Moving to Florida? Here’s everything you need to know about the sunshine state.

For some, relocating to the peachy state of Florida can be a tough decision. It’s always easier when you know what to expect. That’s why we packed this article with information about Florida to see if it’s the right place for you!

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Year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches, balmy breezes, easy access to super fresh seafood and no state income tax – doesn’t sound too shabby, right? And plenty of people agree, thousands have moved to Florida since 2020. The rise in remote work is one factor that enabled people to make the move, and local professional opportunities abound in the urban areas of the state. Key cities, particularly Tampa and the Tampa Bay area, have become thriving tech, science, aviation, high-tech manufacturing and healthcare hubs. And Florida’s enthusiastic embrace of the “fresh start for everyone” ethos makes it a perfect launch pad for startups. 

If you’re contemplating making a move to Florida, we’re here to help. We’re Bellhop, and we’re Florida movers, specifically Jacksonville moversOrlando moversTampa moversSt. Petersburg moversMiami moversFt. Lauderdale movers, and West Palm Beach movers. Actually, we’re happy to help you move to or from virtually anywhere in Florida.

We know our state, and we’re going to share that knowledge with you – our soon-to-be neighbor. Welcome to the Sunshine State!

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What’s so great about living in Florida? 

As we mentioned previously, most of us have been to Florida on vacation. But, vacationing in Florida is much different than living in Florida. As sunburnt vacationers frolicking around in Florida’s theme parks and resorts, we’re only seeing one (very small side) of a rather complex state. Here’s a few things that makes Florida so sunny for the people that actually live there.

Florida is a big sunny state with a lot of personality.

Other states have small pockets of quirkiness, Florida happily prides itself on being the overall most eccentric state in the nation. It’s also the third largest state by population in the United States, with more than 22 million residents. 122.4 million tourists visited the Sunshine State in 2021, and during the height of the travel season, roads get snarled, beaches get crowded, and restaurants are packed. Right around the time that the tourists leave, the heat and humidity soars and people start fretfully looking at hurricane tracking sites. 

So, given that life in Florida has some unique challenges, why do so many people choose to live there? That 1,350 miles of breathtaking coastline might have something to do with it, along with the springs, rivers, pine forests, wildlife, coral reefs, barrier islands, low rolling hills, underwater caves and plenty of swimming holes (that you might want to be careful when swimming in because… alligators).

It’s a gorgeous state. And while parts of it have been thoughtlessly overdeveloped, there is still so much beauty here – from the tiny lizards that leap about on everyone’s lawn to the big, gentle manatees that drift about in the waterways. Living here has a vacation vibe that lingers no matter how long you’ve been a resident. 

Picking the perfect Florida home

In addition to the lovely landscape, Florida boasts some nice diversity in its cities too, which seem to offer something for just about everyone. For the young professional there is Miami, which is bursting at the seams with culture and art and a variety of ethnicities and a party scene that you’d have to experience to fully understand. Head to Tampa for professional opportunities in virtually every high-tech industry, along with southern charm that is annually disrupted by a pirate takeover. (Gasparilla). Tallahassee offers big opportunities in government and financial fields, along with its nine beautiful “canopy roads” – streets lined with old trees that are a delight to explore. 

Then, for the individual looking to live in a Florida city that has big city amenities along with a true community feel, there is St. Petersburg. And, finally, for the baby boomers looking to kick back and settle down, there is The Villages, a retirement community that’s the size of a good-sized city with 139,900 very active adult residents. There’s also Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Destin, Vero Beach, Daytona … and the list goes on.

The pros and cons of moving to Florida

It’s not all sunshine in Florida. Among the many good things, there is some bad and even ugly there too. We’re going to give you the good first and then follow things up with the bad and the ugly.

The Pros of Living in Florida 

No state income tax

Unless you’re moving here from one of the other no-tax states (Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Taxes, Washington, and Wyoming) you’ll have extra money in your paycheck. This is a very good thing. 

Near the water

No matter where you live in Florida, a beautiful beach is not far away. The public beaches of Amelia Island, Clearwater, Delray, Grayton, Miami, Panama, Pensacola, Siesta Key and St. Pete’s are all outstanding – and there are so many more. Naples and the southwest barrier islands also boast amazing beaches (and amenities) and are in the process of recovering from Hurricane Ian. Amazingly, some of the barrier beach hotels have announced that they intend to reopen in the winter of 2023. 

Life outdoors

Much of your time here (except in the bleakness of mid-summer) will be spent outside, whether you’re socializing with friends, dining out, having a drink, grabbing a cup of coffee, attending events … it’s probably happening outside.

Appreciation of individualism

In much of the state, people tend to adopt a “live and let live” attitude. When your neighbor is standing outside, screaming into a howling hurricane, clutching an American flag that’s flapping in the wind – that’s the Florida spirit. Embrace it.

The Cons of Living in Florida

Florida has extreme weather

Every year from June 1st to November 30th is Hurricane season. Tornados are common events when there’s a hurricane swirling around the state, and can occur at other times as well. Fierce thunderstorms are an everyday event in summer. And it gets really, really hot and humid. Face it: you will never have a good hair day again once you move to Florida. And you will be on high alert during the peak of the hurricane season (late August through end of October). Locals call it the “Paradise Tax” – the cost of living in a place that is nearly perfect.

Florida has critters

Florida has an exciting assortment of animal friends that will either delight, terrify or annoy you. There are many tiny bugs that live to bite/sting you. There are exceptionally large roaches (we call them Palmetto bugs) that flee from danger by flying to the highest spot nearby – that is often your head. Our snakes range from 16 foot-long boa constrictors to tiny rattlesnakes that are barely a foot-long. We’re the only U.S. state to have crocodiles, and we have plenty of alligators too – assume the later are present in any body of water bigger than a small puddle.

 

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Florida’s job market and economy

Just like the local weather, Florida’s job market is hot, hot, hot. The state’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for almost two years, and Florida has a solid reputation as a very business friendly environment. According to Floridainsight.gov, the state has nine key industries, which span a wide variety of fields – from clean technologies to aerospace, fintech to agriculture, logistics to hospitality and healthcare. That means there’s a job in Florida for you. And if you’re looking to move your corporate headquarters here or start a business – Florida will welcome you with open arms. 

Florida’s economy is the fourth-largest in the United States, with a $1.3 trillion gross state product (GSP) as of 2022.

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What’s it like to actually live in Florida?

The money is good. The weather is really good. But, what’s it like to actually live here?

Folks who live in Florida claim there is something called the Honeymoon phase, where – for the first few months to a year – everything is amazing. It feels like being on an extended vacation. 

And guess what? That feeling continues for years – even after you have a clearer view of Florida’s unique annoyances. Yes, even though Florida has horrendous drivers that don’t believe in using turn signals, an extended humid-and-hot summer, some seriously strange (yet often endearing!) residents, and various other irritating quirks, it’s still a wonderful place to live. 

Your actual day-to-day experience will vary according to where in the state you plan to move. The further north you go in Florida, the more “south” you get. Move to Miami, and enjoy the melting pot-Caribbean-Latino vibe. Mid-state and on up into the panhandle feels more like living in the deep south, with plenty of charm and polite, friendly folks. 

Inland is really hot during the summer, living on the coast lets you enjoy cool breezes (at least sometimes) but puts you in the front line for hurricanes. Any waterway should be evaluated for potential flooding – check FEMA flood maps online for the areas you’re interested in before you buy or rent. People do live happily near the coast or rivers, canals and other waterways but it helps to be clear about flooding potential so that you can come up with a sensible evacuation plan. Don’t wait until the last minute, come up with that plan ASAP – know where you can go in various scenarios. Figure out if you need storm shutters or other safety features, whether you want to rent surge-proof storage space for valuables, etc. and get that all sorted out before hurricane season (June 1-Nov.30)

Cost of moving to Florida

The costs of moving to Florida depends on a variety of factors. How far are you moving? How much stuff do you have – and how much of it needs special handling? Is there easy access to your old and new homes? Do you need more than one truck? Do you need storage to keep your things safe while you travel to your new home? One way to gauge the costs of moving to Florida is to use a moving cost calculator to get the info you need to plan your budget.

Let’s go! Making the move to Florida

With beautiful weather, a booming economy, and the ability to find an affordable place to live, this is a great next step. Whether you’ve found your perfect apartment in Orlando or a great  Tampa rental, we think Florida could be the perfect spot for your next move.

And if you need help moving to Florida, Bellhop would be more than happy to assist. We’re on a mission to make every move as stress-free as humanly possible. Reduce the stress of relocating, reach out to Bellhop Florida movers today!