Florida, According to 15 People Who’ve Never Been There

While those of us who live in Florida will defend it to the end for our beaches, Disney World, and Gators fans, many who’ve never been have already made up their own mind about our people, our reputation, and well... our Gators fans. And because we love this incredibly weird state we call home, we surveyed 15 of those people and set their facts straight. This one’s for you, Florida!

"South Florida is like a wanna-be California. Northern Florida is like a wanna-be Alabama. Make up your damn mind, Florida!”

Rachel, Baltimore, Maryland
True: As they say, “The further north you go... the further south you get.”

“I like to think of Miami as classy, Latino central, but I think of the rest of the state as like an in-bred, jean-shorts-wearing shithole. And obviously there are lots of old people.”

Sarah, Greenville, SC
Pretty false: While the rural parts of Gainesville might introduce you to your next sisterwife, only a third of them probably wear jorts. And Miami does have a lot of old people and Latinos... but classy... ?

“I am from Texas and have never been to Florida, but I have heard it described by an older couple as ‘Texas, but with more swamps and alligators.’ I've also played Vice City, watched Scarface, and listened to three booty bass albums -- so I think I am fully prepared.”

Zoe, he doesn’t want you to know where, Texas
False: There are a lot of pickup trucks and weird wannabe cowboys... but most of them live in apartment buildings and have no good reason to have a 7” lifted Ford F-150. There is, however, no shortage of swamps and/or alligators... but Texas is a desert and Florida is mad tropical.

“Florida is a sweaty cesspool full of retired New Yorkers and Cubans.”

Eddie, Binghamton, NY
Half-true: We do have a lot of retired New Yorkers and Cubans.

“Things that crawl and palm trees.”

Jean, Erie, Pennsylvania
True: Sometimes these things even crawl UP the palm trees.

“There are so many lakes. I wonder if there are any extras that don't have names yet, and if men name these lakes after women as a romantic gesture like they would a star. Lake Mary, Lake Jessamine, Lake Ellenor, Lake Marsha... ”

Chelsea, Southlake, Texas
Ummm... what?: If the dating habits of Miami men are any indication, this might be true. Lake Mary was named after Mary Sundell, the wife of Rev. JF Sundell, who organized Florida’s first Presbyterian congregation, but the jury’s out on whether or not her hubby made that call.


Ashley, Erie, Pennsylvania
Maybe: Stop asking questions.

“Hot, retired, flea markets.”

Jasmine, New York City, NY
True: Florida is hot, retirees love it, and there are a lot of flea markets.

“I think it has a bunch of insane regulations and people get arrested for stupid reasons. Also, Disney world.”

Evilalvin2, Reddit
True: We do have Disney World. Also, this: Florida's Worst Corruption Scandals, Ranked.

“No opinion, besides all of the professional teams there suck. Or at least basketball and football.”

Stonecold6, Reddit

“Florida is always sunny and full of retirees, especially Boca. Miami is like living in South America. You need to be careful of hurricanes and alligators... ”

Mike, Green Bay, WI
True: I’ve got nothin’.

“It seems like a strange mix of retired folks, trashy folks, rich folks, and folks on spring break or vacation.”

Theironyengine, Reddit
Come on, really?!: You’ve just described, like, 20 US states.

“Shorts and gross weather.”

Jen, Erie Pennsylvania
False: Shorts and great weather, Jen.

“Lots of gators everywhere. Apparently they get into people's backyards or swimming pools... scary stuff. Also, hot and humid weather that is horrible for hair and makeup, and creepy dudes and weird crimes always seem to occur in Florida.”

Fathousecats, Reddit
True: I give up.

“I like to play ‘Florida Man’ when I’m bored and need a good laugh -- I literally google the phrase 'Florida man' and see what kind of crazy news story comes up.”

Matt, Baltimore, Maryland
True... ly sounds like fun: And it is. We also play this game.

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Jennifer Agress is a Miami-based writer who has a love-hate relationship with Florida. Follow her on Instagram at @jenniferagress and watch that change daily.