Florida, which connected the combination as the 27th state in 1845, is nicknamed the Sunshine State and recognized for its balmy climate and natural loveliness. Spanish surveyor Juan Ponce de Leon, who led the first European expedition to Florida in 1513, named the state in complement to Spain’s Easter festivity known as “Pascua Florida,” or Feast of Flowers.
In the first half of the 1800s, U.S. crowd waged warfare with the region’s Native American residents. During the national War, Florida was the third state to secede from the Union. Starting in the late 19th century, residents of Northern states flocked to Florida to escape harsh winters. In the 20th century, visiting the attractions became Florida’s leading industry and remains so today, catch the attention of millions of visitors yearly. Florida is also famous for its oranges and grapefruit, and some 80 percent of America’s citrus is grown-up there.
Intercity rail – Amtrak service exists in Florida. Sanford, in Greater Orlando, is the southern terminus of the Amtrak Auto Train, which originates at Lorton, Virginia, south of Washington, DC. Orlando is also the eastern terminus of the Sunset Limited, which travels across the southern United States via New Orleans, Houston, and San Antonio to its western terminus of Los Angeles; however, service to Florida has been suspended indefinitely in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Florida is served by two additional Amtrak trains (the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor), which operate between New York City and Miami. In 2015, Amtrak had a total of 1,027,196 boardings and alightings in the state of Florida.
Virgin Trains USA is a higher-speed service connecting Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. It is expected to reach Orlando by late 2020.
High-Speed Intercity Rail – The Florida Department of Transportation was preparing to build a high-speed rail between Tampa, Lakeland, and Orlando. This is the first phase of the Florida High-Speed Rail system. Soil work began in July 2010 with the federal government expecting full construction to begin in 2011. However, Governor Rick Scott declined federal funding.
Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2000 for the construction of a high-speed rail network. Due to public skepticism about the multibillion-dollar price, voters repealed this amendment. The first segment of this network, projected to have opened in 2009, would have connected Tampa and Orlando, in hopes of alleviating traffic on the busy Interstate 4 corridor. Later segments would have connected Miami, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola.
Florida’s interstates, U.S. Highways, and state highways are maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation, with the exception of a few highways in Miami, which are maintained by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX).
Florida’s interstate highway system contains 1,473 miles (2,371 km) of the highway, and there are 9,934 miles (15,987 km) of non-interstate highway in the state, such as Florida state highways and U.S. Highways.
State highways are numbered according to the convention. The first digits of state highways with some exceptions (such as State Road 112 (SR 112) connecting Interstate 95 (I-95) to the Miami International Airport) are numbered with the first digit indicating what area of the state the road is in, from 1 in the north and east to 9 in the south and west. Major north-south state roads generally have one- or two-digit odd route numbers that increase from east to west, while major east-west state roads generally have one- or two-digit even route numbers that increase from north to south. Roads of secondary importance usually have three-digit route numbers. The first digit x of their route number is the same as the first digit of the road with two-digit number x0 to the immediate north. The three-digit route numbers also increase from north to south for even numbers and east to west for odd numbers.
Following this convention, SR 907, or Alton Road on Miami Beach, is farther east than SR 997, which is Krome Avenue, or the farthest west north-south road in Miami–Dade County. One notable exception to the convention is SR 826, or the Palmetto Expressway (pictured at the right heading north) which, although even-numbered, is signed north-south. State roads can have anywhere from one to four digits depending on the importance and location of the road. County roads often follow this same system.
A law introduced on January 1, 2013, required all non-US drivers to possess an International Driving License to drive within the state. The Florida Department for Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued a statement on February 14, 2013, announcing that the law would not be enforced.
Florida has some of the busiest cruise ports in the world. More passengers sail out of Florida cruise ports than anywhere else in the world. If you are going on a Caribbean cruise, odds are real high your sailing will depart from one of them. But, cruise ports in Florida aren’t just launching points for Caribbean travelers. You can also find ships sailing to other parts of the world such as South America or Transatlantic crossings to Europe.
Read on to learn the basic facts about cruising out of ports in Florida, and some key tips that you should know to help you save money, time and aggravation.
Quick Note: This post focuses on embarkation ports – meaning cruise ports that serve as the starting point for a cruise. So, for instance, while the beautiful Key West Port sees quite a bit of traffic from cruise passengers who visit as part of an ongoing cruise itinerary, it does not serve as the home port for any individual cruise ship.
Florida boasts a whopping 6 separate cruise ports throughout the state. Here’s the quick run-down:
PORT OF MIAMI (Miami)
PORT EVERGLADES (Fort Lauderdale)
PORT CANAVERAL (Orlando)
PORT TAMPA BAY (Tampa)
PORT OF PALM BEACH (Palm Beach)
Of Florida’s six separate cruise ports, three receive the lion’s share of traffic. The Florida cruise ports that handle the most cruise passengers each year are Miami, Port Canaveral (Orlando) and Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale). Collectively, these three ports see more than 12.5 million cruise passengers each year.
Florida has 131 public airports. Florida’s seven large hub and medium hub airports, as classified by the FAA. Miami International Airport is the busiest airport in the state with 44.6 million total passengers traveled in 2017.
In addition to Miami International Airport, there are six other airports serving major commercial traffic in Florida. Orlando International Airport is the second-busiest airport in the state in terms of the number of passengers served and is the only additional international airport. Other commercial airports (ranked in order of passengers served) are located in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, and Jacksonville.