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1. Tampa Is Rated #1 In The Country For First-Time Homebuyers According To Zillow.
As home values continue to climb, it becomes increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to break into a market. More difficult than the monthly payments — which are often more affordable than rent these days — is saving for a down payment.
It’s getting harder to find areas with a healthy balance of affordable home prices, low competition and strong growth prospects — but Zillow’s analysis found that Tampa stands out.
2. You’ll Immediately Become A Beach Person
In Florida you’re surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, on top of the countless other bodies of water within the state. You can basically fall out of bed and go tanning, swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, snorkeling and scuba diving to look at marine life, reefs and hidden treasure.
3. The World’s Biggest Beach Party
When people say they visited Miami, they’re probably actually just referring to South Beach.This Miami Beach neighborhood is the ultimate vacation spot with gorgeous beaches, world-class restaurants, nightclubs and more. Clearwater Beach is named “America’s Best Beach” very often as well, and for good reason… It’s gorgeous! Too bad the tourists have to go back home while you get to stay!
4. Florida Has A Long History
Florida has a long history that includes pre-contact Native communities like the Seminole Tribe (still very much a part of Florida life) and early Spanish settlements that you can visit and enjoy. The Spanish-established settlement of St. Augustine, dating from 1565, is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the continental U.S. and the nation’s oldest city.
5. You Can (And Probably Will) Live The Pirate Life
Florida hasn’t forgotten its history of pirates, shipwrecks and treasure, so if you’re in the mood to wear an eye patch you’ll fit right in at the pirate festivals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers games and expeditions for hidden treasure off the coasts. Tampa also has a HUGE pirate festival every January called Gasparilla to celebrate the 1821 capture of the famous pirate Jose Gaspar.
6. All Those Tourists Are Actually Good For You
While residents might want to keep the state to themselves sometimes, all the visitors keep it going. In 2013, tourism brought in over $76 billion, from 94.7 million visitors. Look at it like this: For every 85 visitors they get, one local gets a job, so tell your friends!
7. It’s Worth Going To Disney World At Least Once If It’s In Your Budget.
Taking a trip to Disney World can be pricey, but it’s a very Florida experience. You can combine it with a trip to Universal Studios, too. If you live in South Florida you might not want to make the trip up to Disney World, but we’re guessing that if you have kids they’ll convince you sooner or later.
8. Florida Is A Bunch Of States Living Together
In Florida you’ll find people from just about everywhere: The Northeast, Midwest and even from other countries. You’ve got citrus country, rodeo country, and historic sites from centuries ago. Even if you’re not sure where you want to end up, there’s somewhere in Florida that’s just right for you.
9. Florida Food Is A Melting Pot Too
Floridians eat a mix of cuisines, some the state can call its own and some borrowed from other cultures. You’ll notice seafood fresh from the water and tropical fruit everywhere, plus key lime pie is a Florida favorite. You’ll also find something known as Floribbean cuisine, which has a Florida twist on other cuisines, often with Southern, Caribbean and Asian influences.
10. Florida Is Where Dreams Come True
It’s true, plenty of people come to the state just to visit Mickey and friends without ever actually venturing out into the rest of Florida. Don’t follow the crowd. Although, one of the perks of living here is that you get a resident discount.
11. Move Over, Houston
You thought the center of space flight was in Houston? At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex you can live out your sci-fi dream and see what it’s like to be an astronaut, take a tour of the space center and if you’re really lucky you’ll even see Space X launching a real shuttle into outer space. Space X also launches rockets from a second site in Florida: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
12. There’s More To Florida’s Nature Scene Than The Beach
The beaches are AMAZING in Florida, but there are plenty of other outdoor options in Florida. You can go boating or padding in mangroves and the Everglades. You can hike, kayak, zip-line or hot air balloon around the Sunshine.
13. There’s More To The Wildlife Than Alligators
Florida gators get a lot of attention. It’s the state’s more dangerous wildlife that gets the most press. You’ll hear about gator run-ins and snakes under porches far more than you’ll hear – and read – about egrets and manatees. But if you’re an outdoor enthusiast you’ll love exploring the state’s diverse ecosystems.
14. Only The Best Play In Florida
Athletes can train year-round in sunny Florida, so it’s become the mecca of hardcore athletes. And it pays off: Miami is the second highest producer of NFL players, and baseball teams across the nation hold their spring training in the state.
15. If You Like Baseball, You’ll Love Living In Florida
If you’re a baseball fan or are open to becoming one, moving to Florida will be a great change for you. Every spring, the Grapefruit League baseball teams train in Florida. You can see major league players or minor league aspirants at relatively affordable games in the pleasant Florida spring weather.
16. You Should Just Learn To Golf Now
Florida beats every single other state when it comes to the sheer number of golf courses. It’s no wonder, since you can play almost every day of the year.
17. Yes, There Are Lots Of Seniors In Florida
Though Florida isn’t the state with the highest median age, it’s up there. It’s a popular destination for retirees, due in part to its warm weather and in part to its retirement tax-friendliness. That doesn’t mean that young people should scrap the idea of moving to Florida, though. The state has a lot to offer people of all ages. In fact, it’s a popular destination for millennials who want to become homeowners (remember #1 on this list?)
18. Florida Taxes Are Low
Florida is one of a handful of states with no state income tax, and has a pretty low cost of living on top of that. Score! On the other hand, gas taxes are high in Florida so you might want to save gas and money by being careful to combine errands and living close to where you work.
19. Florida Is A Swing State
Your vote in presidential elections carries A LOT of weight as a resident of Florida.
20. You Can Take Up Celeb Stalking
You might just spot stars like Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tom Selleck, or Maria Sharapova around their Florida homes or numerous celebrities visiting for a role or a tour. They might even be there to play, since Florida’s the perfect place for someone with cash to blow.
21. You Might Just Think You’re In Vegas
Gambling is pretty widespread in this state, since many different types are perfectly legal. You can gamble at the dog or horse track, casinos and jai-alai frontons without a care. At least until you lose.
22. The party scene is big, but it’s not everywhere
Just like the senior scene isn’t ubiquitous in Florida, the party scene isn’t everywhere in the state. The two Florida stereotypes – of the sleepy retirement community and the raucous South Florida party scene – don’t give the most accurate picture of the state as a whole.
23. A Spring For Every Season
One of Florida’s true hidden gems is the more than 700 natural springs scattered throughout the state, perfect for swimming, exploring, scuba diving and getting up close and personal with a manatee. Be sure to check out Ginnie Springs and the Devil’s Den.
24. South Florida and North Florida are pretty different
South Florida and North Florida can sometimes feel like different states. South Florida is more diverse and shows more of a Latin American and Caribbean influence. The southern half of the state is also where more of the nightlife happens. North Florida is home to the state’s capital and has a different climate from the southern half of the state taking on more of a “southern living” vibe.
25. Everyone Loves The Taste Of Florida In The Morning
Florida’s soil and sunshine produce over 70 percent of the citrus for the nation, most of which go right into those tall glasses of juice you (and everyone else in the country) enjoy so much with breakfast.
26. Florida Has The Venice Of America
Fort Lauderdale has over 160 miles of intercoastal waterways perfect for exploring. Full of little bridges and canals, the city planners are some of the most romantic in the country. You can take water taxis from place to place or even enjoy a tour of waterfront homes of the stars.
27. You Can Make A Date With A Dolphin
Just about everyone in Florida swims with the friendly sea creatures at some points, at locations across the state like Discovery Cove and Marineland Dolphin Adventure. There’s nothing quite like coasting through the waves with a dolphin as your guide.