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History of Florida Tourism

Even before the Second World War, Florida served as a destination for everyone from robber barons to tin can tourists. Tourism exploded after 1945, though, as attractions like Cypress Gardens, Weeki Wachee Springs and Walt Disney World sprung to life. This guide explores the rich history of Florida’s tourism industry. 

Materials are generally available through interlibrary loan from the circulating collection of the State Library. 

Links within the bibliographies take you to information in our State Library catalog or to more information on external sites. 


History of Florida tourism

Cover photo of Sunshine Paradise: a History of Florida Tourism by Tracy J. Revels

Roadside attractions 

Cover photo of The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera by Harvey H. Jackson III

Theme parks 

Cover photo of The Mouse That Roared by Henry A. Giroux

For FY2023-24, the percentage of total costs for the State Library and Statewide Resource Sharing program financed with federal money is 67%; the federal dollar amount to be spent on the program is $1,502,070. Local match, which includes non-governmental funding, is $742,070.31.

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.