A Great Alternative to the Best Places to Live in Florida

Ariel View of Orlando, Florida with large lake in the center of the city.

Florida has some great places to live. The Sunshine State offers beautiful ocean and lake views, mild winters, and all kinds of recreational activities.

With a population of almost 22 million people, Florida is growing like crazy with many people from around the country and the world moving in.

Some of the best places to live in Florida include Jacksonville, Orlando, Tallahassee, St. Petersburg, and Daytona Beach.

In this post, we’ll talk about some of the reasons so many people are moving to Florida, along with some of the negatives. And then we’ll highlight an interesting alternative that may be a great fit for you that might not have crossed your mind yet.

A view from the ground up at the skyscrapers and palm trees in Miami, FL

Miami, FL is a popular tourist and homebuyer destination in Florida.

Pros and cons of living in Florida

Every state/area has its pros and cons. Before rushing to move to a new place, it’s critical to evaluate the benefits and downsides of living there so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Interestingly, so many people have been moving to Florida in the last two-three years who haven’t considered the negatives — then they end up wanting to relocate again. Which is a real pain. Not to mention, expensive and stressful.

13 pros of living in Florida:

  1. No state income tax.
  2. Strong economy.
  3. Incredible theme parks.
  4. Tropical climate with no snow and very mild winters.
  5. Gorgeous and plentiful beaches and lakes.
  6. Diversity of cultures and people.
  7. Lots of golf courses to enjoy year-round.
  8. Great roads.
  9. Amazing food.
  10. History – the oldest city in the US is here, St. Augustine, settled in 1565 by Europeans.
  11. Fresh, healthy food is locally grown and easily available.
  12. Great entertainment.
  13. Many beautiful state and national parks.

A large hurricane in the Caribbean from a satellite view

A satellite image of a large hurricane heading for Florida

13 cons of living in Florida

Florida is amazing. But it has some downsides. You’ll want to think about how much these issues will bother you before uprooting from another state to move there.

Some of the worst things about living in Florida include:

  1. Hurricanes are a real risk, especially near the coast.
  2. Higher cost of living/lower wages compared to some states.
  3. Typical home values are up to $407,219 – as of June 2023 .
  4. Tourist spots can be very crowded with high traffic in-season.
  5. High insurance costs are common because of floods and hurricanes.
  6. Alligators are in most ponds and lakes, and even sometimes at the beach.
  7. Summer is very hot and humid.
  8. Thunderstorms happen almost every day in the summer.
  9. Tropical and subtropical areas have many insects — and they can be shockingly large.
  10. Ranked close to the top for worst drivers.
  11. No autumn colors in the fall.
  12. No public transportation in many areas.
  13. Red tide can make life miserable along the coast at times, especially for people with respiratory problems.

Aerial view of downtown Columbia, SC with the State House in the center looking down Main St.

Aerial view of downtown Columbia, SC and the statehouse.

But what about alternatives to the best places to live in Florida?

Florida is an amazing place to move to. But it’s not the only great place to live in the South.

Many people don’t realize what a treasure South Carolina is — so it can often be overlooked. And although the Kiawah Island area near Charleston is the hottest real estate market in the country at the moment, we’ve got some perks here in Columbia, SC that are amazing, too.

For a lot of people, Columbia may be a better fit than living on the coast. To start with, the cost of living here is a lot better than on the coast of SC or in FL. You can get a lot more luxury home for your dollar. And you don’t have to deal with the constant stress of bearing the brunt of hurricanes when you are so much farther inland.

15 pros of living in Columbia, South Carolina

  1. The housing prices are more affordable here — including luxury homes.
  2. Gorgeous Lake Murray – a massive man-made lake.
  3. Lots of rivers, water sports, walking and hiking trails.
  4. Great economy.
  5. 7% lower cost of living than the national average and South Carolina is 8.4% cheaper to live in than Florida.
  6. Less traffic than many nearby major cities — with a ranking of 102nd worst traffic for a city nationwide.
  7. Much lower risk of hurricane issues here than on the coast.
  8. The mountains and the beach are both only 1.5-2 hours away.
  9. Relatively mild winters and rarely any snow.
  10. Warm and friendly people.
  11. Natural beauty and many great state and national parks.
  12. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is one of the best zoos in the country.
  13. Our average commute time is about 24 minutes each way.
  14. Lots of interesting historical sites here and around the state.
  15. Enjoy beautiful fall colors here.

Lake Murray penninsula - new home

A peninsula in Lake Murray near Columbia, SC – this lake has 650 miles of shoreline perfect for luxury homes.

14 cons of living in Columbia, South Carolina

  1. A lot of the food here is fried — it’s a Southern thing.
  2. You don’t get in-state prices for Disney — but the cost of living is way less overall.
  3. BBQ sauce here has mustard — don’t knock it til you try it, it’s delicious.
  4. Summers are hot and humid (but not as stormy as FL) so you’ll want to have air conditioning.
  5. Utilities may be 8% higher than the national average (but housing is 18% cheaper).
  6. You may pick up a bit of our contagious South Carolina accent and start saying, “y’all.”
  7. We have a few alligators especially from Columbia toward the coast, but not nearly as many as Florida.
  8. Palmetto bugs are a thing in the South, including here.
  9. Pine pollen in the spring turns everything yellow for a few weeks.
  10. Fire ants are also a thing in the South.
  11. Almost all the tea is sweet — but unsweet is always available.
  12. Starting salaries may be a bit low comparatively — but so is the cost of living.
  13. There aren’t as many sidewalks and bike lanes here as in some other states.
  14. You’ll likely want to own a car unless you live downtown as there isn’t public transportation in some suburbs or farther out on the lake.

Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens' sea lion exhibit in Columbia, SC

Sea lion exhibit in Columbia, SC at the popular Riverbanks Zoo.

Deciding which state to live in is a big decision

We understand that choosing a new state and city to live in can feel rather overwhelming. Especially if you haven’t been to an area before and you don’t have trusted friends who live there to ask what it’s like to live there.

Hopefully, this post will help you sort through your priorities and help you discover the place that is truly the best fit for you and your crew.

Luxury Custom Kitchen With Sage Green Cabinets And Dual Islands

Looking for luxury custom and spec homes in the Greater Columbia, SC area? 

At Blythe Custom Homes, we are building luxury spec homes in the beautiful Golden Hills Country Club golf course neighborhood in Lexington, SC. And we are breaking ground on additional luxury spec homes now in WhiteWater Landing on Lake Murray in Chapin, SC in the fall of 2023.

But we can also build any kind of luxury custom home you’d like in the Midlands of South Carolina. Check out our portfolio and scroll to the bottom for our latest builds.