The perplexing appeal of Florida

Living in Ohio my whole life, I have encountered many people who vacation in Florida. My supervisor has a condo there. I also have family members who have retired there. All my life, people have talked about the place, as if it were an enchanted paradise.

I have been to Florida three times. Each time for work. I didn’t care for it at all. There was no landscape. It was hot and muggy. Condos everywhere. Stores everywhere. People everywhere. Traffic everywhere.

I can’t think of single reason why I would vacation there or move there.

What are your thoughts on Florida? Have you been there? Do you live there? Do you love it? Hate it?

There are tons of beaches. If you like beaches (or related activities like fishing, boating, etc.), fun can be had. Otherwise, Florida is largely as you describe.

Also, Disneyworld.

All the Florida I have ever needed in my life is in Carl Hiaasen books.

I think it’s simply that for young people Florida has a reputation as being a giant party, while for old people Florida has one of the lowest overall tax rates for people wanting to retire.

It has given rise to the “Florida man” phenomenon, which must account for something.

Well, I thought she did a good job keeping J.J. in line, and she raised those three kids alone after James died.


< golf clap >

Love the books, and agree.

I detest the crowds, the hot and muggy with a daily rain, hate the Florida Man people [they come in female also] and I hate resort areas with higher base pricing.

That being said, I do not mind an occasional visit when I absolutely have to [hit Key West and had a wonderful time when mrAru had a need to visit the Navy Base there - really enjoyed the empty ‘Cujo’ Key [Cudjoe] it had a Navy BLIMP station there =) we went swimming at the boat ramp by the microscopic base, the water was bath tub warm. At this point in my life, the only swimming I can do is pretty much off a head boat geared for handicapped access [me and my diving gear need to be winched on and off, I don’t walk now =( There is actually a dive head boat in the keys that is rigged for handicapped access =) ]

We lived in the Jacksonville area (Yeah, I know they call that southern Georgia…) for 18-ish years before settling in southern Maryland. Honestly, I hardly saw any difference in our cost of living. Some taxes are higher in one place, some in another. If all you look at is income tax, yeah, FL has no state income tax. But when we moved, sales tax was higher in FL, as was our property tax. Certain grocery staples were higher in FL. I’m pretty sure homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance were lots higher in FL.

My opinion - people go to FL for vacation and have a nice time and think “This would be a great place to live!” But how many people actually live on vacation? Normal folks need jobs and homes, and homes need upkeep, and there’s the weather and the bugs and the alligators…

Each to his own, I guess. Right now, we’re up to our ears in moving my inlaws from Florida to an apartment near us. I will be all too happy to shake the sand of the Sunshine State from my shoes when we finally leave for the last time. Target date is Nov 1!!!

Florida is my official US residence because that’s where the family have moved to and so I want to live near them when I’m there, but it’s solidly in retiree country - vast swathes of doublewide immobile mobile home parks, restaurants selling unchallenging stodge with an Early Bird Special, a bazillion little churches, roads littered with pedestrians and cyclists who for some reason insist on wearing all black at night, etc etc

It’s “nice” territory. For retirees who want to count out their last days in little homogenized enclaves where they don’t have to deal with cold winters or people with views that might challenge theirs, it’s a paradise. For everyone else, it’s freaking boring.

But the beaches and Disneyworld are nice.

I get a disturbing feeling of satisfaction from the knowledge that ocean levels are going to eventually submerge 2/3 of it, so I’m thinking that my feelings are rather negative. :flushed:

Been to Florida a zillion times. Have inlaws there and it’s a pretty good chance we are going to inherit a very nice home in Sarasota near Siesta Key. If that happens we will winter there and summer here after I permanently retire. If it doesn’t happen then it’s the same plan but Texas.

The Gulf Coast is not as humid and muggy as the inland area is. I would not live inland Florida. I also don’t care as much for the eastern side, though we are planning a trip to Miami in December. South Beach isn’t so bad.

In the middle of a Chicago winter, the gulf beaches are nice.

This is most of it. Just change Chicago to Northern for others.

Florida is brutal in the summer, but to escape from Winter in January through March it is nice to a visit.

Also I will second those who mentioned the Gulf Coast is nicer than the Atlantic Coast.

My In-Laws have a nice place in the middle of sprawl but I pretty much am use to sprawl anyway being Central Jersey most of my life. Their property will be below water in 40 years I’m pretty sure. So if we should inherit it, we’d probably use it for a few years and sell it.

I went to Miami in the late 60s to see a girlfriend, who was then living with her new boyfriend, so my experience was colored by that. Drove down the keys all the way to Key West. Hated the place and would never live there. We have friends who retired to St. Pete. They keep asking us to come for a visit, but so far we’ve put them off. I really don’t want to spend a single dollar in Florida’s economy unless it’s to help them secede from the union.

Eh, I’m not really in the Florida demographic and I can think of a number of places I’d rather retire to, but I don’t find the appeal at all perplexing. I mean, it doesn’t have much of a winter, even compared to other states in the South, and a lot of people HATE winter. And there are beaches and a lot of nice fruit.

My sister/BIL moved down to the panhandle some 10 yrs or so ago. We’ve visited. Their gated community on the way is BEAUTIFUL in March-April. To hear her talk about the summers - UGH!

I’ve long thought that I don’t need to move anywhere warmer - if I get to where I can afford to visit someplace for Jan-Feb, maybe into March. For the rest of the year, the Chicago area ain’t that bad. Plus, if you BUY a vacation home, you always have to go THERE. I like the idea of being able to spend one winter in FLA, maybe the next in AZ…

A good friend from Columbus once described Florida as “Ohio with palm trees” and having visited both, it’s quite accurate. South Florida is mainly transplanted northerners, but north Florida and the panhandle are much different. My folks live in West Palm and I travel there to see them, but otherwise there’s not much appeal.

I have been two times and this is pretty much my impression as well. It does not appeal at all to me, but I can see the appeal for retirees wishing to escape winters in the northeast and upper midwest. My uncle has a condo on the east coast and spends winters there and the rest of the year in eastern PA near the rest of the family.

I agree with @FairyChatMom that the tax incentives are overblown. I am sure if one penciled-out a household’s monthly and annual expenses, Florida would probably look about the same as anywhere else. One way or another, they’re gonna get’cha.

Five or so years ago the wife and I drove down to Orlando to go to LEGOland and Universal (Harry Potter), and visit a few people along the way. DC to Florida on 95 is a really shitty drive.

Orlando is a prime exemplar of urban sprawl. There’s a relatively small “downtown” area, and the rest is just sprawl between theme parks. I can’t imagine living there. Seems like no matter where you live, everything is still somehow 20 miles away. Far and away the worst drivers I’ve ever seen on the continental US.