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As you research, explore, and consider moving to a Florida community, here’s an overview of what you can expect when living in The Sunshine State.

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Climate & Geography
Entertainment & Recreation
Cost of Living

Nestled amidst Florida's diverse environment, from sun-drenched beaches to serene wetlands, master-planned communities are thriving as they continue to shape the state’s real estate landscape. These meticulously designed neighborhoods are more than just clusters of homes—they're vibrant microcosms where residents live, work, and play within carefully curated environments.

Florida has always been on the cutting edge of real estate development beginning with George Merrick who began development of Coral Gables in the 1920s. Coral Gables was one of the first planned communities in the United States, and today, the state abounds with a wide variety of communities for all types of homebuyers.

From the manicured lawns of Central Florida to the beach paradises of the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean, Florida's master-planned communities offer a lifestyle tailored to the desires of modern homeowners. With amenities ranging from championship golf courses and world-class spas to bustling town centers and nature preserves, these communities have redefined the concept of residential living.

Whether you’re looking for a mixed-use community teeming with families, a luxurious enclave for retirees, or an active adult’s paradise, there's a Florida community waiting to welcome you.

Florida Climate & Geography

Florida is all about sunshine and diverse landscapes, with an allure that goes beyond just its iconic beaches. This subtropical paradise boasts year-round warmth with regional variations and unique ecosystems.

Sunshine State: Florida lives up to its nickname with a warm and humid subtropical climate. Think balmy nights and year-round opportunities for outdoor living. With more than 200 days of sunshine each year, average highs hover in the comfortable 70s (Fahrenheit) during winter and soar into the 80s and 90s during the summer months. Humidity adds a layer of tropical tedium, especially during the wet season. Check out this Florida temperature chart for details.

North to South Variations: While generally subtropical, Florida's climate does show some regional flair. The northern part of the state experiences slightly cooler winters with a touch more frost potential. As you travel south, the influence of the tropics intensifies, with Miami and the Florida Keys boasting a true tropical climate with minimal temperature fluctuations year-round.

The Florida Seasons: Most of the state typically experiences two seasons. A distinct wet season that stretches from May to October. Think afternoon thunderstorms that roll in with impressive displays of lightning and dump refreshing (if sometimes disruptive) rain. These showers also contribute to Florida's lush green landscapes. The dry season, from November to April, offers a welcome reprieve from the humidity, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures, making it a prime time for exploring the outdoors.

Hurricane Season: Florida faces a real threat of hurricanes from around June through November each year. The peak arrives between mid-August and late October, when warm waters in the equatorial Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico fuel the development of tropical waves, which can become hurricanes.

Florida Landscapes: Florida's diverse geography encompasses sandy beaches, crystal-clear springs, lush wetlands, towering cypress swamps, and the unique Florida Keys island chain.

Florida Regions, Entertainment, & Recreation

With its diverse regions, Florida offers an array of recreational activities and entertainment options. From theme park thrills in Orlando to the tropical energy of Miami, Florida caters to every taste.

South Florida

Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties: This vibrant metropolitan area is known for its tropical climate, stunning beaches, and multicultural atmosphere. Miami's iconic South Beach, Fort Lauderdale's waterways, and Palm Beach's upscale communities are highlights.

North Florida

Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panhandle: North Florida encompasses diverse landscapes, from the urban sprawl of Jacksonville to the historic charm of St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city. The Panhandle boasts white sandy beaches, emerald waters, and quaint coastal towns like Pensacola and Destin.

Central Florida

Orlando and Surrounding Areas: Home to world-renowned theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, Central Florida is a hub for entertainment and tourism. Active adults settle into communities here for its lush landscapes, lakes, and nature preserves.

Central East Coast

Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, and Space Coast: This region is famous for its beachside resorts, NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway, and Kennedy Space Center. Cocoa Beach's surf culture and the allure of watching rocket launches make this area distinctive.

Tampa Bay Area

Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater: Located along the Gulf Coast, this region offers beautiful beaches, waterfront dining, and cultural attractions. Tampa's historic Ybor City, St. Petersburg's art scene, and Clearwater's pristine shores are major draws.

Southwest Florida

Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota: Known for its upscale communities, golf courses, and Gulf Coast beaches, Southwest Florida offers a blend of luxury living and natural beauty. Naples' affluent neighborhoods, Sanibel Island's shell-lined shores, and Sarasota's cultural scene are highlights.

Florida Cost of Living

Understanding the cost of living is crucial before making a move to Florida. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect:

Overall Cost: According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average cost of living in Florida is $50,689 per year, or about $4,224 per month. This is 2% lower than the national average.

Housing: As a top state for net migration, real estate can be competitive in Florida. Median home prices can be higher than the national average, particularly in desirable coastal areas. However, there are also affordable options, especially inland, and within many of the state’s master-planned communities.

Taxes: One major advantage for Florida residents is the lack of a state income tax. This can be a significant savings compared to states with high income taxes. As you might imagine, Florida is a great place to retire with no tax on Social Security benefits and other perks for older adults.

  • Income tax: None
  • Property tax: .80 percent of a home’s assessed value (average)
  • Sales tax: 6 percent (maximum of 8 percent after county/city surcharges)
  • No tax on Social Security benefits

Florida Healthcare

Understanding Florida's healthcare system can be complex, so here are some details to help you navigate your options:

Types of Insurance

Employer-Sponsored Insurance: Many Florida residents obtain health insurance through their employers. This often provides the most comprehensive coverage.

Individual Health Plans: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace offers individual health insurance plans throughout the state. Plans vary in coverage and cost depending on your needs and location.

Medicare & Medicaid: Florida has a large population of retirees. Medicare provides health insurance for those 65 and older, while Medicaid offers coverage for low-income individuals and families.

Because of its large elderly population and spikes in demand with tourism, Florida’s healthcare expenditures are above the national average. But while premiums in Florida can vary depending on your location, age, health status, and chosen plan, you can generally expect premiums to be on par with the national average.

Access to Care

Florida has a good network of hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals throughout the state. Here's a shortlist overview of some of Florida's top hospitals and medical centers, based on recent rankings and reputation:

Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville: Consistently ranks at the top in Florida and nationally, known for its exceptional care in various specialties.

Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center: A leader in Central Florida, offering a wide range of services and advanced technologies.

AdventHealth Orlando: Another top contender in Orlando, known for its comprehensive care and focus on patient experience.

UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville: The teaching hospital for the University of Florida, renowned for its research and specialized care.

HCA Florida Multiple Locations: HCA Florida has numerous hospitals across the state, with several facilities recognized for their quality care, including HCA Florida Kendall Hospital in Miami and HCA Florida North Florida Hospital in Gainesville.

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