Living in Arizona vs Florida
Is it better to live in Arizona or Florida? Living in Arizona is great; the weather, the scenery, the cost of living….but the question often arises “Why not Florida?” These states are seemingly similar in what they offer, yet drastically different. One is a landlocked desert, and one is a tropical peninsula touching two coastlines. So, is it better to live in Arizona or Florida? One might not be “better” than the other, and each person is looking for something different, but it’s definitely worth comparing; you might be surprised by what you find.
15 Comparisons for Living in Arizona vs Florida
Let’s start our comparison with the most obvious reason people move to either Arizona or Florida, the weather! If you’re just done with the winter months dragging on, shoveling your car out of the driveway, worrying about slipping on ice every time you want to go get the mail, or you want to live somewhere where you don’t need a polar expedition jacket every time you leave the house, both Arizona and Florida are great options for you! While there are still seasons (hot, hotter, hottest, little bit less hot) you won’t get snow and inclement winter weather in these states.
The summers in Arizona can be extremely hot, well into the double digits, sometimes past 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida summers are cooler, with temperatures ranging in the 90s, but this time of year is notorious for heavy rains and tropical storms. Humidity is also very prevalent in Florida, making the days feel hotter and “heavier” than they actually are.
Speaking of tropical storms, when it comes to natural disasters, Arizona definitely has the upper hand. While monsoon season does bring torrential rains and dust storms to parts of Arizona, hurricane season in Florida often results in flooding, evacuation, and even potential loss of your home due to the damage. We’d take a bit of flooding over the growing hurricane season any day.
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From retirees to millennials, the Arizona population is growing yearly. Though the Arizona population is growing, Florida has a far greater number of residents, and probably will for the foreseeable future. More people means more cars on the road, which means more traffic.
Looking at national averages of cities with the worst traffic in the nation, Arizona only has two cities on this list, while Florida has five. The Phoenix area has the highest traffic of the state, but Maricopa County, which covers the majority of the Phoenix Metro Area, is actually the fourth largest county in the country. So, all things considered for such a large expanse, the traffic in Phoenix really isn’t that bad.
Also, consider the fact that annually during spring break and summer, traffic on highways heading to and from Florida’s beach destinations greatly increases with tourist traffic.
For beach goers…well there really isn’t much of an argument here, Florida has the upper hand. Not only is Florida surrounded by beaches on all sides, but it offers a diverse array of marine activities.
The eastern Florida coast touches the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, offering historic beach towns such as St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, and iconic Daytona Beach.
Travel all the way to the south, and you’ll find Miami and the Florida Keys; a unique chain of islands rich in culture, cuisine, and history, including the home of American author Ernest Hemmingway.
The western coast of Florida, known as “The Gulf Coast” or the Gulf of Mexico, is more shallow than the Atlantic side. These less deep bay areas offer wonderful opportunities for those who enjoy offshore fishing, diving, and other means of harvesting the oceans bounty, and best of all, the local restaurants often offer fresh catch of the day shrimp, crabs, shellfish and more on their menus. You can’t get “swimming in the ocean this morning” in Arizona.
Mountain Landscapes & Activities
Another no brainer, Arizona wins in the mountain category! There are no mountains in Florida, the closest range being the Appalachian Mountains a good state or two away. Meanwhile, Arizona is home to over 200 named mountain peaks, and multiple mountain ranges such as The Superstitions, The Blackjacks, and The White Mountains. Not only can you go up, but of course, you can go down, down, down, as Arizona is home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon. If you are a mountain and desert loving adventure seeker, Arizona wins this one for sure!
Entertainment & Theme Parks
Right away, when you think of theme parks in Florida, Disneyworld comes to mind. Also in Florida you’ll find Sea World, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens. Arizona has very little theme parks, but nearby California has plenty, and the drive is a straight shot on Interstate 10 from Phoenix all the way through the Sonoran Desert to Los Angeles in less than six hours.
As we touched on previously, both states have plenty to offer in outdoor activities, it just depends on what you are looking for. Hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers; these people will probably be better suited for the outdoor activities you’ll find in Arizona. Those who like to fish, snorkel, scuba dive, go to the beach, go boating, or even hunting, will probably find more to do in Florida. If you love all the above…well, sorry to break it to you, you won’t find ALL of these in either state.
If you enjoy golf, you probably already know that Florida is a golfers Mecca. There are over 1,250 golf courses in Florida, and just over 300 in Arizona. Not even a close match! While there’s clearly more courses to enjoy in Florida, the golf community still finds Arizona to bring a lot to the table when it comes to interesting courses, offering many different “types” of experiences to their patrons.
Both Arizona and Florida are going to be relatively uncomfortable during the dead heat of the summer, so often golfers like to hit the course in the fall and winter. When the rest of the world is gearing up for snow, Arizona and Florida golfers are busy working on their drives.
Learn More: Pros & Cons of Living in Phoenix, AZ
Daylight Savings Time
Arizona is currently the only state in America that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you feel about losing an hour of your day halfway through the year, then gaining it back six months later. While designed to help people optimize the daylight hours all year long, many find it disruptive and confusing, and some states are contemplating abolishing Daylight Savings Time all together.
Have you ever seen classic horror movies in which giant insects the size of King Kong roam the town eating people? Yeah, they found those bugs in Florida. The insect population in the southeast is not only rampant, but you’ll find bugs you never even knew existed! Palmetto bugs the size of your hand, scorpions and banana spiders, if it’s exoskeletal and potentially venomous, they have it in Florida.
Due to the arid, dry weather in Arizona, insects really aren’t a problem there, and residents can leave open their windows and doors to feel the breeze without fear of becoming the next patient zero for some mosquito borne illness. Arizona wins this one.
Both Arizona and Florida come in pretty low on national taxes, like sales tax and property tax. Florida has no income tax, which is nice for its residents. Overall, the effective tax rate in Arizona is still slightly higher than in Florida, so combined with the lack of income tax in Florida, we’d say Florida wins this one.
Professional Sports Teams
For sports enthusiasts, both states have plenty of teams to follow, but none of them have particularly strong fan bases. There’s professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey teams in both states, and great facilities to go enjoy these sports in. While none of the teams have been all that exceptional in years past, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just signed quarterback Tom Brady, which is sure to incite at least a great deal of excitement, as he’s one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.
Come March, if you’re a fan of following the spring training schedule for sports teams, both states can keep you occupied! Most of these training facilities are spread throughout the state in Florida, but in Arizona they’re all located in and around the Phoenix metro area, meaning it’s easy to get to all of them, some even in the same day if you wanted to.
Landscape & Scenery
It’s no argument, both Arizona and Florida offer really beautiful landscape and scenery. Every coastline in Florida has its own kind of beauty, from the white sandy beaches of Panama City, to the mysterious everglades of the low country. On the other end of the spectrum, gorgeous, vast desert spreads throughout Arizona, alive with colors fit for an artist’s pallet, and sparkling bodies of water glisten in the sun like mirages. It’s all beautiful; it really just depends on what you prefer.
Outdoor Dining & Nightlife
The Phoenix area has some really wonderful cuisine and nightlife, but when you consider the dining options in Florida, it pales in comparison. With the wonderful bounty of the coast, plus the vibrant cultural foods of Miami, Florida wins this category for the foodies.
Cost of Living & Affordability
Both states have had increases lately in the cost of housing and general cost of living, but compared to the national average, both still remain on the lower end. When you look at similar environments, take California, for example, which has both coastal areas and desert/mountain landscape, you see significant increases in cost of living. Overall, both Arizona and Florida offer a lot for a little when it comes to cost of living.
Learn More: What is the cost of living in Phoenix?
Thinking of moving to Phoenix Arizona?
We believe that the decision to live in either Arizona or Florida will come down to your preferred extra curricular activities and your preference on the weather. There are of course many other factors, but from an outside perspective these will be main deciding points. If you’re considering moving to Arizona, then we have your back. Give us a call or email us and we’ll get you set up to find your dream home in Arizona.
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