I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes from laughing so hard at your comment regarding affordable housing....anywhere near anywhere out here - I live in Vacaville and my house has doubled in price over the last couple of years - the traffic has just gotten worse, and worse and worse. I was given tix to the SF/OAK football game - game started at 1930 - I left my house about 65 miles from the stadium and it took 3.5 hours to get there - traffic was horrendous - even worse than my hour or more commute in the am to go 40 mi. What was really scary was on the way home looking at the same traffic jam going the way I came earlier (towards the city) on a Saturday night at ....drumroll please 2230-2300 - Yup. How to do this would be to live in one of the smaller beachside communities and don't travel far....oh and bring LOTS of money.
I'm sorry if the above seems sarcastic, but there have been some significant increases in the housing costs and traffic since I moved here ten years ago - it's just crazy, in my estimation....although, I've driven around Tampa and see some of the same, so can understand your interest in looking around, especially if family is around here.
As for things to do, that's the one great thing out here - take your pick: beach, mountains, culture, water sports, university stuff, pro-sports, agriculture, desert, farming, wine - it's all within 1-3 hours traffic willing. I will miss that when (not if) I leave.
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill