The Sunshine State is a destination for many American tourists each year, and tourism is only one of the thriving industries in this tropical setting. Other strong sectors include agriculture, banking, defense, education and healthcare, all of which help rank Florida fourth in the nation in gross domestic product. Here are some of the strongest industries in this beautiful state:
No part of Florida is far from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, which makes the state a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Beachfront cities line both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and fishing is a $7 billion industry. More than $2 billion worth of power boats are sold in Florida each year, and 164 state parks welcome more than 30 million visitors annually.
Nearly 1 million people are employed in the Florida tourism industry, and for good reason. The state has multiple beach towns, resorts, family destinations and retiree communities, and theme parks make up a large sector of the tourism economy. Top theme parks include Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa.
Abundant sunshine and warm tropical weather are key reasons why Florida is one of the leading agricultural states in America, especially in citrus, sugarcane, sweet corn, strawberries, celery, green beans and tomatoes. The state is also a major player in cattle farming.
When you think of Florida, you might not think of mining, but phosphate mining is the third-largest industry in the state. Phosphate is found in many parts of Florida and is a key ingredient in making agricultural fertilizer as well as livestock feed supplements.
A large economic engine in Florida is the federal government, with nearly 90,000 federal workers employed here. Two famous government-based employers are Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, and the state has 24 military bases representing all five branches of the service.
With one of the largest senior citizen populations in America, it stands to reason that Florida has the most hospitals in the country. Some of the most visited facilities include the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, and Mercy Hospital in Miami.
Florida is a state that charges some of the lowest college tuition fees in America, and students have many top academic choices. The most famous schools are Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Miami, while other top institutions include Stetson, University of Central Florida and University of South Florida.
Florida is well represented by professional sports, with three NFL teams, two in the NBA, two NHL franchises and two Major League Baseball teams. About half of all MLB franchises schedule their two-month spring training sessions in Florida, and the state also houses NASCAR tracks in Daytona Beach and Homestead. In addition, both the PGA and LPGA golf associations are based in Florida.