Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving from California to Florida

Moving from California to Florida can be exciting and exhausting, both at the same time. You’re excited about the new beginnings and worried about everything that needs to be done in the process. From updating the DMV to planning what things you need to take with you, there’s so much that needs to be considered.

If you’re planning to move to Florida from another state, it’s a beautiful place to reside. From beaches to stadiums to art districts, Florida has a little bit of everything for everyone. Not only this, but Florida is the third most populated state in the US. Let’s get started and make sure you leave nothing behind.

How Many People Move to Florida Every Day?

Around 919 people move to Florida every day and of those 654 are from abroad. Since a lot of Californians are used to outdoor lifestyles, they find it pretty easy to transition to Florida’s lifestyle and environment.

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1. First steps before moving to Florida

Finding a job

Many people move to Florida, whether they have a profession or not. The beautiful weather and scenery are sufficient reasons for them to leave everything behind. If you’re one of these people, don’t worry, as Florida offers opportunities in industries such as tourism, construction, healthcare, and education, which are all in high demand for employment.

Getting there 

The drive between California and Florida is 2700 miles long and will take you 40 hours of non-stop driving. 

The average cost of driving from California to Florida is $400 one-way without counting your hotel stops on the way. The best route to drive from California to Florida is the I-10 (a highway that begins in Los Angeles and ends in Jacksonville) where you’ll pass through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. Exciting, right? Through this route, you’ll be passing some of the most beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, Big Bend National Park and Carlsbad Caverns.

On the other hand, the flight time from California to Florida is 5 hours long and the plane ticket will cost an average of $200. The cheapest time to fly to Florida from California is usually in the months of January and September. December, March and April are considered to be the peak times to travel to Florida. 

If you’re taking a flight for your move from California to Florida and don’t know how to transport your belongings, check out the best long-distance moving companies.

Cost to ship a boat or car from California to Florida

When planning a move to Florida and considering the shipment of your vehicle or boat, it’s crucial to understand that the size of the vessel greatly impacts the cost. 

For shipping a boat from California to Florida, you can expect costs starting at approximately $3,000, and for high-end vessels, the expenses can exceed $10,000. On the other hand, the cost of shipping a car from California to Florida is estimated to be $900 or more, depending on various factors like timing, seasonal demand, and the vehicle’s size.

Must dos before your arrival in Florida

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Florida’s hot and humid weather. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in Florida

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Roaming around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily transit pass to save money.

Florida’s inefficient public transit system can be attributed to its challenging terrain, making subway construction impractical. Additionally, the prevalent car culture and the concentration of residents near the coast have reduced the emphasis on developing extensive public transit options.

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket

$1.75

Daily pass

$4.50

Weekly pass

$20.00

Monthly pass

$65.00

JTAFLA (Sept 2023)

Exchanging your driver’s license

It’s especially important to notify the Florida DMV (FLHSMV) of your change of address so that you can legally drive your vehicle in Florida. When moving from California to Florida, you have to notify the Florida DMV within 30 days of your move.

  • Notify the California DMV of your change of address within 10 days of your move.
  • You can only apply for a driver’s license and register your vehicle in-person at the FLHSMV. Online driver’s license application is not available to out of state drivers. 
  • Book an appointment at the FLHSMV in advance to avoid waiting lines.
  • Visit a dual service center for both driver’s license and vehicle registration applications.
  • Bring your Social Security Card, 2 proofs of residency and proof of liability insurance.
  • A vision test may be required.
  • A $48 fee +TX is required for a Class E driver’s license.

For more information check out our article on how to notify the Florida DMV of an address change.

Car Insurance in Florida vs California

Florida has many uninsured drivers, forcing insurance companies to up their prices. Along with the many uninsured drivers in Florida, the yearly hurricanes and the dense population also affect the cost of car insurance, making it a bit higher than in California.

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Florida from California, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. Wells Fargo Bank has more than 500 branch locations in Florida, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you won’t have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of Florida proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Florida as your state and create an account.

The healthcare costs in Florida are as follows:

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$140.33

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)

$196.66

Gym

$28.66

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

4. Best places to live in Florida

Florida is ranked among the best cities in the United States with a flourishing world-class economy, low crime rates, and affordable real estate market. There are lots of cities that offer reasonable costs of living and a comfortable environment guaranteed to fit every lifestyle. With that in mind, if you are moving, here are the top 10 best places to live in Florida in 2024.

City

Characteristics 

Oviedo

Many recreational activities

Satellite Beach

Great for families

Sebastian

Best for safety & low cost of living

Fort Myers

Many job opportunities in healthcare, retail, education & tourism sectors.

Melbourne

Best for young professionals

Palm Bay

Affordable cost of living

Sarasota

Best for medical sector workers

Naples

Best place for luxurious lifestyle

Gainesville

Best for excellent education & healthcare facilities

Pensacola

Best for tranquility

Setting up home services 

Florida generates over 50% of its energy from natural gas making it reasonably priced. Florida’s energy is regulated by The Florida Public Service Commission and so service providers vary by location. You can find the electricity provider, natural gas provider and water provider in your area on The Florida Public Service Commission’s website. Discover the best Internet providers in Florida.

Utilities

Cost

Basic

(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment

$152.40

Internet

(60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

$43.00

Total

$195.40

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Should you rent or buy?

The cost of a house in Florida in 2023 generally falls around $295,910. If you’re considering renting, a 1-bedroom apartment in Florida typically rents for approximately $1,277.91 outside the city center. When it comes to sales tax, Florida levies a 6% sales tax, while in California, it’s slightly higher at 6.625%. Lastly, in terms of property tax, Florida averages around 0.98%, whereas California has a higher property tax rate of 2.42%.

Property Insurance for Hurricanes in Florida

Home insurance is not mandatory in Florida. However, if your property is mortgaged with a lender, the lending company may contractually obligate you to purchase insurance to safeguard the amount outstanding on the loan. Florida is quite prone to hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes and floods. Getting insurance to protect you from spending on the damages caused by these natural disasters is a great way to get peace of mind when it comes to your home.

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Cost of rent in Florida

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Jacksonville (Outside of Center)

$1,277.91

$2,157.00

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Florida

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Jacksonville

$295,910

Zillow (Sept 2023)

5. Cost of living in Florida vs. California

Florida’s cost of living

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,277.91

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($63.41 multiplied by 4)

$253.64

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$152.40

Internet with 60 Mbps

$43.00

Transit pass

$65.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$84.00

Gym membership 

$28.66

Total

$1,904.61

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

California’s cost of living

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$2,916.97

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($71.47 multiplied by 4)

$285.88

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$266.43

Internet with 60 Mbps

$82.81

Transit pass

$81.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$99.66

Gym membership 

$71.51

Total

$3,804.26

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Florida

The weather in Florida is hot and humid. Summers in the state are generally very humid with temperatures averaging at 82 °F . Florida is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms so make sure you come prepared! Florida has several beaches which make the humid summers refreshing! During winter, the air is sometimes cold but not chilly.

6. What to do as a local in Florida

People who live in Florida their whole lives or move there often choose this place because of the beaches. Locals adore spending time at the beach, where they can relax and hang out, enjoying a budget-friendly activity. Additionally, residents take full advantage of the waterways, including the coastline, lakes, rivers, and canals, for boating and fishing. 

Golf, with its year-round playability due to the fantastic weather, is another popular sport, fitting in perfectly with the local enthusiasm for sports, especially football, as Florida boasts many sports teams.

7. Fun facts about Florida

  • Florida accounts for 44% of the orange production in the US whereas California accounts for 51%. 
  • Florida is called the Sunshine state. This is due to its popular beaches and the hot and humid temperatures. 
  • The properties on the beachfront in Miami might be underwater in 2100!

Why Californians are moving to Florida

Spending your entire life in the same state is not for everyone. There’s always a reason to start fresh, see the new beginning, or maybe find new opportunities in a different place. However, relocation is not so easy. 

California itself is a great place to live in, still, many people are moving from California to Florida every day. Florida’s low cost of living, entertainment options, and beaches make it a quite preferable place for many people. From some of the top beaches to quality nightlife, Florida will always keep you entertained.

LA vs Miami

When it comes to choosing between Miami and LA, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. Miami and LA are similar to each other in many ways. They both are considered to be warm cities with good weather despite the hurricanes and humidity in Miami. You can expect more job opportunities in Miami because there is a lot of competition in LA.

Are you planning a move to Florida? Check out the best moving companies in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.

California vs Florida Beaches

If you’re a surfer, you’d like California beaches more because the waves are stronger than that of Florida beaches. On the other hand, piers in Florida beaches are more accessible as they are usually less packed. In addition, Florida has tropical weather and the longest coastline, but is also much more humid. The water in the Florida beaches is warmer than in the California beaches.

Pros and Cons of Living in Florida vs California

Pros

Cons

  • Florida doesn’t have a state income tax.
  • Florida beaches are warmer than California.
  • The cost of living in Florida is low (except for some places like Miami) as compared to California.
  • Florida is a diverse state, so you won’t have to worry about having difficulty fitting in.
  • Florida is a great place for retirees.
  • Florida has a slightly higher crime rate than in California.
  • Summers can bring extreme heat and humidity. This heat might limit outdoor activities.
  • You can expect a lot of tourists in Florida.
  • A major negative point is that Florida is hit by agressive hurricanes almost every year.
  • Therefore, car insurance and home insurance are expensive in Florida.

Conclusion

Moving from California to Florida presents an exciting yet challenging transition, with an influx of approximately 919 daily newcomers. Florida offers diverse attractions, from beaches to art districts. Securing employment and planning the 2,700-mile drive or a 5-hour flight are essential. Address changes, weather preparation, apartment hunting, and transitioning your driver’s license are vital steps. 

Health insurance and cost considerations are significant, and choosing to rent or buy property depends on preferences. Florida’s cost of living is generally favorable. Florida’s hot and humid weather, along with its susceptibility to hurricanes, impacts residents’ activities and property insurance choices.

In need of a moving company? Check out the best movers for your move to Florida from California.

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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