A person contemplating a relocation decision with a 'should i move to orlando?' prompt on their smartphone screen.

Wondering if you should make the move to Orlando? This is a very big question.

In fact, we faced this very question years ago sitting in our Chicago home.

And ,we debated Orlando vs other cities such as Tampa and whether we should move to North Florida or South Florida?

Whether you are moving from a different Florida town or making the trek across the country, we believe Orlando is the best city in Florida.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of moving to Orlando together and see if Orlando is right for you.

Should I move to Orlando (short answer)?

Moving to Orlando offers a mix of big city amenities, small town hospitality, and natural beauty, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a new lifestyle with access to outdoor activities, theme parks, and cultural events.

Orlando offers a perfect blend of a medium-sized city with abundant amenities, excellent hurricane safety, and a wide range of outdoor activities within a 90-minute drive to the ocean in any direction. It’s an ideal location for professionals in healthcare, hospitality, and federal government contracting.

On the other hand, if you find hot and humid weather bothersome, desire to have a beach in close proximity to your home, and are annoyed by tourism, along with being employed in a niche industry where hiring processes take longer than usual, then relocating to Orlando may not be the most suitable choice.

Ultimately, whether Orlando is right for you depends on your priorities and lifestyle preferences.

Moving to Orlando Video Pros and Cons

Pro’s of moving to Orlando

There are many great reasons to move to Orlando and we are here to give you our top five.

We’ve lived here for years and have a good lay of the land.

Positive #1: Safety from Hurricanes

Let’s face it, moving to a new state or city can be scary, especially with all the news about hurricanes getting worse. While we aren’t here to get into a global warming debate–there is definitely an uptick in hurricanes.

Nevertheless, there is some extremely positive news. Orlando is among the safest cities in Florida when it comes to hurricanes, and there are several reasons for this.

  • Proximity from the ocean – Orlando is nearly 90 minutes from the coast in either direction and hurricanes weaken as they hit land. As hurricanes approach Orlando, they generally lose strength from the loss of warm ocean water.
  • Middle of the state – Orlando is directly in the middle of the state, which means that the majority of hurricanes moving from the South Atlantic will often hit southern areas of the state first (e.g., Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples).
  • Track record – Florida has one of the safest track records in the state when it comes to hurricane safety. We covered this topic extensively here to help you make informed decisions about Florida hurricanes. But, this is one of the biggest reasons we chose Orlando over coastal cities.

Positive #2: Big City Amenities with Small Town Feel

Orlando is a fairly large city, nearly 360k in the city of Orlando and over 2 million in the surrounding areas—and it has everything you’d expect from a large city.

Professional sports? Check. Dozens of museums? Oh yes. The most visited theme park system in the world? Hello Disney!!!

But hey, not everyone wants the hustle and bustle every day—we sure don’t.

Orlando is filled with incredible small towns and large suburbs for families in every direction, each one displaying picturesque downtowns, exquisite restaurants, and the quintessential charm of Florida.

Our life is an example of this. We chose the beautiful town of Clermont, FL which is only 30 minutes from Downtown Orlando to the west.

Our beautiful town of Clermont has big rolling hills (yes in Florida), miles of walking and biking trails, a dozen pristine interconnected lakes, a state park, and hundreds of amenities like restaurants, stores, community centers, and more.

Check out these rolling hills in Clermont
Rolling Hills in Clermont

The best part is how close all the big amenities are. While we get virtually zero tourist traffic in Clermont (mostly families), in under 40 minutes we can be in Downtown Orlando, Disney theme parks, world-class shopping, and the Orlando International Airport.

Not bad, right?

And Clermont isn’t the only city with these perks. Winter Garden, Lake Mary, Lake Nona, Mount Dora, Windermere, and Winter Park are but a few great Orlando suburbs to pick from.

Positive #3: The Outdoor Life is Incredible

Oh, you’re in for a treat! The outdoor life in Orlando is absolutely incredible.

I know you might have some preconceived notions about Orlando being all about minivans and Mickey Mouse bumper stickers, but trust me, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When it comes to outdoor activities in Orlando, there’s something for everyone.

From beautiful hiking trails and serene lakes for fishing to thrilling water sports and golf courses, you’ll never run out of things to do in this vibrant city.

If you love the lake life, Orlando is home to more than 100 beautiful lakes filled with boats, jet skis, kayaks, and people lounging on the beach living the good life.

Fun at Lake Minneola

The following trails are some great ones to check out if you are in Orlando. Wekiwa Springs is great for nature enthusiasts while Lake Eola is great if you want a stroll in the heat of downtown Orlando.

Trail NameMiles of TrailAllowed ActivitiesPark Type
Shingle Creek Trail2Pedestrians, CyclistsSuburban Loop
Pine Island East Loop Trail3.4Pedestrians, Cyclists, CanoeingCentral Florida Trail
Three Lakes Loop5.3Hiking, Nature TripsFlorida Trail
Lake Lizzie Marsh Loop1.7Walking, Bird WatchingConservation Area
Orlando Urban Trail3Cyclists, PedestriansUrban Trail
Wekiwa Springs0.9 to 8.3Hiking, Swimming, CanoeingState Park
Airport Lakes Trail0.8Walking, Bird WatchingBoardwalk
Mead Botanical Gardens LoopJust over 1 mileHiking, Walking, Bird WatchingBotanical Gardens
Lake Eola Park1Walking, Running, BikingCity Park
Trails around Orlando

We love cycling or strolling on the Coast to Coast Trail, which is an epic journey from the Atlantic shores to the Gulf’s serene beaches, all while winding through the heart of our vibrant city.

Map of central florida highlighting the greater orlando and tampa areas.
The Florida Coast to Coast Trail

Positive #4: Quick trip to the coast

We’ve talked about this before in our blog on beaches, but Orlando is a great location to live if you love beaches.

We often have clients that ask to live in a beach community, but they aren’t always sure if they want to live on the Gulf Coast or the Atlantic Coast.

To help this debate, we often recommend Orlando as a location because it’s one of the most central locations in the state, which means you can get to either coast in under 90 minutes, and you’re halfway between the beaches of Jacksonville, Miami, and Destin.

Orlando's Proximity to Beaches
Clermont’s Proximity to Beaches

And, we love that about where we live. On Saturday morning we can sip coffee and decide on which 90-minute ride we want to take–the beautiful beaches of Melbourne (Atlantic Ocean) or the pristine sandy beaches of Siesta Key (Gulf of Mexico).

Positive #5: Orlando Is Centrally Located

Living centrally in Florida offers more than just access to beaches. It provides a unique opportunity to easily reach great destinations within a half day’s drive.

We take advantage of being 3 hours from the cruises in Fort Lauderdale, 4 hours from night-life in Miami, 4 hours from the warm beaches of Naples, 90 minutes from the museums and sports of Tampa, 2 hours from Florida’s biggest city of Jacksonville, 7 hours from the trailhead of the Smokey Mountains, and 7 hours from the white sands of the Panhandle.


Map showing a driving route in florida from the panhandle to miami with an estimated travel time.
Orlando is Centrally Located0

If we lived in Miami or Jacksonville (edges of Florida), there are locations that would make a day drive logistically harder to plan for.

For example, if we lived in the Miami area, driving to Smokey Mountains would go from 7 hours to 11 or 12 hours, which is an extra 8–9 hours round trip. That’s the difference between an early half day drive and getting in a dinner time.

Con’s of Moving to Orlando

Negative #1: The Traffic is Bad

Depending on where you move from, traffic in Orlando can get fairly congested.

And before you say, “sure pal, where I’m from we have REAL traffic…,” understand that we have lived in some of the most congested places in North America (Chicago, New York, Seattle).

Orlando ranks 62nd most congested city in North America, in front of cities like St. Louis, Phoenix, and Detroit.

When we moved here, we were thinking it would be smooth sailing and open roads. But, what we found is Florida takes a LONG TIME to clear accidents and people move at “Florida Speed,” which is probably slower than you’d hope.

Traffic congestion on i-95 due to a multi-vehicle accident causing significant delays.
Traffic congestion on i-95 due to a multi-vehicle accident causing significant delays.

Orlando doesn’t have the highest traffic times–that title goes to Miami–but it’s certainly not easy to get around.

Resident tip: When leaving during traffic hours, don’t assume back/side roads are faster. Orlando is filled with traffic lights due to the number of small businesses, restaurants, and theme parks. If you have to take the highway, be cautious of I-4 which is both dreadful with traffic and Orlando’s most dangerous highway.

Negative #2: It’s Very Humid

This con probably doesn’t surprise you, because you know Florida is tropical, but the interior of Florida can feel more humid than coastal cities. We just don’t have those beautiful ocean breezes to cool the place down.

Unlike coastal cities that benefit from large ocean bodies, which help to disperse humidity, Orlando is surrounded by land on all sides. And while we love our lake life, the central location limits the flow of air from the ocean.

Check out the difference in average wind speed in Orlando vs Tampa. A breeze can make all the difference.

Line graph showing the average wind speed in orlando and tampa throughout the year with a current wind speed indicator.
Line graph showing the average wind speed in Orlando and Tampa throughout the year with a current wind speed indicator.

The abundance of lakes around Orlando contributes to the local humidity, as water from these lakes evaporates into the air, making it feel muggier.

So, while the ocean moderates humidity along the coast, Orlando’s inland means we have to deal with the higher humidity levels.

Negative #3: The beach is farther

We almost moved to Tampa; we were soooo close. But in the end, we chose Orlando and the truth is we do not have an ocean beach down the street.

We have friends who live on both sides of the coast, and they do love living minutes from the beach. While there are some important considerations you need to make before moving to a hurricane-prone coastline, the quality of life advantages are apparent.

We have to drive at least 90 minutes to get to an ocean beach and that does require planning. At our age, this isn’t much of a bother, but if you are busy raising a family, the beach being down the street might be a must.

Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of retiring in a sleepy beach down–well–Orlando isn’t that.

If you choose Orlando as your home, know that world-class beaches are a drive away, not a walk down the street.

Negative #4: It’s more expensive than you think

Orlando is pretty expensive–even by standards of other areas in the United States.

We moved from Chicago which is pretty high-priced (especially taxes) for the midwest, and we haven’t saved THAT much living here.

We know, it’s not what you were hoping to hear, but we have to tell the truth. And, we’ve sold tens of millions in real estate, so we’ve got a lay of the land.

If you are moving to the Orlando area, don’t expect to find housing-bubble ’08 prices for your new home. In nicer suburban areas like Winter Garden, Clermont, Oviedo, or Lake Nona, single family homes in Orlando will cost upwards of $500k+.

The average price of a home in Orlando is $376k as of March 2024 according to Rocket Homes data.

Orlando housing market statistics: median sold price at $376,879, up 4.8% from last year.
Orlando housing market statistics: median sold price at $376,879, up 4.8% from last year.

Now, yes, there are substantial tax savings here that you will be able to tax advantage of, but the cost of homeownership isn’t cheap. You can dig in more about financial savings in Florida in our recent blog.

We consistently emphasize the importance of carefully evaluating the financial implications concerning sales income tax elimination, lower property taxes, and the rising costs of housing, especially for individuals residing outside the Northeast and West Coast regions.

If you are considering a move from New York, New Jersey, or California, you will surely be thrilled with our affordable home prices.

Negative #5: The economy is built on tourism

Love it or hate it, the Orlando economy is built on tourism. Many of the available job postings will be affiliated with the tourism community.

While there are growing industries here, with the presence of Disney, Universal Studios, and thousands of jobs associated with their presence, jobs will always be catered towards entertainment and hospitality.

However, it’s also important to note the diversification within Orlando’s job market. The technology sector, especially in simulation, aerospace, and digital media, is on the rise.

In fact, when our son moved here from Chicago, he immediately found work in the defense sector. There is a huge presence in Orlando for government contractors with headquarters for Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, and Leidos.

In addition, the aging population of retirees and snowbirds has provided tons of jobs for healthcare workers. In fact, Lake Nona has recently built an amazing medical campus outside of Orlando with terrific amenities.

Education also represents significant employment sectors, benefiting from the area’s population growth and the large number of families moving in. Not to mention the number of opportunities associated with the University of Central Florida in eastern Orlando.

Here are some of the most popular careers in Orlando based on the Buruea of Labor Statistics:

GroupTotal EmploymentEmployment per 1,000 jobsMedian Hourly WageAnnual Mean Wage
All Occupations1,297,4601000.000$18.76$53,840
Hospitality & Tourism
– Food Preparation and Serving148,410114.383$13.93$32,190
– Personal Care and Service44,18034.049$13.79$31,770
– Sales and Related Occupations147,970114.042$16.04$44,970
– Transportation and Material Moving117,78090.780$16.75$42,280
– Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance46,41035.772$14.26$32,520
Major Employment Sectors
– Office and Administrative Support172,220132.733$18.17$42,020
– Business and Financial Operations86,64066.778$31.64$76,560
– Healthcare Practitioners and Technical72,47055.852$33.92$85,840
– Management Occupations68,78053.012$48.48$123,760
– Construction and Extraction60,43046.576$21.87$47,270
– Educational Instruction and Library55,75042.969$23.62$53,110
– Installation, Maintenance, and Repair52,28040.294$22.49$50,3
Top Occupations in Orlando Based on BLS.GOV Data

It’s great to see these industries growing! It’s fascinating how tourism still has such a big impact, and it’s good to know that skills in customer service, event management, and hospitality will continue to be in high demand. It’s shaping a bright future for Orlando’s economy and job market!


Alright, let’s land this plane. Thinking about moving to Orlando? We’ve been there, sitting in our Chicago place, scrolling through pages of pros and cons. We took the leap, and haven’t looked back since.

Orlando has its quirks, sure. The traffic can be a nightmare, and the humidity will turn your hair into a science experiment. But the perks? They’re the reason we have this blog.

We love the safety from hurricanes, a city vibe without losing that cozy neighborhood feel, and an outdoor lifestyle that’ll keep your weekends packed with adventures. We can’t tell you how many visitors we have from other states.

Plus, being smack dab in the middle of Florida means those spur-of-the-moment beach trips are totally doable.

And jobs? They’re not just in tourism. Our son found a gig in the defense sector almost right away and our daughter-in-law found a nursing job after multiple offers in days.

So, if you’re on the fence about Orlando, think about what you’re looking for. If it’s a place with the charm of small towns, the buzz of a city, and a heap of sunny days, then you might just want to join us in calling Orlando home.

It’s been quite the ride for us, and maybe it’s your turn next.