Florida has a reputation as America's weirdest state, but there's hardly any national appreciation for the fact that Florida has several culturally distinct regions of weirdness to choose from.
In fact, sometimes it seems weird that Florida is considered one state at all. It's high time someone drew a realistic map of the individual states that make up this bizarre peninsula. So we employed a team of cartographers, geographers, statisticians, and freelance whiskey distillers to draft one, and here's what they've come up with:
Jimmy Buffettstan (Monroe, southern Collier [Everglades City and Goodland], South Miami-Dade [Florida City and Homestead])
It only makes sense that a bunch of America's oddest characters would funnel down to the southernmost point of the continental United States. Where do all of these people originally come from? That's a long story we shouldn't get into, but all that matters to them now is fishing, beer, and the unparalleled musical stylings of Jimmy Buffett.
The Semisovereign City-State of Miami (Miami-Dade)
The great thing about Miami is how close it is to the United States. The worst thing about Miami is how close it is to Florida. It's the capital of Latin America, home to cocaine cowboys, and a place where LeBron is king and Gloria Estefan is always relevant.
Florida Concentrate (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Sumter, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole)
The swing state within the swing state, otherwise known as the I-4 Corridor or Tamplando, this region is like all the other parts of Florida placed into a blender and spat out in the center of the state. There's a bit of Southern charm, some odd foreigners, a lot of strip malls, and sprawling planned communities. The theme parks are just to distract you from the fact there's not anything else distinct about the place.
Retirementville (Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee)
Here you can fish in the morning, play a round of golf in the afternoon, and still have time to make it to your 5 p.m. dinner and be home in time to watch JAG. It's Midwesterners' active retirement dreams incarnate!
New New York (Broward, Palm Beach)
The sixth borough, full of Yankees baseball caps, bagel shops, and hellaciously obnoxious drivers.
Crazy Eddie's Crawfish and Pickup Truck Emporium (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla)
A couple of years ago, a man in Panama City Beach tried to drive his pickup truck over his wife but ended up ramming into a Waffle House instead. Clearly this image would serve as the great state seal.
South Georgia (Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Columbia, Baker, Nassau, Duval)
We're sure Jacksonville residents won't be pleased to be lumped in with all of these other border counties, but if Florida ceded this region to Georgia, would anyone really notice?
Cracker Barrel (Taylor, Lafayette, Dixie, Suwannee, Gilchrist, Levy, Union, Alachua, Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler, Citrus, Hernando, Marion)
Take away all the excitement that beaches bring to the Panhandle and you're left with, well, this — a place where the Confederacy never really died and hardly anyone really lives, and where meth labs are a sizable portion of the GDP.
Deep Swamp (Hardee, DeSoto, Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee, Glades, Hendry)
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Traditionally known as "Florida's heartland" but more commonly referred to as "Wait, people actually live there?," Deep Swamp is a vast rural expanse of cows, orange groves, and even a few people.
NASA's Graveyard (Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin)
With the space shuttle program shuttered, the only things this place has going for it are moderately decent surfing and a bunch of people who found the other coastal areas of Florida a little too exciting.