The Sunshine State is a popular destination for those who want to move to warmer climes. Home to sunshine, Mickey Mouse and more than 600 miles of picturesque beaches, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, golf and swimming are always in season. Of course, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando are always great options for fun as well. Universal’s Harry Potter World attracts fans of the book series, and the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic way to spend a day.
- Avoid moving in the high summer months, if possible. June through August have average temperatures in the 90s with record highs reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit and high summer humidity can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
- If you choose to move to Florida in the summer, try to plan your move time to early mornings and late evenings and drink plenty of water.
- Weather-wise, the best time to plan on moving to Florida is November through May.
- When moving to the more urban areas, traffic can be close to unmoving between 8 AM and 9 AM and again from 4 PM to 6 PM.
- Watch out for gators! Gator attacks are rare, but it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t approach or feed alligators, or swim in areas that are known to host gators.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Florida easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
The beauty of the state would put most places to shame. Endless miles of coastline. Stunning beaches. 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. Thousands of miles of hiking trails. The Everglades. Theme parks galore. And, of course, one of the most vibrant nightlife in the world.
Oviedo is mostly a white-collar city where availability of jobs is high, schools are first-rate, and the suburb offers plenty of recreation for families who love the outdoors. Sarasota is beautiful, with its sugary white-sand beaches, and a buzzing art scene complete with orchestras, ballet, opera, museums, professional and community theatre companies, and roots rocks and blues artists. Crime rate is low in Naples, and it boasts an outstanding school system with a high graduation rate. Fort Myers has a charming downtown, a farmers market, top golf courses and plenty of other recreation options.
Other notable cities are: St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee
Cost of Living
While it’s not one of the 10 most expensive states, Florida has a higher cost of living than the average for the country. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in Florida was $47,212 in 2014, slightly lower than the US average of about $53,000.
The cost of living in Florida can vary widely depending on the area you choose to move to, as does the style of living and major attractions. It is also a hub of international trade, mostly through South and Latin America, and it manages to remain one of the top destinations in the world for travelers.
The median home value in Florida is currently over $192,000 which exceeds the national median home value by about $4,000.
Highways and Public Transport
Florida streets in many urban areas are generally easy to navigate as they revolve around numbered street names that increase and decrease based on the direction you are traveling in. The more urban areas have public transportation systems that can be relied on daily.
The important interstates running up and down the state are I-75 (toward the west) and I-95 on the east. Right around the Everglades, I-75 crosses over to the east side of the state.
Summers throughout the state are long, very warm, and fairly humid; and, daily thunderstorms are the norm. Winters are mild with periodic invasions of cool to occasionally cold air. Coastal areas in all sections of Florida average slightly warmer temperatures in winter and cooler ones in summer.
The primary factors affecting the state’s climate are latitude and numerous inland lakes. Proximity to the currents of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico also plays an important role.
Hurricanes are a big concern for those moving to Florida as well as for current residents. Hurricane season generally extends from June 1st to November 30th. Most residents have hurricane preparedness kits that contain non-perishable foods, water, flashlights, a radio, pet food, extra medications, a first aid kit and lanterns. They prepare their homes by bringing in lawn furniture, toys and potted plants and using either hurricane shutters, built-in systems or plywood to cover their windows.
Florida has many different public and private schools for K-12 students. Many areas have Montessori schools, which focus on developing problem solving, time management, creativity and other skills in a group learning environment. Some communities also have magnet schools and there is a state-wide virtual school program that can assist students who are homeschooled. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Florida.
If you are moving to Florida, consider these top-ranked Florida elementary schools:
- Pine View School in Osprey
- Jacksonville Beach in Jacksonville Beach
- Freedom 7 Elementary School of International Studies in Cocoa Beach
- Dr. NH Jones Elementary School in Ocala
- Robert L. Stevenson Elementary in Merritt Island
And the top-ranked Florida high schools according to SchoolDigger.com:
- Pine View School in Osprey
- A.D. Henderson University School & Fau High in Boca Raton
- Westshore Junior/Senior High School in Melbourne
- Mast Academy in Key Biscayne
- Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach
If you’re moving to Florida and need government information, Florida’s Official State Web Portal provides many of the things you will need to know about your new state. Here are a few important facts and specific resources:
- Driver’s license changes should be made soon after moving to the state and can be done at your town’s local Department of Motor Vehicles.
- When registering your car after moving to Florida, remember that insurance is state-required and you should bring proof that you have it when you register.
- To become a registered voter in Florida, you must have a valid Florida driver’s license. You can apply for a card here.
- Taxes for the state include a sales tax that varies by county, a use tax for certain purchases made online and outside the state, and property taxes. You can find complete information about state taxes here.