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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Fascinating Florida – Part 2

We have been visiting Florida for many years, and each time we go we learn more and more about the Sunshine State. Florida has many fascinating natural features, including lakes, rivers, springs, and of course, the Everglades, that wonderful national park.

Here are some facts about the geography of this diverse state:

1. Florida has more than 11, 000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways but the St John’s River is one of the few rivers which flows north instead of south. It is also home to the gentle manatee, which over-winters in the warm springs. This river is 273 miles long and is the longest in Florida. A fascinating fact is that of the 277 streams, 200 are named after animals, 44 after colours, 49 after trees, 7 after towns and 3 after states. Their total length combined would be about 10, 550 miles.

2. Florida is also the only state which has two rivers which have the same name – Withlacoochee. One is in central Florida whilst the other is in north central Florida in Madison County.

3. The longest river sailboat race in the world runs from Palatka to Jacksonville along the St Johns River, a distance of 42 miles. It is called the Annual Mug Race.

4. The most famous river in Florida is the Suwannee River, near White Springs. Stephen Foster wrote the song, ‘Old Folks at Home’ and needed a line to complete it . ‘Way down upon the Swanee River’ came into being with a deliberate misspelling of the name to make it fit. He never actually visited either Florida or the Suwanee River.

5. The swamps of the Everglades fulfil three distinct functions. The vegetation of these swamps filters the water and cleans it as it makes its way slowly southward. Of course the Everglades is an important habitat for both wildlife and plants. It actually prevents flooding by slowing down the flow of water following heavy rain.

6. There are only two naturally round lakes in the world, and one of them, DeFuniak Springs is located in Florida.

7. The largest lake in Florida is Lake Okeechobee at 700 sq miles, and it can be found in five counties. It is the second largest freshwater lake wholly within the United States, and the second largest natural lake entirely within the USA. Lake Okeechobee is the remains of a shallow sea, called the Pimlico Sea. Though large this lake is quite shallow, containing what is believed to be less than two cubic miles of water – which still seems rather a lot of water! Its average depth is less than 20ft, whilst some areas in the centre are less than 6 ft.

8. Florida has a vast ground water storage and circulation system which results in more than 200 springs. Their combined flow is about 11. 000 cubic ft per second, or 7 million gallons a day. Florida has the most first magnitude springs of any US state, and Wakulla Springs near Tallahassee has the greatest measured flow in the world at 1870 cubic feet per second.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 20 January 2011
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