Alachua got its start in the late-1880s, and the origins of the town's name are open to debate. Alachua may be a Native American term for "rolling prairie." If so, it is an apt description for the land surrounding this small town.
Suburban Altamonte Springs is north of Orlando in east central Florida. People choose to live here primarily for its low cost of living and central location. The white sands of New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange and Daytona Beach are just an hour away.
Originally platted in the 1800s, easygoing Alva straddles the Caloosahatchee River and is at the western edge of the Okeechobee Waterway in southwestern Florida. Less than an hour from Fort Myers and Cape Coral, the town stretches over 18 square miles and has fought to retain its rural character.
Alva is the site of Cascades at River Hall, a gated 55+ single family home community. It is part of the larger master planned development of River Hall and was started in the early-2000s.
Leafy and comfortable, Belle Isle is just six miles from downtown Orlando in east central Florida. It completely surrounds Lake Conway, which is one of several lakes and canals in the Lake Conway Chain of Lakes. It borders two other smaller lakes as well.
A little more than a mile long, Beverly Beach sits on a barrier island between the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean and has a beautiful strip of sand.
With pastel-colored, low maintenance homes, Surfside Estates has a waterfront park, a new clubhouse with a rooftop deck, a heated swimming pool and more.
Wedged between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, sleepy Briny Breezes is a mobile home park and an incorporated town with an oceanfront beach.
Reminiscent of Old Florida, Brooksville boasts a cute downtown, canopy lanes and a nearby state forest perfect for biking, fishing and picnicing.
Tiny, quirky Cedar Key is a fishing village located on a small barrier island along Florida's northwest coast, about an hour south west of Gainesville. Off the beaten path, it is a place far from the hassles of modern life and has a seductively tropical, "ends of the earth" feeling about it.
Nestled amid lakes and named after a citrus titan, Doctor Phillips is a comfortable town with a good reputation.
On a "Forgotten Coast," Eastpoint, a secluded little village, sits next to a state forest, across from a barrier island and close to pristine beaches.
Originally begun as a religious colony, today Estero boasts abundant wildlife, plenty of recreational opportunities and pretty nearby beaches.
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,040 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, was struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
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