Moving to a new state can be both exciting and overwhelming. As a married couple who recently moved to Florida, we can attest that there are a few things you should know before making the move.
As relocation specialists who have made the Sunshine State our home, we understand the importance of providing valuable insights without instilling unnecessary fear.
Florida’s climate, wildlife, cost of living, and insurance challenges are among the factors to consider. But fear not!
And sure, the occasional unpredictable weather, humidity, and encounters with wildlife and insects may happen.
But, Florida’s robust infrastructure, diverse ecosystem, and efficient pest control measures ensure a safe and enjoyable living experience.
So, before you make your decision, let’s explore what makes Florida a fantastic place to call home.
The climate in Florida is known for its unpredictable nature.
As someone who is considering a move to Florida, it’s important to understand that not every day is perfect weather. In fact, you’re in for a surprise if you haven’t spent months in Florida at a time.
First things first: Florida has a subtropical climate, which means that it is generally warm and humid throughout the year. And if you don’t like humidity, this is definitely not the place.
However, there are some variations in the climate depending on where you are in the state.
Humidity in Florida
Florida is known for its hot and humid weather, especially during the summer months. Temperatures can often reach into the 90s, and the humidity can make it feel even hotter.
The humidity level will most likely catch people moving from places like California off guard when they relocate.
In fact, when we moved from Illinois, it took some getting used to. The first day we unpacked our moving truck it was 95 degrees and almost 100% humidity.
Let’s just say that Tom and I took more water breaks than we were used to.
To give you an idea of the humidity, let’s look a number of Florida cities to help you pick the best spot: Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, Jacksonville, and Gainesville.
Looking at the graph below, there are some “comfort” differences from city to city in Florida when it comes to muggy humidity.
You’ll notice that the further south you go—Miami, Tampa, Orlando—the more likely you are to have muggier conditions in the spring, winter, and fall time.
On the other hand, the further north you go—Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando—the more pleasant the spring, winter, and fall time will feel.
One surprising area is Orlando. The city in Central Florida is famous for its high temperatures, but surprisingly, it experiences lower levels of humidity compared to Miami, Tampa, and Melbourne for the majority of the year.
There is a rumor that Orlando is in the middle of the state and suffers from a lack of ocean breezes, but it’s lower humidity levels can help with comfort.
High Temperatures in Florida
I’m sure you are wondering about the temperatures, right? After all, Florida has a reputation for being HOT with a capital H.
Well, here are the high temperatures for six popular Florida cities across all 12 months.
We arranged the cities from north to south to give you perspective. As you can see, the farther north you are, the lower the average high temperature will be.
Jacksonville will have the most comfortable temperatures while Miami will have the highest average temperatures—but it’s also the furthest south.
Keep in mind, Florida’s biggest benefit is being able to do outdoor activities all year, so the heat shouldn’t be a huge deal.
Once we moved here, we stopped focusing on the heat and humidity and instead embraced the idea that we get to play outside every day of the year.
In fact, when our clients are relocating to Florida, one of the first things they ask: what’s the deal with hurricane season?
It’s important to know that hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.
During this time, the state is at risk for tropical storms and hurricanes, which can cause significant damage—especially with storm surges.
So, how at risk is Florida? Let’s dig into some hurricane data.
Notable Hurricanes in Florida Over the Last 30 Years
|Year||Average Number of Named Hurricanes in Florida||Average Names|
|1990s||3.7||Andrew, Bonnie, Charley, Dennis, Floyd, etc.|
|2000s||2.7||Katrina, Wilma, Ivan, Jeanne, Charley, etc.|
|2010s||3.3||Matthew, Irma, Michael, Dorian, Hermine, etc.|
|2020s*||2.8||Isaias, Eta, Elsa, Zeta, Sally, Ian, etc.|
As you can see above, every decade, Florida will get a ton of hurricanes. And, many of those hurricanes will create substantial damage.
But, there’s good news. Living in Florida, we’ve come to appreciate the state’s ability to withstand hurricanes.
While hurricanes are a part of life here, certain areas have a lower frequency of landfall and are considered relatively safe.
Where should we live in Florida to avoid hurricanes?
Hurricanes are unavoidable in Florida, but you can make better buying decisions based on the city you choose.
Living inland can provide a shelter and safety buffer than coastal cities cannot.
One such place is Orlando, which, based on the historical data and geographical advantages, can be considered one of the safest large cities in Florida when it comes to hurricanes.
Florida’s extensive coastline makes it vulnerable to hurricanes, but Orlando’s inland location provides some protection.
As hurricanes move over land, they tend to weaken, and the impact of high-wind activity is typically less severe in central areas like Orlando.
While the city may experience tropical storms or weaker hurricanes, the risk of major hurricane damage is significantly lower compared to coastal regions.
Hurricane Ian cost $112 billion in total damage, but only $200 million happened in Orlando, mostly affecting mobile homes, commercial properties, and causing light property damage.
Fort Myers, a city on the Gulf Coast, was absolutely devastated with over 97% of structures damaged by Hurricane Ian.
In addition to its inland positioning, Orlando benefits from its higher elevation compared to other cities in Florida.
Orlando is less prone to storm surge and flooding because of its elevation, which ranges from 82 to 393 feet above sea level. This is especially true in areas with hills like Clermont, Florida.
While living in Florida requires awareness and preparedness for hurricanes, Orlando’s inland location, higher elevation, and robust infrastructure make it a favorable choice for those seeking a safe haven from major hurricane impacts.
It’s important to stay informed, have an emergency plan in place, and follow official advisories during hurricane season.
Cost of Living
Moving to Florida can be an affordable option for those looking for a lower cost of living. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary greatly depending on where you choose to live in the state.
Housing costs in Florida can range from very affordable to quite expensive. The median home price in Florida is around $300,000, but this can vary greatly depending on the area.
For example, in Miami, the median home price is around $450,000, while in Jacksonville, it’s closer to $250,000.
In our experience in the Orlando area, homes that are larger than three bedrooms rarely sell below $300,000. The nature of the Florida real estate has changed in the last few years.
Take a look at a recent home tour we did in West Orlando. You can get an idea of home prices below.
Renting is also an option in Florida, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being around $1,200 per month.
However, this can also vary depending on the location. For example, in Miami, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,500 per month.
While Florida offers affordable options in cities like Palatka, Fort Pierce, and Sebring, larger cities such as Miami and Tampa can really stretch your budget.
We’ve found that the more amenities a city has, the higher the price will be.
The price of housing tends to be higher in coastal areas as well. It makes sense because who doesn’t want to live by the water?
Additionally, insurance and monthly bills for utilities like electricity, internet, and water tend to be relatively higher compared to other states. Honestly, this comes as a surprise to many people moving here on a fixed budget.
Florida is known for having no state income tax, which can be a big draw for many people.
However, it’s important to note that other taxes in the state can be relatively high.
For example, the sales tax in Florida is 6%, with some areas charging an additional local tax. Property taxes can also be high, with the average property tax rate in Florida being around .86% to 1.1%.
|Tax Type||Details in Florida|
|State Income Tax||No state income tax. Residents keep all their earnings.|
|Property Tax||Average property tax rate of 0.83% of the assessed value, which is about the national average. Ranked 24th lowest in the U.S.|
|Corporate Tax||Top marginal corporate tax rate of 5.5%. Ranked 4th for business-friendly environment in the U.S.|
|Sales Tax||State sales tax rate of 7.01%. Ranked 23rd in the U.S.|
|Inheritance Tax||No inheritance tax. Beneficiaries receive their full inheritance without any tax burdens.|
Remember to always check the most current tax laws and rates with official state resources, as they can change. The Florida Department of Revenue would be a good place to start.
In our experience, moving from Chicago to Florida has resulted in large savings on the tax end. We are net positive.
Florida’s commitment to accessible education is evident in its recent achievement of the #1 spot in U.S. News’ prestigious higher education ranking.
The state excels in various categories, including 2-year and 4-year college graduation rates, low student debt, and overall affordability.
Florida offers an affordable path to education for hard-working families, which is unique in a time when higher education costs are a major concern.
In fact, our daughter-in-law moved here to pursue education at the University of Central Florida to escape the high Illinois higher education costs.
One notable Florida law is the Florida GI Bill, which was passed in 2014. This comprehensive legislation expands educational benefits for veterans and their families, including tuition assistance, educational counseling, and career services.
The Florida GI Bill helps veterans get affordable higher education through waivers for some courses and programs at state universities, community colleges, and career centers.
Another Florida-specific law is the Florida Veterans’ Scholarship Program, established in 2006. This program offers scholarships to honorably discharged veterans who have served in designated conflicts or military operations.
The scholarships cover tuition and fees at eligible institutions within the state, allowing veterans to pursue their educational goals without the burden of high costs.
Home and Car Insurance Rates
Living in the beautiful Sunshine State, we often have to deal with Mother Nature’s tough side. Unfortunately, six out of the ten costliest storms in the U.S. have hit Florida, causing lots of damage.
Because of this, big insurance companies have decided to cut back and some stopped offering property insurance altogether.
This has left us Floridians with fewer choices for home insurance. Most of the time, we have to rely on the state’s own insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance, or some smaller companies that are just starting out.
However, these small companies now need to increase the cost of their insurance by quite a bit to protect themselves from major losses.
To make things even more complicated, Florida’s laws allow contractors and lawyers to charge insurance companies a lot more than the actual cost of repairs. This has led to what some people call a “legal sinkhole” and adds more to the cost of insurance.
So, for us in Florida, getting home insurance can be a big challenge.
Not only do we have to deal with the constant threat of storms, but we also have to navigate this tricky insurance situation.
We haven’t even talked about car insurance.
Car insurance in Florida has become much more expensive in recent years, with residents now paying up to $150 more for their six-month premium compared to two years ago..
Notably, Florida has been identified by Insure.com as the most expensive state for car insurance, with average monthly premiums around $213, a striking 52% higher than the national average.
Factors contributing to these high rates include Florida’s “no-fault” insurance system, a large percentage of uninsured drivers, and a high incidence of auto insurance fraud.
Insurance rates in the state are higher due to unique challenges caused by a mix of younger and older drivers and heavy influx of tourists.
Overall, while the cost of living in Florida can be relatively affordable, it’s important to do your research and consider the specific area you’re interested in living in to get a better idea of the costs involved.
The Wildlife in Florida is Dangerous
Florida is known for its grand natural settings. However, those settings can contain some creatures you should be aware.
When we moved to Florida, we knew it had more wildlife than Illinois, but we weren’t aware of all the creatures that live here.
6 living things in Florida that are dangerous to humans
- Alligators: According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are an estimated 1.3 million alligators in Florida. The state’s rapid development has led to increased interactions between humans and alligators.
- Mosquitoes: The Florida Department of Health reports that there are at least 80 different species of mosquitoes in Florida, more than in any other state. This makes mosquito control a significant public health practice in Florida.
- Venomous Spiders: The University of Florida’s Entomology Department reports that while both the southern black widow and the brown recluse spiders are native to Florida, bites from these spiders are infrequent.
- Fire Ants: The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences states that fire ants currently infest more than 30 million acres in Florida. Their sting can lead to severe reactions in some individuals.
- Snakes: According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida is home to 44 snake species, but only six are venomous. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the Coral Snake are among these.
- Sharks: The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History shows that Florida consistently has the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks in the United States. However, the risk is still very low, with an average of 16 shark attacks per year in Florida and fatalities being extremely rare.
Despite the presence of diverse wildlife and occasional encounters with insects and reptiles, it’s important to remember that these issues are uncommon and shouldn’t discourage anyone from moving to Florida.
Like any other place, Florida has its unique ecosystem and wildlife, but with proper precautions and awareness, interactions with dangerous creatures are rare.
And sure, the insects like grasshoppers might be bigger than you’re used to, but most are harmless and kind of cool to look at.
The state has efficient pest control measures in place, and the majority of residents and visitors enjoy Florida’s natural beauty without encountering any significant problems.
With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and warm climate, Florida offers a wonderful living experience that far outweighs any concerns about wildlife or insects.
So, is Florida the right place for you? (Conclusion)
Florida is a great place to live with lots of opportunities and an exciting lifestyle.
While the climate and heat can be unpredictable at times, shade is your best friend while inland Florida living can shelter you from many of the tropical storm-related issues.
Interacting with dangerous creatures in the wildlife is rare. With awareness and precautions, you can fully enjoy and appreciate the unique ecosystem and its wonders.
Concerned about the cost of living? Florida provides affordable options in various cities, with lower taxes and accessible education opportunities, making it an ideal place for families and students alike.
And while insurance challenges exist, Florida’s more than 20 million residents find a way to make it work every day. None of our clients have ever moved away from Florida because of their insurance.
Florida has everything you need to make it your home. Enjoy the sun, explore different landscapes, and create lasting memories.