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Confirming & Denying Florida Stereotypes

By now, you probably know that Florida is the laughingstock of the United States. As someone who lives in Florida, I can confirm that is a 150 percent valid statement. I moved to Florida from Wisconsin five years ago, and in those five years I have witnessed some of the dumbest moments known to mankind (no, seriously, we were voted one of the dumbest states in the United States). Bottom line, Floridians are a different breed, so I’m here to confirm or deny some of the stereotypes you’ve seen on TikTok or Twitter!

Floridians are bad drivers

Truth! I’m so lucky that I learned to drive in Florida instead of Wisconsin because I definitely would have gotten in an accident already if I didn’t. Simply put: Floridians developed their own driving laws, such as speeding up when the light turns yellow and swerving in and out of traffic for no reason at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most drivers just scream, slam on the gas pedal, and hope for the best while they “merge” onto the highway. Honestly, I just clench every muscle in my body and pray I don’t die when I’m driving on I-4 (dear God, that road is terrifying). 

Floridians are obsessed with Disney World

Depends on the person. Personally, I love going to Disney World and Universal Studios. I’ve had an annual pass for either park every year that I’ve lived here, but that might just be because I’m pretty new to Florida. Either way, there are two types of Floridians: people who burnt out on theme parks when they were kids and people who go to the parks every other week and have every ride line memorized. I’m the latter — no shame in my game… actually there is a little bit of shame in my game. I promise I’m not a Disney adult. 

Old people are everywhere

Yes! Not to be heartless, but driving behind a slow elderly driver is the worst, especially when you can’t get around them. Also, going into a store, it’s more common for me to see an older person than someone my age (and those older folk are least likely to wear a mask, but that’s a whole different battle). Since you’re probably wondering: yes, we do have a lot of golf courses. I drove by two every morning on my drive to high school and they were always packed. 

Florida is overrun by tourists
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It depends on the city you’re living in. I would place Florida cities into four buckets: tourist towns, old folk communities, millennial cities, and the middle of nowhere. When I think of this stereotype, I immediately think of Miami and Orlando. Miami and Orlando is where a lot of the fun happens, mainly because of theme parks and party locations (Busch Gardens doesn’t count as a real theme park — Busch Gardens sucks). Between these cities are a lot of charming, quiet towns that have some quaint shops and restaurants that locals love. Try visiting those smaller cities on your next vacation, even if it’s a one-day endeavor out of Orlando or Miami!

There are alligators everywhere
Kayla Bacon-Paddle Board Summer
Kayla Bacon / Her Campus

Truth. The rule is that wherever there’s a lake or pond, there’s an alligator. I live on a very small pond and so far I’ve seen two alligators back there. I named them Steve and Bucky, but that has yet to catch on with the neighbors. Either way, don’t go swimming in a pond or lake in Florida unless you want to become a snack (not in a good way).

Floridians are dumb
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Fact. That’s all I have to say for this one. 

People bundle up when it’s anything less than 65 degrees

Truth. The first year I moved down here, I wore light clothes throughout the winter, which shocked people. After a few years, I now bundle up when the weather gets to be in the 60s. When you get used to the humidity making it feel around or higher than 100 degrees for 10 out of 12 months, 60 degrees without humidity starts to feel cold.

Honestly, most of the stereotypes about Florida are true (only a few of them need minor adjustments). Remember this article the next time you want to drive a rental car down here or go tubing on a lake. 

Lauren Jones

Columbia Barnard '24

Hey! My name is Lauren and I'm double majoring in Neuroscience and Molecular Biology. When I'm not studying, I can be found online shopping, going to a concert, watching the same movie for the tenth time, or listening to Harry Styles. Warning: do not introduce me to any TV or movie series unless you want me to obsess over it for the next three weeks.
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