Notes from the Great American Beach Vacation //2

I like to collect “facts” about the places I visit. As we are in Florida this week for a good ol’ Great American Beach Vacation, I thought I’d share some of the “facts” I learned/made up this week! Such as:

It’s a well-known fact that the first European to discover Florida was the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León, and that the first thing he did was chart the expansive, and breathtaking, coastlines. What’s less well-known is that the second thing he did was sell fish sandwiches to tourists for $18.

It’s also fairly well-known that Ponce de León named the land he discovered “La Florida.” What’s less well-known is that “La Florida” loosely translates to “Free Hermit Crab with Any Purchase.”

Ponce de León and his crew touched down near present day St Augustine, Florida in 1513. Historians agree that they would have arrived much sooner, but they had to stop every 15 miles or so to use the bathroom and buy large fountain drinks.

Legend, of course, has it that Ponce de León’s exploration of Florida was driven by his desire to locate the Fountain of Youth. However, recent discoveries have suggested that to be a false narrative. Most historians now agree that he was looking for something INFINITELY more valuable, namely a Fountain of Sunscreen. 

In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the British for control of the Cuban city of Havana, as well as a 50% stake in Margaritaville.

In 1819, Spain officially ceded control of Florida to the United States in a deal worth $5 million, plus a book of 2-for-1 parasailing and banana boat coupons valued at over $300.

The statehood of Florida was commemorated in 1845 when the entire congress gathered on the beach for a photo, all wearing khaki pants and white shirts. The photo was subsequently used as the congressional Christmas card.

The state of Florida is considering updating its state flag. The new flag will feature a local motorist glaring at a shockingly pale and exhausted-looking, sweaty man trying to cross a busy street carrying five beach chairs, a bag full of dripping toys, and a half-deflated canoe.

It’s a common misconception that Florida’s no. 1 export is citrus fruit. It’s actually sand. Tourist crevice sand, to be more precise. 

The city of Destin borrowed its name from a Native American word that can mean either “Angry Sun God” or “Dances with Dehydration”?

Thanks for reading!

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