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Pros and Cons of Living in Florida

Miami Beach, Florida.  To outsiders the most common perception of the Sunshine State is one of sun, sand, and blue ocean.  The reality is much more complex, of course, and there are many disadvantages as well as advantages to residing in the state.
Miami Beach, Florida. To outsiders the most common perception of the Sunshine State is one of sun, sand, and blue ocean. The reality is much more complex, of course, and there are many disadvantages as well as advantages to residing in the state. | Source

As someone who has experienced much of the U.S. and wider world, but now resides in The Sunshine State, I believe that I am well situated to list the pros and cons of living in Florida.

I should point out first, however, that Florida is actually quite a big, varied state and far from uniform. The Miami area feels like New York transposed to the Caribbean. The pan handle area and cities such as Tallahassee, on the other hand, definitely have the feel of the South. The Orlando area is very touristy, and The Florida Keys are something totally unique.

The cost of living also varies considerably, depending on the area of Florida where you live, from the super expensive, to the very reasonable.

Your experience of the state is also colored by the place that you have come from, because that is what you tend to compare it with.

Below are the lists of things that I consider to be the relative advantages and disadvantages of living in Florida.

Florida is a crazy place, and I have played some of the wildest shows of my life here.

— Henry Rollins

Florida is a place of unparalleled diversity of backgrounds, experiences and vision. It makes our culture unique, but it can also make it difficult to define a common identity and create a sense of community that reaches beyond our neighborhoods to all corners of our state.

— Jeb Bush
The Columbia space shuttle at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The state has played an important role in space exploration and the Kennedy Space Center is a major tourist attraction, with many important artifacts from the history of space travel.
The Columbia space shuttle at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The state has played an important role in space exploration and the Kennedy Space Center is a major tourist attraction, with many important artifacts from the history of space travel. | Source

I grew up in Florida riding horses, so for the majority of my life I was either in boots and jeans or a bathing suit.

— Kate Upton

Pros of Living in Florida

  • It is hot and sunny most days. As well as just being more pleasant, this means that you can plan an outdoor event knowing that the weather is likely to be good.
  • No need to shovel snow in the Winter either. Scraping ice off your car windows is also uncommon, and there's no need to dress up in thick layers of winter wear every time you venture outside during the colder months either.
  • No state taxes to pay. The Sunshine State doesn't tax you, so you just have federal taxes to worry about.
  • Lots of world class beaches and state parks to enjoy. Plus even if you live inland, because of the shape of the state the beach is never far away - you can usually venture out to the coast and be back on the same day.
  • A great place for yachting, sailing, diving, swimming, or going for a cruise, thanks to the warm weather and scenery. Plus there is surfing too, of course.
  • A great place for outdoor sports, such as golf and tennis. There are lots of high quality facilities and the weather means that you can play pretty much all year round.
  • Lots of theme parks (for example: Disney, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens) and leisure/recreational venues for all the family. There's never any reason to get bored in Florida.
  • Plenty of interesting and exotic animal life.
  • Lots of nature trails, springs, rivers, and lakes to explore. Plus there's the Florida Everglades.
  • The state is cosmopolitan with a very mixed population - lots of different groups and types of people of all ages. Perhaps only New York has a greater cultural diversity.
  • You can buy a new home for a relatively cheap price in many parts of Florida.
  • The cost of living is relatively low in much of the state (though not everywhere).
  • You can grow oranges and grapefruit in your own yard.

Florida is famous for its swamps, alligators, and crocodiles.  In fact, although alligators are relatively common across the southeastern USA, the Sunshine State is the only place that you will find crocodiles living in the wild.
Florida is famous for its swamps, alligators, and crocodiles. In fact, although alligators are relatively common across the southeastern USA, the Sunshine State is the only place that you will find crocodiles living in the wild. | Source

Florida isn't so much a place where one goes to reinvent oneself, as it is a place where one goes if one no longer wished to be found.

— Douglas Coupland
The Shangri-la Hotel in Southern Florida. The Sunshine State makes much of its income from tourism, especially the Orlando area which hosts attractions such as Disney, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens.  Some people find all the tourism too much.
The Shangri-la Hotel in Southern Florida. The Sunshine State makes much of its income from tourism, especially the Orlando area which hosts attractions such as Disney, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens. Some people find all the tourism too much. | Source

I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida - the worst place on earth.

— Eric Andre

A lot of people stop short. They don't actually die but they say, 'Right I'm old, and I'm going to retire,' and then they dwindle into nothing. They go off to Florida and become jolly boring.

— Mary Wesley

Cons of Living in Florida

  • The heat and humidity can be oppressive, especially in the Summer months. Even if you are in the shade, you still sweat. Whether sat inside or driving in the car, you are totally reliant on air conditioning for most of the year.
  • The weather can turn nasty sometimes. It rains a lot and it rains heavily. Thunderstorms can knock out your electric, and lightning strikes are very common. Hurricanes can be disruptive and destructive if they come near you.
  • Florida is completely flat. It can make driving around tedious and if you like mountains, hills and valleys, this state is not for you.
  • Lots of bugs everywhere, some of them very large in size. The roaches and the fruit flies are a real nuisance and you have to be scrupulously tidy when cooking or dealing with food. There are also snakes, spiders and scorpions to contend with, as well as hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes.
  • Some areas of Florida can be very touristy and over-commercial, especially the Orlando area.
  • Apart from a few notable places, such as St Augustine, there aren't a great deal of historical buildings etc. in Florida. The population of the state was very low until A/C was invented in the 20th Century.
  • The state's population is exploding and placing an increasing strain on things like infrastructure and natural resources, such as water.
  • Very little public transport, you have to drive everywhere. The only land travel alternative to the car are the buses, which offer only a very minimal service in most places.
  • You don't really get four seasons. It just gets less hot and humid in the Winter. If you like to experience the progression of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, you might be disappointed.
  • If you like building snowmen, throwing snowballs, sledging, or white blanketed picturesque scenes, be prepared to be disappointed because there's no snow.
  • South Florida suffers from high crime rates and a very high cost of living in some places.
  • Bad drivers. The roads are generally good, but there is a lot of low quality, unsafe, and crazy driving that goes on.

My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law.

— Jerry Seinfeld
A cruise ship at Key West.  Florida is a major world center of cruise ship tourism.  A coral cay archipelago forming an arc off the southeastern coast of Florida, The Keys are a unique part of Florida with no real equivalent anywhere in the world.
A cruise ship at Key West. Florida is a major world center of cruise ship tourism. A coral cay archipelago forming an arc off the southeastern coast of Florida, The Keys are a unique part of Florida with no real equivalent anywhere in the world. | Source

I kinda like Florida. It's hot as hell, but we moved to Tallahassee, which is so close to Georgia. It really wasn't Florida the way people think of Florida. It wasn't south Florida. But you could still easily drive to Panama City Beach and get a little bit of Redneck Riviera if you want that. Get some airbrushed T-shirts on, and you're done.

— Tony Hale
Florida is home to a number of major cities, including: Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee (the state capital), Saint Petersburg, and Fort Lauderdale.  Jacksonville has the biggest population (842,583), followed by Miami, and Tampa.
Florida is home to a number of major cities, including: Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee (the state capital), Saint Petersburg, and Fort Lauderdale. Jacksonville has the biggest population (842,583), followed by Miami, and Tampa. | Source

I go to Florida sometimes for vacation. I actually really like Florida. It's a weird place, it's surreal. It's so close, but you feel like you're in another world or on an island.

— Jemima Kirke

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© 2015 Paul Goodman

Comments 5 comments

Clementine 6 months ago

Article written to try to discourage new people to move to the state. We have the same problem of over population in the state we live in, so people try to tell all the negatives about living here so that they won't come.

Most people that move to Florida know what they are getting into, for those who don't, they are the ones who have the negative viewpoint and dwell on it.


Mary 4 months ago

I just moved to Florida 3 months ago and I agree with all points. My only true complaint is the CON of the drivers! I thought the tri-state area and NJ Garden State Parkway and Turnpike was dangerous. Get these 15 and 16 year olds off the road and reconfigure roads so there are no cut thru without having to go to a light. To much traffic for that.

Otherwise I love it here and happy with my decision! Living in Tampa/St. Petersburg area and very pleased. Do not let no state tax fool you - it costs the same to live here as it does in NJ!


Anne 7 weeks ago

Florida is a crazy diverse place, from the weather, people and housing. I love it here. Pro for me was the housing, i came for work but found an amazing house http://www.drhorton.com/Florida/East-Florida/Melbo... and now i think i am here for the long haul. florida is great.


Michael 2 weeks ago

Florida is amazing for a few things, if you like the beach but don't want to live in Miami or Fort Lauderale and have a family their, you have Weston a inland city only 20-49 minutes away from Fort Lauderale and it ranked the 14th best U. S city, buildings are usually 2 or 1 story and it has some of the best Schools in America, as long as you avoid Opa Locka and Little Haiti, you have no problem, also, Florida is great for business and the air quality is always great, as a resident of Weston, FL I can tell you the truth about it all.


Lee 2 weeks ago

We moved to Tallahassee almost a year ago, and we love it. We moved from Ohio. We do not miss Ohio at all. The people in Tallahassee are so nice, and we are loving the weather. Living expenses have been much more reasonable than Ohio. My advice to anyone that is able to move and you want to move: Move! You will not be disappointed.

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    Paul Goodman (BigBrains)29 Followers
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    Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.



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