With photos and videos of sun rays and palm trees swaying in the sea breeze flooding our newsfeeds, for many of us it's no wonder how Florida has become so synonymous to paradise--and for many of us, it is! But don't be fooled, everything isn't always as it seems on social media. There are plenty of things about Florida that you probably didn't want to know, but don't worry, I won't keep it to myself--I will tell you about in this article. Consider this a public service, eh?
This might send a chill down your spine -- it freezes here
Sorry snowbirds--if you're coming to Florida to escape the cold weather you may be disappointed to know it still freezes in the Sunshine State. Thankfully, not often, and generally less-so the further south you are, but it's not totally unheard of for northern areas of the state to get some snow on particularly cold days!
READ MORE: Top reasons to visit South Florida in the winter
*Cue JAWS theme song* sharks are always swimming in our waters
I can hear you already saying "obviously, it's the sea" but hear me out. We know the state's annual shark attack count is usually pretty low but that doesn't mean you should get too confident swimming with these toothy critters. Great whites are common visitors to the state's oceans seasonally, and sometimes they are massive AF and come uncomfortably close to shore.
READ MORE: There are several massive great whites being tracked off the Florida coast right now (PHOTOS)
Sometimes beaches have to close down because of too much poop water
Mmm, don't you just love the fresh smell of sewer at the beach? You can usually bet you're always swimming with a few poo particles here and there, but when the ratio of poo-to-water gets too out of balance (which does indeed happen, probably more than you think) the beaches have to close for sanitary reasons. Flooding, bad infrastructure and pipe bursts are the usual cause of such $h!tty disasters, but just to be safe, maybe move a little farther from all the toddlers swimming near you on your next beach trip.
Bonus fun fact: well water in Florida smells like sewer--but, thankfully, it's just the immense amounts of naturally-occurring sulphur found in our aquifers. It's still totally gross though, believe me.
Florida has the nation's most lightning strikes per year
Flat ground + thunderstorms = a lot of potential for lightning strikes. Central Florida is home to "Lightning Alley," an area between Tampa Bay and Titusville that is famous for its ridiculous amount of lightning strikes per year, and as someone who has experienced this terrifying area during storms firsthand, I can absolutely confirm, it's no joke.
READ MORE: What it means when your hair is standing up during a thunderstorm (& why it's very bad)
We'll be underwater soon...kind of
It's no secret that Florida floods a lot, perhaps more so now than ever in recent history due to the sea level rising. If trends continue as such, coastal areas of the state like Miami may be washed off the map completely. It's predicted that by 2100, a considerable portion of the state's coasts will be permanently submerged--so if you soon see beach houses going super cheap, you know why.
Human ashes have been spread at Disney World
Okay, so Disney is great and all, but is it really final-resting-place great? While I personally tend to think not, for some people, it absolutely is. Actually, this is such a common occurrence that Disney has an entire policy against ash spreading on their park property which includes being escorted off the property. Reports state that ashes have been spread on the park's many fixtures including shrubbery, flowerbeds, and of course, on the rides, with the Haunted Mansion being a favorite choice.
Sinkholes are a massive, hole-y (and expensive) problem
Hurricanes, lightning, flooding, Florida's natural disasters don't stop there. If you have been to the Sunshine State, chances are very good that you were on top of a repaired or waiting-to-happen sinkhole at some point and didn't even know it. How common are sinkholes here? Well, so common that they rarely negatively impact house prices, with some buyers claiming they won't even consider buying a house that isn't already on a repaired sinkhole. I highly recommend watching this Nova on Florida sinkholes if you want to get a good idea of how insanely common they actually are. Seriously, our slogan should be another day, another sinkhole.
READ ALSO: Check out this awesome Florida sinkhole you can swim in
We're home to tons of deadly creatures
From ticks to venomous snakes, poisonous fish and brain-eating amoeba, plenty of undesirable creatures call this state home too. Mosquitos often get the worst rap, but don't let them be the only animal you watch out for--here's a list of some of Florida's animals you should always be on the lookout for.
READ MORE: Please stop confusing Florida's venomous and poisonous creatures
Roaches are the unwanted roommates you have to live with
Anyone who lives or has lived in Florida knows that roaches aren't a sign of a dirty household like you'd commonly expect in other areas of the US, but instead they're just another part of living in paradise. Honestly, no matter how much cleaning and pest control you do--you'll still have roaches invading common living spaces from time to time as they are attracted by water (please don't stop bathing to get rid of roaches). And just like that, house spiders don't seem so bad...
Florida is a hotspot for human trafficking
Human trafficking is unfortunately common especially in tourist and coastal port areas, and seeing as Florida is surrounded by ports and tourism, it's only natural to assume it's also a hotspot for human trafficking. Florida was recently ranked as one of the worst US states for trafficking.
Which of these 10 things did you find most shocking? Tell me in the comments below!