"Florida Man Is A Lie" And 12 More Surprising Truths About The Chaotic Yet Fascinating State Of Florida (From A Local)

Florida is unquestionably fascinating. Whenever I tell someone that it's where I'm from, they always ask if it's as unhinged as it seems. Sure, when it's cold outside, iguanas fall out of the trees. When it's hot, you have to tactically fasten your seatbelt to avoid severe buckle burns. I know that this place sure seems off the rails, but is it truly as wild as people assume?

illlustrated graphic of a florida map and the things it's known for like the beach, fish, oranges and more
Drmakkoy / Getty Images

I've heard just about every Florida stereotype — from the ones that call us out accurately to the rumors that feel more like a caricature rather than an actual state people choose to live. Since I have the behind-the-scenes scoop as a lifelong local, I'm gonna give you the honest truth about which clichés are true and which ones are false.

TOTALLY TRUE: Alligators are all over.

alligators laying about on the ground

It's only right that I start out by addressing the elephant in the room, aka alligators roaming the streets. This stereotype isn't an exaggeration at all. Where there's a body of freshwater, there are gonna be gators.

Jana Kriz / Getty Images

If I venture off on a nature walk near water, I'm 100% guaranteed to see this exact sign:

caution alligators in area

TOTALLY FALSE: Florida deserves to be called "the sunshine state."

rain forecasted for the week

TOTALLY TRUE: Floridians don't take hurricanes seriously.

hurricane on a map with a tweet from someone that says, never heard of a hurricane party til i came to florida

The only time a Floridian does take a hurricane seriously is when the local Waffle House closes, or if this guy shows up:

a local news person in a windbreaker trying to cover the hurricane
Handout / Getty Images

TOTALLY FALSE: Every man is a "Florida Man."

headlines of florida overlaying a photo of a cop arresting someone

TOTALLY TRUE: Florida drivers are the worst.

Twitter: @MightyKeef

Everyone is either going 20 over the speed limit or 10 under. Simply going the speed limit?? In Florida? Sounds fake to me. I don't even wanna talk about Florida drivers in the rain. Everyone turns on their hazards and loses their minds.

TOTALLY FALSE: Everyone has a gun.

woman walking outside saying, i can't believe guns come with the apartment

Florida (literally shaped like a gun) is known for guns. That irony is not lost on me. It's not as extreme as it may seem in TV shows and movies. No, you can't easily buy a gun at any vending machine. I can walk into a gas station without seeing everyone in line packing heat.

Paper Kite Productions / Via Hulu

TOTALLY FALSE: Floridians are ALWAYS at the beach.

crowded beach with the word tourists

TOTALLY TRUE: We passionately believe that Publix outshines any other grocery store.

I had no choice but to include this because I've never heard anyone from another state speak as enthusiastically about a simple grocery store as Floridians do when preaching the gospel of Publix. The holy land. We go absolutely feral for it — specifically, the Publix sub sandwiches that we affectionately refer to as

TOTALLY TRUE: All of us (or at least an embarrassingly high number of us) are Disney adults.

ariana grande kissing mickey mouse at disneyworld

TOTALLY FALSE: We're all tan.

bad tan lines on a person's back

TOTALLY TRUE: There are bugs everywhere.

large bugs on the front grill of a car

TOTALLY TRUE: Anything under 70 degrees is considered freezing.

thermometer showing 60 degress

TOTALLY FALSE: Everyone is obsessed with Tr*mp.

car wrapped in trump decal

What do you think? Are there rumors about Florida that I missed? Are there Floridians who passionately disagree with any of my takes? Let me know in the comments!