In this article you will get a better understanding of the differences between Florida east and west coast living, and help you come to a decision that best fits your needs and desired lifestyle.
Some people considering Florida for retirement already have their minds made up whether they're going to live on the east coast or the west coast of Florida.
Maybe they've vacationed in or visited a certain area enough to have their minds made up. Or maybe they have friends and relatives that live in a certain area and they want to live near them.
But for others the decision can be a tough one, and certainly much more nuanced than simply choosing between sunrise and sunset.
Understanding Florida Migratory Patterns
Before we get into the differences between the two coasts, a little history lesson is in order.
When people first began relocating to Florida, people from the Northeast predominately drove south on I-95 and settled along the east coast of Florida, and people from the Midwest more often than not headed south on I-75 and settled on the west coast of Florida.
While this isn't as true today as it once was, it’s important to understand that this historical migratory pattern helped to shape the different lifestyles and cultures you'll find on the east and west coasts.
Fast Paced vs. Laid Back
The cities on the east coast of Florida, particularly in the Southeast part of the state, are considered by most to be intense and fast-paced.
On the west coast of Florida, things tend to be more laid-back and slower paced. Even the bigger cities like Tampa and St. Pete are a lot less crowded than the major east coast cities, while still offering all you could ever want in the way of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
Florida's population numbers shed light on this story; with the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano Beach Metropolitan Area (South East Coast of Florida) having an estimated 5,670,125 people as of the last Census, and the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater Metropolitan Area (West Coast of Florida) has only an estimated 2,824,724 people.
With more people living along the east coast of Florida, home prices and the overall cost of living tend to be higher as the forces of supply and demand kick-in.
While there are some well-known pockets of higher home prices and higher costs of living on the west coast, particularly in areas like Naples and Fort Myers, home buyers are learning that in a lot of cases their dollar stretches further on the west coast, especially in the Nature Coast area where the Villages of Citrus Hills is located.
Atlantic Ocean vs. Gulf of Mexico
Something else to take into consideration is that the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast has bigger waves and is much more active than the calm coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast.