A peninsula on the southernmost point of the United States, Florida is home to nearly 21.50 million residents, with hundreds of thousands of inbound movers every year. Whether it’s snowbirds, retirees, young professionals, or growing families, Florida has something for just about everybody. 

Living in Florida has endless entertainment like nightlife and amusement parks, and tons of outdoor recreation as the nation’s fishing and boating capital. In a day’s drive, you might experience a gorgeous beach day on the east coast to an afternoon kayaking through the Everglades with alligators on the west. 

So if you’re thinking of moving to Florida, there’s no question as to why it’s one of your top choices. 

Florida isn’t only a vacation destination: It also has the potential to be home. And although moving is not exactly a breezy experience, you can ease your mind with a bit of research on what to expect from America’s Sunshine State. 

Florida Climate

Most of Florida has a humid subtropical climate, although the very southern tip is a mix of savanna, monsoon, and rainforest. Overall, Florida sees 237 sunny days per year, which is much higher than the U.S. average of 205 sunny days per year.

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Generally, Florida experiences a tropical climate with rain, which sometimes evolves into hurricane season, from May through October and a dry season from October through April. The northern ends of Florida, like Jacksonville, might experience snow a couple of times every decade. 

Summer highs are estimated at around 91°F, while winter lows are around 49°F. But since Florida is such a large state, here’s a breakdown of exactly what temperatures major cities experience throughout the year:

  • Fort Lauderdale, South Florida: 68°F to 83°F
  • Orlando, Central Florida: 63°F to 83°F
  • Jacksonville, North Florida: 58°F to 79°F
  • Tallahassee, Florida Panhandle: 56°F to 80°F

Most tourists and residents agree that the most comfortable months of the year range between October and April, the dry season, while the summer months can reach unbearably hot temperatures. 

Florida Taxes

Florida’s tax rate is average and sits at 6%, but right off the bat it’s good to know that Florida is one of the most tax-friendly states in the country. It is one of the few states that does not have a state income tax, has a low property tax of 0.83%, and does not tax pensions or Social Security benefits. 

Because of this, Florida is tax-friendly to families and retirees alike, which may be part of why the state is such a popular hotspot for seniors over 65 years old: It ranks #3 for middle-class families and also does not tax pensions or retirement accounts. 

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Additionally, there are several tax exemption programs for groups such as seniors over 65, veterans, people with disabilities, and widows. However, corporations and businesses are expected to file a Florida corporate income tax return unless specifically exempted. 

Florida Economy and Cost of Living

Florida’s economy is booming thanks to the six primary industries that are constantly driving the state’s economic growth:

  • Tourism
  • Agriculture
  • International Trade
  • Aerospace and Aviation
  • Life Sciences
  • Financial Services

However, despite these booming industries that Florida thrives on, the state’s unemployment rate is higher than the nationwide average at 4.9%. This number is slowly dropping as more jobs are made available, and more workers are joining the job market. 

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Florida’s cost of living is also higher than the U.S. national average. The average home cost in Florida is $321,643, while the national average is $269,039. Additionally, the average two-bedroom rental is $1,350, while the national average is $1,278. 

It is theorized that land-use regulation and permitting delays play a significant role in the housing shortage. There are also specific regulations that Florida homes must meet, such as minimum lot sizes, building height limits, and specific building permit limits. 

Florida Healthcare

Florida ranks #38 in a list of states with the best healthcare, where 13% are uninsured and the average cost per month is $457, whereas the United States average is about $40 more. 

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Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Floridians must have health insurance, although, unlike other states, there won’t be a penalty or fee for going uninsured. 

While some states enforce their own rules about requiring health insurance for their residents, Florida does not appear to be doing so for next year. 

Florida also has a mere five insurance companies which does not leave much variety for its 21.50 million residents: 

  • Aetna
  • Assurance 
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • CIGNA
  • Avalon

Florida uses the federally-run marketplace (also called the exchange) so that individuals and families can enroll in health plans through the official HealthCare.gov website. 

Florida Education

Unlike its healthcare platform, Florida’s education is one of the highest in the country. It has a graduation rate of 90% and ranks #1 in higher education and #26 for Pre-K through Grade 12. 

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Some of the highest-ranking universities are: 

  • The University of Florida in Gainesville
  • Florida State University in Tallahassee
  • The University of South Florida in Tampa
  • The University of Central Florida in Orlando
  • Florida International University in Miami

Unfortunately, Florida recently faced steep budget cuts by a total of $285 million, which impacted how much money is spent per pupil. 

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As of 2021, Florida only spends $9,346 per pupil whereas New York, for example, spends $24,040 per pupil. Many residents are disappointed by this news, especially since the Florida Board of Education has one of the highest budgets, at $22.8 billion, in the country. 

However, state officials say that much of the budget will be towards teachers’ pay, mental health services, and school safety. 

Notable Highlights

Florida was founded by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513, who called it La Florida which means “land of flowers.” He searched for the rumored Fountain of Youth on Bimini Island when he came across Florida’s peninsula. 

Although he died shortly after his arrival, Florida still acknowledges its first founder and has a town called Ponce de León as well as statues around St. Augustine

Even though Florida isn’t home to the famous Fountain of Youth, it is an unofficial boating and fishing capital. With the longest coastline in the continental United States, Florida has more than 7,700 lakes and 10,550 miles of rivers. It also has the Florida Keys, like Key West, which are popular vacation spots and boating areas.

It is also home to the famous Everglades, a unique 1.5-million-acre subtropical wilderness of marshes, mangrove forests, wetlands, and tons of wildlife like alligators, manatees, panthers, crocodiles, and bald eagles. 

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And for those who prefer a different version of fun in the sun, Florida is also home to several theme parks like Disney World, Universal, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and Busch Gardens. Seven out of ten of the most visited theme parks are in Florida, and the state is also topping as the nation’s most popular water park location. 

Best Places to Live in Florida

Did you know that 330,000 people moved to Florida in 2020? 

While this sounds impressive, it’s nothing compared to the previous years before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States: In 2019, more than 600,000 people moved to the Sunshine State which means it’s one of the most popular inbound states in the country. 

There’s no question as to why so many people are moving to Florida: The Sunshine State has just about everything in the way of recreation, culture, and entertainment. Plus, you can’t beat the taxes and the year-round warm weather. 

Whether you’re ready to opt for state-to-state transportation, or are simply doing some research, it’s always good to know what to expect if Florida is a relocation destination on your radar. Here are some of the best cities in Florida for you to consider before you become a Florida resident. 

Naples

Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is one of the most popular cities for families, seniors, and young professionals to live. Its smaller metro area doesn’t compromise all the amenities you may want out of a major city, as it still has access to plenty of beaches and entertainment. 

The public schools are highly rated, although it is also the second-most expensive metropolitan city in Florida because of their convenience. You could also consider some nearby towns are Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, and Marco Island. 

Tampa

Tampa is a bustling metropolitan area that sits on the Gulf of Mexico just above Sarasota and Tampa Bay. The city is especially appealing to young professionals, families, and seniors alike. Tampa has an excellent public school system and is considered one of the best places to live for high school students and improve college readiness. 

Tampa is a popular vacation destination, so tourists contribute to the local economy quite a bit. This city offers beachside living with an urban-suburban mix that offers tons of bars, restaurants, and parks. Tampa is even home to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

It offers cheaper housing than other parts of the state, so snowbirds and retirees flock to the area quite often. Nearby cities that you can also check out are Largo, Clearwater, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg. 

Orlando

Perhaps best known by tourists as the epicenter of theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, Orlando is located in the heart of Florida. But locals know that there are plenty of other attractions and things to do in Orlando, with an abundance of nightlife, entertainment, and outdoor recreation. 

The public schools in Orlando are also excellent, as they rank high for college readiness out of all of Florida’s metropolitan areas. Some nearby places that you could also consider are Saint Cloud, Kissimmee, and Lakeland. 

Jacksonville

Jacksonville is one of Florida’s northernmost cities as it sits just below the Georgia state line along the east coast. It is one of the state’s more affordable areas that still offer the dense suburban mix that many families and retirees look forward to. 

Its average salary is a little low at $48,270, but it’s higher than other metro areas like Daytona Beach, Orlando, and Sarasota. Jacksonville offers tons of entertainment,outdoor recreation, and professional sports with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Plus, Jacksonville is an easy weekend trip to Savannah, Georgia. Some nearby cities you could also consider are St. Augustine, Lake City, and Gainesville. 

Pensacola

Outsiders may not consider Pensacola as a part of Florida, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Just because this city sits on Alabama and the Gulf Coast border doesn’t mean that it lacks any of the Florida amenities you’d get anywhere else. 

Pensacola is one of Florida’s more affordable cities and offers a dense suburban feel that families and retirees often look for when moving in-state. 

Its location on the panhandle — that is, the 200 mile stretch of land on Florida’s northwestern border — makes the city less busy but still offers plenty of nightlife, entertainment, and housing. Nearby cities that you can also check out are Panama City and Tallahassee. 

Conclusion

Better known as the Sunshine State, Florida is an alluring avenue of sunshine, entertainment, and coastal living. Its appealing sunny climate and diversified culture appeals to all walks of life and is perfect for retirees, families, and young professionals. 

Florida residents love to soak up the year-round warm sun, enjoy outdoor recreation, visit theme parks, watch professional and collegiate sports teams, and experience endless nightlife. 

But even with the exciting idea of moving to Florida in mind, the actual moving process can be stressful. That’s why it’s essential to be as prepared as possible by knowing what to expect and planning. So while this Florida relocation guide can help you make core decisions, Guardian Auto Transport can simplify the actual process. 

Transporting your car to Florida with a trusted auto shipping company like Guardian Auto Transport is an essential key to keeping things running smoothly for your journey. 

As one of the nation’s leading car shipping companies, Guardian knows exactly what customers like you expect and can guarantee a safe and efficient trip from wherever you’re coming from to anywhere in Florida. 

With consistent communication, a simple process, and a transparent quote with no hidden fees, you’ll be thankful that you chose Guardian to transport your car. Learn more about how Guardian can make your move effortless and get your free, instant quote today.

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