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How to Know If You’ll Regret Moving to Florida

Florida is known for its sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and low taxes. On paper, it seems like an excellent place to live. But if you are considering moving there, you may wonder whether it will measure up in reality. 

The good news? Practicing due diligence can help you decide whether Florida will be a good fit for your personal and professional goals.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of living in Florida. 

First, we’ll address the many benefits of moving to the Sunshine State. 

Then, we’ll count down some of the top reasons people regret moving to Florida.

Finally, we’ll highlight some of the key considerations to evaluate when assessing potential places to live. 

The Benefits of Moving to Florida

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Florida every year. This begs a twofold question: What draws them to the Sunshine State, and what do they love about living there?

Read on for a roundup of some of the top benefits of moving to Florida. 

Warm and sunny weather

No discussion of Florida is complete without discussion of its abundant sunshine. While temps somewhat vary depending on where you live in the state, year-round moderate weather is pretty much a given. Meanwhile, in more southern points like Miami, you can expect average winter temperatures between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the concept of near-endless days of the sun sounds heavenly to you, then Florida may be your dream destination. 

World-class beaches

Home to approximately 1,200 miles of coastline, beaches abound in Florida. From family-friendly beaches to solitudinous escapes, Florida’s sea and sand promise remarkable diversity for all types of beach bums. 

In a recent US News & World Report ranking of Florida beaches, Siesta Key, Santa Rosa Beach, Marco Island, Delray Beach, Destin, Palm Beach, Fort Walton Beach, St. George Island, Clearwater Beach, and Islamorada earned top marks. 

Whether you plan to spend your days relaxing in the sun or out on the water, living in Florida gives you access to some of the planet’s most amazing beaches—right in your own backyard.

Cost of living

While Florida’s cost of living is slightly higher than the US average, it’s a steal compared to other sunny destinations like California. Plus, while major cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Naples may be expensive, affordable alternatives abound. Sunshine State cities like Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, and Orlando all come in well below the national average. 

In addition to its relatively reasonable cost of living, moving to Florida is also a great way to save money, thanks to its lack of state income tax. This also means you’ll be able to save (or spend!) more of your money. 

The economy and job market

Home to one of the nation’s largest GDPs, Florida’s economy is booming across industries like aviation, financial services, information technology, cleantech, and many others. 

Job opportunities are also readily available, which may be a prime consideration if you’re thinking of relocating to Florida. 

Low taxes

While taxes technically fall under the cost of living umbrella, Florida’s tax incentives are profound—and worth underscoring. In addition to no income tax, Florida also lays claim to one of the country’s lowest sales tax rates. 

With people migrating to lower-tax states, Florida—alongside Texas and Arizona—is at the top of the list. 

Diversity

From native Floridians and snowbirds to transplants and retirees, Florida is a melting pot of people of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, it came in 5th out of all states for diversity in a WalletHub ranking. 

With a 4th place finish, Florida performed especially well in the category of cultural diversity. This makes it a vibrant and dynamic place to live. 

Local discounts

One of the downsides of living in Florida is dealing with constant tourists. (More on that later.) The upside? Status as a major tourist destination speaks to the breadth and depth of local attractions and amenities. And while locals might otherwise be priced out in taking advantage of destinations like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, many attractions and hotels offer discounts just for residents. 

Many of these bargains may be reserved for the off-season, but they’re still an excellent way for locals to take advantage of everything their hometown has to offer. The fun and laidback lifestyle

There's always something to do in Florida, from amusement parks and golf courses to beach resorts and a dynamic arts and culture scene. Perhaps even more noteworthy is Florida’s signature friendly and laid-back vibe reflecting classic Southern hospitality. Love professional sports? You'll also find plenty of teams to cheer on in Florida. 

The education system

While we often think of Florida as the domain of retirees, the Sunshine State shines in education. In fact, it claimed the top spot on US News & World Report’s rankings for education. If you’re raising a family (or thinking of having kids), a move to Florida may align with your parenting goals. 

Top 9 Reasons You Might Regret Moving to Florida

Florida has gained a “love it or hate it” reputation. Its divisiveness is evidenced by significant movement both in and out of the state. We’ve already covered why so many people are eager to join the ranks of Floridians. 

Now, we’ll explore nine factors driving departures from the Sunshine State. 

9. Escalating costs

The cost of living is relative. Florida may feel like a deal for wealthy people moving from places like New York and Massachusetts. However, long-time residents and middle-class families are being priced out as the state picks up in popularity. 

Especially in South Florida, home prices have been skyrocketing since the pandemic. While this is also driving growth in the housing market, new construction is skewing high-end due to the large numbers of rich people moving to Florida. These high housing costs leave limited options for everyone else. 

Even factors like rising homeowners insurance premiums are prompting people to evaluate whether—and for how long—they’ll be able to stay in their homes. Because of these concerns, many Floridians seek new places to live, even if they've lived there their entire lives. 

8. The weather is wild

Florida weather can be downright idyllic, but the oppressive heat and humidity can become brutal during Florida summers. 

But it's not just the hot weather. With a whopping six-month-long hurricane season, Florida is also the top state for hurricanes. In addition to the destruction caused by storms, homeowners in Florida have related considerations across everything from paying up to $2,000 annually for flood insurance to making and sharing evacuation plans. 

7. The “fabric” of Florida is changing

As Florida’s population shifts and evolves, many middle-class locals are objecting to the effects of the wealth flooding into the state.  

According to one Florida expat, "The number of people who were moving down and spending crazy amounts of money was insane. Their attitudes were so different from what everybody was used to; they were demanding people not familiar with the kind of calm lifestyle we were living."

In response, lifetime Floridians are finding themselves looking for more affordable and “down-to-earth” Southern cities, such as Greenville, South Carolina and Huntsville, Alabama. 

6. Unwanted wildlife encounters

From massive snakes and poolside gators to persistent mosquitos and omnipresent fire ants, unwanted wildlife is a way of life in Florida. And did we mention the cockroaches? If you’d just as soon not contend with these pests and predators, Florida may not be right for you.   

5. Tourists are inescapable

Speaking of unwanted encounters, tourists are everywhere in Florida, which can be frustrating for year-round Floridians. While it’s not exactly surprising—Florida is pretty much custom-made for tourists, after all—it does get old. Long lines, traffic jams, and rude behavior are just a few of the complaints that go with the territory. 

Another ex-Floridian told Business Insider, "We stopped going to the beach because you couldn't get there anymore because the traffic would be miles long. You could never find a place to park."

The takeaway? If peace is your priority, choose where to live in Florida carefully. For example, while destinations like Orlando and Miami may be packed with people, some Florida communities do offer rare peace and tranquility

4. Limited public transportation

Like many US states, Florida’s public transportation systems leave a lot to be desired. Generally speaking, you need a car to get around. Factor in the overcrowding, which means more people on the roads, traffic, and congestion. 

While sitting in commuting traffic is one thing, sitting in tourist traffic is another. Many residents agree that driving in Florida can be soul-crushing enough to make you reconsider living there. 

3. Allergies abound

Because of its mild winters, every season in Florida is allergy season. Grass pollen is everywhere between April and October, while ragweed, dog fennel, oak, and pine trigger allergies for much of the year. 

In fact, Florida claims three of 10 spots on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s ranking of 2023’s “allergy capitals.”  Orlando, Cape Coral, and Sarasota score very low marks for tree, grass, and weed pollen scores, OTC allergy medication use, and availability of board-certified allergists and immunologists. 

2. Politics

Depending on your political ideologies, Florida is a haven or hellscape. Once relatively moderate in terms of its politics, Florida has attracted transplants with political stances that have taken the state from right-leaning to solidly Republican. If you don’t share this outlook, you may not find Florida to be a welcoming place. 

1. High crime rates

Safety and security are important factors, and Florida is likely to fall short of your goals. WalletHub recently ranked it 48th among US states for safety

Again, this varies from city to city. Lake City, Riviera Beach, and Cocoa are cited as being among Florida’s most dangerous cities while Satellite Beach, Marco Island, and Weston are reportedly its safest cities..

Key Considerations When Deciding Where to Live

It’s important to do your research when deciding where to relocate. Key considerations include but aren’t limited to cost of living, transportation, weather, lifestyle, politics, crime rates, healthcare, amenities, and many others. In addition to understanding these factors, it’s important to assess and acknowledge your priorities. 

For example, if you hate cold weather and snow, moving to a warmer climate like Florida may be at the top of your list. However, if you prioritize peace and quiet, many Florida cities and beach towns might be too busy for you.  

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the question: Where is the best place to live? Rather, the answer comes down to every individual’s personal wants, needs, and goals. If you're thinking of moving south, the more you familiarize yourself with the upsides and downsides of a potential location, the more prepared you’ll be to make a successful decision. 

Also, keep in mind that while the internet and word of mouth are both valuable resources, there’s no substitute for seeing a city for yourself. Only by experiencing a community first-hand can you get a feel for its unique and authentic vibe. 

Is Florida Right for You? 

With an impressive 10th place finish on US News & World Report’s best states ranking, there’s no denying that Florida can be a wonderful place to live for most people. However, this doesn’t mean it’s wonderful for everyone. 

Reconciling its pros and cons with your own priorities can help you determine whether a future move to Florida would be a flop or fulfilling.  

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Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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