What Life is Really Like in Florida

Get a Quote

If you’ve always dreamed of moving to Florida, you’re not alone. The beaches, the weather, the lifestyle — it seems like a vacation from the grind of daily life. But before you pack your bags, it’s important to understand what life is really like in the Sunshine State.  

Florida has a lot going for it, but there are also some realities you’ll need to be prepared for. So, let’s take an unfiltered look at the pros and cons of living in Florida, from the cost of living and job market to the climate and overall vibe.  

The Sunny Upsides of Living in Florida

Sunshine — and plenty of it. Florida gets over 230 sunny days a year on average. Perfect for beach days, pool time and just feeling that warm glow, your Vitamin D level will thank you. 

Nature galore. From the Everglades to coral reefs to lush tropical foliage, Florida’s amazing ecosystems offer hiking, boating, wildlife viewing and more, with much of it available throughout the year. Don’t forget those magical sunrises and sunsets, too. 

Theme parks and attractions. With Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center and so many more, Florida is a dream for families and kids of all ages. Here, you can enjoy thrill rides one day and meet Mickey the next. 

Living in Florida - Tourists - United Van Lines

No snow or extreme cold. For those who dread shoveling snow and bundling up in parkas, Florida winters are sublime. Sweaters or light jackets are all you typically need on the “coldest” days. 

Water fun. Water lovers, rejoice: Miles and miles of beautiful beaches line both coasts, along with plentiful lakes, rivers, springs and swamps.  Opportunities for kayaking and other watersports abound. 

Long growing season. Calling all gardeners: The summer growing season typically lasts from May through September, depending on where you live. Plus, you may not have to worry about frost — at all. 

Diverse cities and culture. From Miami’s Cuban culture to historical St. Augustine, the Keys’ laid-back vibe and Caribbean influences, there’s a lot to love from a cultural perspective. 

Laidback vibe. As with most warm weather locales, people tend to be a bit more at ease. Overall, expect a slower pace of life and good work/life balance

Other transplants. Florida is a state lots of people escape to. Generally, you can count on meeting fellow newcomers, who are happy to show you the ropes. 

Dealing With the Downsides: Hurricanes, Tourists and More

Florida’s got a lot going for it, but let’s be real — living in the Sunshine State isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  

Hurricanes. Hurricane season typically runs June through November, and while most storms aren’t too bad, the big ones can wreak some serious havoc. Stock up on supplies and have an evacuation plan. 

Bugs. Pesky insects tend too swarm like crazy in spring and fall — bug guts, so get ready to do some extra washing. Termites can threaten property, too, so preemptive spraying is needed. 

Tourists. Places like Disney World and South Beach draw huge crowds, especially at peak times. Be prepared for heavy traffic and packed attractions. 

Heat and humidity. Summers are sweltering, with highs in the 90s F and plenty of muggy, sweaty days. Make sure your A/C is up to the task. 

Wildlife encounters. Alligators, snakes, bears, panthers -—they’re all around. Fortunately, most creatures want nothing to do with you. 

High cost of living. Housing, insurance and other expenses can be pricier than other parts of the country due to the prime location and weather risks. 

The Real Cost of Living in the Sunshine State

The year-round sunshine and natural beauty come at a cost. Weigh the expenses against the Florida lifestyle you want to decide if living there aligns with your budget and priorities. The extra costs may be worth it to some seeking an endless summer. 

Housing can be pricey. Rent and home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, especially in popular metro areas like Miami and Orlando. Expect to pay a premium to live near the ocean or Disney. Property taxes and insurance rates are relatively high, too. 

Prepare for seasonal population spikes. Snowbirds flock to Florida in the winter months, causing seasonal congestion. The population also swells during spring break and summer beach season. Traffic, crowds and prices all increase during peak times of year. 

Hurricane threats are real. Hurricane season runs from June to November. Stocking up on supplies, boarding up windows and potential evacuation costs add up. Flooding and power outages are not uncommon storm effects either. 

Living in Florida - After Hurricane - United Van Lines

Summers are scorching hot — and incredibly humid. Home cooling bills can be enormous in Florida’s sweltering summers. Paying extra for pool maintenance is common, too.  

Watch out for hidden fees. From toll roads to homeowners’ association dues, there are many added costs to consider. Theme park and attraction annual passes provide local discounts but require an upfront investment. 

Best Places to Live in Florida for Good Weather and Affordability

No matter where you choose to call home, Florida living is all about enjoying the great weather and relaxed lifestyle. Based on your preferences for affordability, activities and scenery, here are some top spots to consider: 

With an average of 361 days of sunshine a year, Tampa/St. Petersburg is a vibrant coastal region that’s tough to beat. Housing costs are reasonable compared to South Florida. Enjoy major sports teams, museums, theme parks, beaches and diverse dining. 

Orlando is theme park central and offers ample entertainment and more moderate home prices. Summers are hot and humid though. Consider suburbs like Winter Park, Clermont or Altamonte Springs for more affordable living near the attractions. 

Miles of white sandy beaches and a laidback coastal vibe make the Daytona area a top choice. Housing costs are lower than other beach spots in Florida, so it’s no wonder retirees love it. The weather is warm all year with lows in the 50s F in winter. 

For beach lovers on a budget, Fort Myers hits the sweet spot. Low taxes and costs combined with over 250 sunny days per year. Beautiful Sanibel and Captiva Islands are close by, too. Summer heat and humidity are the trade-offs. 

If you like warm weather but not extreme heat, northeast Florida may be the perfect choice. Jacksonville stays milder year-round. Housing costs are reasonable, too. Plus, you’ll find a lot of parks, beaches and outdoor recreation to choose from. 

Living in Florida FAQs: Answering All Your Questions About Life in the Sunshine State

Living in Florida - Beachfront - United Van Lines

What’s the weather really like in Florida? 

The weather in Florida is hot and humid for much of the year. Summer temperatures average in the 80s F and 90s F, with high humidity. Winters are mild, with average temperatures in the 60s F and 70s F, depending on where you live. It’s mostly sunny year-round, though summer brings almost daily thunderstorms. Hurricanes are a threat June through November on both coasts, which can affect inland areas, too. 

Is Florida full of retirees? 

Parts of Florida skew older, like the Gulf coast and central Florida retirement communities. But big cities like Miami and Tampa have a normal age mix. Overall, Florida’s median age (42) is just slightly older than the U.S. median (38). 

How bad are bugs, snakes, alligators and other wildlife? 

Bugs like mosquitoes and no-see-ums can be annoying, especially in summer. Additionally, cockroach and palmetto bug sightings are common — it’s part of living in a tropical climate. So, spraying for bugs — and dealing with them — is a part of reality. It’s also important to note venomous snakes and alligators exist, though attacks are rare. That bottom line? Don’t worry but do take reasonable precautions. 

What are the people and culture like? 

Florida is diverse, with many transplants from the Northeast, Midwest, Caribbean and Latin America. There’s a laidback beach culture and outdoor lifestyle. Meanwhile, Florida’s bigger cities have vibrant arts, music and food scenes. As is the case elsewhere, smaller towns lean traditional and conservative.  

Is Florida affordable to live in? 

Florida lacks a state income tax, but other costs like home insurance and property taxes can be high. Overall, housing costs vary widely by location — cities and coastal areas are expensive, while rural areas tend to be more affordable.  

What’s the best way to move to Florida? 

To make things easy and stress-free, leave the work to the professionals. United Van Lines’ nationwide network of long-distance movers helps you eliminate the hassle of relocating. By hiring a trusted moving company like United Van Lines, you can rest easy knowing your long-distance relocation needs are being taken care of by professional movers.  

 Get a quote to get the ball rolling — we’re here to help. 

Get a Quote from America's #1 Mover® Today

Other Moving Resources

  • Loading...