While it’s known as the home to Orlando, the “theme park capital of the world,” there’s much more to Florida than rip-roaring rides and the faces of familiar characters. From vibrant urban areas like Miami to awe-inspiring natural wonders like natural caves and the untamed wild of the Everglades, there’s never a dull moment in the Sunshine State.

Simply put, if you’ve been setting aside boxes for moving and are itching for a place to move, Florida is an excellent choice.

Are You Ready to Take on the Heat?

If you’re a tried-and-true New Yorker, it can be tough giving up your winter. At least, that’s how you might feel at the beginning of the season, before the reality of a fourth or fifth snowfall starts settling in. At that point, the Florida sun might seem like the answer to all your problems.

There are many genuinely compelling reasons to make the trek to Florida, but prepare to adjust to a different, more laid-back lifestyle than what you’re used to in New York. And of course, your New York friends might wonder why you’re choosing to leave behind the big city’s hustle and bustle. And while Florida has its fair share of fast-paced city living, it might make for a major change of pace from what you’re used to. That’s why your first step in all of this should be making sure this move is the right decision for you (and this handy guide should give you a good idea of what to expect). Once you figure that out, you’ll want to find the right moving company to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Cost of Living

The cost of renting an apartment in Florida will undoubtedly be cheaper than what you might be familiar with from living in New York, with a one bedroom on average going for around $1,150 a month. Plus, while the astronomical cost of buying a home in New York City may have left being a homeowner off the table for as long as you lived there, buying is an opportunity worth exploring in Florida, where an average sales price is in the ballpark of $200,000 (instead of in the millions).

Other costs, like utilities, are low when compared to New York, while the average cost of food is low in relation to the rest of the country. In any case, the more reasonable cost of living will mean you’ll probably have more space and more financial freedom to pursue new projects. Plus, Florida is a low-tax state, with no state income tax.

Public Transportation

While cities such as Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville are all served by public transit (whether that be Miami’s Metro Rail or Orlando’s Lynx bus system), getting a car is probably the preferred way of moving about in Florida. That said, South Beach, Daytona Beach, and Key West are all bicycle friendly, so don’t rule out rocking your biker bod on the beach once you’re all settled in.

Climate

When exploring a life in Florida, you’ll have to get used to the idea of sunshine and a generally warm climate on a year-round basis (that shouldn’t be too hard). Summers are long, humid, and very warm (with frequent thunderstorms keeping the temperature down in the evenings), while winters are milder, sometimes dipping into sweater weather territory.

In contrast to mainland cities like Orlando, the weather differs slightly on Florida’s coast (major coastal cities include Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami), with comparatively cooler temperatures in the summertime (thanks to the shore breeze) and hotter temps during the winter. Overall, Florida weather doesn’t vary too wildly from place to place. The following cities reflect the differing weather all over the state.

  • Tallahassee – Situated inland in northern Florida, state capital Tallahassee is most susceptible to extreme cold and even snow (though these occasions are not common), with lows in the 30s during the winter but generally warm to hot weather year round (especially in the summer).
  • Jacksonville – Conditions in Jacksonville are similar to those in Tallahassee, as both are situated far north, but its coastal positioning means slightly hotter winters and mildly cooler summers than its neighbor inland.
  • Orlando – Situated pretty much in the middle of the state, Orlando can still get a little bit of the chill from the north (freezing temperatures are possible but uncommon), but the city is warmer overall throughout the year and especially during the winter. As we move toward the southern end of the state, rainfall averages are higher, especially in the summertime.
  • Tampa and St. Petersburg – Moving south along Florida’s western coast, these two destinations continue to bring the year-round Florida heat, tamed throughout the summer by the coastal wind.
  • Miami and West Palm Beach – As you approach the southern tip of Florida (where you’ll also find the Keys and Fort Lauderdale), the weather gets hotter, with more rainfall in the summer. As southern coastal cities, Miami and West Palm Beach heat up in the winter, while the breeze from the ocean keeps temperatures down in the summertime.

DMV

As Florida is definitely a driving state, you’ll need some wheels. If you own a car already, and are looking to drive it to your new home in Florida, you’ll have 30 days after establishing residency to transfer your license, title, and registration with the Florida DMV. You’ll also want to officially change your address, register to vote in your new state, update your organ donor status, and send your old license plates back to New York. The DMV website will provide a handy checklist based on your moving needs so you won’t miss any steps along the way.

Employment

People from all backgrounds, with or without education or work experience, should be able to find employment of some kind in Florida, especially when compared to ultra-competitive New York. Major industries driving Florida’s economy include agriculture, financial services, aerospace and aviation, and, of course, tourism (this is the “theme park capital of the world,” after all). Different cities offer differing markets (those looking to start working their way through the world of contemporary art, in either a creative or administrative capacity, should look into a move to Miami, home to a vibrant art scene and the Art Basel fair, for example).

Moving Tips and Things to Know when Moving from NYC to Florida

  • While packing for your new life, keep in mind that you can leave a lot of your heavy winter staples behind.
  • Move in the summertime instead of the winter to avoid the snowbirds (a local pet term for people from the north who spend their winters in the warmer climate).
  • There’s lots of available parking in Florida, and you won’t be required to have a special permit for parking a moving vehicle.
  • Try not to consume all of the good food and beverages in your new state at once (though fresh seafood, a local craft beer, and a slice of key lime pie would come pretty close if you wanted to try).
  • Find a great moving company, with exceptional cross country moving experience.
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