As mentioned in my last post, of the three zones mentioned, northern Florida is the least populated zone in the state due to its rural setting. Northern Florida is about as close to a four-season climate that you will find in the state. Now – take a 180 and travel about five hundred miles to the southern end of Florida – down near Jimmy Buffets ‘Margaritaville’ in Key West, we find that a two-season climate is more in line with this latitude. Here the season goes from hot to hotter, back to hot.
The Keys are beautiful, no one will dispute that – but is it the best place to retire? Well, for a select few – yes. My wife and I think It’s a fantastic place to vacation for a few days. Living in Key West, or any of the Keys for that matter, is life on an island connected by road. It is a long commute back to the main land. The Keys could almost be classified in a separate zone by themselves.
Now, looking at the majority of the southern zone from points on the west (Naples to Bradenton), to points on the east (Fort Pierce to Miami), you can expect the weather to be hot and humid in the summer due to the swampy everglades. A large percentage of the southern zone is marshland that contributes to extreme humidity in the height of the summer. Mosquito abatement crews are most definitely kept busy in this region.
For the most part, the majority of population in the southern zone falls within that two mile wide band outlining the state that I talked about in my last post. The everglades take up a nice portion of the interior, so that leaves the narrow two-mile band on the exterior. It is beautiful but on a recent trip we experienced crowded and congested roadways, higher crime, and a higher cost of living. Is it the ideal place to retire? Good question! Some retirees are attracted to towns on the west side like Naples, Sarasota, and Venice. Nice places for sure – but do we really want to live there?
An interesting tid-bit of information checked off on questionnaires from several new communities in Florida regarding where people are moving from, noted that quite a few responses indicate that people are moving out of the southern zone because of the excess heat, humidity, congestion, higher crime, and higher cost of living.
One couple relocating from Naples felt that airport services did not adequately satisfy the city’s needs. The long 2 – 2 ½ hour drive to either Miami or Tampa is a necessary commute for residents picking up guests that arrive by air. The same couple also mentioned that when family drives from up north, that extra 2 ½ hours takes a toll on their total travel time.
The eastern side of this zone has some interesting cities as well including: Ft.Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami. Again, these are nice areas to visit, but would we want to spend our Golden Years in a stressful, crowded area of the state? Some would say yes, others no – but by the end of this weblog you will have enough useful information to help you in your search for the best place to retire in Florida.
I will continue with this discussion during the continuation of “The hunt for the best place to retire in Florida” soon. Food-for-thought, did you ever wonder why Walt Disney chose central Florida to build Disney World?