H alf-remembering some high school encounter with "The Ancient Mariner," the visitor flying into Florida may murmur, "Water, water everywhere..." as the plane follows the east coast down to Daytona Beach or Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Far below him, the glittering coastline stretches out to the south as far as the eye can see. The Atlantic Ocean spreads out to the eastern horizon with its water, now blue, now green, sparkling in the brilliant sunlight. Sailboats and fishing yachts, like toys in a bathtub, bob in and out of sight. The coast has its own unusual character. Mile after mile of sandy beaches hug the shoreline, but beyond the beaches one sees a narrow ribbon of blue where the intracoastal waterway runs parallel to the shore for hundreds of miles. From the air it is obvious that this is where the population of eastern Florida is concentrated. Along the beaches and waterways and for a few miles inland there are evidences of heavy habitation -- high-rise buildings, neat tracts of closely built houses, sprawling shopping centers, and congested highways. But beyond this the newcomer sees a great deal of nothing, stretches of brown and green, reminders that much of Florida's interior is still sparsely settled, a region of sandy wastes, ranch lands, and scattered farms.
If the visitor flies into Tampa, he may have a somewhat different impression since his trip will take him over more of the interior of northern and central Florida and less over the seacoast. The land that stretches below him will be lusher and greener, with thousands of acres of citrus groves dotting the rolling countryside. Here and there he will catch glimpses of glistening water -- meandering rivers and scores of lakes, most of them small, but a few impressively large. And as he descends into the airport, he will catch his breath at still another lovely scene of gracious bays, arching bridges, long causeways, and clustering buildings.