Florida and I have been together a long time, and like a 1960s girl group, I get real tired of everyone trying to put it down. They tell me it’s no good, and that I should have moved on years ago. Well, they don’t know it like I do, and I’m about to prove them all wrong
1. Florida has more coastline than any other state (besides Alaska).
So you never have to travel far for a day at the beach.
2. We're also home to the world's third largest coral reef.
Visit Biscayne National Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to explore its otherworldly beauty.
3. And when you get tired of the beach (yeah, right), we've got countless rivers, lakes and crystal-clear springs.
4. We have real lost treasure.
In 2015, two separate hauls of $1M and $4.5M were found off the coast of Florida. You won't find that in the Midwest.
5. Florida has hundreds of state, county and national parks where you can explore our diverse wildlife.
If you're a nature lover, you'll never be bored here.
6. We've long been famous for our orange juice, and we're responsible for much of the country's supply.
All orange juice is pretty good, but fresh-squeezed orange juice is pure heaven.
7. We have our own awesome collection of tropical islands. What does your state have?
The Florida Keys have something for everyone. They're scenic, historic, funky, fun and charming all rolled into one.
8. Sunscreen was invented in Florida (big surprise, I know).
The first sunscreen was invented by Benjamin Green in 1944 to protect soldiers from the intense sun exposure in the Pacific. This sticky red goo eventually became Coppertone. So next time you return from the beach without being burned to a crisp, thank Florida!
9. And so was one of the world's best desserts.
Maybe even the best. That's right, I said it.
10. We have awesome big cities.
Miami is full of some of the world's best restaurants and nightlife, plus plenty of art, history and culture.
11. But we have incredibly charming small towns, too.
12. Without Florida, there would be no Publix.
This grocery chain where shopping is a pleasure was founded right here in Lakeland.
13. If you're looking for something more educational, try one of our many must-see museums.
14. Nothing beats fresh Florida seafood.
Though they've become scarce in recent years, Apalachicola oysters have long been considered among the biggest and best in the world.
15. And what would all of our country's biggest athletes drinks without this magical elixir?
Gatorade was created at the University of Florida in the 1960s.
16. We can go to the Most Magical Place on Earth (and lots of other theme parks) whenever we want.
I don't know how my parents felt about it, but this was a real plus to me as a kid.
17. Or if you prefer something a little more quirky, Florida's definitely got you covered.
What are your favorite things about living in Florida? What are some of your favorite things to do and places to visit here? Please share your comments with us below!