My father moved to Florida in the 1980s after being born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.
The lack of state income tax played a role in his decision.
But Florida's warm weather sealed the deal after years of chilly northeast temperatures.
My father had a straightforward answer for why he moved 1,000 miles south to Florida from his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
"I got cold," he said over the phone with a matter-of-fact lilt from Orlando. Living in Florida wasn't initially part of his plan, but in 1987, he began dating my mother, and the two stumbled upon a weeklong timeshare opportunity in Fort Lauderdale.
According to him, my parents quickly fell in love with the tropical weather, which they thought was a much better option than Ohio's seasonal chills. A few months later, my dad transferred to his company's Daytona office, and my mother followed soon after. Sixteen months later, they moved to Orlando, where I grew up.
They've lived in Florida for 36 years, and my father doesn't regret the move. Here are three things he enjoys about living in Florida.
Naturally, the first thing my father pointed to was Florida's weather
There's a reason people call Florida the Sunshine State, and it has everything to do with the weather. The official website for Florida's Historic Coast, which features St. Augustine and Pointe Verda, noted Florida has a year-round average temperature of 72° Fahrenheit.
"Florida's a pretty state. Everything grows here," he said, referring to the wide variety of vegetation grown in Florida.
Our family loved the warm weather for several reasons, but two of them were the orange and banana trees that bloomed yearly in our backyard.
Florida's lack of state income tax makes it more affordable than other states
According to H&R Block, Florida is one of seven states that aren't required to pay state taxes yearly. The list includes Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
As a result, my father said he was able to save money over the years that would have otherwise gone to the state.
"From a mature standpoint, not paying 10% in income tax each year is a big deal," he said.
The diversity in Florida makes living there worthwhile
My father said he enjoys the different cultures found in Florida. The US Census reported in 2022 that more than 22 million people live in Florida, with 27% identifying as Hispanic or Latino, 17% as Black or African American, and 3.1% Asian.
Comparatively, the US Census for Ohio that same year said there were more than 11 million residents, with 4.5% of the population identifying as Hispanic or Latino, 13% as Black or African American, and 2.7% Asian.
And, of course, my dad loves the seafood
One of the things Florida is known for is its access to seafood.
"In Ohio, if you wanted lobster, crab, or shrimp, they were frozen," he said. "If you wanted oysters, you had to do it in the right month."
He added: "Here, you can get seafood almost any time.
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