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Living in Florida

Living in Florida

Floridian tradition tells of its world famous theme parks, but the choice of leisure benefits it provides stretches far beyond this. With low property prices, miles of natural landscape to explore enabled by year-round sun, along with a diverse culture bringing together millions of people from all over the world, relocating to the Sunshine state means that you need never be bored, nor alone in your non-US heritage.

Why Florida?

Floridian tradition tells of its world famous theme parks, but the choice of leisure benefits it provides stretches far beyond this. With low property prices, miles of natural landscape to explore enabled by year-round sun, along with a diverse culture bringing together millions of people from all over the world, relocating to the Sunshine state means that you need never be bored, nor alone in your non-US heritage.

What to do in Florida

As a primary US holiday destination, there are the world famous sights and activities on the tourism front: with children, a trip to Disneyland with a “˜4-day magic your way’ ticket might be a must, or a family visit to SeaWorld. Alternatively, you could opt for a more serene route and take a stroll down Clearwater beach on Florida’s west coast, just one of many spectacular shoreline spots, or venture deep into the subtropical wetlands by boat at the Everglades national park in Miami – a wildlife paradise home to alligators, snakes, turtles and exotic birds.

Of course, relocating on a more permanent basis requires building your ideal US lifestyle, which will demand more than the initial thrills of sightseeing.  There are choices to be made surrounding how you spend your time, and Florida offers many options.

Eating

In terms of food, it is no secret that Florida is a citrus capital of the world, however dining in the Sunshine state offers far more than its abundance of grapefruits and oranges. Beach Bistro situated on Tampa Bay is included in Zagat’s “Top Restaurants in America” and sits at the forefront for romantic, waterfront fine-dining. On the other hand, you could opt for Bella Cuba – a rustic, family owned restaurant on Miami Beach with Latin American influences, which is applauded for its hearty and memorable cuisine for affordable prices.

Shopping

Shopping in Florida runs the gamut from high end malls and large outlets to antique shopping districts and boutiques. The Mall at Millennia features anchor retailers like Macy’s and Bloomingdales, along with an eclectic collection of speciality stores such as Tiffany & Co and Gucci. For a niche or slightly different shopping experience, Daytona Beach’s Flea and Farmer’s market was voted one of the “˜top 5 markets in the country’ by USA Weekend, and has over 600 vendors providing you with everything from vintage film cameras to surf apparel.

One of Florida’s most famous shopping experiences, however, might be found in Sawgrass Mills mall, Miami. This colossal shopping centre occupies 2.1 million square feet of space and takes around a day to walk through. With over 350 stores and outlets, you are spoilt for choice.

Sport and Leisure

Its lakes and over 1,800 miles of coastline make Florida excellent for activities like fishing and water sports; but with this weather, there is no end to possibility. Cycling along the stretches of shore is a popular option, and for indoor exercise, health clubs, gyms and fitness centres are abundant, in line with the healthy lifestyle ethic that Florida promotes.  A number of major sports teams are based in Florida, such as the Miami Dolphins (football), Miami Heat (basketball) and Orlando Magic (baseball), and it is also home to some of the world’s best golf courses – its miles of manicured lawns are an image that many associate with the State.

Residency and tax in Florida

One of the perks of living in Florida is its lack of personal and state income tax: it is also worth considering filing for the Homestead Exemption at the local county property appraiser’s office after establishing a residence in Florida, as you may be qualified for further tax cuts.

Business

Alongside boasting a hugely prominent tourist industry, especially in the south of Florida through providing rented accommodation services both to holiday makers and the longer settling snowbird tourists, other business qualities in the state include its low tax rates, skilled and low cost workforce and access to a wealth of foreign markets within South America.

Education

The education system in Florida is much the same as elsewhere in the US: there are public and privately run schools, including the State University System of Florida – a system of 12 public universities, the Florida College system of public colleges and a range of private, independently run universities and colleges. In 2010, the annual tuition at Florida’s 11 public universities was $4,886 – the third lowest in the country.The average cost total for books, tuition, fees, and living expenses is $15,500 compared to $16,140 average for the country.

Climate

Whilst south Florida maintains a tropical climate, with a defined rainy season from June through to November, the north and central areas are more humid and subtropical in temperature. Despite Florida’s occasional susceptibility to thunderstorms, lightning and, very occasionally, tropical cyclones during the rainy season, these are rare, and those residing in southern Florida can enjoy the winds from the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which keep temperatures moderate and bearable all year round.

Cultural Diversity across Florida

Florida is home to people from all around the world, and its ethnic diversity makes it a hub of culture: Greeks, Spaniards, Cubans and Native Americans, among others, have left their cultural footprints at these historic Florida cities and towns. In central Florida, Orlando and Eatonville were the first community ruled by African-Americans, Eatonville was also home to noted Black Harlem author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston. In the north, areas such as San Augustine uphold their prominent Spanish roots, harking back to the early Spanish conquistadores who contributed to the first influx of European heritage.

Immigration into America provide bespoke solutions for those planning their move to the US. We will organise everything from selecting which visa category is right for you and providing US tax planning, to introducing you to a US franchise which meets your requirements.