For some reason, when I describe the Florida where I live, it doesn't sound like the Florida that most Floridians I've met are familiar with, even those living in the same metropolitan area.
I'm in Ocoee, a middle-class western suburb of Orlando. (From a current planning perspective, Ocoee's not bad for a typical American suburb -- tough design regulations, low signs, lots of landscaping, that sort of thing.) However, you'll hear a lot of southern accents in Ocoee. These are Florida natives, mind you, but they sound like they're from Georgia -- Ocoee could just as well be a nice suburb of Charlotte or Atlanta. Head west to Winter Garden, and the accent intensifies, while the culture outlook heads further south of the Mason-Dixon -- people flying Confederate flags, big "3"s on cars and garage doors, old-school country music playing in the background at every restaurant, and so on. Apopka seems to fall between Ocoee and Winter Garden in its "Southernness."
In the rest of the Orlando area, though, folks sound like they come from "up north," talking in typical Midwestern accents. Away from west Orange County, there's little evidence of "Southernness." Few 3s, few accents, few Stars and Bars -- I could just as well be in Des Moines, only it's sunnier. When I tell "East Side" or "North Side" residents that I live in Ocoee, the result is usually a snicker and a comment about hicks. Apparently, I live in some detached enclave of South Carolina or Alabama, surrounded by damn Yankees.
So, what's more normal in Florida -- Southern culture or Northern culture? Is Florida a Southern state, a colony of the north, or something else?