Florida is a South Atlantic state bordered by Alabama and Georgia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Straits of Florida to the south, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. It is the southeastern-most state. Cuba is only about 100 miles away from the southernmost tip of the state’s peninsula. An average of over 5,000 people, mostly retirees and Haitian and Cuban refugees, permanently move to the state each week.

This population increase of 32 percent between the 1980 and 1990 censuses has made Florida the fourth most populous state; only the smaller states of Nevada and Arizona had a greater percentage of population growth. Florida is made up mostly of a large peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The northwest part of the state is a panhandle (a narrow strip of land that sticks out like the handle of a pan). Islands called the Florida Keys extend from Biscayne Bay into the Gulf of Mexico. If you want to enjoy a tropical climate, then Florida is the place for you; Hawaii and the state’s extreme south are the only places in the United States with tropical climates.

Everglades National Park, with its rare plants, birds, and animals, is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. Watch alligators hunt their prey in the Everglades, an area of land and water covered by 10-15 feet of tall saw grass. You can even see long-legged flamingos at the Parrot Jungle and at Hialeah Park racetrack.

Enjoy the year-round warm climate that has helped make Miami, one of the state’s largest cities and a growing tech industry, a tourist’s favorite. Ironically, in 1899, the temperature fell to -2 degrees F in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, which is known for its warm weather. Because of the state’s warm climate and extremely long coastline, tourism is one of its main sources of income.