Thanks to beautiful beaches, gorgeous scenery, family fun, amazing food and many other adorable traits, Florida is the second most visited state in the country (after California). The Sunshine State has especially become a popular retirement destination for baby boomers, with over 17% (the highest in the country) of its population aged over 65 years.
Related Content: Pros & Cons of Living in Boca Raton
Over 100 million people visit Florida for sports, history, arts and culture, watersports, shopping, and the beach life every year. For some of these, Florida eventually graduates from being a vacationing destination to being a home state. This page highlights the top 17 reasons why you might want to move to Florida.
1) Winter Weather
Winter in Florida? No need to buy snow tires or a four-wheel drive vehicle. Instead, buy a boat!
One of the perks of living in Florida is that you get to enjoy better weather than people from nearly all other states. Surrounded by warm waters, Florida rarely gets cold, winter or not! The sun is almost always shining, and the state has recorded the highest average January temperatures in the nation.
While folks in northern states spend their winter dealing with the prolonged Polar Vortex, Floridians are just hanging out and enjoying temperatures between 60s and high 70s. It’s only in Florida where you’ll get away with wearing shorts and t-shirts 365 days a year. Even when it’s cool as you leave home in the morning, it gets seriously warm by lunchtime.
Out of the 15 cities that Weather.com named as the best winter getaways, 6 are in Florida. When it comes to living in a state with all-time good weather, even Hawaii doesn’t come close to Florida. Cities like our home town of Boca Raton have some of the most coveted winter weather in the United States.
2) The Beach – Water Temps
With roughly 2,000 miles of coastline, there’s a massive abundance of beaches in Sunshine State. If you have been to one Florida beach, keep in mind that there’s still a wealth of beach life to explore. Some are great for surfing, while others are ideal for shelling. Others are just great for watching the sunset. All Florida beaches have direct access to sunshine, but each one of them comes with its unique range of advantages.
There’s a Florida beach for you whether you’re looking for powder-fine sands, crystal clear waters, or a kids’ friendly spots.
Here are a few pointers to help you identify the best beach spot in the Sunshine State:
- Atlantic beaches usually have golden brown sands and waves that are ideal for surfing
- Gulf of Mexico Florida beaches usually have white sand, and calmer waves that are ideal for kids and folks who’re timid about the waters.
- The Florida Keys are excellent for scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling. Keep in mind that the Florida Keys are not renowned for their beaches, with the exception of the magnificent Bahia Honda. Many of the beaches in the Keys are manmade.
You may use the Florida Beach Finder tool at VisitFlorida.com to identify a beach that matches your preferences.
3) High Tech
Unmanned rockets launches continue at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center like it’s everyday business! But that’s not even where Florida’s hi-tech boom caps. New research and innovation centers are cropping up all around the state. One of Florida’s biggest tech endeavor is the ICAMR (International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research). Located outside Orlando, this is an industry-led consortium that focuses on emerging technologies such as smart sensors. It brings together various business groups and universities in Florida.
The Florida High Tech Corridor is a 20-year old economic development initiative that promotes growth in high-tech clusters of innovation such as Optics and Photonics, Modeling and Simulation, Media and Medical Technologies.
This increasing whirlwind of activity in the hi-tech scene will thrust the Sunshine State into the global manufacturing industry and promises new capital, high-skill jobs, and the influence of a multibillion-dollar industry.
For people moving to Florida to work in the advanced-tech industry, Metro Orlando has the fastest-growing hi-tech sector in the state (worth $13.4 billion, and employs tens of thousands of people). And just to illustrate how well Florida-brewed technology can do on the global market, Chewy.com (a fast-growing ecommerce outlet) was recently bought by PetSmart for a record $3.35 billion.
4) Nature – Birds – Manatees, Dolphins
Florida offers a lot of opportunities for nature lovers, whether it’s birds watching, viewing manatees, or swimming with dolphins. The Sunshine State is especially popular for its 700 freshwater springs (these are more than anywhere else on earth), where you can enjoy breathtaking natural views, spot exotic fish, and watch manatee floating nearby. These springs are also good for paddling, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and make a great idea for a family expedition.
And if you’re the kind of person who simply enjoys collecting seashells while enjoying a quiet time at the beach, Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast is a great bet. The island also offers plenty of biking paths, as well as the largest mangrove ecosystem in the entire country. Visit http://floridanatureguide.com/ to explore some more nature activities to enjoy in the Sunshine State.
5) Central Florida Springs
How about getting out of the swimming pool and enjoying some wild in Florida’s countryside. Scores of freshwater springs located in central Florida can turn a hot day into a chilly water adventure. Just northwest of Orlando is Orange County’s Kelly Park, home to crystal-clear, ice-cold water Rock Springs, and Rock Springs Run. These two springs are ideal if you’d love to enjoy a slow tube ride alone or with family. Still in Central Florida, Wekiwa Springs State Park offers awesome relaxation in a gorgeous natural setting. This particular spring is a hub for snorkelers, swimmers, and free-divers. On the northeastern side of Orlando, towards Daytona Beach, is Blue Spring State Park, which happens to be a winter-time refuge for hundreds of manatees. The spring is also popular with snorkelers, swimmers, and tubing fanatics. And this list barely scratches the natural springs wonders in central Florida. Other notable Sunshine State springs that make living in Florida fun include De Leon Springs, Silver Springs State Park, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, and many more.
6) Everglades National Park
Floridians have a beautiful and exciting natural resource to explore in the Everglades. A World Heritage Site, a Wetland of International Importance, an International Biosphere Reserve and a specially protected area, the Everglades National Park in Florida provides a habitat to rare and endangered species. With some luck, it’s possible to spot wading birds, some deer, or even the park’s most sought-after resident – the alligator.
Some of the popular activities to engage in while at the Everglades include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, jet skiing, and boat riding. You can also teach kids about wildlife, as well as take a tram ride through Shark Valley.
You can plan your trip to various attractions within the Everglades via the U.S. National Park Service website.
7) No income taxes
Do you pay hefty income taxes in your state? If so, this is one more good reason why you should move to Florida. The Sunshine State is one of 7 states (others are Alaska, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Washington) that do not impose income taxes. Basically, no income tax means that you keep more of the money you earn. People who move to Florida from high-tax states such as New York can save thousands of dollars in income taxes. And since the no-income-tax policy is part of the Florida Constitution, you can be sure that the Sunshine State won’t be imposing individual tax anytime soon.
If there’s one thing you can’t get wrong in Florida, it’s boating. The Sunshine State is the boating capital of the world. There’s just no limit to how you can do your boating in Florida. You could do it in the Atlantic, or in any of the lakes, and rivers within the state. There are more registered boats in Florida than in any other U.S. state. Some of the most renowned boating destinations in Florida include Jacksonville (St. Augustine), Fort Lauderdale (Miami), the Florida Keys, Tampa, and Pensacola.
Anyone born after January 1st 1988 operating a boat that’s powered by an engine of at least 10 horsepower must undergo a boating safety course and carry identification issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Boaters from other states are allowed in as long as they have taken an approved boating safety course (or an equivalent course) in their state.
9) Better Traffic – Learn The Grid System
Compared to similarly sized metro areas, South Florida’s traffic is not as bad as its reputation.
You probably have heard a few things about how driving in Miami can be incredibly frustrating. Or how the city’s bumper-to-bumper traffic and confusing roads can bewilder even the most patient of drivers. Well, while there have been instances where that were true, we actually think that Miami is one of the easiest cities to navigate. You only have to understand a few basic rules, and then you’ll find that South Florida’s grid system makes things easier for drivers.
Because the metro area is aligned North to South with the Atlantic ocean to the East, there are many major thoroughfares that make navigating easier. If, for example, I-95 is backed up, there are parallel avenues you can use such as the Florida Turnpike to zip past the jammed up traffic. Few other metro areas offer parallel freeways within close distance the way they are in South Florida.
10) Summer is Hot, but Coastal Breezes help
Good climate is part of what makes Florida a year-round holiday destination. During the summer months though, it can get really hot, usually averaging between a low of 22°C, and a high of 33°C. July and August to be the two hottest months, but even so – the cool breeze from the sea makes Summer days in Florida tolerable and even fun. There’s also plenty of rainfall during the summer months, but the ground usually dries up very fast and you can go back to your favorite outdoor activities within an hour or so. With the rain comes increasing cloud cover, and thunderstorms occur on about 90% of all rainfall days.
On an average, hot summer day in Florida, you’re out there finding a new beach, getting creative with frozen treats, or trying out one of the many, awesome water-parks in the state. If you don’t have the time to venture out, you could just as well run a sprinkler in your own backyard!
11) Disney, Orlando Theme Parks
Florida is home to some of the world’s best theme parks, and Orlando is the central hub of all this fanfare. If you’re especially keen on executing a solid plan when it comes to putting a smile on your kids’ faces, Florida theme parks are your best bet. These amusement parks are designed with kids of all ages in mind, and there’s a lot to offer for adults too. For kids, Florida is where dreams come true. There’s everything you can think about, from educational opportunities to roller coasters, nighttime parades, and fairy tale castles. At Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, you’ll find much of Disney World, and tons of recreational amenities for children. Kids can dine, shop, ride, and even parade. Other fantastic theme parks that contribute to Florida’s reputation as the play destination for kids include Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Universal Studios, Island of Adventure, Seaworld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, and Blizzard Beach!
12) Camping – Florida State Parks – Amazing
If you consider yourself to be an outdoor enthusiast, then you have a pretty good reason to relocate to Florida here. Floridians enjoy some of the best camping spots and state parks in the country. Sometimes, winding out is all about forgetting AC and cable TV and going back to the basics. Florida’s state park systems make it easy for you or your family to camp with convenience. Blue Spring State Park in Orange City is a popular ground for campers. The park offers an opportunity to see manatees and other wildlife. A campsite will cost you less than $30 a night, and you can reserve a spot in advance. Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key is another gem for camping aficionados. This beach park offers proximity to fishing, snorkeling, picnicking, and other recreations. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Hillsborough River State Park, Cayo Costa State Park, and Juniper Springs are a few more additions to a never-ending list of fantastic camping spots in Florida.
13) Housing Costs are Low
Florida is by no means the most affordable state to live in. But compared to other states such as New York, California, Connecticut, Alaska, etc., housing costs are significantly lower. Currently, you’d spend much less procuring a house in areas such as Jacksonville, Orlando, and Treasure Coast compared to similar-standard areas in high cost-of-living states such as New York. The Floridian real estate market is steadily warming up, which definitely improves the prospect of being a homeowner in the state. A pretty simple rule of thumb: the farther inland you go, the more affordable housing will be. That said, you can find luxury communities like Weston (Broward County) and Wellington (Palm Beach County) that break this rule: there are multi-million dollar homes quite a distance from the sea.
14) New Master Planned Communities
A significant number of people who move to Florida prefer to live in master planned communities. These residential clusters offer an optimal mix of residential homes, businesses, and parks. Since roads are planned in advance, there’s also good traffic flow and often great natural surroundings. Florida has no shortage of master planned communities, but to cater for the ever-increasing demand, new constructions are springing up in areas such as Wellington, Parkland, and Weston!
15) Rich in Sports
If you love sports, you’ll feel at home in Florida. The Sunshine State is rich in sporting talent and success. We have three NFL teams, two NBA teams, two MLB teams, two NHL teams, and one MLS team. The Florida Gators athletic program has been honored as one of the best across the country. There are lots of sporting events organized all year round for aspiring teenagers, and lots of teams to support for hardcore sports buffs.
16) Cultural Amenities
Florida’s rich cultural flair starts at the coast and extends all the way to the most inland areas. Take, for instance, Indian River County, which is located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. A world-class culture that’s set in the heritage of Old Florida can be found here, from opera to ballet, performing and visual arts, to theater. You can admire world-class collections in an expansive museum, or just stroll a botanical garden that looks like it’s been frozen back in time. Daytona Beach is another example of the many areas that offer a rich cultural experience to Floridians.
17) Live the Pirate Life
Yes, Florida used to be a pirate haven, and the history behind Florida’s pirates (which goes back to the 16th century) is quite interesting. The state used to be a ‘staging convoy’ for Spain and her ‘pirate fleets’ that would sail all the way up to the Florida Keys. There are pirate festivals to celebrate this history in various Floridian cities. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can wear an eye patch and join an expedition to find hidden treasures off the coast.
More Content: Boca Living Cost of Living
Thinking about moving to Florida but repelled by the ultra-hot summers? Summer days in the Sunshine State are far from unbearable. And the benefits of living in Florida far outweigh any negatives. While planning your move to Florida, it’s important to talk to people who’ve been perennial residents in the state. This way, you can learn as much as you need about what permanently living in Sunshine State looks like! Do you have any additional thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on relocating to Florida? Please share in the comments section below.