15 Pros and Cons of Living in Florida

Ashley Fike Authors Bio Picture

Sunshine, beaches, and palm trees, or… traffic, alligators, and tourists? People have many views about the state of Florida. Of course, like any state, there are pros and cons of living in Florida, and after living here for a year (and visiting for over five), I want to share my insight.

After growing up on the West Coast, my views of the Sunshine State were limited and included a lot of stereotypes. However, after becoming a resident, I’ve definitely learned a lot of things about the benefits and downsides of living in Florida.

15 Pros and Cons of Living in Florida

Florida

Millions of people flock to Florida every year. Whether it’s for retirement, Walt Disney World, or visiting the beaches, there are many reasons why people love it here so much and an endless amount of things to do. But, what is it really like to live in Florida? Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – although there really is a lot of sunshine.

The pros and cons below are based on my own personal experience, talking with locals and transplants, and research from reputable websites. These are the 10 pros and 5 cons of living in Florida.

Where is Florida?

Florida map location

Located on the southeastern coast of the United States, Florida has a population of almost 22 million people. Known for its incredible coastline with glorious beaches, the Sunshine State is home to major cities such as Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and the capital Tallahassee.

Also the flattest state in the United States, Florida produces 70% of the oranges in the country and is well-known for having the alligator as its state reptile. It’s a unique destination with lots to offer, including nature preserves, theme parks, museums, and more.

Pros of Living in Florida

Millions of people love calling Florida home – including myself! These are some of the biggest benefits of living in Florida.

1. Gorgeous Weather Year-Round

sunglasses florida weather

Florida’s climate is a major draw for those who live there or are considering a move. Known for its tropical climate, the Sunshine State offers residents warm temperatures year-round, especially in the south. In fact, other than Florida, the only state with a tropical climate is Hawaii!

During winter, you can expect mild weather, with temperatures rarely falling below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, (unless you’re in the northern areas). During the summer months, you’ll find hot temperatures, typically ranging from around 88 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

This warm and sunny weather is super appealing for snowbirds and full-time residents alike. After all, who doesn’t want to hang out at the beach every month of the year?

SEE ALSO: Best Time to Visit Florida (Weather and Costs)

2. No State Income Tax

saving dollars

A major benefit to living in Florida is that you don’t have to pay state income tax. This is especially good for people moving from states where taxes are a huge burden, such as Oregon or California, where they can be as high as 10%.

Naturally, when you don’t have to pay state income tax, you end up being able to save quite a bit of money. This extra potential to save means more disposable income to do all the fun things in and around Florida!

This is one of the biggest reasons why I love living here. I’ve been able to save thousands of dollars, simply because of the lack of state income tax.

3. You’re Always Near Water

South Beach in Miami - florida

Water lovers, rejoice! Florida is famous for its lengthy coastline, stretching an incredible 1,350 miles. This means there are tons of beaches to explore! Some of the most well-known beaches include Clearwater Beach, Siesta Key, Daytona Beach, Panama City Beach, and South Beach in Miami. Each one offers something unique from the other.

Even if you live inland, you’re never too far from a beach (within an hour or two), so beach day trips are a breeze and you can enjoy the sun, sand, and waves without having to hop on a plane.

Besides the coast, Florida is also known for its stunning lakes. Places like Lake Okeechobee and the Harris Chain of Lakes are popular spots for swimming, fishing, boating, and enjoying nature. No matter where you choose to stay in Florida, there’ll be a body of water nearby.

SEE ALSO: Best Packing List for Florida: 20 Must-Haves for the Perfect Trip

4. It’s the Theme Park Capital of the World

universal studios- florida

Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, and more – all of these world-famous theme parks are found in Florida. These massive parks aren’t just super fun to visit, but they also play a crucial role in the economy, attracting millions of visitors each year and providing thousands of jobs.

For theme park enthusiasts, Florida is basically a dream destination. Disney lovers can spend days wandering the four theme parks of Walt Disney World. Thrill seekers will love the roller coasters at Universal Studios. And for exhilarating rides combined with wildlife adventures, Busch Gardens is the place to go.

5. Very Diverse Culture

group of friends on beach

They say that variety is the spice of life, and Florida is one of the most culturally diverse states in the country. This is largely due to many people moving to the state from other countries.

The U.S. Census Bureau shows that the demographics include about 60% white, 22% Hispanic or Latino, 16% African American, and 2% Asian. Over 20% of the state’s residents were born outside of the U.S.

Thanks to this rich diversity and difference in cultures, you’ll find a wide array of food and music all over the state. These cultural factors make daily life in Florida more colorful and vibrant than life in other parts of the USA.

6. Nature Galore

kayaking everglades FL

Renowned for its incredible collection of parks and open spaces, a major pro to living in Florida is the access to nature. The state is home to 175 state parks and 11 national parks, each one with its own magical, natural wonders. Some of the most famous parks are the Everglades National Park, known for its expansive wetlands, and the Ocala National Forest, with trails and natural springs.

These protected areas provide a sanctuary for a wide range of wildlife and plant species, offering visitors a glimpse into Florida’s truly wild side.

One fascinating fact about Florida’s wildlife is that it’s the only place in the world where both crocodiles and alligators can be found living together. This unique coexistence attracts nature enthusiasts from all over the globe.

7. Exciting Sports Culture

basketball game

Some might say that a major benefit of living in Florida is the intense sports culture. The state is a hub for both college and professional sports, which means there’s always a game to catch and a team to cheer for.

On the professional front, Florida boasts a number of major teams. In the NFL, you’ve got the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. NBA fans can cheer for the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, while MLB enthusiasts have the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays. For those into hockey, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning offer exciting NHL action.

College football also holds a very special place in any Floridian’s heart – mine included! Teams like the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, and Miami Hurricanes have devoted followings. Whether you’re a fan of professional leagues, college sports, or just going to a game, Florida’s sports scene has something for everyone.

8. It’s a Mecca for Golf

playing golf

For some, Florida is synonymous with golf. It’s no surprise why as the state is home to over 1,200 golf courses. Thanks to the year-round beautiful weather, the sport attracts thousands of residents and visitors alike. In fact, the city of Naples, FL is renowned as the “Golf Capital of the World“.

The Club at Olde Cypress is probably one of the most well-known courses in Naples. Other notable courses include TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, and the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach.

Florida also hosts many famous golf tournaments throughout the year, including The Player’s Championship, The Honda Classic, and the Valspar Championship.

9. Endless Exciting Activities

manatee florida

Living in Florida has opened up a world of adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities that I had no idea were here. No matter where you are in the state or how old you are, you can find something memorable to do, whether you’re young in age, or just young at heart.

Picture kayaking alongside gentle manatees, experiencing the rush of skydiving over the scenic Cape Canaveral, or taking an airboat through the Everglades. These are just a few awesome pros of living in Florida.

For those who love exploring beneath the water, there are dozens of lakes and rivers in Florida where you can scuba dive and snorkel. I love how diverse the range of activities available here is. You name it…Florida has it. I mean it when I say that I haven’t had a boring weekend since I moved here.

10. World-class Hospitals and Specialists

medical care

One of the key advantages of living in Florida is the access to some of the world’s best hospitals and healthcare. For example, the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital on the West Coast in St. Petersburg is renowned for its exceptional pediatric care.

Besides Johns Hopkins, Florida boasts other incredible medical facilities like the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and the Cleveland Clinic in Weston. These institutions are known for their top-notch medical services and amazing staff.

A huge perk for senior citizens is the abundance of healthcare professionals specializing in geriatric care. Since Florida has a large retiree population, the state really prioritizes elderly care.

Cons of Living in Florida

We all know that no place is perfect. Even the glorious Sunshine State has its downfalls. Here are some commonly discussed cons of living in Florida.

1. Risk of Natural Disasters

tropical storm

Despite having warm, sunny weather year-round, one of the disadvantages of living in Florida is the risk of natural disasters. Hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, droughts, and wildfires are all risks that need to be considered.

The chances of storms happening yearly are quite high, however, the severity ranges from mild to severe. In some areas, they rarely see any storms or damage at all.

Living in Jacksonville, we tend to have less severe storms than the southern or western parts of Florida. Although, I’ve seen some pretty windy and crazy thunderstorms topple trees. Keep up to date with weather warnings and government advisories before and during your travel.

2. Lots of Bugs

insect repellent

If you aren’t a fan of bugs, Florida might not be for the best place you. There are lots of bugs here – and some of them are pretty big. Roaches and fruit flies are common annoyances, particularly in the kitchen. It’s a known fact in Florida that you do NOT keep food on the counters – consider this a warning!

If that wasn’t enough to put you off, Florida also has other scary creatures like scorpions, snakes, cockroaches, and spiders. And then there are the mosquitoes. During humid summer months, the mosquitos are brutal, so keep your bug spray handy.

3. Owning a Car is Necessary

car rental

One of the cons of living in Florida is that it’s a big state without many transportation options for getting from major city to major city. This can be a problem if you don’t have your own car, a rental, or if you live in a downtown metropolitan area.

In big cities like Miami, they have a walking score of 98, so it’s easier to get by without transport, however, you’ll probably still need to take a train or Uber to get from one end of the city to the other.

And if you don’t live in a major city, having a car is pretty much a necessity. In smaller towns and rural areas, which make up a bulk of the state, public transportation options just don’t exist.

4. Alligators are a Very Real Nuisance

Alligator - florida

Not to scare you, but living in Florida means you’ll be sharing your environment with alligators – they’re everywhere, especially in lakes and ponds. So, if you’ve got pets or little ones, you’ll want to avoid walking along the lakeshores – it’s simply not worth the risk.

If you happen to ever find an alligator chilling in your backyard or somewhere it shouldn’t be, there’s a Nuisance Alligator Hotline run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that you can call.

Gators are usually on the move when it’s warm and during the evening. It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, keep a safe distance, and give them the respect they deserve. They make up a huge and important part of the ecosystem in Florida.

5. It’s Very, Very Flat

walking florida

A huge downside to living in Florida, especially for mountain lovers like myself, is that it’s flat. Very, very flat. The state’s highest point is Britton Hill, and it’s a measly 345 feet above sea level. So, if you were hoping for a lung-pumping hike… you won’t find it here.

So, yes, one of the disadvantages of living in Florida is saying goodbye to rolling hills and majestic mountains. But at least you get all of those beaches and sunny days, right?

Is living in Florida Worth It?

For me, dealing with the cons of living in Florida is definitely worth it. The pros are priceless, and it’s obvious to see why so many people love to live and visit this gorgeous state. Whether you’re looking for your next place to call home or just your next adventure, Florida will certainly not disappoint.

Ashley Fike Authors Bio Picture

Written by

Ashley Fike

Ashley Fike is a travel writer and local of Jacksonville, Florida where she travels around the entire state of Florida on her own, and with friends and family. Having lived in the state her entire life and showing people around for much of it, she has a unique perspective of things to do and places to visit in Florida.

Related Posts

Woman Packing Suitcase at Home.

Best Packing List for Florida: 20 Must-Haves for the Perfect Trip

Writing your best packing list for Florida can be a headache if you’re unfamiliar with the weather in the area. Knowing what to pack and what to leave behind can be confusing. To help alleviate some of this uncertainty, it’s important to consider the climate and the activities you plan on engaging in during your ...
florida feature image

25 Best Things To Do in Florida (By a Local)

If there was ever a state with an endless list of fun activities and outings, it would be the Sunshine State. I’ve lived here for a year now, and I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg of things to do in Florida. Every city in this state has something unique and interesting to offer. ...
Matheson Hammock Park beach park natural swimming pool Miami

Best Florida Itineraries (For 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14 Days)

Florida has a lot to offer travelers, especially when it comes to natural beauty – it’s not all theme parks and thrilling rides. In addition to its natural attractiveness, Florida has a vibrant nightlife, and cities such as Miami, Orlando, and Tampa are known for their lively entertainment areas. Florida is also one of the ...