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East or West Coast of South FL?
Old 01-31-2018, 12:21 AM   #1
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East or West Coast of South FL?

DH and I really love So CA, but if the CoL ever gets too high or the politics get too ridiculous for us, wed consider South FL as an alternative. We love diving and we are both from the South originally so weve lived in heat/humidity before. We like sun and warm water year-round so if we relocated, wed want to stay pretty far south - definitely below Sarasota. Since we like to vacation in the Caribbean, proximity to MIA would be a positive. We are used to condo living on the beach; that lifestyle suits us well.

For those of you who live in South FL or snowbird there, did you choose the East or West Coast, and what were your reasons?
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:56 AM   #2
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I'm sure you will get opinions on both sides so why not research it from the diving side. The east coast puts you closer to the keys for reef diving and there are even some drift diving sites as far north as Palm Beach. The mid west side would put you close to some interesting spring diving sites that are a quite different experience.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:19 AM   #3
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Can't beat Naples imo. Great weather, restaurants, shopping and easy 90 minute drive to FLL or MIA or 25 minutes to a great little airport RSW. Only downside is price point, real estate pretty expensive. For condo living on the beach try Marco island. GREAT beach and close enough to Naples for all it offers.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:37 AM   #4
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Culturally, the difference is that the east coast has more people originally from the north east, the west coast has more from the midwest. Not a hard and fast rule, of course, just a trend.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:16 AM   #5
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Culturally, the difference is that the east coast has more people originally from the north east, the west coast has more from the midwest. Not a hard and fast rule, of course, just a trend.
Yep. Cept east also has more immigrants & their descendants, like from Cuba & PR. So more diverse.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:26 AM   #6
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Im wondering if the West Coast of FL would be too slow-paced for us? We live in a beach town in LA County and have access to a great diversity of restaurants, cultural events, etc. While we dont go into LA often, nor do we care much about nightlife, we wouldnt want to live somewhere without diversity and where the streets roll up at 9 pm. We like walkable communities.

Weve done diving off West Palm Beach once and werent too impressed. Done Keys diving as well, which was better, but not as good as places weve been in Caribbean. So whichever coast wed choose, wed probably be flying south for diving.

Before wed seriously consider a move, we should probably do a month or two rental on each coast so we can get a truer feel for what life is really like there.
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:42 AM   #7
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I'm originallyfrom So Cal, and found West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami all to be much more lively and energetic than the west coast of Florida south of Tampa.

Anything south of Tampa on the west coast and anything north of West Palm Beach on the east coast is much more sparse, laid back, takes forever to drive anywhere for much to do, if you like many outdoor activities. I-95 traffic is hectic, but I never saw it at the kind of standstill that So Cal traffic has on the 215, 15, or 5.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:37 AM   #8
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I'm originallyfrom So Cal, and found West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami all to be much more lively and energetic than the west coast of Florida south of Tampa.

Anything south of Tampa on the west coast and anything north of West Palm Beach on the east coast is much more sparse, laid back, takes forever to drive anywhere for much to do, if you like many outdoor activities. I-95 traffic is hectic, but I never saw it at the kind of standstill that So Cal traffic has on the 215, 15, or 5.


Thanks. This is great perspective. Do you live full time in FL now? How was the adjustment?
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Old 02-01-2018, 05:35 AM   #9
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I'm originallyfrom So Cal, and found West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami all to be much more lively and energetic than the west coast of Florida south of Tampa.

Anything south of Tampa on the west coast and anything north of West Palm Beach on the east coast is much more sparse, laid back, takes forever to drive anywhere for much to do, if you like many outdoor activities. I-95 traffic is hectic, but I never saw it at the kind of standstill that So Cal traffic has on the 215, 15, or 5.
This is how I see it as well. As for I-95, hectic is one way to put it. Dangerous is another. It does suffer from congestion, but that is less of an issue for us retired folk.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:36 AM   #10
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I'm in SE FL 4 miles from the beach in Palm Beach County. Less than one hour to MIA for those Caribbean dive trips; and diving just off the coast is very similar to the Caribbean - all the same marine life except visibility only about half which is fine anyway. A 30 minute drive north or south puts you either at Kravis Center for the Arts or Broward Center for the Arts, or Parker Playhouse and many smaller venues in between. There are two almost parallel highways: I-95 and the Turnpike, whereas the west coast only has one (I-75) which seems more crowded. I also prefer beaching it on the ocean rather than the Gulf after doing both. Choices.

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Old 02-01-2018, 09:03 AM   #11
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We live here, walking distance to the beach:

Money names St. Augustine best place to live in Florida - News - The St. Augustine Record - St. Augustine, FL
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:18 AM   #12
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Thanks. This is great perspective. Do you live full time in FL now? How was the adjustment?
I lived in Florida for six years. I just moved out of state. I needed more variety of outdoor experiences and scenery than what Florida was able to offer.

I've ridden my motorcycle across every desert and mountain road from the Mexican border to anything south of Bakersfield and across to Arizona. I loved sailing the coast and kayaking, the hiking trails and inland lakes. All because of the things I got to see along the way. There is an unparalleled level of scenery around So Cal that Florida can't provide.

But, if you're more inclined to enjoy shopping, food, and venues typical of a big diverse city, the whole stretch from West Palm Beach to Miami is just full of those experiences. And there's a lot more to see if you don't mind long (and I mean long) road trips. In that sense, it was great; I was just bored to tears when I was struck with that wanderlust.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:58 AM   #13
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I lived in Broward for 17 years, about half way between the beach and Everglades. Now in the Panhandle.

I may move further south after the last kid is gone in 5-6 years, but it won't be to Dade, Broward or Palm Beach. Too congested and too many people with bad attitudes, so it will likely be the west coast for me.

Agree with Gypsy there are hundreds of miles of unchanging terrain in the state, so a day trip for a change of scenery is impossible.

A Florida-born friend describes the Gulf as a desert with water on top, so I don't think you would find the diving very appealing off the west coast.

For what you like to do, however, I'd recommend looking at North Broward-Lighthouse Point/Sea Ranch Lakes/north Ft. Lauderdale/Galt Ocean or into Boca Raton. Stay east of US 1/Federal Hwy. Easy access to MIA and FLL, driveable to the Keys.

Good dining, condo living, and coming from SoCal, you wont' be shocked at real estate prices.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:57 AM   #14
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Sarasota area is worth a look. Some cultural offerings beyond what you would expect from a city of that size.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:45 PM   #15
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I am in the Tampa Bay area. Originally from NYC. It is very "laid back" here - meaning it takes everyone forever to do anything I like actually. But it's getting pretty crowded, which is not my thing. As for big water, I like the Ocean better than the Gulf but the Gulf is pretty nice. Downside is that you have to go much further offshore to hit deep water in the Gulf for fishing. I moved here because I have family here. In your position, I would do a VBRO for a month in a couple of places and really see what you like.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:50 PM   #16
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Has anyone Tried Venice? What is the traffic like there? We too like the laid back Fla. We are originally from SoCAL. We retired here in Fla. Do not regret it. We are in St. Augustine though. Thinking of moving further South and out of the "A" Flood Zone. Looking at SW Fla.
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:21 PM   #17
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I am very interested in moving to Florida in 3 or 4 years from New Jersey I am a nature girl, and the SW area is so rich in wildlife that I'm targeting that area. I am willing to be some ways inland - I'm not a beach person, though I would like to be able to visit the coasts periodically for birding. I like subtropical to tropical, don't mind humidity and heat, and want to be in an area with health care and airport access, some city amenities, etc. Naples is most likely out of my price range - Estero might be as well. Where could I be looking? I'm thinking of trying to sublet over a summer to experience the more extreme months and evaluate that way.
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:27 PM   #18
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I am very interested in moving to Florida in 3 or 4 years from New Jersey I am a nature girl, and the SW area is so rich in wildlife that I'm targeting that area. I am willing to be some ways inland - I'm not a beach person, though I would like to be able to visit the coasts periodically for birding. I like subtropical to tropical, don't mind humidity and heat, and want to be in an area with health care and airport access, some city amenities, etc. Naples is most likely out of my price range - Estero might be as well. Where could I be looking? I'm thinking of trying to sublet over a summer to experience the more extreme months and evaluate that way.
Just remember inland Florida is really brutal in the summer. No ocean Breezes, so there is nowhere to get away from it. We have lived in Coastal Florida for 10 years and we do have 2 months where it can get oppressive. But we prefer Heat to the cold. the beach is nice to have fairly close. Your AC Bill will be very high inland too.
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:28 PM   #19
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Agree with Gypsy there are hundreds of miles of unchanging terrain in the state, so a day trip for a change of scenery is impossible.
I rejected my wife's idea to retire to the Delaware/Maryland beaches mainly for this reason, being too far away for a day trip to the mountains.
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:38 PM   #20
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I am very interested in moving to Florida in 3 or 4 years from New Jersey I am a nature girl, and the SW area is so rich in wildlife that I'm targeting that area. I am willing to be some ways inland - I'm not a beach person, though I would like to be able to visit the coasts periodically for birding. I like subtropical to tropical, don't mind humidity and heat, and want to be in an area with health care and airport access, some city amenities, etc. Naples is most likely out of my price range - Estero might be as well. Where could I be looking? I'm thinking of trying to sublet over a summer to experience the more extreme months and evaluate that way.
Lots of nature down here. Gators, pythons, snakes, iguanas, and skeeters.

Just kidding. When I drove through the Upper and Middle Keys I found a very strong resemblance to the Venezuelan coastline, which is tropical coastline. Not sure that area meets your (or others) criteria, but I haven't seen any mention of it in this or other threads, and it does offer a lifestyle that is unique to some. Note, I'm not talking about Key West, which is unique.
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