Moving to Florida?
You have seen the ads and publicity. Florida has been called “The Sunshine State”, “Paradise”, “The Orange State”, “The Alligator State”, “The Gulf State” and many more names. Most nicknames are created to represent some kind of euphoric representation of Florida, the country’s third-largest state.
Is Florida really that much better than the other 49 states? Will your dream of paradise become reality by crossing the border into Florida? Can those 1000 people a day moving to Florida be wrong?
Florida Travel Blog will try to give you a realistic perspective of Florida living. We live here and have so for over 30 years. Since we spend much of our time traveling throughout the state, we are qualified to represent all the different parts of Florida.
Table of Contents
The First Thing You Need To Know About Florida
Florida is a big state. Over 65,578 square miles of the most diverse terrain of any state. You could put New York, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut in Florida and have room left over.
Florida is a peninsula, which means it is predominantly surrounded by water. If you drive from Key West the southernmost point, to Pensacola in the panhandle, it is about the same as driving from Chicago to Pensacola.
The long slender dimensions of the state give rise to a wide range of landscapes, cultural differences, and economics. You could spend a day in Miami Beach and the next day in Monticello, Florida and you might think you were in different countries.
One of the elements of Florida living is the opportunity to choose your lifestyle.
What You Need To Know About Florida Living
We will give you a full round-up of the most widely asked questions about Florida. The subjects will cover;
- Why are so many people moving to Florida?
- What are the best cities to move to in Florida?
- What are the safest cities in Florida?
- What are the cities with the highest crime rates?
- Where should young adults move to in Florida?
- Where are retirees moving to in Florida?
- What are the most affordable areas in Florida?
- What reasons are there NOT to move to Florida?
- So, what is Florida living?
These are the things that people need to know about Florida living.
Why are so many people moving to Florida?
There is no single answer to that question. Families may have their motives. Young professionals have their reasons. Retirees have their motives.
It seems the most common reasons people move to Florida are;
- The Weather. Most of Florida has tropical weather. Warm and humid in the summer and dry and a little cooler in the winter. There is about a six or seven degree difference in average temperatures in north Florida versus south Florida. Waterfront temperatures are moderated by winds and water temperature. There is no snow!
- Northern Conditions. Many people move to Florida to escape negative conditions in some northern cities. Factors like taxes, crime rates, and politics may influence their decisions.
- Cost of Living. While some major metropolitan areas of Florida mirror similar counterparts in the north, the small towns and rural areas have not seen the skyrocketing cost of living as big cities. Housing, food, and services generally lead the list of reasons to move to Florida. Also, Florida has no state income tax which is attractive to many people.
- Active Lifestyle. Many people choose Florida living due to the year-round choices of outdoor activities and the many attractions Florida supports. Florida’s park system is the best in the country. It’s easier to stay healthy in Florida in a year-round environment.
- Business Reasons. Many companies are choosing to move to Florida and bringing many of their employees with them. Tax incentives, an available workforce, and an excellent working environment lead the reasons for making the move.
- Retirement. We don’t need to explain this one. After working full careers, people look for a less hectic lifestyle easily found in Florida. They want mobility and activity.
- Culture and History. Few states can offer the rich history of Florida. From the oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine to the Native Americans who preceded European explorers, Florida history is rich. The state has plenty of art galleries, museums and natural attractions.
Moving to Florida is a personal or family decision that most commonly includes one or more of the above factors.
What are the best cities to move to in Florida?
The term “best” is subjective and has different meanings for different people. Florida Travel Blog has several articles covering different segments of the population.
- Young Professionals. People with marketable skills and talents find employment opportunities that we have covered here.
- Small Towns. Many people gravitate to small towns for a less hectic lifestyle, a sense of community, and raising families. Our post on the best small towns on the Gulf Coast covers charismatic communities of less than 10,000 people. Another article focuses on small beach towns popular in Florida.
- Retirees. Small towns are great for retirement. They are affordable, easy to get around in and have unique, but diverse, features. We have also covered the fastest-growing retirement community in the country, The Villages. About 100 people per day move into The Villages and we found out why.
What are the safest cities in Florida?
Crime is on everyone’s mind. Not only in Florida but cities around the country are suffering growing crime rates. Florida, even with 22 million people, is far down the list of the most crime ridden states. Like any other state, we have our safer and less safe areas.
Florida Travel Blog has compiled a list of the 25 safest cities in Florida.
What are the cities in Florida with the highest crime rates?
The stories we hear from around the country about rampant crime are quite disturbing. While Florida stays out of the mainstream headlines for the most part, that doesn’t mean Florida is immune to criminal activity.
Poverty, lack of family values, single-parent homes, and mental health issues have been linked to high crime rates. Florida Travel Blog has identified the ten major cities in Florida with the highest crime rates.
Where should young adults move to Florida?
When people decide to move to Florida, they must consider their personal goals and circumstances. A young adult, with their working life ahead of them, won’t be comfortable moving to a city that has few job opportunities, high average age, limited cultural activities, and somewhere that has limited resources for families.
Florida is growing quite quickly as we have discovered. Where are those growth areas for young adults?
Florida Travel Blog studied the various opportunities and discovered 6 of the best cities for young adults to live and work. Are these the only places in Florida that provide opportunities for young adults? Certainly not. With a state growing daily, new opportunities pop up frequently.
Each person needs to consider their skills and achievements. Research the places in Florida that may match those job skills.
Places like Tampa are exploding. Melbourne and the space coast have unlimited openings for skilled workers. The cities with major universities offer educational prospects. Government jobs abound, including federal and state positions in places like the Everglades.
With growth comes opportunity for a wide range of people looking for work.
Where are retirees moving to in Florida?
We have already stated that over a hundred people a day move into The Villages. If you have questions about the Villages, we have them answered here.
The Villages aren’t the only place that welcomes the retired. All along the coast are pockets of communities catering to the needs of those of us over 55.
These communities feature exceptional healthcare, affordable homes and recreational activities designed for people who have started their retirement years.
Here are a few retirement places around Florida;
- Cape Coral has long been a retirement community built for people who left their working lives behind.
- Villages of Citrus Hills is just east of Crystal River Florida. It is a planned retirement community with many affordable homes and activities.
- Valencia Trails is one of the upscale retirement communities near Naples, Florida.
- Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach has been inspired by the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle.
- Del Webb Active Adult Communities are in several Florida locations. All have amenities centered around recreational facilities.
There are hundreds of 55+ communities in Florida choosing the right one for you depends on your lifestyle needs and desired location.
What are the most affordable areas in Florida?
We can offer some suggestions based on general concepts plus some specific areas based on experience.
In general, prices are higher in places where tourism is at its highest level. Tourists drive prices up for several reasons. Many are willing to spend more because they are on vacation. Some don’t place the proper emphasis on the value relationship to price.
Tourist area prices are driven by demand.
Examples based on experiences include;
- Places like Key West that have become iconic, have also become expensive. A few years ago, hotels, home prices and apartments were half of what they are now. Cruise ships, increasing airline flights and increased publicity have been factors. It’s a great place for vacation, but not affordable to live.
- On the other end of the scale, places like Crystal River on the west coast have remained reasonable places to travel, live and vacation. Room rates, food, and activities are comparatively inexpensive. Shopping in small towns becomes an obsession.
- Orlando, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale are costly places to travel, live, work, and play. All are based on the demand for affordable housing, demand for hotel rooms, and long lines at attractions.
- The Florida Keys haven’t totally followed Key West’s trends for high prices. We recently stayed in a resort in Marathon that offered the same amenities as Key West resorts for half the price ($350/night). The same thing applies to costs in Islamorada, Key Largo and Big Pine Key.
- Small towns along Florida’s Gulf Coast have remained a bargain compared to places that are tourist driven. You can buy a home in Wesley Chapel Florida for half the cost of the same home on or near Clearwater Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Florida.
- This may seem like a trite example, but golf cart rental in The Villages costs $59 dollars per day. The exact same brand, size and power in Key West is $159 per day. Reason, tourist demand in Key West.
If you accept our premise, the more affordable places in Florida are away from tourist destinations. We cover some more affordable activities in the section below on Florida Living.
What are the reasons NOT to move to Florida?
We are obviously biased as residents who love Florida. However, we are also aware that Florida is not for everyone. We also know people who have moved to Florida and then returned home which may give us some perspective.
Here are the reasons NOT to move to Florida;
- Heat. If you are sensitive to temperatures that can range in the 90s during summer, you are foolish to move to Florida – in particular south Florida. We do have our seasons. In winter months the temperatures moderate significantly.
- Our thoughts on heat are that literally every facility, building and transportation vehicle is air conditioned. We also believe that island locations and coastal towns get breezes most of the time. However, that doesn’t mean someone with a medical condition can handle elevated temperatures.
- Family. Many of the people that have moved back where they came from is because they need the family support structure they had at home.
- Our thoughts are most people should consider what they need emotionally, financially and ask themselves if they can exist independently.
- Money. People who come to Florida for opportunity need to have reasonable expectations. If you come to Florida with nothing, chances are you will leave quickly with the same.
- Our thoughts are that people or families who move to Florida should have at least enough funds to exist for 90 days. You will need deposits for housing and utilities. Find that perfect job may take time.
- Politics. Florida is a major swing state and the political environment is always volatile. The state has been liberal leaning and also conservative leadership. If your life revolves around the daily political news, Florida is not a place to be.
- Our thoughts are that we have a republic that has ebb and flows of power based upon the representation we elect. There is very little direct political influence on residents of any state’s daily life. It takes time for most changes to create a real negative impact on daily life. Bad information about a state as large as Florida is rampant. Do your research.
Once again, we disclose that we love Florida. Is everything perfect? Surely, there is no state in the union that has perfected life. If utopia exists, please let us know!
So, What is Florida Living?
Perhaps the best description is that Florida Living is a state of mind. Is it that idyllic mindset created by Jimmy Buffet songs – not quite, but close.
Florida Living is;
- Being able to walk out your door without shoveling snow or wearing hats, boots and gloves. Your winter coat is made of denim.
- Knowing somewhere nearby is a beach and palm trees.
- Knowing I am going to have at least 230 days of sunshine per year.
- Eating fresh seafood is a daily possibility.
- Being able to walk, bike, run, paddle or kayak every single day.
- Knowing I can take a carload of people to a nearby state park for a picnic for around $6.
- Being able to easily go to some of the most visited attractions in the world in my state.
- Preparing Florida recipes with ingredients you know are local.
- Purchasing fresh vegetables of all kinds grown in my state year-round.
- Knowing I won’t be driving or walking in smog so thick it looks cloudy.
- Seeing friendly and happy people daily.
- And yes, knowing some restaurant, bar, store or radio station will be playing Jimmy Buffet songs during the day.
Florida lifestyle is different. You could say the same thing about living in other states. The differences between each state is what makes America great.
Overall, Florida is a great place to live. The state has a lot to offer, from its warm weather and beautiful beaches to its diverse culture and attractions. If you are looking for a warm, sunny, and relaxed place to live, then Florida Living is a great option.