Looking to Plan a Likely Move to Florida

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
If you want to be close to Miami, there are generally better places in Broward County (just north of Miami-Dade). Hollywood isn't bad, close to Fort Lauderdale and relatively close to Miami. I'd rather live in the Fort Lauderdale area than Miami. Palm Beach County has some really nice spots, especially in the northern part of the county, but this is getting far from Miami. All three counties have ghetto areas, however.

In my opinion, there are much better places in Florida than the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach area. The Treasure Coast is just north of South Florida and much more peaceful.
I would also say anywhere in southwest Florida from Naples to Tampa/Clearwater can be pretty good. Northport, port Charlotte, and punta Gorda are safer areas that are still cheap. Not really central to anything but commutable to Sarasota and Fort Myers. Tampa would be a stretch of a commute in this case, but both fort Myers and Sarasota have work.
 

Alpone

Woodpecker
Broward County is probably the worst place in Florida - it's a poor alternative to Miami. Lots of crime, poorly run, trashy nightlife (unless you like drunk 21yo white girls), and lots of very rough neighborhoods right up against nice areas. Avoid.

WPB is much nicer, and St Pete/Tampa have some cool stuff, but Miami is the best city in Florida and one of the most unique cities in the country.
 
I lived several years in Pinellas County, Florida and I couldn't wait to move out. While people have different ideas of what is a livable place, here are my pros and cons of Pinellas County (and much of this goes for most of Florida not in the panhandle):

Pros:

1) good beaches (I am not a beach fan but many people love them)
2) water sports: kayaking both on the sea (challenging) and in rivers and lakes is good (if you don't mind the danger of alligators)
3) no state tax
4) good roads with few potholes
5) excellent thrift stores/garage sales-people are constantly moving in and out and dying (morbid-but there are many elderly and we will all die)-this means you can find a good variety of good secondhand stuff at great prices-especially furniture, books, and clothing
6) plenty of supermarkets and shops for your needs and wants
7) slowly growing bike trail system (but still behind many other states)
8) lower obesity rate vs. many other states
9) Nature: for bird watchers-Florida is good and it is cool to see alligators in their natural habitat. Lizards and turtles are abundant. The state has a decent state park system although many other states do better. Myakka State Park, Hillsborough State Park, Paynes Prairie Preserve are good nature spots.
10) Jobs-easy to get a job
11) People: Florida is filled with people from all over and you will not be labeled as an 'outsider' because almost everyone is. It will likely be easy to find social groups that match your interests.
12) Tons of restaurants with good choices of most world cuisines

Cons:

1) Most towns lack charm-development consists mainly of cookie cutter subdivisions that are not walkable and downtowns are often a bit ugly and boring-I like walkable places
2) Dangerous for pedestrians-Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville rank high for pedestrian deaths and cycling is a bit dangerous due to bad drivers
3) Traffic heavy from 7:30 am-9 pm
4) Poor public transport-the local bus service is laughably bad
5) High crime in certain areas (although not extreme like Baltimore or Detroit)
6) Bad weather (in my opinion): It is hot 9 months a year and you lack variety of seasons.
7) Nature-keep your dog on a leash, alligators love them. A lot of snakes and insects that you won't like. Hot weather discourages many from hiking/cycling.
8) Jobs-while jobs are available-pay doesn't match the high cost of living
9) Housing costs: Rent and home prices are way too high and rapidly increasing relative to wages.
10) People: A lot of elitist nosy snobs move to Florida that will not hesitate to call code enforcement on minor issues like basketball hoops in the driveways, treehouses, someone having Christmas lights up all year round, etc... These incidents all happened and many more.
11) Expensive: the zoo, aquarium, amusement parks, and museums are all expensive. I did not go to any museums or the zoo in the area because in my opinion they are all overpriced for what you get.

If you are set on Florida: Palm Harbor is bland but safe and has a small but interesting downtown. Tarpon Springs has more character and most of it is decent except for a tiny bad area near downtown. It has Greek Orthodox churches as well and a strong Greek community. Tarpon would be my #1 pick for Pinellas County. Safety Harbor and Dunedin are artsy (and overpriced) and seem full of yuppies (a negative for me), but they did a good job fixing their downtowns and they are safer than many other Pinellas County towns.

Avoid: Pinellas Park, Largo, and west Pasco County which seem a bit trashy and are definitely bland. St. Petersburg and Tampa are large and certain areas have a lot of drug issues but some areas are wealthy. St. Pete is extremely liberal though. Clearwater is mixed but improving. Scientology has a huge presence in downtown as it is the headquarters.
 
Pretty Much... At the rate I'm looking at things, Florida and the Midwest are really the only good places left even while the USA is a sinking ship.

Though I am not sure if I can tolerate cold winters anymore, it's getting harder on me each year. I rather deal with the soupy humidity in Florida.

South Dakota or another Midwestern State would be alternatives at this rate, however with very different Demographics and lifestyles obviously. But I really am more keen on Florida.

I don't want to move until or unless I have an "in" with some people, because it gives all that better of a reason to move where there can be a purpose and goal to work towards. If I found an "in" in a Midwestern State instead, then I'd consider that instead.
Southern Indiana is underrated and worth considering. It is pretty conservative, good hiking with rolling hills, winters are moderate (a few days are VERY chilly and there are some ice storms but it is nothing like Wisconsin or South Dakota), state and property taxes are low, huge German influence, close to Indianapolis and Louisville and Cincinnati. Summers are hot but not as bad as Florida. Also, land is cheaper in southern Indiana than Florida and people are less snobby. Cost of living is lower than Florida although the economy is not quite as good. However, it is easy to find a job that will pay your bills if you live modestly.

Drugs are an issue but no more than Florida. The huge negative is that obesity rates are awfully high there. I do think women there will be less materialistic and more practical vs. Florida. Good women marry young there vs. Florida so finding a non-overweight single woman with decent values might be a challenge. If you are married and have (or plan to have) kids , southern Indiana seems more family-friendly vs. Florida.

Edit: I just saw the OP is single. A southern Indiana town somewhat near Louisville (Corydon, Indiana is a cool small town) or Cincinnati would provide decent dating opportunities but avoid very rural areas due to lack of datable women. Louisville is small enough that you are in rural areas quite quickly when crossing the Ohio River.
 
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To be fair, America's infrastructure and building construction is in decline in many places. I have to pass through NYC when I visit family and I feel like I am entering a second-world country until I finally leave the city. JFK airport is confusing and uncomfortable, Penn Station's bus terminal has a lot of homeless people and is rundown, and the subway is creaky and slow. The USA has less pride in quality of workmanship than some other nations.

However, the collapse brings up a good point about south Florida.

 

Douglas Quaid

Kingfisher
Lots of crime, poorly run, trashy nightlife (unless you like drunk 21yo white girls), and lots of very rough neighborhoods right up against nice areas. Avoid.
Outside of the nightlife, this sounds exactly like Miami. And a lot of the nightlife in Miami is a different kind of trash.

South Florida sucks in general. Lots of shitty people all over, but the northern part of Palm Beach County is the best area. I'll agree about West Palm Beach being ok, but it can also get ghetto quick. It does have less trashy nightlife than Fort Lauderdale.

The Gulf Coast is much better than Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach. Jupiter or Stuart is about as far south as I'd want to get on the Atlantic.
 
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Here's my two cents.

If you're coming to Florida stay away from the Miami/South Florida area, crime sucks there, so does traffic and if you don't speak Spanish fluently, you're probably gonna have issues.I personally cannot stand Orlando, which includes most of neighbouring towns since it seems to be sucking in the nearby towns. Jacksonville is a crap hole, and so is Ft. Myers (with a remarkably ever increasing crime rate).

This leaves you with a few options, since you're in the IT field, you're gonna probably have to be close to a decent size city. That means either living in the city or commuting from a neighboring town.

My recommnedations:
*Hillsborough County (Tampa/St. Pete Area)
*Lakeland (It is in Polk county, so crime can be bad there)
*Sarasota (Probably you're best bet, but also probably out of your price range)
*Some town neighboring one of the bigger norther cities (Gainesville, Tallahasse, or Jacksonville)
 
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