Here is a list of the world's largest lakes.
Back when I lived in New Jersey and had never been to Florida, I had no desire to go. I envisioned the Gulf of Mexico as just a very large lake and living in NJ my idea of a large lake was very limited. Our NJ lakes are lakes where you can see the shore from anywhere on the lake. I'd never been to any of the Great Lakes so my ability to gauge lake size was rather limited.
Friends who had visited Florida always came home and raved about it but the tans they returned with always had an unpleasant orange cast to them and they also complained about the bugs. Never having seen a swamp except in movies, I still had no desire to add them to my list of things to see before I die so Florida was a place I could easily pass on visiting. Then I met my future second (and last) husband and he loved Florida and went on and on about it. When the opportunity for a week off came up and he wanted to fly us there in his airplane, I accepted to please and humor him.
He was a very smart man. Before taking me to visit his Mother near Fort Lauderdale, he flew us to St. Petersburg and we drove to Clearwater and stayed at a hotel on the beach. I love the beach. I loved the Clearwater beach with it's white clean sand and the Gulf was lovely. It was as nice as, if not nicer, than the ocean. That was how Florida won me over. The trip to his Mother's house, was not so nice. Tacky homes built where the everglades once florished and the air smelled hot, steamy and unhealthy. For years that was the worse part of coming to visit Florida. The requisite visit to MOM.
Now that I've been here for almost twenty-two years, I guess I'm almost a native. This year when my friend and I did our 2nd Annual Atlantic City December trip, I think I even referred to Florida as "home".