The Sunshine State attracts new residents from far and wide. People who live for sunny days at the beach might want to pick up everything and move to Florida, but there’s more to love about this state than just its landscape. There are exciting theme parks, a thriving job market, and everything from suburbs to farmland in Florida. Even with all these perks, remember that moving to Florida may not be for everyone. You will want to read on and consider your ideal lifestyle before you determine your destination.
We want to help you explore what it’s like to live in Florida and introduce you to a few of its finest cities. We hope you can learn more about the climate and culture in Florida by reading on below. Once you make your decisions and lock down your new place, you can also check out our helpful cross-country moving checklist. It features reminders about everything from transferring your utilities to designing a packing timeline.
What to Know Before Moving to Florida
You know about Florida’s spectacular beaches and Mickey Mouse obsession, but what else is there to learn about the Sunshine State? Here are a few facts that might pique your interest!
Sunshine & Humidity are in the Forecast
Florida is full of sunshine and warmth, but don’t be mistaken – Florida is also famous for its sudden and frequent storms. This southern state is the lightning capital of the nation!
Hopefully, you have considered the humidity. Some individuals adore the balmy clime of this subtropical state, while other people never grow accustomed to the constant wetness. Many people experience changes in their skin or hair – they might take a turn for the better or the worst! You’re making a good trade for the daily sweat: the ability to enjoy outdoor excursions all year round. Just make sure you have sunscreen and AC!
Florida has enjoyable and mild winters, but hurricanes or lightning storms can pose a problem all summer long. These storms are often short, but stay safe, and brush up on your hurricane safety knowledge — research the history of hurricanes in your area. You may lean towards buying a home in a safer part of the state. Then, gather up storm shutters, create a hurricane kit, and don’t forget about purchasing hurricane insurance!
Most Exciting Activities around Florida
Visits to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico never get old! Make a day trip for sunbathing, surfing, or snorkeling. Don’t miss out on some of the most incredible beaches in the world, including Clearwater, Pensacola, and Delray, among many more. There is natural beauty to be found all over Florida. For example, Everglades National Park is a breathtaking place to see fascinating wildlife like gators and pythons.
Of course, we can’t forget about Mickey Mouse, plus plenty of other high-quality theme parks for you and your loved ones to enjoy. From child wonderlands to exhilarating thrill rides, you’re in for a treat! Check out Disney World, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, or Universal Studios. Each of these places offers resident discounts. Once you have established your home in Florida, you can enjoy the savings.
Creating an unforgettable staycation in Florida is easy. You can go to the iconic South Beach Miami and discover its stellar nightlife. You can partake in popular water activities or visit one of the many art deco inspired hotels and restaurants. Don’t forget about Key West’s famous main street, Duval Street, complete with entertainment, shopping, and dining.
Florida is an excellent place for sports fans as well! Consider moving to Orlando or Gainesville if sports are a significant part of your life. You can enjoy in-season baseball and football games but be prepared to pick sides!
Tips and Tidbits about Traffic and Transport
Florida is a populated place, and everybody seems to make up their own driving rules. The drivers around you may be a bit unpredictable at times. In big cities, traffic can be overwhelming during rush hour, but Florida traffic is certainly more tolerable than traffic in big cities like Seattle or San Francisco.
There are red light cameras at major intersections, so watch out for those, because you might see a ticket show up in the mail. You should also know about the Florida Turnpike, which is a 450-mile highway system that requires tolls. We recommend investing in a toll pass if you plan to navigate these routes regularly.
If you’re making a short trip to town, you’ll be able to hop on a bus. There are effective shuttle services and Amtrak options as well. Some cities offer bike-sharing programs if you’re interested in saving some money or getting some exercise.
Indulge in Unique Dining and Culture
You can try everything from fresh seafood to famous key lime pie down in Florida. You will Caribbean influences in the dining options across the state. You can also dig into world-famous oranges, sugarcane, empanadas, plantains, and various Cuban specialties.
Florida is incredibly culturally diverse, which is what makes its dining so assorted. There are plenty of transplants from other states and countries, including a significant Latino population. You’ll be able to try the food and participate in culture from a wide range of societies.
Speaking of the culture here, Florida has plenty of cultural events that celebrate its diversity. These events emphasize culture and community and provide exciting music, art, and festival scenes. Check out the New World Symphony, the ArtCenter South Florida, or Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
How to Handle Taxes and Cost of Living
What do you need to prepare for as far as expenses in Florida? You might be pleasantly surprised! Most U.S. states require state income taxes, but Florida does not, so you can save more of your income for yourself.
Due to Florida’s tourist locations and grand hotels, its economy is thriving! That means better job opportunities for you, which you can learn more about in the next section. Also, Florida residents enjoy significant discounts to attractions like Walt Disney World.
The cost of living in the biggest cities, like Miami or Orlando, may be relatively high on the U.S. scale, but the rest of Florida is more affordable than you might think. The costs of housing and goods and services fall just slightly under the country’s average.
Piloting the Job Market and Work Opportunities
Florida’s job market has been steadily improving over the past several years. Some of the best industries for jobs in Florida include architecture and engineering, business, finance, education, and office and administration. Agriculture and tourism are also always viable opportunities to explore.
Which cities are the best for job seekers? Check out Wesley Chapel, Valrico, Riverview, or Cooper City. These cities have some of the hottest job markets right now, but there are also plenty of possibilities in other Florida locations!
Best Cities in Florida to Call Home
Once you decide to move to Florida, you have yet another decision to make! Which city caters to your dream lifestyle?
South Florida and North Florida are drastically different. Additionally, each city has a unique flavor. Here’s our list of the best Florida cities to call home. You can refer to it while you scope out real estate.
The number one reason people move to Florida is for its unparalleled weather, and in this regard, Sarasota certainly doesn’t disappoint. If you are searching for sunny days, consider little Sarasota. With a population of about 56,000, Sarasota is not an enormous city, but it may be one of the best places to live in the entire country.
Sarasota sits on the Western side of the state, about mid-way between Tampa and Fort Myers. This Gulf Coast destination has some of the top-rated beaches in the nation. As a resident here, you can catch the rays on Siesta Key’s white sand beaches or collect shells on Lido Key. Sarasota also boasts active art and music scene, starring the Ringling Museum of Art – a world-class art museum that houses 31 different galleries. Stroll through the conservatory at the Selby Botanical Gardens or enjoy a performance by the Sarasota Ballet. You’ll also enjoy craft beer, excellent restaurants, and of course, shopping. The best part of Sarasota? Based on the quality of the area and the unlimited access to amazing activities, home prices are quite reasonable!
The ever-growing Jacksonville is home to 1.3 million people, making it the most populous city in the Sunshine State. Situated in the Northeastern part of Florida, this city is an economic and cultural hub. Jacksonville enjoys a diversified economy, with strong job prospects and an unemployment rate that’s lower than the national average. Some of the primary industries here include banking, financial services, media, manufacturing, and technology. Additionally, the city’s deep-water port is one of the nation’s busiest logistics centers for imports and exports.
Not only is Jacksonville a great place to take your career to the next level, but this city is also a good choice for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the entire United States, with over 80,000 acres and 262 parks. Hunters and fishermen rave about St. John’s river, while beachgoers enjoy proximity to gorgeous Atlantic beaches. In addition to ample green space, Jacksonville has top-notch entertainment and fun. Every year, residents look forward to events like the Gator Bowl, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Springing the Blues, and the Blessing of the Fleet. Living here, you’ll also get to enjoy places like the Jacksonville Zoo and destinations like nearby Amelia Island.
Miami is another big city location with beautiful beaches. As with all big cities, this metropolis in South Florida has some crime and slightly higher costs of living than elsewhere in the state, but if you love the city life and a buzzing nightlife, Miami might be a perfect fit!
Miami proper has a population of just over 450,000 people, with a total of 6.2 million people in the Miami metro area. Thanks to its proximity to the Caribbean, this city is a melting pot of Spanish-speaking cultures. The neighborhood of Little Havana is brimming with Cuban influence, from the hand-rolled cigars to the older men who play dominoes in the park. Meanwhile, in Little Haiti, you’ll find authentic Creole food and vendors selling fresh fruit from roadside stands. You can choose a neighborhood that suits you best, from the vibrant streets of Miami Beach to the upper-crust avenues of Coral Gables.
In Miami, you’ll notice a refreshing distance from the work-hard mentality that exists in many other places. Miami is more people-oriented and fun-focused than some other cities can be. Don’t be misled by the big city vibe — Miami’s streets are walkable and clean. Healthcare in Miami is also world-class. There are lots of beaches and sea adventures to explore, and plenty of entertainment options. There are paved paths for those who enjoy running and biking, and over 800 parks to visit, including Biscayne National Park.
Palm Beach & West Palm Beach
About 70 miles north of Miami, Palm Beach is another desirable location in South Florida. This island, with a population of about 8,000 residents, is a top vacation destination, thanks to its gorgeous golf courses and pristine beaches. If you decide to live here, you’ll also love the area’s family-oriented neighborhoods, excellent schools, and lovely suburbs.
Just across the Lake Worth Lagoon, the dazzling West Palm Beach boasts a population of close to 100,000 residents. If you’re looking for a smallish city with ample career opportunities, then West Palm Beach might be for you. Top employers here include aerospace engineering companies, like Pratt & Whitney, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Lockheed Martin, along with several agricultural and manufacturing companies. The local school districts, hospitals, and city governments also employ thousands of locals.
Palm Beach has its own airport and, of course, that unbeatable Florida weather. Other exciting things to do in the area include visiting CityPlace, an outdoor shopping venue filled with restaurants, clubs, and shops, or checking out SunFest, a weeklong music festival. You can also cool off at the Rapids Water Park, go camping on Peanut Island or visit Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age mansion.
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Palm Beach. Scuba diving in the Gulf Stream is a unique experience because instead of swimming, you ride the stream while letting fantastic creatures like sharks and turtles pass by. If you’re looking for something a little less hands-on, check out the celebrated Palm Beach Boat Show. There’s something for everyone in Palm Beach!
Naples is a place known for its high incomes and equally high home values. This town is a millionaire’s playground, with high-end brand-name shopping and tranquil sandy beaches. People love to walk around, shop and dine downtown. Don’t forget about outstanding golf courses. You’ll discover arts and culture, too, at the Philharmonic Center or the Fine Arts Festivals in downtown Naples.
Naples’ population hovers around 20,000, though the population peaks in the winter when “snowbirds,” or people who move to the Sunshine State for the winter, flock here to escape the snow. But it’s a great place to live year-round too.
Families enjoy the city’s low crime rate and a highly rated school system. You can check out Naples Pier, Naples Zoo, or stop by the nearby Everglades or islands. The seasonal tourist trade results in lots of great restaurants and things to do. Of course, Naples is a boater’s paradise with offshore cruising and fishing. Naples, Florida has been named by Conde Nast Traveler as America’s Best Food Cities for the past two years! Dig into some fresh-as-it-gets seafood and loads of other cuisine options. Another great thing about Naples is its peaceful atmosphere. The quiet here sets it apart from so many other places you might choose to live.
This Gulf Coast city has seen dramatic population growth in recent years – estimates show that approximately 80,000 people call Fort Myers home. A major tourist destination, Fort Myers has a bustling economy and plentiful job opportunities that attract people who come for vacation and decide to stay. Jobs are most abundant in health care, education, and government. Top employers in the city include the Lee Memorial Health System, the Lee County School District, and the Lee County Government. Wherever you find employment, you’ll be happy to know how far your paycheck goes here. The median home price in this enclave is only $167,000, and the cost of living is about 5% below the national average. So, if you’re looking for all the perks of a beach town along with affordability, Fort Myers could be perfect for you.
Due to a large retiree population, most Florida towns have an older demographic. Surprisingly, the median age in Fort Myers is just 32 – this is a place where young professionals love to settle down. There’s certainly lots to love about living here, no matter your age!
Into sports? Two pro baseball teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, both have spring training facilities here. After an early game at the ballpark, you can spend the rest of the day swimming and sunbathing at one of the area’s many beaches, including Sanibel Island or Estero Island. Check out the local farmer’s markets or one of the great golf courses like the Eastwood Golf Course. Once again, don’t neglect those outdoor activities like fishing excursions, kayak rentals, and boat tours. Fort Myers’ residents find that it is a great place for entrepreneurs, especially women in business. Plus, the city has an international airport, making it an easy place from which to travel.
We hope our collection of information regarding population, job opportunities, things to do, and the overall feel of these few Florida cities can help you find a forever home. When you do make a move to the Sunshine State, be sure to be thoughtful and prepared based on you or your family’s preferences. Then start enjoying Florida’s weather, community, and cost of living!
How to Plan an Interstate Move to Florida
Without a plan, your cross-country move may become needlessly complicated. Here is a straightforward list to help you stay on track during your move to Florida. Hire help where you need it to minimize stress and avoid accidents.
Make your moving checklist
Using this list as a general guideline, create a personalized moving checklist that incorporates your unique needs. Send your final list on to friends and family who may be involved in your relocation, so everybody is on the same page.
Hire a moving company
Once you have a list written out, it’s time to be honest with yourself. What can you reasonably complete yourself, and which tasks would you be better off giving to professional movers? Once you have decided what services you need, investigate potential moving companies.
- Do research online and by talking with friends and family.
- Make sure the movers you are interested in are certified and experienced.
- Call several moving companies to discuss your needs and collect quotes.
- Make your decision and set a date for your move!
Your movers can help you with anything from packing to handling appliances to classic unloading and loading. Most companies will allow you to customize every component of your move. Great Guys Moving eases the burden of finding a reliable moving company. We screen all the movers we work with to ensure they are licensed and insured. You submit your information just once and receive free quotes back from movers in our network. We take the guesswork out of hiring a Florida moving company!
Create your home inventory
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It’s crucial for you to know which possessions you will be taking with you and which are better left behind. Consider what you use in your day-to-day life and the cost of moving your belongings versus the price of replacing them.
Jot down or type out a basic home inventory, keeping your new apartment or home layout in mind. You can establish an organization system for packing. You might label the boxes based on which room they should go in the new home, or you can keep things simple by labeling things “Keep,” “Sell,” “Gift,” “Donate,” “Recycle,” and “Dispose.” These labels will allow both you and any helpers you may have to stay organized.
Start selling your stuff
You should attend to those items labeled “sell” early in the moving process. You don’t want to be stuck with bulky furniture on moving day that you had no intention of taking with you.
You can sell your stuff online or using phone apps. We recommend Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, and Craigslist as a good start. Old-fashioned yard sales are always an excellent way to go, and you can also reach out to friends and family to offer them discounted prices. Start with what you believe to be a fair price and lower the prices as you get closer to moving day!
Make plans for children and pets
Are you moving with kids or pets? Start looking into accommodations for them now. There’s plenty to do. Here are some things you’ll want to make sure are on your list:
- Hire a babysitter for the day of move-out and potentially move-in
- Prepare to change your children’s schools, childcare, doctors, and other providers
- Bring your pet to the vet and discuss the upcoming move
- Buy a car harness for your pet if you plan to drive
- Call your airline and discuss possible accommodations for your pet if you plan to fly
Make travel and auto transport arrangements
Book your airline tickets or get everyone on board for the cross-country driving plans. Secure seats for everyone involved in the move. If you will be flying and plan to bring your car with you, contact top-rated auto transport companies. You could also hire a driver you know personally or go through a professional driving company to transport your vehicle to Florida.
Alternatively, be sure you are working on selling your vehicle and locating a new one in Florida.
Get to work
Packing is the most monotonous part of the move, so it is essential to give yourself plenty of time and to use best practices throughout the process. Try to set dates to complete each room or area in the house and stick to your schedule. Of course, you could always let the experts take care of all your belongings instead!
You can gather up free or cheap moving boxes in a variety of ways. Reach out to people you know personally or through friends or on social media who have recently moved. Visit your local supermarket or stores that may have a variety of boxes handy. You will also need to purchase or gather other packing necessities like bubble wrap, packing paper, packing tape, dollies, etc.
Begin packing up areas like storage, basements, attics, and closets. These often are the messiest and most time-consuming areas anyway.
Here are some suggestions for packing your boxes properly:
- Always tape the bottom and sides before beginning to fill it
- Use bubble wrap before packing fragile items
- Fill empty spaces between objects with the proper packing materials to prevent damage from shifting
- Label with “fragile,” “this side up,” “handle with care,” and other pertinent information
Break down bigger belongings
Are you moving hot tubs, gun safes, pianos, pool tables, or various appliances? Look into the work that goes into breaking these items down and preparing them for the move. Bring in the experts or set a timeline for preparing and moving these belongings yourself, and make sure you have plenty of hands to load and unload them so you can avoid injury.
Of course, you will also want to start disassembling furniture. This step is something else that professional movers can do for you. Follow instructions and keep associated screws, nails, and other pieces taped securely to the piece of furniture. Start with less-used furniture and move onto more frequently used pieces.
Inform important parties
Who needs to know about the big move? Consider banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies. And don’t forget to do these two things:
- Change your mailing address with United States Postal Service (you can do this online)
- Update your utilities and services information
Once you arrive in Florida, don’t forget other critical changes, like getting your new driver license, registering any guns, and arranging for prescriptions and medical care.
Be diligent with the packing and be honest about what you can do by yourself and when you could use help. Take our tips and tricks and customize them to your move, so you can begin living the good life in sun-kissed Florida!
Florida Moving Services
You’ll never run out of things to do in sunny Florida, but before the fun begins, you have a tricky move to tackle. We find you the best services from the top Florida moving companies, so your move goes smoothly!
Your cross-country move to Florida can run smoothly with the right help. An interstate move can be daunting, but the experts will move your possessions safely and leave you happy and smiling in your new home. Our movers care about your belongings and have experience moving everything from bulky furniture to hefty boxes.
Intrastate & Local Moves
Florida is so great, why move anywhere else? If you are moving within the Sunshine State, we strive to keep your local move affordable. Affordable prices should never mean inferior services. Find the best Florida moving companies right here on Great Guys!
Small Load Moves
Is your move big or small? Even for small moves, you may choose to hire professionals to assist you with packing your boxes, transporting appliances, shipping a small load or simply loading the truck.
Do you need to move all your furniture to your new home or storage unit? Our professionals can handle everything from couches to armoires with grace. You won’t have to worry about causing damage to your belongings or injury to yourself!
Piano transport can be stressful, and you need effective experts to get the job done. The movers in our network employ the safest piano-moving strategies to make moving your beloved instrument worry-free.
Art & Antiques
Your art and antiques are valuable, and sometimes even irreplaceable. Professional movers offer attention to detail and securely transport your fragile belongings. Not only do they provide quality, but they also establish reasonable prices, so you experience minimal stress to your bank account.
Do you need safe short-term storage during your move? The FL moving professionals you’ll find here can also properly wrap up and store your belongings until you are ready for them.
Do you need door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping for your vehicle? Our auto transport companies offer flexible options for shipping your automobile safely without putting any miles on it, so you can focus on getting yourself to your new home.
If you so choose, your movers also offer complete packing services for your home or office move. They pack items in specialty moving boxes with high-quality materials, so you won’t have to lift a finger.
When it comes to moving your personal belongings or your family’s things, you want a professional who is licensed, certified, and experienced. We will make your residential move simple and stress-free by bringing you quotes from licensed and insured Florida movers.
Moving your place of work can be even more complicated than a residential move, but our office movers can streamline your relocation process. They have experience in business moves of all kinds, including special equipment and inventory.