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Arizona vs. Florida – Which Is the Better Retirement Destination?

by Bill Ness on 70 Comments

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The Sunshine State of Florida offers a wide variety of active adult communities to choose from in attractive locations along the coast or inland.

Florida and Arizona often top the list when it comes to retirement destinations. Both states offer warm climates, amenity-rich communities and beautiful homes. But what features set these two states apart? If both are appealing, how do you know which destination is right for you?

Both Arizona and Florida offer hot summers and mild winters, but there are distinct differences in these two climates. Arizona is a more arid, desert location. Temperatures across the state vary, particularly with changes in elevation, and the northern parts of the state even feature mountain ski resorts. The semi-tropical climate in Florida is much more humid, with particularly rainy periods. Although, those who love the water can’t beat the Florida coastline with beaches that stretch along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

When it comes to recreation, both states have plenty to offer. Retirees will find world-class golf courses in both Florida and Arizona, but the number of sunny days each year give Arizona golfers a bit of an edge. Florida’s outdoor recreations are likely to be water-based activities as the state boasts a remarkable number of rivers and lakes in addition to its miles of sandy coastline.

Urban attractions, like shopping, dining and live performances, are also available in both states. These do depend on where you live in the state and Florida’s more dense population has led to more cities spread throughout the state. Generally speaking, Arizona has a few urban centers, like Phoenix and Tucson, with large stretches of open space outside of the cities. Florida has a mix of cities, suburbs and small towns, with some nature preserves and wetlands nestled in between.

Retiring homebuyers who want to live in an age-restricted community will certainly have many options in either state. Phoenix, Arizona was home to the first modern active adult community (Sun City) and many developers have followed suit. Florida has since outpaced Arizona with around double the active adult communities. There are differences in the types of active adult communities available as well. Arizona has more extra-large communities (more than 5,000 homes), but Florida is home to the largest, The Villages, which has over 75,000 homes. Though both states have communities of all sizes, Florida probably wins out in overall community diversity.

Depending on where you live in either state, you may be able to find relatively similar home prices in both Arizona and Florida. As of December 2011, Zillow.com lists median home prices to be $120,000 in Florida and $127,100 in Arizona. Active adult communities in both states have single-family homes priced anywhere from the low-$100s to over $1 million.

Both Florida and Arizona are also considered to be tax-friendly for retirees. Arizona has no tax on Social Security benefits and there are exemptions for some retirement income, yet Florida wins with no state income tax at all. When it comes to property tax, Arizona residents have no state tax and are only responsible for local taxes. Florida does have property tax, but residents may be eligible for a homestead exemption if the property is their main residence.

When it comes to comparing Arizona and Florida, it really comes down to what you want in a retirement destination. Both states offer climates, attractions, home prices and tax laws which are appealing to retirees. The choice of an arid desert or a tropical coastal home is one of personal preference. If you truly aren’t sure which is more appealing, spend some time vacationing in both states. Plan your visits during different times of the year and gather some firsthand experiences before choosing your ideal retirement home.

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  1. Interesting question Bill and one i was glad to see you “cleaned up” when you asked which one is right for you? Better is so subjective.

    We lived in Minnesota our entire working career and every winter we escaped the frozen tundra with a cruise, typically leaving from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Our initial thought was Florida was our target. We would wander the streets pre-departure looking at single family homes (a little dismayed at how expensive they were) and wonder whether the next one would fulfill our retirement dream.

    I have to admit, i could never get my arms around the whole condo on the water thing. We would leave the port and see a hundred low rise building stacked like chord wood and ponder how or why folks would want to do that. Sure the view was great, but then what?

    One year we visited my folks in Sun City Arizona and our entire lives changed. It was love at first sight, and we never once looked back. At 51 we bought a very reasonably priced home, rented it our for four years and the day we turned 55, moved to the valley of the sun. Awesome choice.

    For me, it comes down to this: You are either water people or you’re not. For me, a great soaking tub is a wonderful place to read a book. For those seeking a bit more hydro in Sun City AZ, we do have a limited number of homes on our two lakes (and of course there is the 7 rec centers complete with polls and spa’s). But if you need the salt air and ocean views, clearly Florida should be your destination.

    1. And San Diego is like 5 or so hours away for a vacation. I would like that. You can travel to California.

  2. I have spent quite a bit of time in Florida and have now lived in the Phoenix area for 7 years since retiring. Yes, there are many “hard facts” to compare including climate, water, cost of housing, taxes. One thing that is rarely mentioned is the friendliness of the people. Many people in Arizona are from California and the mid-west. Many people in Florida and from New York and the Northeast. I have found the people I come across everyday in stores, restaurants, etc., as well as those I meet socially, to be much friendly and warmer in Arizona than those I have encountered in Florida. This may just be my own personal experience, but this “niceness” is enough for me to prefer Arizona. And, one more thing, when we want to leave and drive for 5 hours, we can reach Las Vegas and the Southern California beaches. San Diego is full of Zonies in the summer, and I will take San Diego over any Florida coastal city any day.

    1. You are comparing AZ to Fl and you somehow toss in San Diego because its a 5 or 6 hour drive away?
      Thats like me saying that Fl is better than AZ because Atlanta is a 5 hour drive away?? I hope your reasoning to live in AZ isnt San Diego!!!!!!!!

    2. Much depends on the region that you’re visiting in Florida….. Florida’s Atlantic Coast is heavily influenced by the Northeast. However, the Gulf Coast is much closer, in style, to the Middle West. The Gulf Coast also attracts a lot of people from Ontario. Lots of “niceness” on the Gulf Coast.

  3. Wilma

    I have lived and played in Florida for over 28 years. I can only tell you from my experiences that the people that I meet are friendly and I need to be near the beautiful beach’s. The dry climate is very drying to my skin and I found that I had to keep drinking a lot of water because it was so dry.
    The fabulous lifestyle in our active 55plus communites is fabulous. This is country club living without the country club fees.
    Looking for live theater we have the Kravitz Center. Leaving on a cruise the ports are 25-45 minutes away. Give me the smell of the ocean and the piece of dining on the beach watching the waves is the best.

  4. Ann brought up a good point often overlooked; that is, the friendliness of the people in Arizona because of the midwest/California connection. Mind you, I’m originally from New Jersey, so you’d think I’d be prejudiced in favor of the East Coast. Not so. I’ve heard comments from lots of people, some whom I know personally, about the rudeness and snob attitude of many (but not all) NJ and NY people who move to Florida. I also lived in Michigan and love those people — they are down to earth like most other mid-westerners. I’m also a Yankee – both in baseball and at heart. Therefore, the South is alien country to me. I lived in Texas for 7 years. The people there were friendly, but a Yankee never really feels at home in the South — at least I didn’t. My Dad lived in Florida for 13 years (Ft. Myers), and then moved to Arizona at age 73, saying he wanted to get away from the hurricanes and the rednecks — his words, not mine — LOL.

    I love the ocean and beach, but only for vacation. Arizona has no catastrophic weather like hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms. Florida? Well, we all know what they can get in weather. Also, the humidity in Florida is not only oppressive, but it eats away at homes — including the mold problem.

    If I ever leave Colorado, my best guess right now is I’m going to Arizona. I’m used to beautiful scenery. Florida has none of that. Arizona is gorgeous — there’s practically any terrain there you could want and the California beaches are not that far away if you need an occasional ocean fix. I also ski. I can ski in Arizona, but in Florida, skiing is just a dream unless you want to fly somewhere — which is horribly expensive by the time you add car rentals and lodging at the very expensive ski resorts. You could go to the Carolinas to ski, but it’s not the same as western skiing in the high-altitude dry air.

    Well, hope this helps.

    1. Hi Barbara, great question! We will be adding Arkansas to 55Places.com this year. We are currently active in 19 states. We have started with the states that have the most active adult communities and we are working our way down the list of states as quickly as possible. Check back later this year for more information.

      ~Bill Ness

    2. Barbara,
      If your looking in the Hot Springs, Ar area, you must look at Hot Springs Village. It is the largest gated community in the US. It incorporates 7 public and 1 private golf course, 8 lkeas, etc. all within the gated area. It comprises over 23,000 acres of land. They have their own police and fire departments, etc. Very friendly people from all over the US. Very in-expensive to live. I own 2 different lots and although I am not ready to retire, I vacation there on average once a year.


  5. Any chance that a future publication will start providing the comparison tax rates, etc.? That would help greatly, as would letting us all know if military, government and civilian retirements/social security are taxed by each state, and by what criteria.

  6. My wife and I have lived in RI our entire lives and are now immersed in our search for a retirement location. With our timeshare exchanges, we have been able to travel to numerous places in the US primarily to play golf and explore. Our two favorite places just happen to be Florida and Arizona. We have been to AZ 6 times with another trip planned to Tucson next month. We absolutely love the wide open spaces and just about else mentioned in the comments from other travellers listed above. My wife, however, thinks that Florida would be a better retirement location for us because it would be easier for our children and grandchildren to visit. I will probably acquiesce and agree to FL but will forever have regrets. My wife retires this Dec. as we both will be 66 yrs. old. My biggest fear is making a mistake. Still confused after all these years !

    1. Andrew: I do not believe in making decisions based on other people’s convenience or wants, i.e., moving to where the kids can visit more easily. True, I have no children (my choice), but most of my friends do, and a lot of them have retired where they want to go, regardless of where their adult children live. I’d bet yours would all love Arizona — much more to do there than in Florida. It’s a gorgeous western state with beautiful mountains, deserts, and good proximity to many other areas of interest like California and Nevada. In Florida, you’re stuck on a humid peninsula with nowhere to go and no scenery except boring water and palm trees — and hurricanes. There is no scary weather in Arizona, except for the summer monsoons, but they will not blow your house down..

      1. Currently there is a DROUGHT in AZ… that is scary!!!!
        The Colorado River is drying up… Without water I wonder what a house would be worth in AZ.. To say there is no scary weather in AZ except for a few minor monsoons is very funny….
        Have you ever seen a DUST STORM? Its amazing that you can drive 6 hours to get out of Arizona but you are stuck in Florida on a peninsula? The last time I looked ,, a peninsula gives you a way out. I guess you dont like Atlanta either.

    2. We moved from Kansas City to Tucson 5 years ago . Our son lives here ..we are water people and never thought we’d live in the desert . We had lived briefly in Cape Coral, FL, .. affordable but not much to do . Tucson has the college and is great if you play golf or hike ..mountains are beautiful . But the 3-4 months of 100+ heat is draining .. batteries last 2 years max as well as snakes, wild Javelinas at your doorstep , scorpions, abundance of dog hungry coyotes and bobcats . Also we have had 2 dogs that contracted Valley Fever, a very common lung disease that comes from spores growing in the dirt (grass is at a premium here ) and blows in the air. It is incurable ( need yo be on lifetime medicine IF caught early) and not publicized much to not deter visitors .. also affects humans .
      My son is disabled and the weather is good for him .. but healthcare is horrible here (country club doctors) and even with U of A here .. most doctors leave where there are not so many Medicare/Medicaid patients.
      We would like to move to Florida (St Petersburg area) .. like gulf better than Atlantic.. slower pace and not quite as hectic and touristy. Florida also recently passed a law where fSmily members can be paid caregivers .. caregivers are far and few between in Tucson anyway.
      A lot of info .. but a lot to consider .. make your checklist of what you want and is important . One thing we’ve learned .. There are
      nice people everywhere.. put it out there 🙂

      1. St. Petersburg has become one of the real delights in Florida. Beyond St. Petersburg, you’ll find the rest of Pinellas County. Check out towns like Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. These towns look like towns. For some reason, this region escapes from hurricanes.

    3. My husband and I returned to my native Texas after many yrs in Florida to be closer to my 94 y.o.Dad. From Ft. MYERS to Leesburg in a 55 + community. Once we lose Dad we think we might go back to a 55+, but now not sure if it’ll be Fl.or As., love their mountain views.

    1. SC is better in taxes
      NC will eat you alive in taxes
      NC (Asheville ans sounding ares, has very cold and in-predicable winters

    2. I spent five years in retirement on the coast of North Carolina. The beaches are fantastic… However, you’ll know that you’re in the South. If you’re a Yankee, you’ll always be an outsider…. Nowadays, I live on Florida’s Gulf Coast, close to St. Petersburg. Nice mix of people. The health care services are better than eastern North Carolina services…. I have some nice memories from North Carolina, but Florida’s Gulf Coast near Sarasota and St. Petersburg is my first choice for retirement.

  7. Do you have a place to go to in order to compare Fla to CA since they’re both coastal states? Thanks…. Lived in KY half my life, visited Fla a few times: way roo humid. Was in AZ last Feb from Phoenix to Yuma: can be very dry and windy but has more diversity in landscape, elevation, and culture.

    1. Florida’s Gulf Coast has lots and lots of Canadians. Follow the Toronto Blue Jays to their winter home…. I don’t know what the situation is like for Canadians in Arizona or California.

  8. I am from the land of perfect weather: San Diego. Then, when I ran out of work, at age 41, I was forced to move to Chicago, then Dallas, now Florida. Here’s my take: If $ were no option, I would retire (I am 12 years out from that as I turn 50 this year) on the ocean in Del Mar. Now, back to reality: Arizona is arid and bad for allergies and people with asthma; florida beaches are better for both. The cost of living is a push. I am a mountain lover as I grew up surfing the beaches in San Diego. I would prefer the topography of Arizona, but the tropical climate as it’s green and lush in Florida (I am hinting we are all slightly drawn to what is different from our “where we are from” experiences). Bottom line for me is I am currently considering a retirement house in Ft Meyers as NOW is THE time to buy. I am thinking we’ll have the best of both worlds if we get a fifth wheel and leave FL June-August every year to go camp out in Yosemite, Tahoe, or points West.

    Different strokes, folks! Good luck!

    1. Dennis,
      I am also from Southern California which has beautiful weather, but expensive and crowded. I’ve been considering “The Villages” in Florida which seems very nice – especially since it has everything within a reasonable distance; No need to take a freeway – yeah! I’m planning to check out their 4 or 7 night stay for $150 a night which allows guests access to all amenities and even includes the use of a golf cart!

    2. I have been to both States clearly Arizona as the winner nothing beats Scottsdale Arizona Florida is flat and ugly with a lot of strip malls feel like beaches that’s one thing but for a married family Arizona is the way to go just my opinion less fake people also

  9. Arkansas for retirement? Way to cold! I live in St.Louis, way to cold! Crime is running rampant! The city of St.Louis people are moving to the burbs! I live in the city! Scary, I do not even walk my dog at night anymore! Am retired and when younger lived 20 years in Florida! Now for retirement I am heading west, Phoenix I like the metropolitan city or Tucson! I did my Florida thing! Florida also is not a very dog friendly state! I had to travel 20 minutes to take my dog to the beach! I love Southern California but to rich for my blood for retirement! But anywhere is what you make it! Thanks!

  10. My parents retired and bought a winter residence in Arizona, while keeping their primary residence in Colorado, and loved it for 20 years. They never were bored, spending equal time in each, so did not have to deal with the cold winters, or desert summers (I did for 12 years, and it kept getting hotter for longer). They bought a beautiful mobile home in a 55 plus park on a third of an acre for under $100k, drove a gold cart in the park, and expenses after for 6 months were less than $7k annually. They had a golf course in the park, condos and homes, great security, and all types of activities. Beautiful environment. I hope to do the same, wherever my summer home ends up. I did enjoy the AZ environment, but had to relocate to Socal for work. For my retirement, I would have preferred the mountains in the summer months, then AZ, then FL for winter, in that order. However, the air pollution has become a major problem, especially in the winter in the Phoenix area, so one would want to consider less populated areas for health. Also, the drought issue in the West could be a significant problem down the road. Do your research, and good luck!

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  12. I once owned a home in The Villages in Florida but only stayed for a couple months due to some life challenges. I thought I’d return on retirement. 10 years later I’m not so sure. Spent a week this past summer visiting retirement communities in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Arizona has more appeal to me due to dry climate and lack of threatening weather. I spent most of my life in the SF Bay Area of CA so humidity is a downer for me. In a post above Dennis stated that the arid AZ climate is bad for allergies and asthma. I’ve always heard the desert is THE place for asthma sufferers. I would think the semi tropics of FL would be horrid for allergy sufferers with mold and all the various plant pollens. I currently live in MN and am very anxious to make a move out of this allergy prone area!

    1. You are absolutely correct my friend just moved to Florida from New York his home already is developing mold that how you meditate is Dreadful makes you feel like you’re dying Arizona is much better especially for arthritic and respiratory ailments the only problem with Arizona it is sometimes when the dust storms are present but that’s not always

  13. Having been to both Arizona and Florida, I can honestly say that Florida is the better option. Arizona is just way too hot and dry all year round. Florida has a little bit of everything, but they especially have the sun shine almost every day 🙂 My husband and I chose to retire in beautiful and sunny South FL! We couldnt be any happier with our decision, and we even tell all of our friends that they should come join us at Valencia Reserve.
    I hope this helps!
    Good luck,

  14. I live in Palm Beach Gardens FL for seven years now. Prior to moving here, I lived in another big city outside US, a city similar to NY. I am sick and tired of snobbish people living in the big cities who treated yelling as a form of decent communication. However, I found out that FL people are no better than any of my previous encounters. For example, many FL people are extremely rude, prejudiced and treated you transparent no matter how many times you greeted them with smiles. Also, many people light up fireworks in their backyard against the law, and throw the fireworks leftover into your front yard or let their dogs poop in your front yard without picking them up. Living in my community for five years now, I still feel I am an outsider to the neighborhood. We have neighbors who are willing to stop by and talk to us, but we have more neighbors who saw us but pretending that they did not see us at all, and looked pissed off all the time like the whole world owed them. Also, many times when you are in store shopping, you will encounter many unfriendly sales who look like they hate their jobs. So be careful of your stay in FL, lowering the expectation on people but focusing on your own living is the best. If I were given a choice, moving to a friendly neighborhood will be my top choice be it in Arizona, Texas, CA or FL.

  15. After living over 15 years in FL, after moving from the SF Bay Area and MN, I realize that People in FL are “Strangers in a Humid Paradise”

    We are considering to looking into Arizona, and glad to hear comments from Ann and others about Arizona, where I have not been yet. However,
    I thought Arizona would be more open minded and friendlier, as Californians and Minnesotans. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  16. Since my retirement 2 years ago i have been looking to move to a better climate, from mid west.(Illinois) so Florida and Arizona both look good to me . It all seems so overwhelming with so many different opinions, I,m a little afraid of the hurricanes, but i,m concern about the drought that the west is having, decisions,decisions, i definitely need a tipping point,

    1. You will absolutely love Arizona I guarantee you if you want beaches you can travel if you love beaches stay in Florida but then you have to deal with a lot of rain hurricanes lots of insects reptiles snakes well Arizona is not perfect that you have scorpions and snakes as well that is usually only in areas outside of the city Scottsdale Arizona is one of the most beautiful places in our country to live

  17. Arizona (7th lowest) and Florida (10th lowest) rank similarly in taxes by state with the difference being less than $250 a year so while one factor in your decision and perhaps the deciding factor if all else was equal, it should not be the only factor. I think the best thing to do is take a 2-3 week vacation in a non tourist area (you aren’t going to live in the Grand Canyon or in Disney World) in each state before you retire and see how you like it. Also keep in mind your lifestyle will be different once you retire so if you like beaches, amusement parks, boating and fishing or golf Florida might be more to your liking. For mountain and desert hiking, Southwestern food, Ballooning and aviation, National Parks, Arizona would probably be your choice.

    I never buy a car without having rented it on a vacation and I try to rent cars I likely would consider so I have an idea of what I might like before my car breaks down and I have to replace it. It’s worth it. It’s worth doing the same before you buy a retirement home.



  18. As a recent (4 months ago) escapee from Southern California to Northern Arizona, I can state first hand knowledge to some of the misconceptions of the AZ/FL debate. The entire state of AZ is not hot and dry, there are distinct differences between Northern and Southern AZ just as there are in CA. So AZ is very hot and dry during the summer months. No AZ is far more moderate and has 4 mild seasons. Obviously as you travel to the far Northern areas (Flagstaff) you will encounter more severe snow during winter so Prescott is a great compromise for the mild weather. The reverse is true for summer. The climate of AZ is better for allergies/asthma, both of which I have. Water is an issue, however AZ has been far more proactive about water conversation, storage and management than CA. There are many rivers that feed into this state, they are not solely dependent upon the Colorado river and they have an immense underground water table. Yes, I did my research on this issue coming from drought plagued CA. I can confirm the people are very friendly and welcoming, there are many transplants here from other areas. Property and state income taxes are considered low and retiree-friendly. Real estate is still relatively low, especially if you come from CA. Deciding upon your retirement city is a very personal opinion and some people’s opinion can be biased. As others have suggested, the best course is to experience the area during different times of the year and talk to the locals! Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and go for it! I shopped the area of Prescott AZ for 10 years, made many trips and finally just made the move. Am I 100% happy with my decision, no, that would be unrealistic in any decision but the pros do outweigh the cons and I am good with my choice of retirement location. Good luck to those still struggling with their decision.

  19. I am a California native who moved to “The Villages, Florida in December.
    The main reason we came here was how nice the people are. It definitely is ” America’s Friendliest Hometown”.

  20. I just turned 55, and my husband 60; both self-employed living in west central Illinois, and ready to leave a state that is basically bankrupt. We have talked for the last 2-years of heading to a south FL beach, or to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL (where we have vacationed for many years). In December we visited family in Sun City West, AZ … of my goodness, the amenities; I’ve told friends, if you are bored it is your own fault! I have compared FL/AL to AZ (annual living expenses) and truly feel that we should make Sun City West our place to live as we are active adults and with so much offered we truly don’t have to look for things to do. Yes, FL does have active adult living communities, but compare the costs. The cost of living is much cheaper in Sun City West, no school tax and very reasonable real estate taxes/homeowners ins. Like others have stated, so many directions to go when living in AZ – so, I’ve given up my dream of living in a house on the beach and hearing the crashing waves and watching a beautiful sunset; instead, we will make FL/AL beaches our vacation destinations. As to the heat, I’ve stayed inside all winter because of the cold dreary days. In AZ when it is 110 or more, at least you can be outside in the mornings – do your things inside during the heat of day; and the evenings are cooler to sit outside on your patio. And they have palms trees too!

    1. Hi Tammy:

      I can totally relate to your email! With the exception that I’m alone. It sounds like you’ve done your homework! I’m in Park Ridge, IL and trying to figure this whole thing out.

      I would love to talk some time if you’re willing. I will leave my email and can then send a phone number from there.


      1. I’m also an active single, senior woman in Illinois (Bucktown, Chicago) who is researching various options. Making friends is a priority. I’m attracted to AZ and FLA, because of the large senior population and interesting geography. Would you be interested in us sharing our findings? I visited Del Web in Hinkley IL. and was surprisingly, positively impressed with the community.

  21. I grew up in Massachusetts, living there 35 years, then 9 years in the Tampa Bay area, 9 years in The desert just outside Palm Springs, California, and a while in the Dallas area. Now retired, I have returned back to various parts of Florida numerous times, as well as many trips back to the desert to decide the right retirement spot. I heard it said that those from the northeast US retire to NC, SC and especially Florida, and those from the west favor Arizona. Certainly, you do notice the cultural differences. Although my first love is Florida, I cannot find myself returning there due to the costs: high insurance due to sinkholes/floods; hurricanes and too much rain; mold, the effects of dampness to arthritic joints, and allergy issues (as you age allergies often develop to pollen etc.) and, well, the place is too crowded. Florida retirement developments are predominantly CDD communities which are VERY dangerous financially ( yeah your taxes are cheap but add 20-30 years of non-tax deductible bond and maintenance payments on top of your HOAs and you may easily be looking at annual outlay of over 10K. …and then there are the crowds…everywhere in Florida. There are some CDD type developments in Arizona ( called CFDs) but not that many, and some counties do not allow them. Sure, the southern part of the state is hot in summer, but it is a dry heat. Once you learn how to live in the heat you should not find it a problem. Personally, I find the California/Arizona culture to be much more educated, open to new and different people and more mixed culturally. You do not find as much of the ethnic clumping or the heavy religious presence in California/Arizona although it does exist in some parts, but, if that is your thing, then you may find Florida a better option. Arizona may have water issues, but many areas are sitting on aquafers so water is not so expensive or rare. I found water prices in Florida high while in the desert in California my water bill for a 1600 sq ft house with a pool was $10 a month. Arizona I expect to pay closer to $30 a month. In Florida, I was paying over $110 a month. Everyone has their own priority of what is right for them and no one is wrong to pick either place, or someplace else, like, say, Nevada which also is warm and has no state income tax. My plan is to continue my trips to narrow it down, select the area and favored development, then rent for a year THEN decide. At that point I will have a better feeling for the area and then I will buy or build. It’s easier to move from a rental after a year than to try to sell a house. With the economy slated to slide the values may also drop a bit if you wait.

  22. I have lived in both places and agree with many concerning the friendliness of people in Az. As opposed to Fl. IF you like beautiful beaches, t shirt shops and tons of humidity with tree roaches you can put a leash on, then Fl. Is for you. I prefer the dry heat, friendlier environment, beautiful scenery and more cultural activities

  23. From someone who’s lived many years in both Florida and the Southern half of Arizona, here is an honest comparison of both places.

    Southern/Central Arizona Positives: Abundant sunshine. Mountains and desert scenery. Dry breezy climate. Less expensive real estate than Florida. A lot less bugs than FL. Minimal damaging storms (rare). Low taxes. Much lower auto insurance and homeowners insurance than FL. Lower DMV fees. Much less crowded than Florida. Close to to Las Vegas, Southern California beaches, skiing, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.
    AZ Negatives: Extreme summer heat. High crime. High illegal immigrant population (especially in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma). Generally poor roads. Winter smog (Phoenix area). Aggressive, rude drivers.
    Florida Positives: Warmer winters. Lots of nice beaches, rivers and lakes. Lush landscaping and scenery. Low taxes, Nicer roads than AZ.
    FL Negatives: High crime and drug problem. 20 million residents plus millions of winter visitors (Snowbirds). Traffic. High cost for utilities, food, insurance and DMV fees. Frequent tropical storms, hurricanes and damaging thunderstorms. Very aggressive, rude drivers. Flooding. Toll roads. Mold and high humidity. Never-ending landscape maintenance and bug extermination required. Overcrowding in all desirable areas. Expensive HOA fees. Expensive beach parking and difficulty finding parking. High rent and real estate prices, especially near any body of water. High population of “Snowbirds” crowding roads, restaurants, beaches and high seasonal rate increases during winter months. Difficulty finding affordable rent or housing anywhere near water all year-round, but especially from October through April – when prices double or triple, and everything is booked way in advance.
    The positives of living in Arizona far outweigh Florida positives. But, if you have to be near the ocean, Florida wins.
    I plan on moving out of Florida in the next year or two. Florida is great when you first move here, but it will slowly wear you down until you can’t wait to get out. Lots of people move to Florida daily, but many also leave. Google “hate Florida” or FL sucks, and you’ll be amazed at all the negative things people have to say about this state. Not nearly as much will be found for Arizona. I don’t see a lot of happy people in Florida. Most seem to be angry and frustrated. It shows in their driving and actions in public – rude, aggressive, unfriendly – just miserable. The more money they have the more miserable they seem to be. The local rednecks and people from NY, NJ area seem to be the absolute worst! Go home!!!
    Personally, I find Arizona to be a much easier place to live overall. Not that there aren’t rude, unhappy people in AZ, just a lot less of them.
    For a beach vacation, Florida can’t be beat, but living here year-round is a completely different story.

  24. I am a just widowed lady aged 76 but am told I look anywhere from 50’s to 60. I want to leave Long Island, New York but can’t decide on Florida like The Villages or Arizona or California. I came over from Ireland 44yrs ago but do not want to go back there. I make friends easily and have a very deversified background. I am still very active and in good health but am prone once or twice a year to mild asthma. Could you please give me some ideas.

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