The Pros And Cons Of Living In South Florida With Kids And Dogs

Moving from one state to the next might sound like a terrifying step in your life. However, for our family, it’s been a blessing to be living in South Florida. There’s more to it than South Florida weather in December. This post breaks down the pros and cons of living in South Florida for families.

Starting a life in a new state can be exciting, but there are things to consider when you move from one place to the next. In fact, just as change can be a good thing, it can also be something people try to avoid.

When I said yes to moving to South Florida, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is the scariest part of transferring from one state to the next — nothing is ever certain.

The current population in the state of Florida is estimated to be 21.9 million, with 9.34 million recorded for South Florida in 2019.

Out of the 67 counties in Florida, Miami-Dade is considered to be the most populated county. Followed by 3 other populous areas: Broward, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough.

Living in South Florida Pros and Cons - The Self-Care Mom
Living in Florida isn’t for everyone, but there are reasons why you might want to consider moving.

Moving To Florida Pros And Cons

Aside from feeling uncertain of the changes, you have Florida memes that pop up on the Internet. This can make you feel even more uneasy about living in Florida.

Yes, people often move to Florida for better weather and that also brings a better quality of life.

There are pros and cons of living in South Florida that I have witnessed since moving to Florida in 2014. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in Florida as a family.

Believe The South Florida Weather Memes

The memes about South Florida weather alerts during the week are true. It will rain in one part of town and you’ll see the sun shining on the other side.

Personally, I find this to be therapeutic. Whenever it rains in Florida, it’s quite refreshing and reminds you of why we need thundershowers to grow.

South Florida Weather In December Is Cold

Although most snowbirds will disagree, the temperature drops in Florida are as cold as the ones during fall in the Tri-State area. Winters in Florida are more like fall weather anywhere there are four seasons.

If you can deal with those, then you can deal with winter in Florida.

Bad Weather In Florida

For almost a decade, I’ve been living in South Florida with my family — including the pups. I’ve witnessed hurricanes and minor tornadoes in our area.

Although it might sound like a terrible experience for others, it’s safe to say that the state is prepared for these situations. When areas are hit with these natural disasters, officials are ready to take action and repair the areas.

Living in South Florida Pros and Cons - The Self-Care Mom

Is South Florida A Good Place To Live?

When I get asked about the pros and cons of living in South Florida it’s typically followed by whether or not the area is a good place to live. It depends on what you’re looking to do.

For those who are looking to retire, South Florida might not be the best place. The reason is that you’re still close to hot spots for vacationers.

South Beach, Miami, and The Keys are all part of South Florida. Central and North Florida are a great option if you like the quiet countryside.

Although, if you have family living in South Florida and would like to stay nearby but enjoy that country-feel, then Southwest Ranches is the place for you.

The Rock and other well-known celebrities call Southwest Ranches home and there is plenty of space for you to have horses and livestock.

There are many benefits to living in South Florida that go beyond the weather. For instance, the food is fresh and most come from local farms.

With a variety of cultures comes the food, as well as a different view on diversity. Getting to know people from different backgrounds can be a blessing to Florida natives.

It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy living in South Florida. The authentic food is definitely a plus.

Most restaurants are dog-friendly because they allow outdoor seating. It’s been a plus for the pups and us when we travel to different parts of the state with the pups.

If you’re not a fan of wildlife, then South Florida might be the best place for you to live in the state. Yes, there are alligators and crocodiles living in the Glades, but I promise you they have their own place to live.

Despite what you see on the news, they don’t come out as often as it seems, and you don’t just run into a snake in your yard.

I’ve only seen a garden snake once since moving to Florida in 2014.

More Savings For Families

Saving money in Florida has been a lot easier for our family of 5 and two dogs. Not only do we save in taxes but we also save in expenses.

When you buy a new home you notice the price comparison is better than buying a home up North. The city taxes are less and you get more for your money.

As a Florida resident, you get discounts to local theme parks and parks as well. Resorts have these discounts as well for those who live in the state.

If you’re looking for a four-bedroom house for less than $300K, then the Orlando area would be a better fit for you. South Florida may not be one of the most affordable places to live in Florida, but it can be rewarding.

According to MarketWatch, the most affordable places to live in are KissimmeePalm Coast, Cape Coral, Palm BayOrlando, and Gainesville.

Living in South Florida Pros and Cons - The Self-Care Mom

Best Places To Live In South Florida For Families

Aside from the pros and cons of living in South Florida, there’s the idea of where would be the best places for families to raise kids. This was a major concern for me when my husband and I told everyone about the move.

I had visited Orlando during my first pregnancy and I knew that wasn’t the place for me. The weather in the Central and North parts of the state is colder in the winter months and warmer in the summer.

After moving to South Florida, I knew there was potential in the area. The warmer days can be dealt with simply standing under a palm tree (there’s more share in these parts), and the winter months just require a thick sweater.

Quiet and inviting, that’s the vibe I got upon arrival to this area. I will admit that I was still not sold on the idea of living in Florida at first.

Although I love Florida, there are areas that I wouldn’t want to live in. Just like any state, there are questionable areas and oftentimes it’s next to the vacation spots people love to visit.

Miami is one of them.

The perks of Miami are the museums and the art culture. It also has that big-city life experience people from up North are accustomed to.

If you’re looking for a similar lifestyle, just not in the Miami/South Beach area, you can try Fort Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach.

As mentioned above, rural areas where you can get more land for your money do exist in South Florida. Towns like Davie, Okeechobee, and Southwest Ranches are a hit for those looking for a quieter setting.

The next city to try is popular with families, university professors (home to the University of Miami), and nature lovers. It’s called Coral Gables and has Spanish-style architecture throughout the city.

Expensive to live, but full of Spanish cultures. It’s rumored that you’ll hear Portuguese, Spanish and other languages being spoken throughout the town.

Suburban areas that are family-friendly in South Florida include Pembroke PinesWestonWellington, and Parkland.

Why I Love Living In South Florida

Every January marks the anniversary of our move to South Florida. Although living in South Florida hasn’t been an easy transition, it’s helped my family and I learn to adapt to things in life.

With every setback, we’ve been able to pull forth together. Some of the toughest moments in our lives we’ve experienced while living in South Florida.

The Memories

The ride down to South Florida from North Jersey alone was a great memory. Talking about how scared we were and why it’s a great blind decision for our family.

Sometimes we joke about how crazy we were giving this new life a try and how successful it’s been for us. There’s always the thought of how fortunate we’ve been to make it work in times we didn’t know if things would ever work themselves out.

There are memories from our first night in the Sunshine State when my husband proposed to me in a dark, empty home. There he was, on bent knee, asking me to marry him. I cried because it was sweet, but I was also terrified of what we were getting ourselves into — a mix of emotions.

Pros and Cons for Living in South Florida - The Self-Care Mom
Life in Florida has made it easier for us to connect as a couple. We rely on each other for everything.

Raising our kids however we please has been a huge part of the memories we’ve been able to share in this new state. Aside from the fears and happy moments, there are many reasons why we fell in love with this place.

We get to spend more quality time together as a family

Days off in this state actually feel like time off because at any given moment you can travel to a local beach or theme park. There are local state parks you can enjoy as well that are open daily.

One of out favorite theme parks in the Sunshine State is Legoland. It’s great for the younger kids and pre-teens.

We enjoy the simple things in life, like the sunset or our toes in the water

Grabbing a little sunshine isn’t a problem around here. You get to enjoy warm weather throughout the year which does make it easier to love where you live when you don’t have to shovel snow.

The palm trees always add a nice touch to your work commute or just driving around town.

We get to bring the dogs to just about everywhere we go

Florida is one of the few parts of the United States that feels like living in the tropics. That’s one of the things that sealed the deal about moving to these parts.

It’s a great place to get a new home or a vacation one to enjoy with family and friends.

We can stay healthy and workout all-year-round

Getting around by car is a must — which is probably why the car business is profitable in this state. However, you can take a run or jog throughout your community or at a local beach.

The sunshine does help burn more calories and gets you to want to drink more water.

It’s where we met some amazing folks

My husband and I have grown closer over the years, and it’s been a blessing to be able to experience these moments with him. However, we’ve also met some great people along the way.

From our friends at the dog park, to our very own real estate agent. It’s been great getting to know people who genuinely smile when they see you.

The feeling is mutual.

We get to explore different parks and beaches every time

I’m a firm believer in finding places that make you feel like home — and switching it up from time to time. In South Florida, there’s always something to explore.

I remember when a family member told me there wasn’t much to do in Florida besides parks, restaurants and beaches and I gave her a list of things to explore.

Sometimes we forget how beautiful it can be to see more of where you live (or frequently vacation). It’s human nature to go where we feel the most comfortable.

Exploring a new beach or visiting a different park has opened my eyes to the beauty Florida has to offer. To think, at one point most of the state was wetlands and wildlife.

There are still habitats that fill the area with wildlife, but they have their secluded area.

Most restaurants have authentic dishes

This was a struggle for me in North Jersey. Finding the right spots for good Cuban dishes weren’t the easiest, and when you did it was overpopulated.

Living in South Florida, you can find authentic food within 5 to 10 blocks from your home. This is great for dining in or take-out. We’ve done both throughout the years.

We get to eat a lot healthier, thanks to local farms

Local farmers are everywhere and it’s nice to support them. Not only can residents do this, but grocers do the same. Costco and Publix both use local farmers for their products.

This not only helps small businesses but also makes it easier to find healthier options.

There’s always something to do, and something to see

Not only are there places to visit, but there’s also an event going on. The Food Network hosts the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami every year. It’s a hit with locals and people all over the world.

Art shows are happening just about every weekend, and there’s always an event to attend with the kids — regardless of age.

Most of our family and friends fall in love when they come to visit. It’d be selfish to think that everyone should come to join us, but one can always dream right?

Here’s to another year!

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