Quality of Life in Florida
Living the Good Life
The world's favorite leisure destination is also a great place to settle down.
Life isn’t meant to be all work; it should include some play too, and Florida has plenty of that. In fact, Florida’s worldwide reputation as a great vacation destination brought 83.6 million visitors to the state in 2008. Many of them will come back — not just to visit, but to live permanently. Why? Because they liked what they saw. And because they want to share in the exceptional quality of life that full-time Floridians enjoy.
- Great climate: Average annual temperatures between 81 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Outstanding education: A public school system ranked 10th in the nation, plus at least one post-secondary educational institution — public or private university, community college and/or technical training center — within 50 miles of every Floridian.
- Economic value: No personal income tax and affordable housing. (At a median price of $187,800 in 2008, houses cost less in Florida than in many comparable states.)
- Plenty to see and do: More than 1,300 golf courses; 2,300 miles of tidal shoreline; 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways; 161 state parks spanning 700,000 acres; some of the world’s biggest and best theme parks; a thriving arts and culture scene; unique shopping opportunities; world-class sporting events.
- Sophisticated healthcare: More than 300 general medical and surgical hospitals, including the facilities ranked No. 1 in the nation for ophthalmology (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami) and No. 16 for cancer care (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa) on U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 list of “America’s Best Hospitals.”
29 lifeguard stations — some clunky, some funky — dot the shoreline along Miami Beach.
Florida’s Fort DeSoto State Park near St. Petersburg, Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys and St. Andrew’s State Park near Panama City took the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 slots respectively on TripAdvisor’s 2009 list of Best Beaches in the U.S.; Honeymoon Island near Clearwater came in at No. 9.
And with six No. 1 beaches since 1991, Florida is second only to Hawaii for top honors on Dr. Beach’s annual “Top 10 Best Beaches,” a list compiled by the director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research; California has never claimed the top spot. In 2009, Siesta Beach in Sarasota was runner-up for the No. 1 position; Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne snagged the No. 8 slot. Criteria for the selections include water and sand quality, facilities and environmental management; once a beach is named No. 1, it’s retired from the competition.