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Living in Florida
As a California transplant, the decision to move to Venice, Florida, was about two things: economics and weather. For many contemplating such a move, my only advice is "do it".
The real golden state is Florida, not California. California taxes, cost of living, real estate force many to flee the state, including businesses. Smog regulations create costly expenses for consumers, not to mention fuel costs are the highest in the nation. Its weather is the only redeeming item but even that varies considerably depending on your location. Granted, the jobs pay much higher in California, but they have to because of the cost of living. So, all things being equal, on balance, moving to Florida is the best thing one can do.
Of course, weather and economics are the major reasons one moved to Florida. In case you are wondering, weather in Florida falls into two categories: Summer and Spring. Summer is from June through October, usually. During this time, you almost always have low temperatures of 70-75F and highs between 85-93F. Humidity ranges from 60-90%. One is not really impacted by such humidity unless you are out in the sun (which is why having a cloudy day is great). In the summer, expect some 5-15 minute cloudburst of rain, usually in the afternoon. In Spring, which is their "winter", usually begins in late October through May. During this time, it reminds me of California springtime weather with humidity less than 40%, low temps of around 50F and highs to 78F. There will be very little rain, just some clouds. Granted, it could drop to 40F, but that is rare. It is the perfect time to own a convertible car!
Living in Venice is an ideal situation. You are very close to some great beaches, if you want the big city, Tampa area is just one hour, closer is Sarasota, just 15 minutes and 60,000 people. Heck, Miami is just 3.5 hrs and the Florida Keys just 6 hrs. Venice, 20,000, really offers all the same big box stores you may ever need and if some are not here that you need, Sarasota will have them.
Florida's draw is its beaches and ocean. All beaches here are created equal. Most offer great views, sandy beaches. So, what it comes down to is how close your favorite beach is to where you live and how much time you want to travel to it. For instance, Siesta Beach is fine white sand, like sugar, is in Sarasota. While beautiful, one has to contend with traffic and parking issues. They can be significant, so, even though I live 25 min. from it, I seldom go there (it is usually very crowded). Venice has great beaches that are just 10 minutes away.
Ocean temps range from 80-90F in the summer months and 70-75F in the winter. In the summer, it truly feels too warm and there is not much cooling off, you are just wet. During the winter, one feels the shock of colder water, like a fresh water lake. Once adapted, the ocean is refreshing.
The seasons dictate how much electricity one uses. For instance, AC is a must in the summer months, however, in winter, most days do not require AC. So, AC is used for maybe six months out of a year. Energy costs can drop by 25-50% in winter. Most of the time, using a heater is not needed.
While the cost of living is overall cheaper in Florida, registering a vehicle is very expensive when compared to other places. Fuel costs are much less. Food costs vary, but they are similar to other states. There is no state income tax here, so that is a big difference than most other states. Real estate is generally affordable for modest incomes whether buying or renting but remember jobs pay less here in many cases.
Moving to Florida is the smartest move I did. Why did I hesitate for so many years? I have no clue, LOL.