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.
Just 18 miles north of downtown Miami on the southeastern Florida coast, Aventura is a posh, high density city sandwiched between Biscayne Boulevard and the Stranaham River. To the east of the River is the barrier island community of Sunny Isles Beach. Beyond that is the open ocean.
Point East, a gated 55+ waterfront condominium community, sits on a lake peninsula in central Aventura, Florida. It is comprised of about 30 buildings, each six stories tall, many of which are only separated from the water by a small expanse of grass.
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.
Carrabelle is a remote, working fishing village on the eastern Florida Panhandle. It dates from 1877 and sits at the convergence of three rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by water and state forests, Carrabelle exudes an old fashioned Florida vibe but is growing quickly, doubling in size during the last decade.
A working fishing village and seaport on the Florida Panhandle, Carrabelle is also home to Carrabelle Beach RV Resort, a relaxed resort with a variety of long term and short term rental options. An RV is not required to stay here.
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.
Twenty-six miles northeast of Orlando in northeastern Florida, DeBary is a pleasant community bordered by Lake Monroe, the St. John's River and the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park It is named after Frederick deBary, a prosperous wine merchant who settled here in 1871.
King's Lake is a leafy, low key 55+ manufactured home community in DeBary, Florida. A little more than 200 properties are here, tucked along quiet lanes and cul de sacs.
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.
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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