Start Here

moving to florida

By Ron Stack for The Best Places Guy LLC

Here’s Why it’s so Important to Move to One of the True Best Places to Live or Retire in Florida

Roughly 1000 people a day move out of Florida!

  • Most moved to Florida for a better life and to enjoy the beaches, theme parks and everything else they loved about vacations in the Sunshine State.
  • Almost all expected it to be a “permanent” move. Many had moved to Florida for retirement and get away from the cold weather and shoveling snow.
  • After I moved to Florida and started to sell real estate, I was puzzled by how many calls I got from people who wanted to sell and move out.
  • Almost everyone loves living in Florida, at first. I call this the “honeymoon period”. But as time passes and people start to learn what living in Florida is really like, many eventually decide it.
  • At first I thought maybe it was just the area I moved to, so I started to do some research. That’s when I found a study done by population researchers at a large well respected Florida University. It showed how many people moved into Florida, and out of it for almost 3 decades. It showed that lots of people move to Florida every year, but almost as many people moved out every year too.
  • That verified what I was seeing. Part of my day was spent selling homes to people (happy as can be) who were moving in, and the rest of it selling homes for people so they can move out!
  • Most moved back to the same place they moved from, but many moved to yet another state they have never lived in.
  • I wrote a book than can help prevent expensive Florida move mistakes. The problem with that? Most people don’t read books today.
  • Multiple home purchases, sales and long distance moves is expensive. Many blamed moving to Florida only to realize it was a mistake, for relationship, financial and even health problems.

Don’t Let This Happen to You! Here’s One Thing You Can Do…

Choose the Best Place to Live or Retire in Florida that You can Afford

Unfortunately this is not as easy as it sounds today, especially if you are searching for that perfect place they way most people do it. Online.


Because many (most?) of the “best places to live or retire in Florida” lists published today on other sites, use criteria or a methodology that is far different than what your priorities may be.

For example, most have downsized the importance of crime and safety to the point of being meaningless. Or they left it out altogether. In December 2021, removed all crime data from its website.

Other large real estate sites have done the same.

How important is crime and safety to you when you’re trying to decide where to move to?

For all of our lists, cities and towns must have crime rates lower than the national average, for all categories of both property and violent crime as reported by the FBI, before they are even considered for any of our best places lists.

Some “best” places lists site vague “analytics” to make their choices. What does that mean, how many times people have clicked on advertising, or which advertiser pays the most?

A best place list should spell out their criteria (their part), and we should look at that first (our responsibility), otherwise we risk spending a fortune to move to the wrong place which increases our chances of making an expensive mistake. Like having to make another expensive, life disrupting move to correct it.

Some lists don’t even disclose how places are chosen, or they just copy from another list.

It has become common the last few years, for the criteria many lists use, to change drastically year to year. The result? The best place last year (that you moved to), doesn’t even make the list this year. Are you supposed to move every year?

The truth is, most true best places will remain great places to live or retire for a long time.

Isn’t that what you want? If so, read the criteria or “methodology” the list maker uses, to make sure the places chosen meet your criteria, not just theirs, which may be far different than what you want.

Here’s the Basic Criteria We Use for All of Our Best Places Lists

  • Safety– Only cities and towns with crimes rates lower than the national average for both property and violent crime as reported by the FBI, will be considered for inclusion in any of our best places lists.
  • Things to do– Only places that have more recreation (such as parks), shopping, restaurants and similar activities, than most other places in Florida (per capita) will be considered for inclusion on our best places lists. What matters here is the total number of options. For instance, a town that has a lot of parks can qualify the same as a place with few parks but more shops and restaurants.
  • Employment– Places must offer residents better than average job prospects than what is available in most other places in Florida. Employment options can be in the town itself, or within a reasonable commute (average for the area or state). This includes our best places for retirement, because as a long time Florida real estate broker I’ve seen too many “retired” people for many different reasons, have to return to work just to make ends meet.
  • Education– Only cities with better performing schools than what is average for Florida can qualify. Important for families obviously, but I’ve noticed places that have better job opportunities are also more likely to be safer places (important to most retirees) far into the future.
  • Our retirement-related listsIn addition to the above requirements, all places must offer medical facilities rated average or better by Medicare, the medical insurance provider for most US citizens 65 years or older. This is becoming more of a challenge because so many are rated below average.
  • Our other lists- such as the best places in Florida for the beach, clean air, affordability, etc., must meet all of the above requirements, plus the additional criteria mentioned for that specific list.

The Criteria I Use For My Best Places to Live or Retire in Florida Lists Does Not Change Year to Year. Why?

Because for almost 40 years, It’s the same criteria 10,000’s of people from all walks of life have been telling me they want in a new community.

  • Moving long distance to Florida is a major life changing decision. It can also be very costly, especially if you don’t get it right.
  • I have found that regardless of where we come, most of us want the same things, such as a community that’s affordable and safe. What people consider affordable can vary widely, but most people see safety similarly.
  • Sure, some want to be near the beach. Others want to be near the theme parks and a few prefer rural areas. That’s why I have created different lists to meet different wants and needs. But they all must meet the same high quality of life ratings.

Here are Some of Our Most Popular Best Places to Live and Retire lists to Get You Started…

The Best Places Away from Hurricanes in Florida

The Best Beach Towns to Live or Retire in Florida

10 True Best Places to Live in Florida

True Best Places to Retire in Florida

The Real Pros and Cons of Living in Florida

The Pros and Cons of Retiring to Florida

The Best Small Towns in Florida