the attractiveness of the travel destination. A building that is more than 100 years old is almost automatically considered a historical landmark and is already well signposted.

Of antiquity to the northeast is St. Augustine, founded by the Spaniards in 1556, making it the oldest continuously settled settlement in North America. Corresponding to the development of Florida as a holiday region at the beginning of the 20th century, there are numerous examples of Art Deco buildings (e.g. Miami Beach and more recently, and be it the spaceport in Cape Canaveral.

The coastal strips are now often overbuilt and have largely lost their originality. Nature parks are more inland, such as the Everglades swamps. But parts of the island chain of the Florida Keys have also preserved their diverse flora and fauna, both above and below the water.

The lack of historical and natural sights has been compensated for with money. Florida has numerous museums, art galleries, but also technology and automobile museums. Details can be found in the regional and local articles.

In addition, there are numerous amusement parks, especially in and around Orlando, such as Disney World, Epcot or SeaWorld, which attract millions of visitors every year.



Florida is geographically located in the southernmost part of the United States and is a unique blend of many different societies. The Florida Panhandle, much of northern Florida, the rural areas of central Florida, and the Florida Heartland are part of the southern cultural regions, where traditional southern cuisine, entertainment, such as those found in Georgia and Alabama, dialects, and lifestyles similar to those found in Georgia and Alabama. In general, the further south you go in a state, the less Southern it seems, and while Southern culture can be found in all parts of the state, it is not always prevalent.

Cities such as Tampa and Orlando offer a southern feel along with many other cultures. Many people in these areas are from the South, but many are also from other parts of the country, such as the Midwest and Northeast. Miami, on the other hand, is unique in that it is a cross between a major U.S. metropolis and a major Latin American city (such as Rio or Sao Paulo). There are several Seminole Native American reservations and villages in southern Florida, especially in the Everglades, and you can experience their native culture by visiting their stores and browsing their arts and crafts. The southernmost Florida Keys offer another taste of the casual, slow-paced atmosphere of beach life. In short, Florida is an authentic region of the United States in its own right.

Much of southern Florida is populated by Hispanics or Latinos. The predominantly Hispanic or Latino areas extend north to Orlando. Miami has a large Cuban population, and south of Greater Orlando there is a large Puerto Rican population. The white population is larger as one moves north, and the Hispanic/Latino population is very small near the northern border with Georgia and Alabama. The Black or African American population is primarily in mainland Florida and throughout the state, with historically Black communities and history in the Daytona Beach metropolitan area, Jacksonville, and Gadsden County in the Panhandle. Florida's ethnic diversity is not particularly cosmopolitan outside of certain urban areas, but Spanish is spoken in some areas and contributes significantly to the culture. There are some small minority communities, such as Anglo, Franco, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern, but they have a smaller impact on the state's culture than the largest ethnic groups.

A variety of factors combine to make the state less "liberal" leaning than many of the relatively urban and ethnically diverse states in the north, despite being more urbanized than many other southern states. Orlando, the state capital of Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, and the school town of Gainesville lean left, while most of Miami, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Southwest Florida, parts of the East Coast, rural inland areas, and the Panhandle are more conservative than demographically similar areas in other parts of the country The state of Florida is the most conservative region in the country. However, nearly all regions of Florida are politically diverse.


Getting here

By plane
From Europe, the major airports Miami International Airport wikivoyagewikipediacommons (IATA: MIA) and Orlando International Airport wikivoyagewikipediacommons (IATA: MCO)) are frequently served, as well as Fort Lauderdale Airport wikipediacommons (IATA: FLL), Tampa International Airport wikipediacommons (IATA: TPA ) and Fort Myers (Southwest Florida International Airport internet wikipediacommons (IATA: RSW). Other airports can be reached by connecting at Atlanta, Newark, Charlotte, Philadelphia or other East Coast hubs.

Destination airports are for

Panhandle: Pensacola — Tallahassee International Airport (IATA: TLH) - Pensacola International Airport (IATA: PNS) and Tallahassee
East Florida: Jacksonville— Daytona Beach— (Daytona Beach International Airport (IATA: DAB)) and Jacksonville International Airport (IATA: JAX))
Central Florida: In addition to Orlando, Orlando Sanford International Airport (IATA: SFB))
West Florida: Tampa — Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA), Fort Myers — Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW), Sarasota — Bradenton — Sarasota — Bradenton International Airport (IATA: SRQ), and St. Pete — Clearwater — St. Petersburg -Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE)
South Florida & Keys: Miami; Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach — Palm Beach Airport (IATA: PBI) and Key West — Key West International Airport (IATA: EYW)

In the street
If you drive from Georgia along Florida's east coast, you have three routes to choose from.

Interstate 95 (short: I95), which runs from the state border at Yule to Miami. Speeds of up to 75 mph are allowed, but fast progress is not always guaranteed, the I95 is considered to be very congested, especially in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.
US Highway 1 (H1 for short), which runs practically parallel to I95, from Miami it continues to Key West. Speeds up to 55 mph are allowed, you can make relatively quick progress. The road is not without crossings and often crosses the town centres, so you can see a lot, but at rush hour you are stuck in traffic like the locals.
US Highway 1A1 (1A1 for short). 1A1 runs parallel to US1 but even closer to the coast. Speeds up to 30 mph are allowed so allow plenty of time. But you will be rewarded, as the highway sometimes leads along picturesque stretches of beach.

Those driving from Georgia along Florida's west coast have two routes to choose from:
Interstate 75 (I75 for short). From the state border at Jennings, I75 runs to Naples, from there it leads to the east coast and ends in Fort Lauderdale. Speeds up to 75 mph (65 mph in parts) are permitted. Between Ocala and Tampa the route is very scenic.
US Highway 19 (H19 for short). Approximately 40 miles east of Tallahassee, H19 crosses the Florida border and continues into Saint Petersburg. There it merges into the H41 and runs to Naples. From there, head east to Miami. This section of H41 is better known as the Tamiami Trail.
Those driving from Alabama to Florida take Interstate 10 or the H98. I10 runs west (Pensacola) to east (Jacksonville) to the coast.

The H98 also runs from Pensacola to Perry, where it joins and eventually merges with the H19.

By train
Two passenger trains (Silver Meteor and Silver Star) operate daily from the Northeast of the USA, with stops in Jacksonville, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami with through coaches from Orlando to Fort Myers/Tampa. There is also a daily non-stop car train service from Lorton, VA (near Washington, DC) to Sanford/Orlando.

By boat
Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Cape Canaveral are passenger ports served by cruise ships, including transatlantic voyages from Europe.



In the street
If you are on vacation in Florida, you should not do without a set of wheels. There are car rental companies in every city. However, booking from Germany is cheaper, e.g. B. at

Florida is teeming with toll roads and bridges. If you want to make it easy for yourself, ask for an e-passport to be included in the service package when you pick up your rental car. Nothing then needs to be paid at the toll stations.

A few small tips for stress-free car fun:
It is driven on the right
Speeds on signs on the right-hand side of the road
Overtaking is allowed
Right turns – right turns are permitted at red lights unless restricted by an additional sign (no turn on red).
Intersections – at an intersection with 4 stop signs (4-way-stop), first-come-first-served after a short stop.
Breakdown - if you break down, pull up on the right and open the hood to let others know you've broken down. Call the rental company or the Florida Highway Patrol (#*FHP(*347)).

Be sure to note the following:

Lights – lights on when it rains (legal requirement).
Alcohol – no drinking and driving, but also no drinking inside the car. So even if the driver is completely sober and the passenger is holding a bottle, that's "driving while drinking" and it's a criminal offense. Also, an opened bottle must not be left on the back seat. If there's anything left over from the night before, put it in the trunk.
School Buses - School buses that are parked at bus stops with their hazard lights on or warning signs up should not be overtaken. Not even from the oncoming side of the street. Oncoming traffic may only pass if there is a fixed median.
Speeding – you drove too fast and the patrol car stops you: pull up to the right and only look for the papers in your pocket or jacket when asked. Hectic junk while the policeman approaches his own car could be misunderstood. Discussions usually lead to nothing. It is more promising to show remorse and promise that it will never happen again. If you also identify yourself as a tourist, there is a good chance that you will avoid a ticket and fine.
Parking - Parking regulations are strictly enforced and enforced in the United States. Please never block hydrants, leave space approx. 5 m in front of and behind the hydrant.
Roadside markings:
Yellow Stripe: Parking only after 6pm
Red stripe: No stopping
Blue stripe: Disabled parking only
Green stripe: short-term parking (10 min)
White stripe: loading and unloading only

By train
Train travel has traditionally been a more exotic (and expensive!) treat for tourists who don't care about getting quickly from A to B, but rather want to experience the vastness of the country and leisurely watch the landscapes pass by outside the window. Amtrak's Silver Meteor and Silver Star operate once daily in each direction between New York and Miami and also carry sleeper cars. For example, it takes 5:15 to 7½ hours from Miami to Orlando, depending on the connection, and 8½ to 11 hours to Jacksonville.

On the other hand, the Brightline aims to make rail travel an everyday means of transport that – similar to Europe – is also attractive for commuters, business travelers and short-trippers. The 110 km long section from Miami via Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach has been in operation since 2018. The line will then be extended to Orlando and later to Tampa by 2023. The trains run hourly from around 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The travel speed has so far been a maximum of 127 km/h, i.e. about as fast as a regional express in Central Europe, which is a lot by North American standards. The journey from Miami to Fort Lauderdale therefore takes half an hour, from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach 43 minutes, the total distance 1 hour 15 minutes. Depending on the connection and time of booking, each of the two sections costs $15-20, the total distance from Miami to West Palm Beach $20-25 (as of March 2019).

On foot
If people generally don't walk much in the USA, this is especially true in Florida. Of the ten most dangerous cities in the USA for pedestrians, eight are in Florida, above all Fort Myers/Cape Coral, but also the major cities of Orlando and Jacksonville. A positive exception is Miami, which can be considered relatively pedestrian-friendly.



25 minutes north of Downtown Miami is Aventura Mall (19501 Biscayne Blvd, Miami), the third largest mall in the United States. Around 300 retailers on 3 floors or a sales area of 250,000 square meters. Lots of upscale names like Bloomingdale's, Nordstroms, Burberry, Cartier, Dior, Luis Vuitton but also less expensive brands.

If you want to buy English-language books in Florida, the best place to start is with the US monopolist Barnes & Noble, because their branches offer the largest selection, are very pleasantly furnished (with lots of space, carpeted floors, armchairs, toilets, children's play area and café) and that's it invite you to browse and browse for hours.

The most prevalent supermarket chains in Florida are Winn-Dixie, Sweetbay, Publix, Bravo, Presidente (Miami area only) and Sedano's (Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Orlando area only). Self-catering travelers traveling on a very small budget can also take a look at the nearest Walmart supercenter (not a serious grocery department without the suffix "supercenter") or Aldi.

Unlike some other US states, wine and beer in Florida can be bought in supermarkets (Monday through Saturday). Only high-proof spirits are sold exclusively in specially licensed stores (liquor stores).



Contrary to the general notion that the USA only has burgers and fries, there are many places where you can find very good quality restaurants with French, Spanish and Italian influences. The Chinese around the corner are not missing either, just like the Thai or the Indian. Seafood lovers will get their money's worth in Florida: Lobster (lobster), shrimp (shrimp), crab (crabs) and much more are on the menus of the fish restaurants. There is also a large selection of fresh vegetables and fruits. So you can eat healthily.

Of course, the fast food restaurants are not missing in any cityscape. You know a lot more chains here than here in Germany. In addition to the well-known McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Pizza Hut, there would also be Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's and and and.

But you don't have to go to a fast food restaurant to get delicious food relatively quickly. E.g. at T.G.I. Friday's, Applebee's or Chilie's are great places to eat in very pleasant surroundings.

Then there are the family restaurants, which are usually open 24 hours. You can get everything from breakfast to a midnight snack here. The best known are Denny's, IHOP and Perkins.

In all restaurants, except for the fast food chains, the following applies: "Please wait to be seated", wait at the entrance until a nice employee comes and brings you to the table. Tips are expected in the range of 15-20%. This is common in the US, as tips are an integral part of waitress wages. If you don't quite finish your meal, you can ask for a DoggieBag (no, not for the dog). The leftovers can be packed in plastic containers to take away.

If you want to take care of yourself, you won't have any problems. The supermarkets have a rich assortment. The two largest (unfortunately also the most expensive) supermarket chains are Publix and Winn-Dixie. You enter the shop and feel like you're in Cockaigne. Everything is presented extremely neatly and tastefully. On the other hand, e.g. B. FoodLion and Kash'n Karry. On the other hand, you can often get items from the same brand cheaper than in the big supermarkets.

In summary, one can say: culinary wishes are fulfilled.

See the recommended article "Eating and Drinking in the United States" for more on the topic.


Regional cuisine

Once you've had your fill of burgers, steaks and Caesar salads (which are the same from Hawaii to Maine), it's time to give the local cuisine a try. Because the chains, which usually do without regional products, are quite dominant and because many independently run restaurants also tend to cater to guests with conventional tastes, Floridian specialties are not always easy to find. However, Tripadvisor offers a starting point, with which you can search for good restaurants that specialize in seafood or Caribbean cuisine; However, one should again avoid Red Lobster, because this (otherwise quite decent) chain does not take regional things into account.

Here is a (partial) list of foods and dishes to try in Florida:

Crab: Florida serves many interesting and tasty types of crab that are only found in this region, including blue crabs, golden crabs, Gulf stone crabs, and Florida stone crabs.
Crayfish: Rock shrimp grow up to 5 cm, have a hard and prickly shell and taste a bit like lobster. Despite their name, spiny lobsters are not lobsters, but shrimp that grow up to 60 cm long in nature.
Shellfish: Local specialties include scallops, oysters and conch fritters (fried dumplings made from a batter with vegetables and sea snail meat).
Gator: Alligator meat is served breaded, fried, baked, and sautéed.
Ceviche (Seviche): Fish marinated and cooked in citrus juice.
Rice and Beans (Arroz con habichuelas): Classic Puerto Rican soul food often served as a side dish with chicken.
Swamp Cabbage: Cooked palm hearts, which are usually served as a salad.
Cuban Sandwich: Cuban sandwiches are an inexpensive delicacy that early immigrants popularized in Florida. They are made from baguette-like bread topped with ham or pork, cheese, pickles and mustard.
Key Lime Pie: A cheesecake-like pie with a frosting made from lime juice, egg yolks, and condensed milk. Traditionally, the whole thing still has a meringue topping. A no less delicious variant is orange pie. Cakes and tarts are not eaten with afternoon coffee in the USA, but as dessert after the main meals, especially after dinner. Never from the supermarket, but only in the best café in town.
Florida oranges: In addition to California, Florida is a main growing area for oranges, which can be found here in various varieties. You can also find freshly squeezed juice in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. In addition to oranges, many other fruits are also grown in the region, such as grapefruit, tangerines and exotic fruits.
Wine does not thrive well in Florida because of the tropical climate and is prone to disease. The regional winemakers experiment a lot, also with fruit wine, which is mainly made from mango, lime, orange, strawberries and blueberries.
Key Lime Mojito: Cocktail made with rum, lime juice, sugar and soda water.

If you come to southern Florida (especially Miami) and bring a little money with you, you can also try Floribbean cuisine. This Floridian counterpart to French nouvelle cuisine and Alice Walter's Californian cuisine is one of the most interesting and recent developments in American fine dining. As the name suggests, Floribbean Cuisine is an eclectic cuisine where American Southern cuisine meets influences from the Caribbean (Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica). Sacred basic rules are a creative use of spices, the exclusive use of fresh ingredients, the use of fruit (mango, papaya, lime) and an appealing presentation.

Miami has half a million Jewish residents. Anyone who has always wanted to try Gefilte Fish, Lox, Kneidlach or other Jewish delicacies can easily find restaurant recommendations on the Internet.


Night life

Of course, alcohol is only available from the age of 21. Even if you are well over 21, you may be asked for ID when ordering or entering. The "normal" German identity card is often not sufficient, so you should always carry your passport with you. Otherwise the evening will be dry. This is already checked at the entrance to most restaurants. However, some bars allow entry from the age of 18.

For the Tampa area we recommend: Ybor City and the beaches at Clearwater and St. Pete Beach. Many bars offer drinking specials such as a "sink or swim" which is best described as an "alcohol flat rate". Smoking is prohibited in most places in Florida. This has to do with the fact that places where food is served are not allowed to be smoked and most of the hosts have opted for the menu.

For St. Petersburg we recommend:
"First Friday": Every first Friday of the month, Central Avenue (I think between 2nd and 3rd street) is closed, there is live music and lots of people on the street. The best way to watch the hustle and bustle is from one of the balconies, which usually include a wine bar.



When using boats, jet skis, or other vehicles on the water, it may be necessary to slow down significantly in areas where manatees and dolphins are present. Fast moving vehicles can harm the respiratory system of manatees.

Misuse of recreational areas caused record manatee deaths in 2021.



Essentially all hotels offer Wi-Fi Internet access for their guests. Many businesses also offer free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is available in clothing stores, department stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores as well as in general restaurants and shopping malls. All major airports have free Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Internet access is also available at public libraries. It is free to anyone with their own device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) in most cases. Users need a username and password to access the computers installed to access the Internet. Almost all libraries will issue "guest passes" for non-card holders, but they may charge a nominal fee. There are various time restrictions on the use of library computers.

The majority of "Internet cafes" in the state are nominally illegal casinos set up for online gambling to circumvent gaming laws. These Internet cafes are not equipped with typical computers. Instead, they are usually surrounded by a slot machine-style cover, with only a few buttons to push, and set up to allow only gambling websites to be viewed. Users pay a fee for a short time of use, sometimes using bizarre methods such as purchasing prepaid phone cards. After a high-profile crackdown on the operators of dozens of such Internet cafes, the state banned all new Internet cafes from opening in 2013.


Stay safe

Dialing 911 on any phone will connect you to emergency services (police, fire, ambulance, etc.). Any phone connected to the U.S. network can dial 911, whether or not it has a paid account.



The intensity of crime in Florida varies from city to city. While it may be unsafe to walk alone or in small groups at night in certain areas of large cities, this is the exception and most areas of Florida are safe for tourists. Violent crime is rare in tourist areas, but theft does occur from time to time. If an area feels unsafe, it probably is not safe.

Clip joint operators who con tourists into paying large sums of money for low-quality service may use local police to extort tourists under a Florida law that requires bar and restaurant patrons to pay disputed bills first and bring them to the credit card company later. This is not a good idea.



Florida has a high incidence of hurricanes, but hurricanes do not strike every year. If you are visiting Florida during hurricane season (June 1 through November 30), you may want to check our hurricane safety page.

Few places in the world have lightning strikes as frequently as Florida. Florida's frequent summer thunderstorms cause many deaths and injuries each year. Stay indoors during thunderstorms and never take shelter under a tree. Most of the deaths and injuries occur on golf courses, but lightning strikes everywhere. If you must go outdoors during a storm, stay away from tall objects, especially trees and metal objects.

Thunderstorms can also bring hail, high winds, and tornadoes. The historical number of tornadoes in Florida is somewhat higher, but the overwhelming majority occur during hurricanes (Hurricane Jean alone produced more than 200 tornadoes in Florida). Some occur during winter cold fronts and summer thunderstorms, but 99% of these are weak (F-0/F-1). Therefore, tornadoes are not a major hazard in Florida, although statistics may suggest otherwise.

Be careful where and when you swim Beaches are great, but sometimes there are rip currents, bacteria, and jellyfish. Always check with the lifeguard stand or ranger station before swimming if no one is in the water or if the waves are rough.

Red tide is the name for a harmful algal bloom that can occur along Florida's Gulf Coast. Red tide causes fish kills, water discoloration, and releases toxins into the air that cause respiratory irritation. People with severe or chronic respiratory problems, such as emphysema or asthma, should avoid areas where red tides occur. Swimming in waters where red tides occur is not recommended because it can cause skin and eye irritation.

Heavy rains make roads hazardous. Florida's highway drainage systems are necessarily well designed, but during the worst storms it becomes almost impossible to see through the windshield. Light and torrential rains can be as much as 100 feet apart, so when a heavy rainstorm hits, even major interstate highways typically slow down to 20 mph if necessary. However, there are a few drivers who ignore that procedure and speed anyway. Even though it is common, it is illegal to drive in the rain with hazard lights on. Hazard lights should only be used when the vehicle is at a complete stop.



Alligators are a threat throughout Florida (even inland like Orlando and Walt Disney World) and should be considered present in stagnant or slow-flowing freshwater. Never swim in lakes or rivers unless there are signs indicating that swimming is safe. Keep children and pets away from the water.

Bears and Florida panthers, which were common before Europeans arrived in Florida, are now both endangered in Florida. If you see either, back away slowly or keep your distance and wave your arms above your head to make yourself look bigger. When hiking, be loud so as not to startle the animals, and keep small children close to you at all times. Both species are endangered and protected by Florida law. Harassing or injuring them (even if it is a car accident) will result in prosecution.

Volusia County is known for its shark attacks, but sharks can occur anywhere in the state, so be careful when surfing. Still, of the millions of tourists and residents who swim in the ocean, fewer than 50 attacks occur and one fatality occurs every two to three years. Bathing in the ocean between dusk and dawn is most dangerous.

Lionfish are venomous non-native fish and are found in coral reefs throughout Florida. They can be recognized by their red and white striped bodies and venomous spines. Stings are extremely painful and often require hospitalization. Because it is an invasive species, any sighting of the minnow should be reported immediately to wildlife management authorities.

Jellyfish can also often be found on beaches, and venomous snakes can be found year-round in the state, so you should be wary of both.



The official language of Florida is English. However, Spanish is the native language of about 20% of Floridians, and the further south you go, the more Spanish speakers you will find. In some areas of South Florida, Spanish is preferred in everyday life. Miami is the most prominent, with nearly 80% of its residents non-native English speakers and 30% not speaking English at all. Tampa also has a large Spanish-speaking population, with some areas almost exclusively spoken in Spanish. As in other language-rich places, Spanish words and expressions can be expected to be used or quoted in everyday English.

Along the northeastern coast, near the Georgia border, Gullah, a distinctive English-based Creole language, is spoken by the African American community.

Non-Hispanic Floridians from the northern part of the state usually speak with a southern accent. However, after millions of Americans moved to the central and southern parts of the state from other states, the southern dialect is being diluted with other accents. Miami residents often speak with a distinctive accent that is strongly influenced by Cuban Spanish.



Florida is known throughout the world for its warm, sunny climate, which makes it a major tourist destination. Florida has the mildest winters in the continental United States, and retirees and transients, known as "snowbirds," flock to Florida during the colder months. On the coast, summers are mild and breezy, and the beaches are usually the coolest places to be.

Coastal breezes provide welcome relief from scorching temperatures, but they are also the cause of thunderstorms, a well-known feature of Florida weather. Visitors to Florida during the rainy season (mid-June through September) should plan a few afternoon indoor activities as a backup. Florida thunderstorms occur daily during the rainy season, usually forming 20-30 mi (32-48 km) inland and moving either toward the center of the state or toward the coast. This means that just a few miles inland from the coast, rain can fall and beachgoers can experience a beautiful day.

While storms cool the atmosphere and provide brief relief from stifling temperatures, many storms produce large amounts of dangerous lightning, and some can bring hail, winds of 50 mph (80 km/h) or more, and tornadoes. For more information on thunderstorm safety, see the "Staying Safe" section. Many tourist destinations, such as Walt Disney World, allow visitors to enjoy multiple attractions even during downpours.

Spring is the driest time of year, with wildfires occurring almost every May and early June.

The six-month hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, and Floridians have learned to prepare for when storms threaten the area; if you plan to visit from June through November, and especially during the peak of the hurricane season from August through October, be aware of news and weather warnings. Information is available from the National Hurricane Center. Cyclones are unlikely, but possible in May.

From May through October, Florida has a hot and rainy season. Highs are often in the 80s to 90s F and lows in the 70s F. The Bermuda High pressure system brings hot, unstable tropical air from the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico, creating the typical daytime thunderstorms of a Florida summer. Intense but very brief downpours are common during the Florida summer. The rainy season usually begins to wane by early November in northern Florida and reaches southern Florida by late November.

From December through April, Florida's climate is often mild and dry. The dry season (or winter) is often the driest and sunniest in Florida, with average maximum temperatures ranging from the low 60s F in northern Florida to the mid 70s F in southern Florida. Overnight lows range from the mid-40s in north Florida to nearly 60 degrees in south Florida. A few times each year, strong cold fronts can bring temperatures down to near freezing in north Florida, but many years south of central Florida do not freeze. During the driest months, Florida often experiences long stretches of rainless days, and drought conditions around April can lead to grass burning and water supply restrictions.



Geographical location

Florida consists of the Florida Peninsula and the mainland part of the Florida Panhandle and is located in the south-east of the United States. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico on the west and south coasts.

The state has an island chain at the southern end whose islands are called "Keys". The best known are the Florida Keys, which are connected by 42 bridges. At the end of this chain of islands is Key West. From there it is only 140 kilometers to Cuba. Key West is also the southernmost point of the continental United States.

With a total area of 170,304 km², Florida ranks 22nd among the states. 30,634 km² (17.99%) of the national territory are water areas.


Expansion of the national territory

Florida has a latitude of 260 km between 79° 48' W and 87° 38' W and a length of 800 km between 24° 30' N and 31° 00' N.


Neighbore states

To the north are the US states of Georgia and Alabama. It is close to Cuba, Haiti and other Caribbean countries. It is the southernmost state in the United States after Hawaii.



Florida's coastline is world famous, with several gorgeous beaches, bays, and estuaries. However, Florida's terrain is very flat, with lakes and wetlands dotting much of the state, but the lack of terrain results in a mixed ecosystem. The only exceptions are parts of the Highlands, Polk, and Lakes, and a few other counties in the central part of the state, where rolling hills are common. The highest point in the state is Britton Hill at 345 feet (105 m) in the Panhandle, and Iron Mountain at 298 feet (91 m) in Polk County is the highest point on the peninsula.

Florida's cities tend to be large, sprawling, and well-developed, but they are not as close to each other as they appear on maps. Despite its high population density, the state is fortunate to retain some wilderness areas.

Some regions of the state grow citrus and sugarcane, but most of the farmland is outside the usual tourist areas. The Florida Panhandle and much of northern Florida consists of farmland and pine trees, but as one moves southward, wetlands and urbanization develop, culminating in the Everglades in the southern part of the state near Miami. The Florida Keys are small tropical islands with a unique topography.



The Florida Continental Shelf is a 700 km long bulge of the North American continent. The Florida peninsula is the oversea part of this bulge, the panhandle belongs to the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. The deep subsurface is composed of Precambrian volcanic rocks, Devonian sedimentary rocks and later Triassic and Jurassic volcanic rocks. Overlying this are young sedimentary rocks from all periods between the Jurassic and the Holocene. Limestone, which is predominantly highly porous, characterizes the structure. The central aquifer, which is important for Florida's fresh water supply, lies in this porous limestone. The chemical erosion on the surface of the limestone leads to karst formations.

Florida is particularly affected by rising sea levels. Sea level has risen 9 inches in Miami Beach since about 1920. The rising salt water is entering the aquifer and has led to the loss of drinking water supplies since the 1990s. In addition, drainage ditches lose their slope towards the sea, so that flood areas can no longer be drained.


Flora and fauna

In Florida there are mainly subtropical wet forests - consisting mainly of pine trees and various types of palm trees - which in the extreme south and on the southern coastal areas change into tropical forms of vegetation - here are mainly the swamp cypress forests, the "tropical forest islands" in the Everglades swamps (hammocks) and called the mangrove forests on the coast. In the interior of the country, the forests form partly open areas, which are referred to as "prairies", although they also have a high proportion of woody plants in addition to grasses. The state's biodiversity and biodiversity is among the highest in the United States.

The landscapes, some of which are largely unspoilt, are home to over fifty endangered species, including the Caribbean manatee, leatherback turtle, Atlantic ridley and hawksbill sea turtle, and American crocodile in the waters, mammals Florida panther (puma subspecies), Key -White-tailed deer and Florida bulldog bat, as well as numerous species of birds including the bald eagle.

Florida is one of the world's focal points for invasive alien species introduced by humans. These include, for example, the ragweed, the Asian ladybird or the dark burmese python in the Everglades. The proximity of the natural areas to the densely populated coastal cities with plenty of tourism and trade favors this development. Not all newcomers are necessarily harmful. However, Florida has a number of species that have become a major threat to endangered native species. The python in particular has multiplied enormously in South Florida and (as of 2015) destroyed up to 99 percent of the existing possums, raccoons or marsh rabbits. Native to Southeast Asia, the snake was probably released by private keepers when the import and sale of constrictor snakes was still legal in Florida. In view of the problem, this has now been banned. Today, the Water Board pays a bounty for every python shot. In view of the suspected 30,000 animals, however, this is a hopeless fight.



The Windover archaeological site near Titusville provides important information about the early settlement of Florida. were excavated.

Spanish Expeditions
Archaeological finds suggest that Florida had been inhabited for thousands of years before it was discovered by European settlers. The east coast of Florida was discovered by the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León in 1513. In 1521, Ponce de León - equipped and accompanied by a group of settlers - traveled to Florida again to found a colony of La Florida for Spain there, which was smashed by the indigenous population. In 1528, conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez, hoping to find gold in Florida, explored the west coast of the peninsula, but was also thwarted by local hostility. Narváez was eventually shipwrecked, but his officer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca survived and returned to Spain, where he was able to report on the expedition. This inspired Hernando de Soto to attempt another invasion in 1539. Like Narváez, De Soto also landed on the west coast and from there undertook an extensive expedition through what is now the southeastern United States, which, however, again failed to find gold or a suitable site for founding a colony, so that after De Soto's death the Spanish died Expedition tasks. In 1559 Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement in the Pensacola area, but gave it up again two years later.

Huguenot and Spanish settlements
In 1562, the Frenchman Jean Ribault, who was looking for a possible settlement for Huguenot emigrants, explored the mouth of the St. Johns River on the east coast of Florida. In 1564 his compatriot René Goulaine de Laudonnière founded the first Huguenot settlement, Fort Caroline. The Spaniards saw themselves challenged and installed a governor of Florida in 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who had the French fort destroyed in the same year and founded 60 km south of San Agustín, the first permanent European settlement on the North American mainland should. From San Agustín the Spaniards began to cover the southeast with a network of Catholic missions.

British and French hostilities
In 1586 San Agustín was attacked and plundered by the English privateer and later Vice Admiral Francis Drake. In the 17th century, English settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas continually tried to push the Spanish colony's frontier southward. The French settlers on the lower reaches of the Mississippi did the same. In 1702, the British colonial governor of South Carolina, Colonel James Moore, had San Agustín destroyed with the help of allied Muskogee Indians; However, he did not succeed in capturing the Spanish fort. Two years later, Moore began burning down Spanish missions in northern Florida and killing Indians on friendly terms with the Spanish. In western Florida, the French took the Spanish settlement in Pensacola, which had existed again since 1696, in 1719.

Under British rule
After the Seven Years' War, Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain, which in return gave the Spanish control of Havana. This exchange was contractually sealed in 1763 in the Peace of Paris. Up to this point, La Florida only covered part of what is now the state of Florida; the southern border was near present-day Gainesville. The British divided the territory into East Florida and West Florida and pursued a consistent colonization policy. They offered the settlers free land and support in setting up export-oriented companies. In order to meet the need for workers, large numbers of bonded laborers were brought to Florida from Europe. In 1767, the borders of West Florida were extended northward to include what is now southern Mississippi and Alabama.

fate of the indigenous population
Florida natives died in their thousands after the first Spaniards arrived because they were not immune to the diseases they brought with them. Entire peoples were wiped out, and it is believed that after the British took over Florida, the Spanish brought the few Indians who survived in their Catholic missions to safety in Cuba. In the course of the 18th century, however, the peninsula was again settled by Native Americans, as parts of the Muskogee, who had divided among themselves, began to flow in from the north. As a result of the Yamasee War, many Yuchi and Yamasee refugees also made their way to Florida. Despite their heterogeneous roots, these Indians were uniformly referred to as "Seminoles".

Again under Spanish rule
In the American Revolutionary War, Spain, fighting on the side of France against the British, regained control of most of western Florida in 1781. The Treaty of Paris (1783) restored all of Florida to Spain. Thereafter, there was no significant Spanish settlement, but the Spanish settlement policy attracted migrants, particularly from the United States. Florida also became a place of refuge for slaves who escaped from the southern states because the Spaniards had promised them freedom if they professed the Catholic faith.

American conquest
In 1810, British settlers rose up against Spanish rule and proclaimed a Free and Independent Republic of West Florida on September 23, which lasted only a good ten weeks.

On October 27 of the same year, portions of West Florida were claimed by the United States, which claimed the region was part of the Louisiana Purchase, in which the US acquired the French colony of Louisiana in 1803. The handover of the affected areas, which were subsequently incorporated into the Orleans Territory and the Mississippi Territory, took place in December 1810. After the First Seminole War (1817/1818), during which American troops repeatedly invaded Spanish territory, the USA controlled it entire area of West Florida. Since the British-American War (1812-1814), parts of East Florida have also been under American control.

Under American rule
The Americanization of Florida came to an end in 1819 with the Adams-Onís Treaty, in which the United States renounced land claims in Texas in return. On July 17, 1821, later US President Andrew Jackson officially took control of Florida in Pensacola. On March 30, 1822, Florida became an organized territory. East Florida and West Florida were united, but much of West Florida remained attached to the Orleans Territory and the Mississippi Territory. Tallahassee became the new capital of the territory.

Florida experienced an economic boom in the 1830s as a result of Indian resettlement. This was additionally promoted by the debt-financed expansion of transport routes. In 1840, Florida's national debt had therefore increased massively. With a debt ratio of 77% of economic output, Florida was at the top of the American states and territories. As a result of the economic crisis of 1837, Florida had to file for national bankruptcy in 1840 and no longer service its government bonds.

state of the USA
On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States. During the Third Seminole War (1855-1858), most of the remaining Seminole were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory. Under the leadership of Governor Madison S. Perry, Florida left the Union on January 11, 1861 and joined the Confederate States. After the defeat in the American Civil War and the suicide of Governor John Milton, Florida was placed under military occupation as part of the Reconstruction. A new constitution was not drafted until 1868, and on June 25, 1868, Germany was reintegrated into the Union. The "Reconstruction" ended with the "Compromise of 1877". In it, Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana agreed to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, which was controversial due to an unclear election outcome, if all US troops were to leave these states at the same time.

The oil magnate Henry Morrison Flagler began developing Florida for tourism in 1885. He was the builder of the railway line on Florida's east coast (Florida East Coast Railway). On January 22, 1912, the first train ran to Key West. Flagler created a kind of American Riviera. The Florida land boom drew tourists as well as residents from the North to Florida. However, the boom was stopped by the Miami hurricane (1926), the Okeechobee hurricane (1928) and the Great Depression. The recession hit the tourism industry hard. The arrival of the Mediterranean fruit fly then hit citrus growers and further clouded Florida's economy. During the Second World War, the military built many training barracks in Florida due to the strategically favorable location. However, Florida's economy only recovered after the end of World War II.

In 1947, US President Harry S. Truman declared the Everglades a national park. In 1967, the Supreme Court forced Florida to become one of the last states in the United States to lift the ban on intermarriage. Since the 1960s, Florida has also become a destination for tens of thousands of immigrants from Central and South America, many of them Cubans. While 2.7 million people lived in Florida in 1950, there were already more than 18 million in 2006/08. In 2000, a controversial voter count in Florida decided the US presidential election. George W. Bush, brother of then Governor Jeb Bush, became the 43rd President of the United States.



Governor and state government

Ron DeSantis of the Republican Party has been the governor of the state since January 8, 2019.

The governor exercises executive power at the state level, that is, he directs state government and sets policy guidelines. He has the power of pardon, appoints senior officials and judges of the state Constitutional Court, and plays a central role in legislation, signing and vetoing legislation. He is also the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard and represents the state externally. The governor is directly elected by the people every four years. Other important members of the Executive Branch are the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Treasurer (roughly equivalent to a Treasury Secretary).

State Legislature
Legislative power at the state level is exercised through the Florida Legislature. It consists of a state senate with 40 directly elected senators and the house of representatives with 120 directly elected representatives. The terms of office are four or two years. Republicans hold the majority of seats in both chambers. The seat of the legislature is the Capitol in Tallahassee, the state capital.

political landscape
Like the other southern states, Florida was strongly influenced by the Democrats until the 1950s. Republican dominance was probably also due to the immigration policy of the Democrats, which was considered too liberal. Growing urbanization in the 1940s and 1950s gave Republicans a political base in the suburbs, which attracted many Republican-voting internal migrants from the Northeastern United States. The Republicans won their first congressional seat in Florida since 1880 in the 1954 election in the Tampa Bay Area (William C. Cramer) and their second in the 1962 election on the central-east Space Coast with Edward Gurney winning his first seat since Reconstruction in 1968 United States Senate for Florida won. The southern tip of Florida has been made a contested area by the mass immigration of exiled Cubans leaning toward the Republicans. Republican presidential candidate George HW Bush won Florida by a 22 percentage point margin in the 1988 election, but centrist Democrat Bill Clinton won many of the suburban residents in the 1990s, such as in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties, who have since voted increasingly Democrats .

Currently, the Republican-to-Democrat ratio is about 1:1, although Republicans have increasingly gained strength in recent years. The state is changing demographically due to rapid population growth. The groups that make up the largest number of immigrants in Florida are the so-called Hispanics and the Snow Belt retirees. Both groups cannot be clearly assigned to either of the two parties in their entirety. Therefore, immigration in Florida, which has also been able to break away from its image as a sun-drenched agricultural state, does not bring any clear advantages to any political camp. The very close outcomes in the presidential elections in Florida in recent years make the state almost unpredictable for pollsters. In addition to the change from a southern state to a melting pot, the population growth also brought with it an enormous increase in the electoral vote. In relation to the other US states, Florida has increased the most since the New Deal. Florida provided seven in 1940, eight from 1944, ten in 1952, 14 in 1964, and then 17 in 1972. The rapid increase in population began in the 1980s, when more refugees from Cuba settled in Florida. The numbers developed as follows: 1984, 21 votes; 1992, 25 votes; 2000, 27 votes. Florida moved up from 31st place in the electoral college to fourth place, which it has held since 1992. With the exception of 1964, 1976, 1996, 2008 and 2012, Florida always voted in favor of the Republicans in the presidential elections from 1952 onwards.[26] In the presidential elections between 1992 and 2016, the Democrats received a total of 24,140,463 votes and the Republicans 24,122,710, just 17,753 fewer, which is why Florida is now considered an important swing state at the presidential level, while at the state level most offices are now in Republican hands .

In Miami, the liberal Democrats are competing with the rich Cuban exiles, who are more Republican-leaning. Tampa used to be the center of the Democratic Party, but has become a Republican center in the 2010s decade. The university town of Tallahassee has become a new strong center for the Democrats. While the Democrats rely primarily on African Americans as a reliable constituency and the Republicans can count on a majority of Latinos, both parties have long sought moderation and centrism to win over suburban and retiree voters. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, on the other hand, Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum, who both belong to the right and left wing of their party and who aim to mobilize their own party base through polarization, prevailed instead of the moderate candidates favored by the respective party leadership.

When a 2018 referendum in Florida restored ex-convicts – with the exception of murderers and sex offenders – to vote, the Republicans there, led by Ron DeSantis, decided that the ex-convicts (most of them black or African American, who were eighty-something percent vote for the Democratic Party) are only allowed to exercise their right to vote after paying off their debt associated with serving their sentences. Almost 1.5 million people, about five percent of the state's population, had actually regained their right to vote after the referendum, but the Republican debt regulation held up even after lawsuits were filed in the Florida Supreme Court.

After Donald Trump's success in Florida in the 2020 presidential election, it became even more likely that Florida could permanently develop into a Red State in future elections.

Florida will have 30 voters in the Electoral College for the first time in the 2024 United States presidential election, up from 29 since 2012.



Florida has multiple teams in each of the four major leagues. Three teams play in the NFL, the world's most important American football league: The Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins, who play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The Miami Marlins baseball team also played in this stadium before moving to Marlins Park, which was built on the site of the former Orange Bowl Stadium. Another MLB team are the Tampa Bay Rays from Saint Petersburg. Two franchises are also based in Florida in the National Hockey League: the Florida Panthers of Sunrise north of Miami and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Orlando Magic is home to the Orlando Magic basketball team. They play with the Miami Heat in the NBA. Orlando City (home games at Exploria Stadium in Orlando) and since 2020 Inter Miami (home games in Fort Lauderdale) have played in the top US soccer league MLS. When it comes to motor sports, Daytona Beach stands out with its Speed Week and the annual races for the US NASCAR racing series.


Economy and Infrastructure

Florida's economic output was $926 billion in 2016, making it the fourth-highest performing state in the United States and accounting for 5.02% of the total American economy. Counted as a separate country, Florida's economic performance would roughly match that of Indonesia. Real gross domestic product per capita (per capita real GDP) was USD 44,964 in 2016 (national average for the 50 US states: USD 57,118; national ranking: 39). The unemployment rate was 3.6% in November 2017 (national average: 4.1%).

Florida's climate and many beaches make it an interesting leisure destination for vacationers from all over the world, as well as a retirement home for many Americans. Because of the unbearably muggy weather, the high season tends to be away from the summer months of June/August. The various amusement parks Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld and last but not least the Walt Disney World Resort with the parks Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (formerly: MGM Studios) and Animal Kingdom near Orlando are major attractions for tourists. In addition, the economy focuses on the cultivation of citrus fruits (50% of US consumption) including juice production, there are numerous banks and phosphate is mined.

In addition, Florida is the most important launch site for NASA and the US Air Force for their space missions from Cape Canaveral, from 1963 to 1973 Cape Kennedy.