Florida contains more than 30,000 lakes which range greatly in size from very small and only a few acres to massive lakes that cover several thousands of acres. 7,700 of Florida's lakes are greater than 10 acres and if you combined the ten largest lakes in the state, they would together cover an area of nearly 685,000 acres.
Florida's Lake Okeechobee, also known as Florida's Inland Sea, Lake O, or simply The Big Lake, is the state's largest lake and the fourth largest lake wholly contained in the U.S. This monster of a lake is approximately half the size of Rhode Island with a surface area of 451,000 acres and a shoreline of 135 miles. Surprisingly, Lake Okeechobee is very shallow for its size averaging only 9 feet deep and reaching a maximum depth of 12 feet.
Located in the geographical center of the state between Orlando and Ocala lies Florida's Lake County. The County contains over 1,000 lakes and 202 square miles of water, it's obvious to see where the county got its name. The county is known for its love of the outdoors and has several state parks, nature preserves, and even a national forest. Lake County showcases their love of nature annually with the Wings and Wildflower Festival which is held each October.
Florida is at no shortage of waterfront for those who want to live on the water or anglers who want fresh catch for dinner every night. In a state that has over 10,550 miles of rivers, 2,276 miles of coastline, and more than 7,700 lakes 10 acres or larger, it's obvious to see how fishing is a top activity for locals and visitors. In fact, Florida has produced more than 900 world fishing records, more than any other state or country.
Some of the top fish to catch in the salty sea waters of Florida include tarpon, sailfish, spotted sea trout, snook, redfish, grouper, and snapper. If you are fishing in the state's lakes and rivers, you are likely to catch the official freshwater fish here: the largemouth bass. Florida is a top destination for black bass fishing and anglers from all over the world come to the state to add catching one of these 10-pound lake beasts to their fishing bucket lists. Other top freshwater catches include sunfish, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and warmouth.
Florida is home to Walt Disney World Resort Complex , also known as "The Happiest Place on Earth", in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista Florida right outside of the city of Orlando. It was opened in 1971 on its 27,258 acres of four theme parks, two water parks, 27 themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues which include Disney Springs.
Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation destination in the world. Attendance reaches around 52 million people annually, and the company reported in 2016 it had seen a 5% increase in growth of attendance from 2015. The resort also employs over 74,000 "cast members" and spends $474 million on benefits for their staff annually.
In 2015, the state of Florida's population reached the 20 million mark. On average, the state is adding another 1,000 residents a day and with an abundance of sunshine, warm weather most of the year, sparkling water covering more than a fifth of the state, fishing records to break, and theme parks galore, it is easy to see why so many want to call the Sunshine State home.