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Moving to Florida

June 26th, 2015 - 3:09 PM

Planning a move to Florida

Home to more than 19 million people, Florida is the third largest state in the U.S. – yes, even more populated than New York! With beautiful beaches, great weather, and friendly residents, there’s a lot to love about the Sunshine State. If you’re considering a move to Florida, this guide will answer your most-asked questions – let’s dive right in.

moving to florida

Moving to Florida – Your Questions Answered

Check out the information below for all you need to know about moving to and living in Florida.

Should I move to Florida?

If you love the beach, the outdoors, theme parks, sports, and sunny year-round weather (among other things), then Florida might just be the right place for you. The state is divided into several different regions, all unique in their own way:

  • The Florida panhandle includes Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, and other cities like Destin, Pensacola, and Panama City. The panhandle is popular spot for tourists from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.
  • Northern Florida includes Gainesville and Jacksonville. While Jacksonville is close to the ocean, Gainesville isn’t – but, it is close to two lakes, two state parks, and two conservation areas.
  • Central Florida includes Orlando, Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa. Tourism is the driving force for this area.
  • Southern Florida includes the Everglades, Miami, Key West, and West Palm Beach. It’s the only region in Florida with a tropical climate.
  • Southwest Florida includes Sarasota, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples. This area of Florida is a hot spot for retirees or those escaping from brutal winters back home.

No matter what you’re looking for, Florida has a place for everyone!

When is the best time to move to Florida?

Since the sun shines in Florida on average of 230 days per year, there’s really not a bad time to move. However, if you’re making a cross-country move, consider weather conditions as a factor when moving. While it may be sunny in Florida, it might not be sunny in the next two states over from your current home. While winter often means lower moving rates, spring and summer are typically optimal times to move because the weather is more cooperative.

How should I travel to Florida?

It depends on where you’re moving from:

  • From the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma), you’ll travel through Mobile, AL to get to Florida.
  • From the West (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington), you’ll travel through one of these major cities on your way to Florida (depending on where you live in the west): Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas, or Albuquerque.
  • From the Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan), you’ll travel through Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, and/or Mobile.
  • From the Northeast (Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont), you’ll travel down the east coast to Jacksonville, FL. From there, you can travel toward central or southern Florida, or take a hard right and travel the Florida panhandle.
  • From the Southeast (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina), you’ll travel through Mobile, Jacksonville, or Atlanta to Florida.
  • From Alaska, you’ll travel through Canada, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Atlanta if your destination is central or southern Florida. If your destination is the panhandle, you’ll travel through Canada, Great Falls, Billings, Denver, Amarillo, Dallas, Shreveport, Jackson, and Mobile.
  • From Hawaii, you can catch a flight with just one stop in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, or Houston.

One thing to keep in mind when planning your route is traffic. Big cities are traffic congestion hubs, so if you can take an alternate path around the congestion (even if it takes a little more time), it just might be worth it.

How do I get a Florida driver’s license after moving?

Florida requires by law that you get a license within 30 days of beginning employment or entering children in Florida public schools. Learn more about what’s required for getting your Florida license.

How do I register my car in Florida after moving?

Florida requires by law that you register your motor vehicle within 10 days of becoming employed, placing your children in public school, or establishing residency. Learn more about registering your vehicle.

What are other ways I can establish residency in Florida?

Besides updating your driver’s license and registering your vehicle, you can also establish residency by changing your voter registration. You can register to vote when you visit your local DHSMV office for your license.

I want to retire in Florida – but where?

Florida is a big hit with retirees. These spots are sure to help you enjoy life to the fullest:

  • The Panhandle: Gulf Shores, Pensacola, Destin, Panama City Beach
  • The Gulf Coast: Naples, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Clearwater, Cape Coral
  • The Keys: Key West, Key Largo
  • Atlantic Coast: Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Jacksonville
  • Central Florida: Orlando, Kissimmee, the Villages (ranked as Florida’s largest retirement community), Gainesville

What’s the cost of living in Florida?

Living in Florida is definitely doable. Healthcare, housing, and food will all seem like bargains if you’re moving from an area with a high cost of living, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Honolulu. If you’re moving from an area with a really low cost of living, like Houston, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, or Nashville, you might get a tiny bit of sticker shock after moving to Florida.

Use this cost of living calculator to determine the cost of living in Florida vs. where you live now.

How’s the weather like in Florida?

You’ll enjoy year-round temps ranging in the 70s-80s. The further south you live, the warmer it’ll be. Rainfall in Florida occurs generally from June to September, with about 50-60 inches per year. In the summer, temps can reach into the 90s (and it’s very humid!), while in the winter, temps stay in the 60s. Not bad! If you’re looking for snow, you’ll be hard pressed to find it in Florida, as snow rarely falls in the northern and central parts of the state.

One thing to be aware of when moving to Florida is the hurricane and tropical storm risk. Hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30. If you’re planning a move during that time, be sure to check the National Hurricane Center weather map days leading up to your trip. And after you settle in, be sure to have a plan in place so you’re prepared for bad weather.

How do I find a job in Florida?

Florida’s economy is driven by tourism, agriculture, fishing, aerospace and defense, construction, international trade, real estate, transportation, and manufacturing. If you’re looking for a job, try employflorida.com or job search sites like monster, indeed, or career builder.

What are the schools like in Florida?

Education is top-notch in Florida. In the state, you’ll find more than 14,000 schools for your school-aged children. Greatschools.com is an excellent resource for searching for public and private schools that fit your child’s needs. For higher education, you’ll find a variety of colleges and universities in Florida. Among them, the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and the University of Miami.

What languages are spoken in Florida?

One aspect of Florida that’s pretty neat is that one of four Floridians speaks a language other than English, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The most common language outside of English is Spanish, followed by French, Portuguese, German, Vietnamese, and Chinese. You’ll find the most diversity of language in Miami, with more than half of residents speaking a non-English language.

What’s there to do in Florida?

Florida is like one giant playground, and the fun never stops! From Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando to the Everglades and Florida’s pristine beaches, you won’t have to go far for fun. Check out the Florida’s visitor site to plan your weekend escapes to discover your new state.

What are some interesting facts about Florida?

  • The state flower is the orange blossom.
  • St. Augustine was the first permanent European settlement.
  • Florida was admitted as the 27th state in 1845
  • The Northern mockingbird is Florida’s state bird.
  • There are 67 counties.
  • The highest natural point is at 345 feet.
  • There are 663 miles of beaches.
  • The Florida coastline stretches 2,276 statute miles.
  • The most populous metro area is the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro.
  • Florida has no state income tax and 6% state sales tax.
  • The state beverage is orange juice.

Tips for moving to Florida

  • With so many tourists, Florida traffic can be somewhat difficult at times. Tourists will drive slower and be very unfamiliar with the roads. If you’re moving to an area in Florida that caters to tourists, be patient as you drive and look for alternative routes to escape congested roads.
  • Because Florida is a vacation destination, locals tend to dress pretty casual. Sandals, shorts and tank tops are staples in any Floridian’s wardrobe.
  • Florida has bugs…lots of bugs – but it’s the cockroaches that are the most disturbing to residents. Invest in a good cockroach spray or get on a professional treatment program to ensure they stay out of your new home.
  • If you’ll be doing a lot of in-state travel after moving to Florida, consider purchasing a SunPass to pre-pay for tolls.
  • Pick a team to cheer for! Florida is home to nine professional sports teams: The Miami Heat and Orlando Magic (NBA), the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (MLB), and the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL).

How do I move to Florida?

U-Pack offers affordable pricing and convenience. Here’s how it works:

  • We deliver a moving trailer or ReloCube to your home for loading.
  • You pack and load.
  • We pick up your items and drive them to your new home in Florida.
  • You unload, and we pick up the empty equipment.

U-Pack makes relocating to Florida easy – the way it should be.

What’s the cheapest way to move to Florida?

While some may think renting a truck is the cheapest way, U-Pack is often just as cheap – sometimes cheaper. Plus, you don’t have to drive. And compared to full-service, U-Pack is cheaper almost every time.  You do your own packing and loading (or hire movers to help), and we do the driving.

Get a free moving quote online, or call 800-413-4799 to talk to a friendly moving consultant about your move. We want to make your Florida move exactly the way you want it to be – affordable and stress-free.

Questions about your move to Florida?

If you don’t see the information you’re looking for above, leave a comment in the section below and we’ll help you find the answer.