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Governor Rick Scott
Showcasing the Best of Florida in culture, travel, business and entrepreneurship
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Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida.
Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Tallahassee is the state capital.
Much of Florida is a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida.
Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, encompassing approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km) and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil.
The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. Some of its most iconic animals, such as the American alligator, crocodile, Florida panther and the manatee, can be found in the Everglades National Park.
Today, Florida is distinguished by its large Hispanic community and high population growth, as well as its increasing environmental concerns.
Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritances. Native American, European American, Hispanic and African American heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine.
Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway, and Tennessee Williams and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.
In the twentieth century, tourism, industry, construction, international banking, biomedical and life sciences, healthcare research, simulation training, aerospace and defense, and commercial space travel have contributed to the state’s economic development.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Florida in 2010 was $748 billion. Its GDP is the fourth largest economy in the United States. In 2010, it became the fourth largest exporter of trade goods.
The major contributors to the state’s gross output in 2007 were general services, financial services, trade, transportation and public utilities, manufacturing and construction respectively. In 2010–11, the state budget was $70.5 billion, having reached a high of $73.8 billion in 2006–07.
Chief Executive Magazine named Florida the third “Best State for Business” in 2011.
The economy is driven almost entirely by its nineteen metropolitan areas. In 2004, they had a combined total of 95.7% of the state’s domestic product.
Florida’s export shipments of merchandise in 2014 totaled $58.6 billion.
The state’s largest market was Brasil. Florida posted merchandise exports of
Tourism makes up the largest sector of the state economy. Warm weather, sunshine, and hundreds of miles of beaches attract about 60 million visitors to the state every year. Florida was the top destination state in 2011.
Many beach towns are popular tourist destinations, particularly during winter and spring break. Twenty-three million tourists visited Florida beaches in 2000, spending $22 billion.
The public has a right to beach access under the public trust doctrine, but some areas have access effectively blocked by private owners for a long distance.
Amusement parks, especially in the Greater Orlando area, make up a significant portion of tourism. The Walt Disney World Resort is the largest vacation resort in the world, consisting of four theme parks and more than 20 hotels.
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex. America’s spaceport for the manned missions to the moon and the Space Shuttle, in Cape Canaveral. The visitors complex contains spacecraft displays, two IMAX movies, the Astronaut’s Hall of Fame, displays/exhibits chronicling the history and future of space exploration/travel, a new Space Shuttle Launch Experience, and more. edit
- Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet
St. Augustine, founded by the Spanish in 1565, is the United State’s oldest continually settled city. It contains a large fort, a museum concerning the city’s history and plenty of nearby shops.
Gatorland – Full of Florida’s most unique animal, in Orlando.
- Spring Training Baseball occurs throughout the state in March and offers the ability to watch your favorite players for discount prices (front row tickets can be purchased as low as $15-20) and in smaller, more intimate venues.
- Salvador Dalí Museum. In downtown St. Petersburg, is the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Europe. edit
- Sunshine Skyway Bridge is part of Interstate 275 crossing the mouth of Tampa Bay. It is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world and an engineering masterpiece.
- Holocaust museum. Located in downtown St. Petersburg. The Holocaust museum is one of the largest in the US and exhibits a box car used by Nazis to transport prisoners to concentration camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka. edit
- Daytona International Speedway, located 1.5 miles off the Daytona Beach exit (261) on I-95.
- Home of the number one event in stock car racing – the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Daytona 500 (February) and other events throughout the year.
- Ybor City. Ybor City is one of the largest party districts in the country. Countless bars, restaurants, clubs, and cigar stores are located within this district near downtown Tampa.