ORLANDO, Fla. — There might be blizzards in Boston, sleet in Chicago or rain in Raleigh, but chances are the weather is warm and sunny in Florida. In fact, during the winter of 2010-11, there was snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states – with the exception of Florida.
“Our wonderful climate is just the start of a great Florida lifestyle,” says Florida Realtors® 2012 President Summer Greene, regional manager with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “From culture to sports, historical attractions to Space Age technology, the Sunshine State really has it all.”
What does Florida have to offer? Pick up an online travel brochure and some benefits are clear: Beautiful beaches. Miles of scenic parks and nature preserves. In fact, the state’s park system is one of the largest in the U.S., with more than 160 parks covering more than 700,000 acres and 100 miles of Florida’s beaches.
If you enjoy the water, Florida’s oceans, bays, rivers and lakes offer boating, fishing, swimming and other water recreations. Golf is a favorite pastime throughout the state. In addition, Florida has unique entertainment parks and other family-friendly attractions, as well as a full array of theater, music, dance, art and other cultural offerings.
In addition, Florida has a rich and varied history, which includes the city of St. Augustine, the oldest permanent European settlement in the mainland United States. Of course, there is also an appealing year-round climate, with an average annual high of 81 degrees Fahrenheit and an average annual low of 60 degrees, giving the Sunshine State its well-known nickname and reputation.
“There is so much to see, to experience and to enjoy in Florida, from the distinctive white sugar sand beaches of Destin in the north, to the family fun offered by Orlando’s theme parks and attractions, to the leisurely, laid-back lifestyle in the Keys,” says Greene. “We have visitors coming here from around the world to vacation in Florida. But they only get to sample what Florida offers for a brief time; when you’re lucky enough to be a Florida homeowner, there’s no end to the possibilities!”
Florida Realtors® know that the state’s unique quality of life is one of its best assets. And publications from around the country continually give Florida high marks in their surveys. Here are a few recent examples:
- Oviedo in Central Florida was named one of Family Circle’s top 10 best towns for families in America in 2011.
- Pembroke Pines, Tamarac and Sunrise in Broward County were recently recognized by Business Week as best places to raise children.
- Money magazine named Coral Springs, Miramar and Weston as among the 100 best small cities in America.
- CNN Money highlighted two Florida schools – Indian River State College and Palm Beach State College – on its 2011 list of America’s ten most affordable colleges.
- Siesta Beach was named the No. 1 beach in the U.S. in 2011 by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach) is based on 50 criteria including number of sunny days, sand softness, algae and pollution content, safety record, and more. Leatherman is a Ph.D. coastal scientist, professor of environmental studies and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University in Miami.
- Florida was recently named the Best Trails State in America, winning the biennial National Trails Award from the national nonprofit organization American Trails.
Finally, Florida has an attractive cost of living, including one the nation’s lowest overall tax rates. And, with recent data from Florida Realtors showing that $137,500 was the statewide median price for an existing home in August 2011, housing prices compare well to other similar states.