1. Florida

How Florida are you? How many of these essential Florida things have you done?

If you live in Florida, you’ve probably encountered an alligator. Or a lovebug. Or gotten caught in a rain shower that lasted, well, for 10 minutes.
Magic Kingdom photo: [ALLE GOULDING | Times]; Orange juice photo: Times (2000); Raining photo: Times (2013)
Magic Kingdom photo: [ALLE GOULDING | Times]; Orange juice photo: Times (2000); Raining photo: Times (2013)
Published Jun. 14, 2019

Ever wondered how Florida you really are? We’re here to give you a better idea.

This week, a graphic asking “How Southern are you?” went viral on social media, allowing people to rate themselves based on how many Southern foods they had tried, like gumbo, chicken fried steak and butter beans.

So we decided to put together our own informal list of what it takes to be a Floridian. We didn’t stop at just food. You’ll find some friendly pests and weather phenomenons on here as well.

If you find yourself nodding your head and relating to most of the items on this list, rest assured, you’re definitely a Floridian.

1. You’ve lived through a Florida rainstorm and you know that things will blow over if you wait it out about...10 minutes.

Times (2008)

2. You can immediately identify a snowbird by their out-of-state license plates and inability to drive.


3. In the summer, you start sweating the second you leave your house. (Sometimes even before the summer.)


4. But once it hits a cool 70 degrees, you’ll bust out the parka.


5. You’ve (seriously) asked the question: “Have you ever seen snow?”


6. You’ve worn a Hawaiian shirt before—unironically.

Times (2007)

7. You’ve enjoyed some fresh-squeezed orange juice. You know citrus is an essential element of living in Florida.

Times (2017)

8. Key lime pie: We love it, but it’s not actually green. And we know the difference between a Key lime and a regular lime.

Times (2019)

9. You have a favorite spot to get a Cuban—and probably a second-favorite spot. And you have an opinion on the Tampa v. Miami Cuban sandwich war. (Hint: There is only one right opinion. It’s Tampa.)

Times (2018)

10. You know every good morning starts with café con leche and pastelitos.

A woman pours café con leche while pastelitos are pictured. OCTAVIO JONES | Times (2018) | (Zack Wittman, The New York Times)

11. The first time you find a giant, flying cockroach, you scream and just hope it will go away. But by the 50th time, you’re desensitized. You know living in Florida means cockroaches.

CHRIS URSO | Special to the Times (2016)

12. Your car has been covered by swarming lovebugs far too many times.

Insects, Love Bugs, 9/10/1980

13. You’ve spotted a manatee, or sea cow, in the water and immediately told all of your friends.


14. Waking up to an alligator in your home. Or really any interaction with an alligator.

Photo courtesy of Clearwater Police

15. You’ve anxiously shared hurricane memes on Facebook.

Photo from Reddit.

16. You’ve enjoyed a conch fritter or any type of fried seafood.


17. You’ve taken your cocktail by the water. What is Florida if not the country’s tiki bar?

Times (2015)

18. Publix is a way of life. We live for their subs and we love their free samples at the deli counter (though they’ve now discontinued that practice in some stores).

Jasmina Meyer, Highlands Today (2008)

19. You know Cuban bread has to be made with palm leaf strips.

Times (2012)

20. You probably have an annual pass to Disney World or Universal Studios. Maybe both?


21. You’ve waited in line at Disney to enjoy that delicious snack, the Dole Whip.


22. You probably have an orange or lemon tree in your backyard.

Times (2018)

23. You’ve tasted a Plant City strawberry.

Times (2018)

24. You’ve probably lost one friend or family member to this classic rivalry: University of Florida vs. Florida State University.

Special to the Tampa Bay Times

25. Ever had a seagull steal your lunch? Yeah, us, too.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018)

26. Some rooms mystify you. A basement? What’s that?

MONICA HERNDON | Times (2018)

27. Other rooms don’t mystify you at all. We love a good Florida room.

Photo provided by Monica Brandies

So how many of these Florida things have you experienced?

Graphic by Allison Graves and Elizabeth Djinis, Tampa Bay Times.

Methodology: If you’re wondering how this list was compiled, we’re happy to tell you. We asked our newsroom. But we know there must be quintessential Florida items that we missed. Feel free to let us know.

Times staff writer Allison Graves contributed to this report.


  1. ALLIE GOULDING  |   TimesGuests walk down Main Street with Cinderella's Castle in the background at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at Disney World in Orlando.
  2. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R- Miami Lakes and Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, talk during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, in Tallahassee.
  4. Debbie and her husband Michael, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, fish from the Dunedin Causeway Thursday. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission extended the period of catch and release for several species of fish along the west coast of Florida.
  5. Jonathan W. Connors, 32, told a deputy he was “high as f---” after he was pulled over in North Redington Beach, arrest reports state. He faces multiple charges, including his fourth DUI.
  6. It's not a bad time to be looking for a job. [Scott Keeler, Times]
  7. A rare rainbow snake was spotted recently in the Ocala National Forest.
  8. Harriett Tubman.
  9. A slurry of dead fish, the result of Red Tide, moved out of Clearwater Harbor on the north side of Sand Key Park during a 16-month-long algae bloom. So many fish were killed that the state is limiting anglers to catch-and-release when it comes to snook, redfish and sea trout.  [Times photo (2018) by Douglas R. Clifford]
  10. A pair of wood storks, left, and a large group of white ibis rest and feed in a wetland area off Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida is home to more wetlands than any other state except Alaska. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2008)]
  11. Wawa and Coppertail partnered to create a craft beer that will only be at the gas station's Florida locations.
  12. George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder in the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is suing Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg over tweets they posted to commemorate the teenager’s birthday.