15 Florida Nicknames and the Reasons for Them

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A view of a coastal city with tall buildings, boats, and a peninsula with trees
Florida has numerous nicknames, with many based on its scenic beauty and wildlife

Florida is one of the most popular vacation and relocation destinations in the United States. Its diverse landscape, vibrant culture, and warm climate make it a one-of-a-kind spot in the country.

The state's uniqueness has also inspired numerous nicknames over the years. Though titles like the Sunshine State and the Everglade State are relatively common, there are more obscure and local terms as well.

Learning the history behind different Florida nicknames can help you get to know this state a little better. So, whether you're interested in brushing up on your trivia or are planning a trip, keep reading. Here are the top 15 Florida monikers you should know.

15 Nicknames for Florida

Florida Nicknames Video

Check out our highlights video of Florida nicknames.

A grove of orange trees near an empty concrete road
The majority of US orange juice comes from the Citrus Capital, Florida

Citrus Capital

If you've ever seen Florida license plates, you're likely familiar with the state's association with oranges. Its subtropical temperature and sunny weather are perfect for growing citrus plants, for that reason, it's known as the Citrus Capital.

Though orange production has slowly dropped over the years, the state's Agricultural Secretary is still dedicated to ensuring the health of this industry and its plants. You likely won't see this particular moniker on any official tourist information, though. That's because there's a Citrus County within its borders, which could cause some confusion. You can, however, find this term on souvenir items.

Gunshine State

The Gunshine State is a nickname for Florida that's meant to be a tongue-in-cheek play on the Sunshine State slogan. It's hard to know exactly when the moniker was coined, but it began popping up in response to the state's relaxed firearm laws.

You won't find this term printed on any official promotional material, as it's not been embraced by the state government. In fact, it's most often used by journalists, bloggers, and protestors. So, you're most likely to read it in an article discussing gun laws.

The Sunshine State is one of the iconic Florida nicknames seen on road signs
The Sunshine State is one of the most famous Florida nicknames

Sunshine State

Most people are aware of the Florida fact that Sunshine State is the official state nickname. That moniker comes from the area's signature warm, sunny weather.

Florida's location on the Gulf of Mexico means it's quite close to the equator, which is responsible for the state's sunshine. The title was officially coined by Florida's government in 1970. Today, you can find the term on car license plates and the road signs that welcome you within the state's borders. It's also utilized for tourism materials and souvenirs.

Hurricane State

Florida might be known for its beautiful beaches, but it's also known for hurricanes. Since 1971, over 100 hurricanes have made landfall in the state, and hurricane season typically runs between June and November. Since Florida is also the US state that gets hit with the most hurricanes and tropical storms, it's not surprising the title Hurricane State has been attributed to it.

However, it's worth remembering that much of Florida remains relatively unaffected by most tropical storms. In particular, the southeastern portion of the state is most likely to be affected. For that reason, you're more likely to hear this nickname in that area or outside the state's borders.

Frank Fell Media/Shutterstock.com
A statue of a man on a pedestal in the middle of a bricked area near trees
Juan Ponce De Leon named the state La Florida, which means Land of Flowers

Flower State or Land of Flowers

The Flower State is a Florida nickname that dates back to its first settlements. When Juan Ponce de Leon first landed here in 1513, he was struck by the abundant greenery that grew in the territory. As a result, he named the area La Florida, which literally translates to Land of Flowers.

This event is further celebrated by the Pascua Florida festival, a term that means "flowery festival," which is held each April. So, you'll see Land of Flowers used in a lot of promotional material in the time leading up to the festivities.

Manatee State

Each winter, manatees can be seen in the warm Gulf waters around Florida. The high concentration of these endangered animals has contributed to the area being dubbed the Manatee State.

The nickname also coincides with conservation efforts meant to help protect manatees from going extinct and their place as a state symbol. So, you're most likely to find the slogan in informative material about the local wildlife. You can also see it in areas where you can catch a glimpse of these animals, like in Key West and the other Florida Keys.

A large structure of a globe with a sign saying "Universal" near a body of water
Due to the abundance of theme parks, Florida is the Theme Park Capital of the World

Theme Park Capital of the World

Since Florida is home to places like Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, it's not surprising that the state has been named the Theme Park Capital of the World. While this title originally only referred to the area around Orlando, it's begun to encompass North and South Florida as well.

The moniker has been associated with the state since at least the 1980s, and you can see it on multiple types of travel brochures and sites. However, it's not a very widely-used nickname within the state among people who aren't part of the tourism industry.

The Alligator State

The alligator is one of Florida's most recognizable state symbols. An estimated 1.3 million alligators call the area's wetlands home, so it's not surprising it became the official state reptile in 1987.

While not quite as common as some of Florida's other nicknames, the territory has been referred to as the Alligator State due to the area's large population. You can find alligators on posters and brochures throughout Florida. However, you'll find this moniker most often used on pamphlets and flyers advertising reptile parks.

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A rock with a sign saying "Everglades National Park"
The Everglade State nickname relates to the vast areas of wetlands across Florida

The Everglade State

One of the Florida State nicknames that's managed to hold on for centuries is the Everglade State. First popularized in the 1800s, this state motto refers to the millions of acres of wetland present in the territory.

The word "everglades" in reference to these marshy areas can be traced back to 1823, but it's likely the term was colloquially used even before then. Today, the word has become so synonymous with Florida that it's found on promotional and tourist material throughout the southern region of the state.

The Plywood State

The Plywood State might be one of Florida's most peculiar nicknames. Coined in 2004, this moniker was used as a way to bring humor to the stress and devastation caused by four back-to-back hurricanes that hit the state.

In an effort to protect their homes, many Floridians boarded up their doors and windows with plywood. This, coupled with the copious wooden debris that was scattered throughout the state after trees were knocked down, helped inspire the term.

The Plywood State was only briefly in use, and many people around the country have forgotten about it. However, at the time, it was used in articles and news updates reporting on Florida's weather conditions.

An aerial shot of colorful buildings near the sea
Florida is called a Gulf State as it has coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf State

The Gulf State is one of the most self-explanatory yet under-utilized Florida names, referring to the state's geographic position in the US South. Though it's not the only part of the country with a coast on the Gulf of Mexico, its borders extend furthest into the water. This creates the subtropical climate people associate with the territory.

Many of Florida's most famous landmarks can be found on the Gulf Shores. So, it's not uncommon to see this moniker used on souvenirs, postcards, and posters to promote local tourism.

The Orange State

Florida is known nationwide for its orange-growing industry. The state produces the vast majority of orange juice consumed in the US. Additionally, the orange blossom has been the state flower since 1909.

No one can be sure when the area was officially dubbed the Orange State. However, the fruit has been closely linked to the area for decades. Oranges can be found on Florida's car plates, road signs, and more. However, since it's not the official nickname, the Orange State moniker is most often used in the private tourism industry, like on brochures and souvenir items.

An aerial shot of a sandy beach shore near rocks and trees
Florida occupies a peninsula in the Southeastern part of the US

The Peninsula State

Florida's state shape is one of the most recognizable in the country. In fact, people from around the world are often able to name it on a map. Part of that is due to its coastal location, with the majority of its land jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Peninsula State is one of Florida's lesser-used monikers, so it's not often used in published work. Instead, it's more of a colloquial, verbal nickname used primarily by out-of-towners.

Tropicana State

As discussed, Florida is very famous for its oranges. Many of these fruits are cultivated for the Tropicana company, the largest orange juice company in the world. In fact, people use the brand name as a synonym for the beverage.

Since Tropicana was founded in the state in 1947 and has sponsored stadiums and other developments, its association with Florida has strengthened. It's not uncommon to hear Florida referred to as the Tropicana State. However, since this is a brand name, you don't normally see it used on any printed material.

A lake near a port with boats, trees, and buildings in the background
The Retirement State moniker occurred due to Florida being a popular place to retire

The Retirement State

There are a few funny nicknames for Florida, but the Retirement State might be the funniest of them all. This particular moniker began circulating as early as 1910 when the state became a desirable place to relocate after retiring.

There are multiple reasons why so many people choose to live in Florida at the end of their careers. The nice weather, the relatively low cost of living, and the beneficial tax system are just a few of the most commonly cited factors.

Don't expect to find this nickname printed on any official Florida literature, however. It's mostly a spoken term used in jokes and pop culture. Though you occasionally find it on humorous souvenir items.

In Summary

Did any of the nicknames on this list surprise you? Some, like the Sunshine State or the Orange State, are pretty well known. However, other monikers, like the Plywood State, may have been entirely new to you.

Hopefully, this list helped you get to know Florida a little better by giving you a chance to dive into the history of some of its most unique and popular nicknames!

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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