Moving to Florida Pros Cons of moving and living in Florida Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:22:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best Places to live in Florida for Golfers Sat, 11 Oct 2014 18:17:49 +0000 Love golf so much you’re thinking of moving to Florida so you can play all year long? florida golf course

Here’s some of what you should know before you move to Florida because you love golf:

  • Florida’s weather is usually amazing during the winter, perfect for playing golf. The price you pay for that great 3 months of warmth if you live in Florida full time? Up to 9 months of hot humid weather the rest of the year. Be prepared to sweat profusely even if you’re just sitting in a cart in the shade for most of the year.
  • Florida is the most traveled to vacation destination in the world, especially during the winter. Because of supply and demand, the greens fees are of course the highest when the weather is nice. Expect to pay top dollar to play golf anywhere in Florida during the winter.
  • Because many of those 100 million annual visitors to Florida flock to the state during the winter, expect the golf courses to be packed. The parking lots will be packed, the clubhouse crowded, standing in long lines is the norm. You’ll wait to tee off, and to make every shot after that, from the 1rst hole to the 18th. Plan on being there all day with most of your time spent waiting. Paying top buck to to be frustrated waiting makes you thankful for alcohol.
  • There’s a growing trend in Florida toward banning all alcohol on the course due to liability.
  • Because the courses get so crowed during the winter, there’s a trend toward previously public courses going private or semi private. Semi-private courses so only members can play when the weather is nice during the winter to lessen the overcrowding, but they will allow the public to play when the weather is so hot and humid it makes playing almost unbearable. They do chop the rates for the mad dogs and Englishmen willing to play during the rest of the year, to help pay to keep the grass from dying out until next winter.

Of course you can become a member somewhere and avoid the worst crowding during the winter. Just as golfers descend on Florida for the winter, Floridians who can afford it leave for cooler golf courses in northern states when the weather gets too hot for them in the sunshine state. Now that I’ve read you the reality riot act, lets move onto the best places to live in Florida for golfers.

#1 Naples, Florida

Not only does Naples have more golf courses than anywhere else in Florida, it also rates high in any quality of life factor that’s measured. One problem many areas with lots of golf opportunities in Florida have, is they suffer from overall high crime rates. Sure, the links and your neighborhood may be safe but what happens when you leave that bubble? You don’t have to worry about that in Naples. It’s one of the safest towns in all of Florida. Its a small town but there’s no lack of amenities. The schools are better and job opportunities more plentiful than most of Florida. Naples has nice beaches right on the warm clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico too.

There is a price to pay to live in a golf paradise by the beach. Naples has a very high cost of living. The real estate here is some of the highest priced in Florida. If you can afford the cost of admission to this town, it should be at the top of the list of places to consider in Florida if you’re a golf enthusiast.

Naples Florida Video


#2 Boca Raton

Boca Raton has almost as many golf courses as Naples and it’s crime rate is almost as low, and it’s location on the Atlantic means you have access to beaches as well. Where Boca excels is in it’s proximity to big city amenities, it’s not that far to Miami by way of I-95. Boca has excellent schools compared to most of Florida. Employment possibilities are very good and get better with commuting.

Boca Raton has all of what people move to Florida for, and less of what you don’t want like crime. While not quite as costly as Naples, it would be a struggle for most people to live in this golfers paradise by the shore.

Boca Raton Video


#3 Bonita Springs

Located just north of Naples our #1 choice, Bonita Springs has 21 Golf courses and is located right on the Gulf Coast. In fact, Bonita made our best Florida beach town list for 2015. The area is safer and ranks higher than average for Florida overall in all quality of life factors. Most people will find Bonita Springs affordable compared with most of Florida, but it offers the golfer more courses to explore.

Considering all this area has to offer in addition to golf, this may be the most affordable chunk of paradise in Florida with a high quality of life.

Bonita Springs Video


#4 Sarasota

Sarasota ranks #5 in number of courses in Florida but Sarasota is much more affordable than the first 2 picks, although it’s still not among the most affordable places to live in Florida. Sarasota is known as Florida’s center of art and culture, and Siesta Key Beach has been named as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Sarasota’s schools overall are better than average and it’s job prospects are about average for the state. Sarasota’s overall crime rate is high, but I choose it anyway because I feel most of the crime occurs in well defined areas that can easily be avoided. I’ve also personally spent lots of time in Sarasota and never felt concerned or threatened. Sarasota has a lot to offer the golfer, on and off the course. If you are looking anywhere along Florida’s Gulf coast, you must take a look at Sarasota.

Sarasota Video


#5 Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda is about an hour south of Sarasota and almost an hour north of Naples, but is far different than either. Punta Gorda is very affordable compared to the above towns. Just about anyone can find a way to live here. Punta Gorda has a small town feel to it. Its not right on the coast, but it’s right on a river near the coast and Gulf beaches. There is a large riverfront park and enclosed pier with shops and restaurants and the site of many annual festivals. There are lots of golf courses to choose from for the area’s size.

Punta Gorda has a good education system and decent job prospects. Together with Rotonda, about a half hour away, the area offers homes on golf courses that are more affordable than in most of Florida. If you’re an avid golfer looking for more affordable Florida options, this would be the area to look at.

Punta Gorda Video

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The 5 Best Beach Towns in Florida to Live or Retire in 2015 Sun, 05 Oct 2014 13:35:45 +0000 So you’re thinking of moving to Florida because you love the beach, or fishing, or sunsets on the water, or the tasty fresh seafood great beach towns have. With all that coastline in Florida, hundreds of miles of beach and cities and towns all along it, how do you choose which one is best for you? This should help! Here’s the five best beach towns and how we came up with them.

#1-The Town Must be Near a Great Beach

Some beaches have dark sand. Some have course sand that feels like it’s best purpose would be for making sandpaper. Some best florida best town scenebeaches in Florida have been ravaged by storms, which left very little beach. Some beaches are poorly maintained or have too much garbage in it. A town had to be have beautiful, clean, well maintained beaches, or beautiful natural beaches to make it onto our list. The sand had to be soft, the kind of sand that’s great for long walks barefoot along the water’s edge.

The town had to be very close to the beach(es) itself. Being able to walk or bike to the beach would be ideal. If that wasn’t possible because most beaches are on keys or islands, or in state parks, a short drive of 30 minutes or less to access them did not disqualify them.

#2-The Town and Beaches Must be Safe to Visit

There are many towns with nearby beaches that did not make our list because of safety concerns. If the beach area, city or town is affected by high crime, it did not make it onto my list. I’ve sold homes for a living for almost 30 years, and not one buyer out of 1000’s ever said they wanted to live in a high crime area. Most expressed the area had to be safe, or the safest they could afford. The crime rate for a beach town on our 5 best list, had to be average for Florida or better. Florida’s crime rate is higher than in most states, so average for Florida may be higher than where you are moving from. Some of the beach towns below are the among the safest towns to live in Florida.

It’s a mistake to Move to Florida for the Beach?

Criteria not Considered but Mentioned

We did not take into consideration if a town was affordable or not but a couple of towns are, and we point that out. The same goes for jobs, schools and other quality of life factors. So here’s the list!

The 5 Best Beach Towns in Florida to Live or Retire in 2015

Key Biscayne, Florida

If you bought Google stock when it was cheap, Key Biscayne, just a few miles out in the water from Miami may be the ultimate town for beach lovers in Florida. Unlike it’s nearby but totally separate neighbor Miami Beach, Key Biscayne is safe. It has access to some of the most beautiful beaches and water in all of Florida. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park’s beaches were named among the best in the world by the famous “Dr Beach”. Crandon Park has great beaches, tennis, rollerskating and a golf course to top it off. Compared to Miami Beach that get’s packed crazy with tourist (or with crazy tourist), Key Biscayne’s incredible beaches are almost a secret.

Key Biscayne scores extremely well in all the other quality of life factors too. The schools are highly rated. When you’re on Key Biscayne you feel a world away Miami, but all of Miami’s amenities and job possibilities are just minutes away. If you can afford the good life, love the beach, like quieter places but want access to a crazy world class city when you feel like it, Key Biscayne might be the perfect Florida beach town for you.

Key Biscayne Florida Video

Apalachicola, Florida

Residents of this small town have access to miles of uncrowded pristine natural beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Apalachicola is located east of Panama City and southwest of Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida. This part of the panhandle still has much of that old time Florida charm and friendliness, and the beaches really are amazing.

This area is ideal for those who want to really get away from it all and escape into another world, one where it’s all about the water and taking it easy. The area is uncrowded but there are plenty of shops, restaurants, pubs and fish shack bars. If you never drank away the afternoon in an old time fish shack bar with a totally relaxing atmosphere overlooking the water, well, put it on your to do list. Then quit your job and go to Apalachicola. Be sure to bring money though, because although this area is as safe as it gets in Florida, and cheap, job prospects aren’t plentiful. This would be a perfect beach town to retire to, or own a vacation home.

Apalachicola Florida Video

Bonita Springs, Florida

On southwest Florida’s gulf coast, south of Fort Myers and just north of Naples is where Bonita Springs is located. There are numerous beautiful beaches to comb like Barefoot Beach Preserve State Park. This is a relatively quiet, uncrowded relaxing beach but with amenities like restrooms, showers and picnic tables. Within an hours drive there are lots of different beaches, each with it’s own unique charm. That variety is important because it’s not impossible to get bored after you’ve gone to the same beach for the 200th time, trust me.

Bonita spring’s crime rate is about average for the sunshine state. It’s cost of living is just above average for Florida, but access to restaurants, shopping, good schools and employment are better than most of Florida. If you like warm, clear water with mostly gentle waves and looking for a more upscale beach town that you can afford, Bonita Springs might be right for you.

Bonita Springs Florida Video

Safety Harbor & Dunedin, Florida

These two small towns are north of Tampa and St Petersbug and just north and east of Clearwater. While they may not appear on other best beach towns lists, I’ve chosen this area for a few very good reasons. First, they are very safe small towns, some of the safest places you’ll find in Florida. They are just a short drive from two of the best, but distinctly different great beach areas on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico Coast, Clearwater Beach (Clearwater the city doesn’t make the cut because of crime) and Caladesi Island State Park.

It’s extremely rare to find safe towns near great beaches with easy access to big city amenities, and still be among the most affordable places to live in Florida. One caveat, it doesn’t take much of an increase in buyers to a small area to push the prices up, and I believe that’s happening in these areas now. Even if it becomes less affordable, this area is likely to remain safe and have above average quality of life factors like better education system ratings and employment outlook. Both of these towns are on other best places lists of ours for 2015.

Safety Harbor Video

Dunedin Video

Islamorada, Florida

No list of great beach towns in Florida would be complete with a town in the Florida Keys. Islamorada is one of my personal favorite vacation spots in Florida. Once you cross the bridge onto Key Largo you start to feel different. Your cares start to melt away as you drive by marinas, tiki bars, fish restaurants, surf and dive shops. Islamorada is the first major key south of Key Largo. The beaches are spectacular, and there aren’t many places you can watch the sun rise over the water in the morning on one side of the key, and walk across to the other side and watch the sun set over a different body of water on the other side. Sunrises and sunsets on the water, ahhh.

Islamorada is a very safe place to live, especially for the Keys. That’s why you’d have to sell some of that Google stock you bought early to afford to live here. The schools are great, and there are jobs available but you’d have to hold down five of them to afford the housing. If you can afford the ticket, the Keys offers a lifestyle unique from anywhere else. Be sure to pick up some Jimmy Buffet on the way.

Islamarada Florida Video


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