TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida natives may be familiar with the long list of unusual names bestowed to land across the Sunshine state, but to many newcomers, some names may stand out as much as the state’s renowned “Florida man” headlines.

The following is a list of cities that locals have hotly debated to be the hardest for new Floridians to say. Let’s start off with a relatively simple one:


While your head may spin just sounding it out, this city, located in the southwest region of Franklin County and the northwestern part of the state is actually not too hard to say correctly. The city is situated at the mouth of the Apalachicola River and lies approximately 59 miles away from Panama City and 75 miles from Tallahassee, the state capital.

So how do you pronounce it? Locals will tell you it’s mostly how it sounds: “A·puh·la·chuh·KOW·luh

Let’s try another one.


This city is located between Cape Coral and Sanibel-Captiva on Pine Island and is said to be the home to one of Lee County’s first pioneer families, the Padillas, who came by way of Cayo Costa.

You pronounce it “BO-keel-yuh.”


Those local to the Tampa Bay area may be familiar with this one. This city is located between Clearwater and Palm Harbor and is known for its beaches, pine forest, and ospreys of Honeymoon Island State Park.

At one time, Dunedin became an important trading center amassing the largest fleet of sailing vessels in the state.

It’s pronounced, “duh-NEE-dn.”


Immokalee is a small town in Collier County boasting just under 25,000 residents, according to a 2020 census. Immokalee means “your home” in the Mikasuki language.

Its pronunciation is “uh-MAA-kuh-lee.”


This central Florida city lies just south of Orlando in Osceola County. It’s defined by its proximity to Florida’s array of renowned amusement parks, including the Walt Disney World Resort.

So how do you say it? “Kuss-IM-mee,” with the emphasis in the middle.


Lutz, which lies approximately 15 miles from the City of Tampa, is located in northwestern Hillsborough County. It also makes up a portion of south Pasco County and is bordered by Land o’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel.

Some may be quick to think the city is pronounced “luhts,” but locals will tell you the actual pronunciation is “loots.”


This “Old Florida” fishing village is known for its many brightly colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants, and traditional Floridian cottages.

If you ever visit, make sure to pronounce it, “mat-la-shay.”


This Hernando County town, founded in 1924 by a group of 60 Slovaks and one Czech, was named after the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

The correct pronunciation is “muh-ZER-ick-town.


This small town encompasses 1.03 square miles near the Alachua-Marion County line in rural north-central Florida. It’s located between Gainesville and Ocala.

It’s pronounced “mik-I-NOH-pee.”


The population of this city in Orange County grew after the American Civil War when Confederate soldiers and their families settled into the area. It now has a population of 48,263 according to 2019 US Census population estimate.

While many believe it’s pronounced “Oh-SEW-ee,” it’s actually pronounced “Oh-KOH-ee.”


This city in Putnam County is well known for its local festivals, most notably the Florida Azalea Festival and the Blue Crab Festival. It also boasts a population of approximately 11,000 residents.

Pronounce it “puh-LAAT-kuh.”


If you thought this city in Martin County was a gimme, think again. Rio is pronounced locally as if it were spelled “Rye-owe.”


Out of the 19 names on this list, this town of about 1,050 people in Taylor County is one of the easier ones: “STEEN-hatch-ee.”


The name Thonotosassa comes from the Seminole-Creek words ronoto “flint” and sasv “some”, meaning the town was at one point a source of valuable flint.

So how is it pronounced? “Tho-no-ta-SASS-a.”


Wausau is another small town located in Washington County and had a population of 383 in 2010. Here’s how to pronounce it: “WAA-saa


This city is best known for two of its unique assets; the Dead Lakes and Tupelo Honey. The city’s Seminole Indian name means “water eyes”, and a view from the sky above reveals why. Two almost perfectly round lakes add to the community’s relaxed charm and make a special backdrop to the city’s downtown area.

It’s pronounced “wee·wuh·HICH·kuh.”


Wimauma was founded by Captain C.H. Davis in 1902 and named using the first few letters of the names of his daughters Will, Maude, and Mary.

You pronounce it “WHY-mama.”


The name is taken from the Creek we, ‘water,’ thlako, ‘big,’ and chee, ‘little,’ or “little big water,” since one of two Florida rivers going by the same name flow through Pasco and Hernando Counties.

How do you say it? “with-la-KOO-chee.”


Last but now least, Ybor City. This city is known for its boutiques and vintage shops. It also hosts several Cuban and Latin American eateries. Indie fast food, bars, and a cinema are also staples.

Newcomers may think it’s pronounced “WHY-bor,” but locals say it’s actually “EE-bor.”