Living in the Sunshine State is a dream lifestyle for many. And it really is pretty awesome! But not everything is sunsets and rainbows. As with anywhere, there are many pros and cons to living in Florida. If you already live in Florida then you may know some of this already and enjoy sharing some of these perspectives with us. If you are considering living in Florida in the future, then you should definitely make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. For most of us Floridians, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Find out what we love about living in paradise and what things we simply have to learn to tolerate.
Pros of Living in Florida
Let’s first start out with some of the benefits of living in Florida because there are so many things we love about the Florida lifestyle. And we like to keep things positive around here, so let’s talk about the fun stuff!
Pro – The Warm Weather!
Warm weather just feels SO good!!! Especially during the winter months when temperatures in the north of the US get cold, people flock to Florida for the sun and warmth! Florida is a wonderful place to live if you love the sun and warmth most of the year. Even in the winter months, winters are mild in Florida. And the further south you go, the warmer it stays most of the year!
Pro – No Snow to Shovel!
Not only is it warmer in Florida in the winter, but it’s amazing not to have to deal with shoveling snow! Even though there can be some “cold snaps” and the occasional frost in the northern parts of Florida, you won’t be having to worry about shoveling your driveway or clearing off your car so you can drive to work.
Pro – World Class Beaches Are All Around & So Close!
In Florida, you are basically surrounded with gorgeous beaches! And there’s a ton of coastline so chances are that if you don’t live in a beach town or city you may only be a short drive away. Even if you live in the center of the state, like Orlando, you can get to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in just an hour or two in either direction! But for many of us who call this place home, the best places to live in Florida are along the beach where you can enjoy the beach-life at a moment’s notice!
Pro – Watersports Galore!
Florida is not only surrounded by water, there is water everywhere! From rivers to lakes to mangroves and more. So people who enjoy various types of water sports love Florida. From sailboats, to luxury yachts, to ski boats, and even just good ol’ pontoon boat fun with the family. Going for a canoe ride or kayaking trip along the mangroves to do some birdwatching is always fun or out at one of Florida’s crystal clear springs! You can also go jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling and diving all around Florida. Florida is all about water fun!
Pro – Amazing Theme Parks
We all know Florida is famous for its theme parks, such as Walt Disney World. But there’s also Universal Studios, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Legoland and more! Florida’s theme parks are great for a weekend getaway or even just a fun day out.
Pro – World-class Entertainment Options Everywhere
Not only is Florida home to theme parks, but in general, the state is full of world-class entertainment options. Tourist towns such as Orlando have a ton of entertainment for tourists, such as Cirque du Soliel, which are also enjoyed by locals. There are also large concerts and performances in arenas in big cities such as Miami or Tampa, and Sarasota is known as the arts and cultural hub of the state with broadway-style shows at local performing arts centers, the Opera, symphony and more. Plus, with so many gorgeous resorts around Florida, there are plenty of places to pamper yourself for a weekend or just for a night out with dinner and drinks in a fun atmosphere.
Pro – Florida Resident Discounts!
Another perk to living in Florida are the discounts that Florida residents get at a number of attractions. Disney is famous for its great Florida resident deals, as well as other major theme parks. But there are also Florida resident rates and major hotels, resorts and other attractions – making it more affordable to enjoy all the fun surrounding where you live anytime you want!
Pro – Fantastic State Parks for Hiking, Biking, Camping and More
Some people are surprised to hear that Florida actually has a lot to offer those who enjoy getting out in nature and exploring the outdoors. There are over 175 state parks, trails, and historic sites around Florida. Many of them offer beautiful scenery and interesting history along with hiking trails, biking, kayaking, boat tours, and even camping.
Pro – Year-Round Fun Outside
With such great weather all year round in Florida, there are more opportunities for locals to get outside. Whether it’s going to the beach in the summer or doing some boating on the waterways, or in the winter when it’s nice weather to go camping or go for a hike at a state park. Being able to go for a walk or a bike ride anytime of year is really nice for those of us who don’t like to be cooped up inside, especially during the winter months.
Pro – A Fisherman’s Dream!
If you are an avid fisherman, then there is probably no better place than Florida. There are many fresh lakes and rivers throughout the state, and we frequently see people fishing in their backyard or their neighborhood! But of course, there are the open oceans and deep-sea fishing that appeals to many of the thrill-seeking fishermen out there. However, even just going to one of the many local fishing piers can be a lot of fun. Venice fishing pier is quite a nice one and is always buzzing with fishermen out there looking to catch the big one!
Pro – So Many Sports Teams All Year Long
Sports fans rejoice, as there is no shorts or sports teams in Florida. National sports teams from football, baseball, basketball, and even hockey can be found in Florida. But even in the off-season, many teams come to Florida to practice. In fact, Florida if famous for their baseball Spring Training facilities. Even the Atlanta Braves have an amazing brand new facility in North Port (just outside of Venice), Florida which hosts games and all kinds of events. Then there are local sports. Because the weather stays quite nice for most of the year, there are all kinds of local sports that can be played by both kids and adults who want to stay active outside and have some fun.
Pro – Your Health Will Love It!
Fun fact, there are actually a number of health benefits to living in Florida. Just think about it, you can soak up plenty of vitamin D from all that sunshine – which is quite good for you. The sunshine and warmth, especially during the winter months, can help keep us happy because we don’t feel stuck inside. There are also so many fun things to do to keep us entertained and occupied. And who knows, you might even lose a bit of weight due to the warmth and staying active more of the year!
Pro – No State Income Tax
Ah yes, this is a pretty famous one that we always hear people talking about. And it is true, there is no state income tax in Florida! This is because of all the taxes and revenue received by all the wonderful tourists visiting the state. It’s not like you’ll save a fortune on taxes though (unless you are already quite wealthy), still, it’s nice to save some money come tax time.
Pro – Exotic Plants and Fruits Locally Grown
If you enjoy tropical fruits and vegetables and being able to grow some of them in your backyard, then you’ll love Florida. You can have citrus trees, papaya trees, pineapples and so much more. Fruit and veggies grow everywhere and if you know how to time it and build the right type of garden, then you could grow all kinds of things year-round during the different seasons.
Pro – Vacation in Your Backyard!
This is actually one of our favorite benefits of living in Florida. You can basically take a vacation anytime you want! Whether it’s a week-long trip up to Disney, a weekend trip to the beaches and resorts of Siesta Key…or even just an evening out at a tiki bar to have a drink and watch the sunset. I mean, even just going to the beach on a quiet afternoon for a couple of hours can feel like a nice mini-vacation. And with so many incredible entertainment & dining options out there for tourists, locals can really enjoy a vacation anytime they want.
Cons of Living in Florida
Even though there are so many positive things about living in Florida, it’s important to be realistic. Not every place is perfect. And Florida is no exception. So as long as you can accept or deal with some of these negatives, then you should have no problem enjoying the Florida lifestyle.
Cons – Heat and Humidity is No Joke in the Summer
It is true, the combination of heat and humidity during the peak of summertime can be downright oppressive! Especially if you are inland because you won’t get as much of the breeze coming off the ocean. Thank you for air-conditioning!
Cons – Truly Terrifying Thunderstorms & Torrential Downpours
While the weather is mostly quite sunny and beautiful in many parts of Florida, it is very much a tropical climate with distinct raining and dry seasons. And during the rainy season…boy does it rain! Torrential downpours can happen at the spur of a moment which flood your entire street, and some of the thunderstorms and lightning can be truly terrifying. There’s a reason why the Tampa hockey team is called the Tampa Lightning.
Cons – Hurricanes
And while we’re on that note, everyone knows about hurricanes! Yes, storms so bad that they deserve to be named. But the great thing is that at least modern technology gives us a good heads up so we can prepare and get out of the way.
Cons – No Mountains Here
If really love mountains and alpine wilderness, then you really might miss that in Florida. Florida is an extremely flat state with barely a few rolling hills in the central areas. The closest “mountains” you will get are up in northern Georgia and the Carolinas. Still, it’s a short drive if you miss them enough.
Cons – So Many Tourists!!!
While we Floridians appreciate all the tourists and the money they bring with them to our lovely state economy, it can also become quite irritating in certain parts of the state during certain times of the year. “Snowbirds” invade much of Florida during the winter season, and spring break can get pretty crazy in some parts of the state too. It’s not just the population growing, it’s also the driving!
Cons – Some Areas Are Overly Commercial for Tourists, Quite Tacky & Lack Character
Let’s face it, sometimes the overly commercial aspects of tourism can get a bit tacky and begin to suck the character right out of a town. Places such as I-drive in Orlando can be a lot of fun for people on vacation, but it’s basically an eye-sore to look at if you live around there every day. It’s refreshing to go to a more local part of town where you can find actual residents, enjoying their farmer’s markets and seeing the true character of the area.
Con – Very Little Public Transportation
Like a lot of the US, public transportation is lacking outside the bigger cities (and even those big cities don’t have the greatest public transport options). Having a car is pretty much a necessity in most parts of the state. Even as a tourist, many people find it much easier just to rent a car to get around.
Cons – The Population is Exploding
Because of all the amazing things about Florida, the population has pretty much been exploding for many, many years. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
Cons – Winter Sports Are Not a Big Thing Here
As you can imagine, winter snow and ice sports are not very popular in Florida. Nor are they easily accessible. There are actually some ice rinks around towns (obviously since there are Ice Hockey teams here) and during the winter some resort destinations will create some icy-adventures that you can enjoy indoors. But other than that, you won’t find an abundance of winter activities in Florida.
Cons – Traffic & Driving!!!!!
It’s not just the growing population in Florida, but the abundance of tourists (and to be brutally honest, elderly people…) that can make driving in Florida miserable! Major cities such as Miami and Orlando are notorious for horrific traffic! I’ve spent many hours stuck in traffic jams around the state. And the crazy driving, well it’s just on a whole other level down here!
Cons – Crime Rates
Unfortunately, Florida’s average crime rate is slightly higher than the national average. But that is mostly due to bigger cities. In bigger cities, there can be quite a bit of crime and there definitely areas of certain cities that you will want to avoid. However, there are plenty of other cities in Florida that are perfectly safe.
Cons – Wildlife Can Be Pretty Wild!
One word, alligators. Florida is famous for them, and yes they can be found anywhere there is water. While they typically keep to themselves, you just never know! But it’s not just the gators, we’ve seen coyotes casually stroll by us and otters running around in our storm drains in our neighborhood! There are giant birds (seriously, they are huge) and a ton of snakes. Luckily, of the 44 types of snakes in Florida, only 6 of them are poisonous. Oh, and those bugs can be enormous!!!
Cons – High Insurance Costs
Even though the cost of living in Florida isn’t that much higher than the US average, insurance can definitely be a surprise. Due to hurricanes and such, you can expect your homeowners insurance to be higher and in some areas, you may be required to buy flood insurance as well. And due to the crazy traffic and driving around the state, auto insurance tends to be quite a bit higher for most people who move to Florida.
Cons – Higher Local Taxes
Even though Florida has no state income tax, many people fail to mention the higher local taxes. Keep this in mind when you go to get your driver’s license and register your cars. Vehicle registration fees can be quite shocking if you are not prepared!
What Do You Think? Is it Worth it to Live in Florida? We Think So!
When you weigh the pros and cons of living in Florida, for us it’s a no-brainer. We LOVE living in Florida! While some of the cons can get a bit annoying we don’t find that they bother us too much and the benefits of living in Florida are just too good to pass up. Having such a wonderful lifestyle with so many fun things to do, beautiful weather most of the year, incredible beaches and so much more make it 100% worth it for us.
But what do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below and let us know!