There's much to see and do as Florida commemorates the 500-year anniversary of Ponce de León arriving on its eastern shore.
It's been 500 years since Juan Ponce de León sailed his ships toward the coast of a beautiful peninsula where he hoped to discover gold, treasures and the fountain of youth. His explorations through the land he called La Florida — place of flowers — left him enchanted by the beauty and ready to claim the land for his king and country.
More than 87 million visitors still make voyages each year to what is now known as Florida. In some ways, the state still reflects the dream of early explorers. Florida's diverse economy is able to generate monetary wealth; there is an abundance of natural treasures; and the quality of life instills a personal fountain of youth.
The statewide festivities planned to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida — Viva Florida 500 — invite residents and visitors alike to launch their own explorations. According to Secretary of State Kent Detzner, “We have always approached Viva Florida 500 as an opportunity to better educate the world about Florida's place in history as the location where the world's cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America. But at the same time, we also hope and expect that it will spur economic development as Floridians and visitors get more excited about Florida's historical and cultural heritage.”
Are you ready to explore? Map out an adventure across Florida this year.
Florida's First Beach
Pensacola Bay Area
Historic, Romantic St. Augustine
St. Augustine · Jacksonville
The Wonders of Tampa Bay
St. Petersburg · Clearwater · Tampa
Real. Authentic. Florida.