What it’s like to vacation in Florida right now
Editor’s Note — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance on what to consider if you decide to travel within the United States. The agency cautions that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.
Clearwater Beach and Key West, Florida (CNN) — Florida, as usual, has been making headlines, as coronavirus cases across the state spike as angrily as the summer heat. But even in raging pandemic times, there’s still no putting a state this diverse in a box.
On July 4, there were 11,458 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida — a new single-day high for the state. Some steps toward reopening are being rolled back and public health officials are sounding alarms about the increasing strain on health care systems.
But during recent back-to-back weekend trips with my family (our first vacations since all this began) from my home in Tampa to nearby Clearwater Beach and south to the Florida Keys, I found travelers were out and about making the most of all the Sunshine State offers. Unsurprisingly, their coronavirus precautions varied widely, much in the patchwork fashion that’s defined the pandemic response both nationally and across the state.
I set out — masked up with enough hand sanitizer to disinfect an elephant — to talk to as many travelers as possible about how their vacations were going. And to see if I could enjoy my own, too.
Clearwater Beach and murky compliance
At the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where visitors must reserve time slots in advance to maintain social distancing, we headed out on the open water aboard one of the aquarium’s boat tours into the Gulf of Mexico.
Everything was extremely well organized, with hand sanitizer stations everywhere you looked and the boats operating at half-capacity. Taped-off areas onboard indicated where you should stay with your group during the hour-long cruises to maintain proper distance.
“I’m from New Jersey and I’ve been wearing this since March,” a woman whose Lily Pulitzer dress matched her young daughter’s said to the captain, tugging on her face mask good-naturedly. “But this here’s a whole new level.”
Masks weren’t required once aboard the open-air pontoon boat, but almost all guests kept them on during the tour. And our face coverings did nothing to muffle the excitement later when a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins passed under the boat.
Roughly a mile west on the powdery sands of Clearwater Beach, where signs remind visitors to maintain six feet of distance and a trolley’s marquee flashed a notice to wear masks on board, not everyone appeared to be getting the message.
At the oceanfront pool at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach hotel, things felt nearly spring break-like, with crowds of maskless guests, mostly in their 20s and 30s, jostling in close proximity as a woman pushed an infant around the fray in a flamingo floatie.
I could already imagine a photo of a scene like this from Florida going viral and cringed at the thought. You couldn’t pay me to get in that water with so many people so close together. But the beach hardly looked any less packed on what was a typically busy summer Sunday, so I sat down for lunch at an outside table by the pool.
As I devoured a plate of crispy lemon pepper wings with my family, I was amazed by how “normal” everything looked (though the servers were all masked, most guests weren’t).
The hotel had all the precautions in place that have become standard these days — plastic partitions at check-in, mask-wearing staff, hand sanitizer stations at every turn and omnipresent signs encouraging social distancing.
Yet enforcement that day of new county guidelines was far from perfect. A 28-year-old tourist visiting from Virginia wasn’t wearing a mask inside the hotel, where a sign made it clear it was the law.
“It’s America, the land of freedom, and nobody can force anybody to wear a mask,” said the young woman, who didn’t want her name published. “If people don’t want to get in the elevator with me that’s fine. I’m very open-minded, but I shouldn’t be forced to wear a mask.”
A middle-aged man from Chicago, smoking a cigar outside the hotel, said he wasn’t concerned about being at a crowded pool during the pandemic. “It’s just a flu,” he said, also declining to give his name.
His wife, smoking a cigarette nearby, is a nurse back in Chicago and said she felt “worried” seeing so many people without masks — then she left to grab a beer and get back in the pool.
Again, I imagined a viral photo of a packed pool in coronavirus times and global tsk-tsking about bad behavior in Florida. To be fair, it should be noted that most of the partiers I encountered were from out of state.
Mixed feelings in Islamorada
The blasé attitudes I encountered from many tourists in Clearwater were countered a week later by seemingly more stringent protocols and attitudes in the Florida Keys during Fourth of July weekend.
The archipelago linked by 42 bridges southwest of Miami experienced one of the strictest closures in the state on March 22, when the only road in and out was closed to visitors.
Since re-opening on June 1, the Florida Keys have enacted strict guidelines on wearing facial coverings in all public places with a roof (including tiki bars) and outdoors, too, when social distancing isn’t possible. (People have been stopped by police while walking on Duval Street for not wearing a mask).
In a place where half of the work force is employed in tourism-related jobs, the impact of the coronavirus has touched almost everyone.
“It was very, very empty in the Florida Keys during those months (of shut down),” said Andy Newman, media relations director for the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council. “But those of us in the tourism industry understood the situation. The good thing is we were able to maintain a relatively low infection rate.”
As we drove through the islands, I felt plenty safe to stop for tacos al pastor from the masked workers at the Tacos Jalisco food truck in Key Largo. Banners and signs lining the road reminded visitors to wear a face covering inside all businesses and practice social distancing.
Alex Adler, captain of a fishing charter boat, says Florida’s uptick in virus cases is “nerve-wracking.”
The parking lot at Robbie’s — a popular marina in Islamorada where you pay $4 for a bucket of fish to hand-feed enormous tarpon — was jam-packed. So we backtracked to Bud n’ Mary’s Marina, where the fishermen are usually happy to give you scraps from their catch and you can feed the tarpon for free, sans crowds.
There at the docks, Alex Adler, 62, the captain of the fishing charter boat Kalex was filleting flopping-fresh mahi caught on a trip to the Gulf Stream (23 miles away) with guests from Michigan.
“It’s certainly nerve-wracking,” Adler said of the state’s virus uptick, adding that his business had been doing well since the Keys re-opened, “There are just so many uncertainties. For the most part, people are being very precautionary, with masks on when they’re in close distance.”
“But you just never know. You could be pumping gas, passing somebody a chicken wing, somebody could sneeze. ” he trailed off.
“We have to feed our families, but we’re going to have a different business down here,” he said. “Businesses are going to have cancellations, we’re going to have families who get the virus. It’s uneasy times for a lot of people.”
“Usually tourism is such a positive thing for us, but right now the feeling around it is kind of neutral,” added his daughter, Allie Adler, 17. “Half the people want the roads closed back down, and the other half with small businesses and family businesses want to stay open. It’s lots of mixed feelings.”
A socially distanced dive in Marathon
The feeling I found on July 4 was freedom — of the outdoor, socially distanced variety — on a scuba diving expedition with my two young nieces aboard a boat with Captain Hook’s dive shop in Marathon.
When it was time to enter the water, we swapped our face masks for dive masks and descended to the shallow reef, where we ogled nurse sharks and a hawksbill turtle munching a sponge.
Markers placed on a rope hanging off the boat showed snorkelers and divers where to hold on and maintain social distance in the water while waiting to climb back onboard.
Monica Wilson and Caden Carter, 23-year-old snorkelers from Melbourne, Florida, told me they had considered canceling their annual trip to the Keys, with virus cases soaring. But after inquiring with Captain Hook’s and other operators about safety measures (and landing a good deal on a beachfront condo where they could cook for themselves), they decided to drive down.
“I’m pleasantly surprised by how well they’re handling it down here,” said Wilson, noting masks being worn most places and good social distancing. Where the couple lives in Brevard County, near Cocoa Beach, she said, far fewer people were wearing masks. “Down here it seems like people are following the rules.”
Nearby, at the luxury Isla Bella Beach Resort in Marathon, a couple from Miami, Margina, 34, and Danny, 35, who didn’t give their last names, were relaxing on plush lounge chairs with water views, well removed from the hotel’s various pools and other guests.
Luxury resort Isla Bella in Marathon has modified room service and taken other precautions to minimize contact.
Margina said they were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary and feared that if they didn’t get out of the city now, they might miss the chance later if things locked down again.
“We walk to our room, take the stairs instead of the elevator and never run into anyone else here,” she said about the 24-acre resort with 199 oceanfront rooms that went for as high as $1,250 per night on the holiday weekend.
But for Parisian Julien Lee, 38, another guest at the resort who lives in Miami, missing amenities like stay-over housekeeping and full-service in-room dining (modified at Isla Bella as well as many other hotels to minimize staff contact with guests) were a bummer.
“I feel good, I feel safe, but it’s just a boring vacation because there are no services,” he said. “There’s nothing to do. You’re just buying a roof for the night and nothing else.”
Key West like you’ve never seen it
Some 45 miles southwest, at the end of US Highway 1 in Key West, it was easy to find a roof for the night, with “Vacancy” signs sprouting like weeds in front of guest houses and hotels.
Duval Street was a ghost town, with all of the bars in Florida closed indefinitely since June 26 per state mandate. Many of the tourist shops and restaurants were shut, too.
For a town where boat drinks are as much a part of life as getting out on the water, it was shocking to see Key West so sober.
Yellow caution tape stretched across the closed entrance to The Bull & Whistle Bar. And Sloppy Joe’s, which opened in 1933 on the day Prohibition was repealed and has hardly closed a day since, had its shutters pulled tight.
The Sunshine Apparel shop’s doors were open, and a few tourists browsed face masks emblazoned with “I survived the 2020 Coronavirus” and T-shirts quipping “Dr. Fauci is my homeboy.” A block away, the Red Garter Saloon strip bar had an apologetic sign saying: “Sorry, we’re clothed until further notice.”
In a line that usually stretches far down the block, just three people were ahead of me at the Southernmost Point Buoy that marks 90 miles to Cuba.
That’s where I met Janette Perez, 54, from Fort Lauderdale, an outgoing brunette wearing an American flag mask and a hot pink tank-top that said, “My blood type is rum.”
“The reason I feel safe is because there aren’t many people here right now,” she told me. “If it was as full as it usually is here, though, I wouldn’t feel comfortable.”
Perez was last in a long line of tourists I talked to on vacation in Florida who were really like a microcosm of the nation itself — people just trying to enjoy their summers the best they could, interpreting the information they had in their own individual way and, more often than not, following the rules when there were rules to follow.
As dusk approached, I took my family to the nightly sunset pilgrimage spot at Mallory Square that usually draws tourists by the thousands.
The seawall was lined with people dangling their feet above the water waiting for sunset, even as the square itself was empty of its usual cast of quirky street performers as an extra precaution for the holiday weekend (though they’re back in action now).
Mallory Square was lined with sunset watchers over the holiday weekend, but the rest of the area was unusually quiet.
Next door, at the Sunset Pier Bar, nearly all of the colorful wooden tables were taken and a band played a mellow tune. Signs reminded guests to wear face masks if they got up from their tables.
Revelers aboard a Fury sunset cruise offshore waved from the catamaran. Drinks, included in the ticket price, still flow onboard.
My husband and I sat for mahi mahi ceviche and Key West pink shrimp at an outdoor table overlooking it all at Hot Tin Roof. The kids even gave us a break by getting sucked into “Paw Patrol” on the tablet.
And I remembered what Sam Kelly — a transplant from Arizona who hawks sunset cruises and jet ski tours from an open-air stall on Duval Street — said to me earlier in the day.
“We miss the tourists. We miss the people. We miss the vibe of it,” she said. “People are making the best of it, but it’s strange.”
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Is it Safe to Travel to FLORIDA Right Now? (November Update)
Florida cities are not the safest in the country, with certain communities being safer than others. All major Florida cities have both attractive and crime-ridden disadvantaged areas. Smaller towns are also generally safe to visit.
Follow the standard precautions when visiting any new place, and you will have a trouble-free trip to Florida.
Is it safe to travel to Miami now?
Miami is generally a safe place to visit. Despite its reputation for crime of all kinds, it is as safe as any other Western megacity. The main tourist destinations, especially the far north, have undergone gentrification.
This suggests that muggings may occur at night in dodgy places.
Pickpocketing and purse snatching are the most common petty crimes in Miami, especially on Miami Beach and in the crowded streets of downtown.
Be careful and use common sense. Hold on to your purses and be mindful of how you carry them.
Is it safe to travel to Orlando now?
Orlando is generally considered a safe place to visit. Tourists should stay away from some neighborhoods in Orlando that have higher crime rates. Orlando visitors should be wary of petty crimes and parking ticket scams.
Orlando is divided into numerous neighborhoods and suburbs. West of downtown Orlando, in the neighborhoods of Pine Hills, Malibu Groves, Carver Shores, Signal Hill, Lake Sunset, Roosevelt Park and Washington Shores, are the problematic neighborhoods with the highest violent crime rates. However, there are numerous safe lodging options in Orlando. The weather is often cited by visitors as the most dangerous part of their trip to Orlando.
Hurricane Season in Florida
During the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30, the threat of hurricanes is very real for Florida.
If you want to be as safe as possible from hurricanes and still enjoy the pleasures of visiting Florida, the interior of Florida on the northern border with Georgia is the best place to visit. It is the least hurricane-prone area in Florida.
November 3 – Tourism in Florida on its way to recovery after Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm, destroyed the region from Naples to Fort Myers to Port Charlotte to Sarasota on September 28, severely hurting tourism in Southwest Florida.
Economic recovery initiatives are already picking up steam in the area of Florida’s Gulf Coast, which is renowned for its gorgeous, serene beaches, boating, marine life, and more.
Donations can be made to the Support Fort Myers Hospitality Workers Relief Fund in order to help residents who have been affected and displaced as a result of Hurricane Ian. All donations will be given to employees of the hospitality industry in the following communities: Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Matlacha, Boca Grande, and the outer islands; Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Alva, Buckingham, and Lehigh Acres.
Why visit Florida in COVID times?
First and foremost – Florida has no entry restrictions!
Florida is an internationally recognized destination due to its Theme Parks and tropical weather. Travelers who love going to theme parks will never go wrong with Florida. In COVID times, when traveling has to some extent become a hustle, especially for people traveling with kids, Florida stood as one of the best destinations in 2021.
We have to be careful with the new Omicron variant. However, once the situation becomes stable again, Florida will probably once again become one of the most popular travel destinations also in 2022, especially among American citizens.
January 10 – Florida reporting record numbers of daily COVID-19 infections
Florida reported more than 126,000 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend – the highest multi-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The state reported 77,156 new cases on Saturday and 49,548 on Sunday.
The spike is attributed not only to the rapidly spreading Omicron strain but also to increased testing.
On the other hand, hospitalizations remain below their peak. Over the weekend, 9,888 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Florida. Whereas in summer 2021, there would be over 17,000 new hospital admissions every day.
December 13 – Coronavirus cases in Florida rising faster than in any other state
COVID-19 cases in the sunshine state have recently been rising faster than in any other state in the U.S. Also, three Omicron cases were confirmed in Florida last week.
According to the latest data from The New York Times, Florida recorded a 185 percent increase in daily coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, compared to the national increase that is now around 43 percent. On average, Florida is reporting nearly 2,000 new coronavirus infections a day.
On the other hand, around 1,404 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 each day. This figure has increased by six percent over the past fourteen days.
November 18 – Florida to pass bills limiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates
On Wednesday, November 17, Florida Republicans passed four bills that would protect workers who do not wish to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
If he signs the documents, Florida will become the first state that can fine companies who require the vaccine for employment. However, most companies do require COVID-19 vaccines, but employees can opt out for health or religious reasons.
DeSantis is expected to sign the bills in the upcoming days.
October 5 – COVID-19 cases in Florida finally dropping
For the week of September 24 to 30, the positivity rate in Florida has dropped to 6.5%, the lowest number since June.
In the past week, around 4,600 new infections daily were registered in the county. While during August, there were more than 21,000 new cases per day reported in Florida on average.
Through September and October, the number of hospitalizations has also been dropping. In the last week of September, they decreased by around 27%.
ℹ Florida COVID-19 Update for October 1, 2021
Total Confirmed Hospitalizations: 5,146 pic.twitter.com/g3UyfmsZO6
— Florida Hospital Association (@FLHospitalAssn) October 1, 2021
September 6 – Florida tourism continues to bloom despite high number of COVID-19 cases
Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, tourism in Southwest Florida continues to rise. Actually, Lee and Collier Counties have had a record-breaking year in tourism.
Brian Hamman, Lee County commissioner, indicated that August 2021 numbers had been the best August numbers in the history of tourism tracking in the region. Other months have not been behind either. ‘In fact every month this year has been better than it was even in 2019.’ he said.
Usually, tourism tends to slow down by the end of summer in Florida. This year, the season is not over yet. Hotels there are still fully occupied, and they are starting to get booked for winter, too.
According to Hamman, people want to enjoy a bit of time off. But are scared of the international travel restrictions. Therefore, they choose somewhere they know, like Florida, for example.
August 24 – Pediatric cases make up to 20% of new COVID-19 infections in Orange County, Fla.
According to Alvina Chu, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, pediatric cases make up to 20% of new coronavirus infections in the county.
The trend seems to be shifting. While the positivity rate in the 25 to 44 age group remains high, children aged between 5 to 14 years old now contribute the most to the newest COVID-19 cases.
Based on data from HHS.gov, as of Monday, August 22, there were 257 pediatric cases across Florida, 176 of which were hospitalized.
The predominant strain is the highly contagious Delta variant which affects all age groups. The median is 34 years.
August 9 – Hospitalizations skyrocketing in Florida as DeSantis defend unvaccinated citizens
The number of current COVID hospitalizations is “unlike anything the state has seen before,” said the head of Florida’s largest hospital association earlier today.
Even in the face of irrefutable evidence, Gov. Ron DeSantis will maintain his “no-mandate” mandate which means that zero coordinated actions will be taken to control the spread.
He also added that the media is just being “judgmental,” against those who are unvaccinated.
However, DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw recognized that only 6% of hospitalized people are vaccinated.
“We recognize that cases and hospitalizations have shifted to a younger demographic because we have been so successful with vaccinating seniors,” said Pushaw.
July 15 – COVID-19 cases in Florida on the rise while Gov. DeSaints forbids companies to safely resume activities
The Department of Health of Florida has reported an unusual increase in COVID-19 activity over the last week.
Over the last 7 days, the state counted 23,747 new cases with a positivity rate of 7.8%. The trend was at about 4% positivity in the past weeks. Also, Florida reported 172 new deaths.
Even considering the figures, Gov. Rob DeSantis continues to refuse to allow companies to require customers of “risky activities” to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
As reported by The Washing Post, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has sued Florida’s surgeon general, accusing the state of preventing the company from “safely and soundly” restarting operations.
June 29 – Florida to resume cruise ships with both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers next week
Cruise ships are set to safely resume operations next week in Florida.
Local mayors of South Florida had sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to reconsider his refusal to ask cruise travelers to present a vaccine certificate, but their claim was not heard.
“There aren’t restrictions either way, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated that shouldn’t limit your ability to participate,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told reporters.
This does not mean cruises won’t be safe. Unvaccinated travelers will need to bring a negative COVID-19 test, get retested in the embarkation hall prior to boarding. Furthermore, some cruise venues will be “for vaccinated people only.”
June 14 – Florida to lift all COVID-19 related restrictions on July 1
Effective July 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis will lift all COVID-19-related restrictions across the state. So far, only 48.8% of the population has received at least one jab of a vaccine, which is insufficient to reach herd immunity according to the CDC.
According to the governor, “If we have widespread vaccinations that are over 99% effective, what’s the evidence basis for somebody to wear a mask now?”
Over the course of the pandemic, he has refused to follow most of the epidemiology guidelines because he did not want to “take the same approach as other lockdown governors.”
With this new executive order, DeSantis will make sure that “local governments cannot arbitrarily close [our] schools or businesses.” Additionally, he barred businesses from requiring employees to provide proof of being vaccinated.
9 Reasons I Regret Moving to Florida
If you are planning to spend your retirement days in Florida and take advantage of the robust economy then you might choose Florida.
But, ask yourself if only affordability will bring you happiness? Or, a busy, crowded, and hectic state will give you happiness?
There are many cities in Florida that are growing very fast. Still, I regret moving to Florida.
Florida is the seventh most populous state in the United State of America.
I know the Disneyworld and a little child fantasy inside you always made you shift to Florida, it did to me.
The Sunshine State experiences a tropical type of climate and is a home for various flora and fauna with beautiful dog-friendly beaches in Florida. Miami and Tallahassee were my dream places.
This sunshine state always felt like a rosy Disney world to me. But, the truth is I regret moving to Florida.
Here is my story and I will tell you why I hate living in Florida after 1.5 years of living there.
Therefore, I will explain to you why I hate living in Florida and give you the reasons not to move to Florida.
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Where is Florida and Why I Always Wanted to Move There?
Living in Florida has many advantages and disadvantages. It sits in the Southeastern region of the United State and is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico in the west, Alabama in the North-West, Georgia in the North, Bahamas, and the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and Straits of Florida and Cuba in the south.
Apart from its Disney world, the beautiful landscape and its location always captivated me to spend days there. I wanted to spend and experience the charming winters and witness the picturesque natural springs in Florida.
I have always seen photos on Google of how beautiful pine forests and Palmetto palms look like in Florida. Its wildflowers, wild blackberries, rosemary, and coastal dune lakes… These views are truly breathtaking.
Florida Beaches are Beautiful
Couples also love this state as there are plenty of romantic places in Florida with amazing coral reefs, underwater caves, islands, and swimming holes. Yes, Florida is not only for children but also welcomes adults of all ages.
I was so fascinated and always wanted to move to Florida but once I did I got the real picture. There are a lot of bad things about Florida too which people don’t mention.
I will give you the reasons why people regret moving to Florida:
Reasons Not to Move to Florida
Do you know when you experience the true feeling towards a place or a person? And get the actual picture to be like. When the honeymoon phase is gone, during the first few months you love everything around you but once the period is gone you experience true feelings.
Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t move to Florida:
Crowded with Tourists All Over The Year:
No matter how much I like the freshwater springs of Orlando, I regret moving to Orlando; this place is so packed up with tourists that I always regret moving to Florida, Orlando. No less than 100 million people come here to spend their weekends and the roads and airports are always busy. You can read our 24 hours in Orlando itinerary if you’re planning to visit this place.
The main Central highway in Florida 1-4 which starts from Daytona Beach in the East through Orlando and ends in Tampa on the West is always full of people and traffic. I-95 which is around Miami is the most crowded and hectic place in Florida.
Traffic was a common thing in Orlando. Every day I have to spend more than 30 minutes sitting in the car hearing the honking sound while returning to my apartment from my office. And needless to say that the theme park was always full of tourists and people.
Theme Parks are Always Crowded in Florida
Why is Florida Called the “Sunshine State”?
My skin got miserable living in Florida, the weather and climate here are so harsh and warm that they burnt out my skin. I felt like I’m put inside a micro oven at 90 degrees Celsius. Yes, it’s that much hot.
You will experience 2 distinct seasons in Florida. Firstly, the Monsoon in August which lasts for only 150 days out of 365 days. And second, the warm hot climate. The climatic condition in Florida is tropical, making it humid and hot.
In the summer season, Florida does experience rain showers and thunderstorms but it lasts only for a few minutes. I remember my office days when I’ve to move out of my house and the heatwave used to burn my skin.
There are so many reasons that I regret moving to Florida.
Affordable Places to Visit in Florida is a Myth:
Do you get excited seeing ads on television broadcasting how cheap Florida is? It’s all marketing my friend. You have to believe me in this, I also got trapped in their marketing advertisements. I might say, Florida was affordable back in the 1990s but not now.
The general living cost in Florida is higher than the average standard of living in the United State of America. Houses here are not that affordable, you have to earn a lot to afford a decent standard of living.
My family and I were not able to buy a house in Miami because the standard of living is very high and expensive. This is one of the prime reasons for not moving to Florida.
But don’t worry. If you have already decided to move to Florida whatsoever reason, there are still some affordable places to live in Florida. Fort Meade is a great place that you can always choose. It is 50 miles away from Tampa and one of the rural parts of Florida. But, worry not this place offers great job opportunities and affordable grocery shopping too.
Florida is not Cheap
Get Cautious about Tornadoes and Hurricanes:
This is another worst thing in Florida. From June to November there is always a fear among Floridians. We all know how bad Hurricane Charley hit Florida in 2004. Thousands of people have damaged their life and property.
How can you forget about the Earthquake and blizzard? I still get to hear stories from people who were present at that particular time. Such stories are so frightening to hear, I don’t know how they are leaving up with such daunting memories.
Too Many People Than You Ever Imagined:
In 2018, when I moved to Florida, their data showed that 65.5 million people moved in and it was no more a quiet place but a place of huge people.
People from New York, California, and Texas visit here and it has increased its annual growth rate of 2.5 % above the national average.
Urbanization and Its Effects:
Why moving to Florida was a flop idea of mine? Excessive urbanization and suburban sprawls have adversely affected the place. As per the data it shows after Texas, Florida is the most populated state. This state is continuously growing outward.
If its growth was planned then it might not be a problem but Florida is expanding unmanageably and this has adversely affected its ecology and natural resources.
Heavy traffic, overuse of land, improper public transportation makes me wonder why I stayed in Florida for 2 years.
Urbanization in Florida
Bugs, Insects, and Reptiles are Your Home Visitors:
Ahh! The most annoying thing is bugs which from nowhere buzz around your ears giving you an awful feeling. If they bite you then I can guarantee you will get a high temperature. Flying bugs are the worst nightmare I had in Florida.
Mosquitoes, deer flies, wolf spiders, lovebugs, palmetto bugs, Florida carpenter ants, red fire ants, and a lot more are unwelcome guests in your house. Once, a bug bit my mother and we had to take her to the hospital. It’s that dangerous.
If you are wondering, is it a bad idea to move to Florida? Then you should know my story. One fine morning I made a cup of coffee for myself and went to my backyard. What I saw there I won’t forget in my entire life. A huge python was crawling in my garden.
Global Warming is a Serious Issue in Florida:
Did you wonder why New Yorkers are moving to Florida nowadays? Florida has no policy for personal income tax and hence everyone is moving out to Florida. And, this has adversely affected the place naturally.
In 2020, data shows that there is a huge rise in sea level and this is a huge threat to people living near the sea. The price of the properties near the sea has immensely dropped down to 8 % -10 % compared to areas interior to the coastal area.
Global Warming has increased more natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and unpredictable weather changes. The sweltering weather and humid climate are so much pain to bear.
Did you know what a sinkhole is?
This is another worst reason not to live in Florida if you are aware of the sinkhole. Okay, if you don’t know it then give me a chance to explain it to you.
A sinkhole is a hole that suddenly opens up in the ground. These holes sometimes are so huge that they can engulf a car, a property, or a whole colony. You can find hundreds of YouTube videos regarding this.
Due to the Florida Aquifer, such a sinkhole occurs. The underground is filled up with porous limestone which is a natural cache for rainwater. As the population grows, more water is taken from the Aquifer as this is the only source of clean drinking water. And such sinkholes grow.
Pros and Cons of Living in Florida in a Nutshell:
- You can grow orange in your yard
- You can get a house within your budget
- You can enjoy calm air and great pictures with palm trees
- You can enjoy pool bathe whenever you want
- There are countless places in Florida to celebrate Christmas
- Great news for students! If you want to widen your knowledge and conduct research then University of Florida is the best place to study.
- I regret moving to Florida because my house was near the coast and when I planned to move out from Florida the price dropped down.
- Swimming is great to hear but do you want to swim when the temperature is 38 degrees Celsius?
- The hot and humid climate is enough to keep you sick all-round the year. This was the very reason not to move to Florida.
- I didn’t have to pay state income tax, true but I have to pay tons of money for my driver’s license. In Florida, you have to pay for everything. You have to pay at the parking station by the hour.
- If you are wondering if it is safe to move to Florida then I bet you bear, alligator, snakes and all the fearful reptilescan visit your house.
- If you are planning to retire to Floridathen ask yourself are you able to deal with bees and bugs?
- You may find the cheapest cities to visit in Floridabut if you want peace surrounding valleys, mountains then this is not the place for you.
Therefore, there are benefits of living in Florida but with that, you have to accept its flaws too. This place will not only give you worse and good memories too.
If you ask me if I regret moving to Florida then my answer will be yes. This place’s weather was too harsh for my skin, I didn’t get a good job and my pay scale was even low compared to New York and there was always a fear of natural disasters and reptiles.
Remember, if you are moving to Florida and searching for an affordable place then it’s very important for you to do great research and come up with the best places which are cheap and safe for you to live in. You can also check out the ultimate moving to Florida checklist.
Places like Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville are one of those places where the crime rate is high. I’m sure you don’t want to get robbed or die in search of the cheapest place. No matter what you should always avoid these dangerous places in Florida.
Therefore, do your research wisely and come to this place and draw your own memories.
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FAQ on Regret Moving to Florida
1. What’s bad about living in Florida?
A: The worst thing about living in Florida is its humid tropical climate. It’s very hot and the heatwave during afternoons feels like they are piercing your body in and out.
2. What is the safest area to live in Florida?
A: In my opinion, Weston is the safest area to live in Florida. It has a high quality of living which I always dreamt of and is less crowded.
3. What do you need to move to Florida?
A: You first need a job or a bank account which has a lot of cash and then you can enjoy the beauty of the place. You have to pay for your property, insurance, buy food and maintain a standard of living.
4. What should I know before moving to Florida?
A: Before moving to Florida, I would recommend you do a bit of research. I have mentioned to you all the adverse effects of the place. If you are a digital nomad, then please think before coming to this place. This place can be expensive.
5. Can I move to Florida without a job?
A: Yes, you can move to Florida without a job. But your bank account should have the cash to afford your lifestyle.
6. Do retirees regret moving to Florida?
A: In my opinion, the accurate answer is yes. Retirees want a peaceful place but Florida is a lot more crowded.
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I deeply regret moving to Florida for most of these reasons you listed. I have been here for 1 year and just want to leave now. I am sick of the sun and heat, it’s overkill at this point. The traffic here is just as bad as up North but you have to drive even further to get anywhere. I can see Florida being fine if you are retired or don’t really need to or care about making a decent living. The cost of housing is obscene and the pay scale is the worst I ever encountered in my life.
People want you to work for cheap down here and just write off the rest as the ‘cost for living in paradise’. To each his own but this place is more like purgatory than paradise.
Thank you Gianna for sharing your experience.
I’ve been here 2 years and I regret it. The people are the rudest I’ve ever encountered, the roads are crowded, the stores are crowded and people don’t know how to drive. There have been more hit and run car accidents with in a 2 mile radius in these two years than my entire lifetime in a Northern state. Insurance is insanely expensive, health, auto and homeowners. The pay is borderline slavery, even for a professional with a degree. Luckily I bought a house before I moved , when prices were low, but when prices drop back in my home state, I will be moving out of this.
You took the words right out o do my mouth. Florida is ok to vacation in, but living here is nothing but a money pit. I’m trying to get my wife to move back to Iowa where the cost of living is way less than Florida.
I completely agree on all and there is even more to talk about
Go back up north I-95 runs north, don’t come back. All true Natives of FL will appreciate it. People come here and want it to be like back home, it isn’t thank God.
Typical Florida ignorance
I agree. It’s especially gotten awful during Covid!!
Try experiencing the heat in Atl… with basically no water. My best to you, get a RV and moving around, you can work from home in ur RV from any state u choose.
Exactly, if you dont like it somewhere, go back to where ever it is you belong.
People don’t know where they belong anymore. Much more of the country and world have become overcrowded, crazy, fearful, hostile, expensive, transient, and dangerous. Also, if you need a job instead of having your own business, forget it. Businesses pay ALAP (as little as possible) now, and few offer good benefits or retirement plans, if any.
The weather sucks in NY. My skin is cracked from freezing. The traffic is gross on the belt and van suck any time of day. Crowded -you can’t compare it to NY. Please!
Crime is everywhere so that’s out- I’ll take lizards over insects anyway. The country is all insects. Live by the beach the breeze will keep them moving. The only truth is the summers are terribly hot especially if you are not use to them. You need to be financial equip and/or land a job before you get there. No skills-no money! I agree the pay scale sucks and doesn’t sinc with the cost of living as claimed but overall I would chose to visit NYC as a summer bird and leave it behind for the rest of the year. Need NY theater-hop a flight for a weekend and then run-out!
I’m still stuck here and prepping to leave!
Thank you Chicky for sharing your experience.
Is there a nice area in northern Florida to retire to? We are looking to retire to northern Florida, but don’t need all the attractions and people of Miami. Thanks Bernie
Hi Bernie, Gainesville can be a perfect place for you. We have a detailed post on the best places to retire in Florida.
Avoid south Florida like the plague. The area from Palm Beach to the keys became an overcrowded, overtrafficked, crazy, expensive, violent, crime-filled nightmare. Also, all cities and urban areas nationwide became bad.
Avoid North as well. A lot of mouth breathers.
My God, reading that hurt my brain.
I lived in Florida for 27 years and hated every moment of it. When I moved to New Jersey, I doubled my salary. No bugs in the house in Jersey and thunderstorms are rare. Yes it snows but I prefer that to 9 months of unending heat and humidity. The people are nicer up north and they aren’t topless bars all over the place here.
Accurately observed and said. 60 years ago Florida , California, and other warm, once-desirable states were reasonably populated, affordable, and friendly. Then they went increasingly bad. Way too many humans, cars, morons, punks, thugs, illegal aliens, non-English speakers, hostility, and crime now. Jersey is a good place with good, friendly people. Best solution – live “up north” from May through October, and in an uncrowded tropical area from November through April. Or at least take several vacations in the winter to tropical areas.
I wish people took your advice and stopped moving here. I live in Sarasota and ever since Covid EVERYONE from New York, Illinois, California, ETC are moving here and buying houses with cash and taking up a lot of the rentals in the meantime. Prices with housing has since then increased to outrageous amounts as well as rent. So now for locals like myself, we have a hard time buying and renting! I wish I could move, but my husband’s whole family are all Sarasota natives, and he also has a very good job and has been moving up in positions every year or so. Wish us natives good luck! LOL
California was once desirable, like Florida, but way too many humans moved to both states and ruined them. Also, Latins and Asians took over California. Fed up Americans are starting to move to small-to-medium size towns in states like Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and other countries.
We are feeling your pain in Huntsville Alabama. A house that cost $125k a year ago is now $300k. Rent went from $850 mo to $1600 mo. My 15 minute commute is now 35 min. I miss my little city.
I see the trend in the comments! In simple, if moving to Florida, make sure you have a large bank account and a good job awaiting you, upon arrival. This will insure for a comfortable transition, into the culture and lifestyle. This can be a beautiful experience, if you relocate to Florida, with a substantial amount of money in the bank and a good job! For those who decide to relocate to Florida without a substantial bank account and a good job, prepare for struggles in life; your opinion of Florida will change forever, and you will find yourself in this forum leaving comments complaining about how awful Florida is, because of poor judgment to move to Florida without doing proper research, being prepared financially and not having a career that can sustain a comfortable lifestyle.
It’s interesting that I don’t hear progressive individuals complaining about Florida, and why is that?! It’s simple, they prepared before they relocated. They thought of all aspects before making the move. Moral to the story; make sure you can afford the lifestyle before relocating; or you will become miserable within a year and hate Florida, that you once thought was paradise!
You summed it up well Mikel.
Well said and right on. Today you need a LOT of money to move to most parts of America. Don’t even think of moving without a LOT of money. If you run out of money and have to take low-paying survival jobs, you’ll hate it – and never get ahead financially again. This happens to millions of people who move. You’ll be stuck on a hamster wheel from hell till you get a high-paying job or start a profitable business.
These people are trying to discourage more people from moving there. It’s obvious but guess what that’s what we tried in California and it didn’t work . Not only is it way overpopulated and overpriced it’s a crap show of homelessness crime and ridiculously expensive housing . So get ready here they come . Sorry California native got jipped
Right. Millions of people who moved to California and Florida without a LOT of money got into trouble. Unless you have a high-paying job lined up before you move, and a LOT of money to bring with you, don’t move until you have these things.
Being a native Floridian I’ve heard many of the very same complaints from many. Florida isn’t for everyone. Yes, over the decades i’ve watched many of the problems mentioned develop and grow beyond control. Once an area that has that perfect landscape and population density secret gets out, within 5 years it becomes a construction nightmare and overpopulates rapidly. Raised in Tampa I moved to Pasco county to escape the overcrowding and higher housing costs and found nice homes for cheaper costs. Then people started finding out and i’ve watched Paradise lost once again as it did where I grew up. It’s sad but it’s a fact of life here. No place is perfect and I surely wouldn’t move to the snow belt dealing with snow and cold 7 months out of the year. I’m content with shorts and short sleeves and the A/C to keep me comfortable and as for going out, so many places have delivery and lets face it, many don’t go to malls anymore and other things because of online services. You won’t find happiness by photos. I’ve met Florida newbies who are overjoyed to be here and others who hate it. It’s not for everyone. But every state has it’s negatives. Many listed in this review I disagree are issues simply because i’m born and raised and lived here most of my life. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!
We moved here and we hate it! Trying to leave ASAP- we don’t need encouragement on that so save it. It’s expensive! Good luck finding passable medical and dental- it’s AWFUL! The insurance here is grotesque- home and car! Your 80 and get a license for EIGHT years and you can’t see or hear- WTF?! No inspection sticker- you can’t believe what’s on the road here- legally. Transients and awful customer service! The elderly drivers and the drunks. Way to many racists rednecks. Hot all the time! Bugs with their own zip codes. Lazy people complaining all day long- Trump won you know! The elderly complaining all day long about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else. The rudeness and the all about me attitudes suck the life out of you daily. The political BS is insane as is the MANY who follow it and actually BELIEVE it! The Bible thumpers are no better! This was the LAST pick on our list when moving. Covid killed our TOP 4 other states. Things have calmed down so we are hitting Zillow. I can’t wait to leave and I pray every day it’s sooner rather than later! U want to vacation- enjoy. But, live here I advise not too. Take the locals advice-they don’t want you either- STAY AWAY you will be happier- truly.
I’m in the same boat and couldn’t agree more. If I were a native, I would hope that people left. I’ve only been here 6 months and I am looking for a way to break my lease. I absolutely hate it here! And I did check it out before I came because my daughter has lived here forever 3 years. Still, you simply can’t find out certain things until you live here and experience it fully.
Too many people! Too hot (I thought I hated the cold, but never again!), you have the rich and you have the service people, there is no middle class here (Sarasota), my auto insurance doubled, my rent nearly tripled (though it would have not been as bad without the housing bubble…though still worse than Illinois), I needed a mechanic and after going through 4 different mechanics, I just ended up trading my car in…they were all outrageously priced, it’s just crowded….I feel squished (where I lived in Illinois, I had wide open spaces with lots of room).
No need for anyone here to tell me to “move back then”…believe me, I am.
I moved here to help my daughter because she runs her own business and I’m able to work remotely. So, I didn’t “want” to move here…I felt a kind of obligation. Oh well, that has changed..and dramatically. I will never make this mistake again.
I fear even coming here for vacation has been ruined for me.
I’m still trying to figure out just what people love about it. There has not been one person who hasn’t said to me, “oh, you’re going to love it here.”
I even pray, please let me love it…
But, I hate it more every day.
I can’t wait to get back to the big tall trees, wide open spaces, crisp clear air, affordable mechanics and rent, and of course back to my friends! I will never complain about the cold or snow again. I promise!
Best of luck! I know your pain daily! Chin up- you will escape soon enough. Hopefully, we will too- 1 year more- hopefully less.
I wanted to move to a warmer location, from Md. ,decided not to move to Florida, too humid, way to many bugs. We decided to move to Arizona, best decision ever. Sunshine almost every day! Temperatures are high in the summer months, but the low humidity makes it easier, and you are in places with AC most of the time anyway.
The desert is beautiful and the people are so welcoming.
One lady remarked about swimming when it’s 88 degrees Celsius. Well that’s about 162 Fahrenheit.
This is a great article. Yes, please stay away from Florida, it stinks! Stay where you are, no reason to come here.
Thank you for posting, gives me some insight.
Guess the others haven’t traveled much across the country.
Housing market has BOOMed everywhere! Pay scales increased a bit but and all cites beautiful areas are crowed, expensive as heck and consistently have in influx for travelers.
If you don’t have a pocket full, go to the middle of nowhere.
We are in the middle of no where- it’s called Northern Flo RA Da! The further North you go- the more Southern it becomes.
I lasted three months in Florida and getting the hell out of it. Cost of living is expensive and they don’t want to pay you accordingly. I can make way more money elsewhere. Also, I have never seen a huge amount of morons as in Florida. Stupidity of people here is overwhelming. Is there some inbreeding going?