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Billed as the Sunshine State, Florida delivers balmy days, sandy beaches, and a year-round slate of outdoor activities like golf and boating. Thousands of visitors trek to its many attractions each year, eager to experience Disney World, the Epcot Center, the mermaids of Weeki Wachi, and SeaWorld Orlando. Retirees are drawn to the area's warmer climes, and families come to work in the booming tourism and aerospace industries.
When you move to Florida, you'll need to get a FL driver license and register your car in the state, as well. Check out the state's website for a quick FAQ on various issues. Also, see the following links on this site to get you started:
- Get your Florida driver license: The Division of Driver Licenses has dozens of offices throughout the state to serve you.
- Obtain insurance with a Florida insurer: You'll need to comply with the state's auto insurance requirements before applying for a title and registering your vehicle. Find details about minimum insurance requirements on this site.
- Apply for title and registration: This business is handled by your county tax collector's office. We also have information on how to register your boat.
Florida's average temperatures range from about 53 degrees in the winter to 80 degrees and more in the summer. All that sunshine doesn't come without a price, however. The state has a six-month hurricane season (June through November), too. See the National Hurricane Center for more information and resources. Also find current weather information for major Florida cities.
With Florida as one of the world's top travel destinations, the tourism industry brings in about $57 billion of the state's income. The aerospace industry has also been a key part of Florida's economy ever since Kennedy Space Center was built in the 1960s. Agriculture is third on the state's list of healthy industries; Florida leads the Southeast U.S. in farm income.
No article about Florida is complete without mentioning the wealth of amusement parks and sports attractions throughout the state. The following list represents just a few of the world-class entertainment and adventure venues that call Florida home:
- Walt Disney World
- Epcot Center
- Universal Studios Florida
- Cypress Gardens Adventure Park
- Daytona Speedway
- Discovery Cove
- Titanic―The Exhibition
In 1513, the explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in what is now northeast Florida and claimed the territory in the name of Spain. For the next century, French and Spanish settlers attempted to dominate the land, struggling against each other for final rights. In 1565, the Spanish settled St. Augustine, which became one of the oldest continually-inhabited European settlements in what is now the U.S.
Eventually, the British wrestled control of the area from the Spaniards around 1763, but when England was defeated in the American Revolution, the Spaniards took over the area again. Spain finally gave Florida over to the newly-birthed United States in 1819, in exchange for a promise that the U.S. would give up its claims on Texas (but we all know how well that turned out).
On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th official state of the United States. Until the mid-1900s, it was one of the country's least populated states. The rising popularity of its warmer climes and agricultural possibilities, however, drew more and more newcomers over the years. It is the most populous state in the south today except for Texas, and the fourth most populous in the entire United States.
- The booming retail and tourism trades are the reason that Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. that doesn't levy a personal income tax.
- About 1,000 people move to Florida every day.
- Florida has more than 1,250 golf courses, more than any other U.S. state.
- Florida is the most popular spring training ground for major-league baseball teams.
- Clearwater, Florida, is the U.S. city with the highest number of lightning strikes per capita.
- Miami has the distinction of being the first city in America that installed an ATM specifically for in-line skaters.
- The sports drink Gatorade is so named because it was developed at the University of Florida, home of the Gators.
- Orlando attracts more tourists than any other U.S. amusement park destination.
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