Moving from SF Bay Area to Florida's Space Coast - Crazy?

Hi All, 

My partner and I are considering moving to Florida, in specific the Space Coast.  This comprises the following towns (I believe): Cocoa Beach, Melbourne & The Beaches, Port Canaveral, Titusville, Palm Bay, and Viera.  My short question is: are we crazy?

I'm wondering, from a logical point of view, if it makes sense.  We don't have kids but may in the next year or so.  Our parents are all in their early 80's. His are doing fine, my parent needs help.  His job could move him to the Space Coast, and would be his dream. Mine might allow me to work remotely (thought I'm not sure).  The emotional part no one else can answer, but in practical terms, I'm wondering if folks have any experiences moving from the SF Bay Area to Florida (specifically the Space Coast) (or vice versa) and have thoughts?

Some more background info that may or may not be relevant to the logical decision question:  Basically, he's all for it and I'm not so much, but I realize I may be provincial in my thinking.    I don't want to be closed-minded or sacrifice an adventure and an easier financial future for current comfort and familiarity.  We have been there twice in the last 6 months and plan to visit again over the winter holidays.  

He loves it there.  He prefers the weather (his sinuses do a lot better in a warm, humid climate), the people seem friendlier to him, his job would be his dream, and he thinks it's a better/easier place to raise a family than the SF Bay Area (we are trying but are not guaranteed a little one so the kids topic may be moot for us).  His parents would be closer by - about 1.5 hours away (though they're doing fine now, he is thinking ahead). It's likely that a few of his colleagues would also relocate, so he'd have some community. 

I'm a bay area person and I love it here, although living here does seem to get harder and harder financially and otherwise (city government issues, the heartbreaking and seemingly insurmountable issues around unhoused folks, cleanliness and crime problems).  We probably could never afford to own property here.  If we did have children here, caring for them would be harder (our parents are not available for this).  My parent is local and needs help.  The suggestion is that she move with us, although she has some family and friends here (I do too, of course).  I have one friend about 45 minutes way from where we might live in Florida, and if I'm able to keep my current job, I'd be on my own out there (with likely trips back every other month or so to be in the office).  I love the weather here, and the access to gorgeous natural areas, with California topography.  I'm not a fan of the Florida heat, humidity, or bugs (who love me).  That said, we could own property there, and I have to admit I do find parts of Florida beautiful.  

Thanks, All!

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I have relatives in Cocoa Beach and I LOVE visiting. The ocean is amazing and the natural beauty is great. I find folks incredibly friendly and warm in a way they aren't in larger metro areas including the Bay. Very mixed politically, which can be a positive or negative depending on your view (I think it's nice to exit the bubble). If you don't like heat, humidity or bugs, summers there might be really tough for you. Have you visited in August? Maybe you could do a longer visit to test it out?

Hello! I have aging parents in Florida, so I've also been researching what a possible move there might look like. Here area couple of articles that I found helpful with some CA/FL comparisons: , and . Anyway, I just googled moving from CA to FL and found lots of info when I dug around, including these two articles. It's a big change, for sure. I moved to CA from IL in 1997 and that was a crazy-big change, too. It definitely took several years of adjustment, but I love it here now! I like to think about what Anthony Bourdain said: "If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food, it's a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move."  Good luck with whatever you choose!

You are not crazy, and it sounds worth doing. (No experience living in the Space Coast myself). We own a small home here and have two kids (3 and 6 mos). The living is hard, even while owning a home, and all the stressors you cited will possibly stress you even more with kids, as it does me. If you have kids, there's all this additional inertia to stay but it also makes it much harder to stay, financially. We've made a lot of friends via daycare, parks, etc. I think it would be great to go through that process of having kids and building a community somewhere we felt we could afford more easily and live in permanently. Adults are unusually open to making new friends when they are having kids. At least that's been my experience - no one seems to ever mention that, but people seem to feel a stronger urge to build community and a support network and a new type of friend base once they have kids. Thus, I think your timing is really good and if you do have kids, it will help you build a nice community there. Add the family factor on top of it, that's another good reason to do this.

Climate change is already hitting the southeastern coast extremely hard. Sea levels are rising, storm surge is producing more frequent coastal flooding. Hurricanes are getting bigger and wetter due to warming oceans (frequency may be increasing as well, but may be due to normal cyclic hurricane activity rather than climate change). There was recent news that FEMA is changing how it prices federal flood insurance, with rates increasing dramatically in areas prone to flooding (here's a sample of the news:

Climate change risks appear to be impacting home values:

I wouldn't move there. Or at least, I wouldn't buy a home there. Maybe I'd rent there for a few years if I was tempted by a plum job.

Wow, there are a lot of moving parts to the decision that you are facing.

I have never lived in Florida, but visited there when I had a space research job that took me to Canaveral.

There are both good and bad aspects to anywhere one may live, so I won't discuss the less-wonderful aspects of Florida.

You should be able to make friends in Florida and have a social life.

However, let's analyze each aspect of this situation: your relationship with your partner, possible kid(s) with him, your Bay Area parent needing help currently, your job, and the potential for building wealth through owning a home in Florida:

Top priority: your relationship with your partner: IMHO marrying the right person is the smartest thing any of us can do to ensure happiness in our lives.

Is this the right guy for you? Your relationship could change a great deal if you move to Florida. The two top risks: if you don't like the place once you get there, or you cannot keep your present job or find another job that is satisfactory.

That said, I know a couple who have been happily married for 30+ years. She is is from New England, he is from the Bay Area. She has complained for the entire 30+ years about hating California and wanting to go back to New England, but her marriage is so good she is willing to stay here.

Your parent who "needs help now":  What kind of help does she need? How does she feel about the idea of moving to Florida? 

What if she wants to stay in the Bay Area? That could result in a lot of airplane trips back and forth for you. How would things be for her if you had a baby or small child and could not do the travel? Adult children should not sacrifice their marital happiness for a needy parent, but parental needs are indeed a factor.

If she moves to Florida with you, what if you ended up doing full-time elder care (and maybe also child care)?  How would the financial situation work out?  Would your partner (spouse?) be able to support you and your mother, while perhaps also helping his own parents?  Will he be earning enough money to cover that contingency?

What is his relationship like with his proto-MIL? 

Your job: it was an enormous shock to me when I had my first baby, and saw what an impact it had on my career.  I had been self-supporting for 20 years, and suddenly I had to depend on my husband to pay the bills. He has the old-fashioned idea that a man's role is to take care of his family.  But not all guys think that way.

Some women have more robust career paths than others, and more portable jobs.  But you should seriously consider whether - even if you are able to keep your present job after moving to Florida - could you still keep your job with a new baby to care for?

As far as real estate prices go. yes, one builds wealth through home ownership. Should you live in Florida for awhile and build up equity, it would likely still be a challenge to leverage your way back into home ownership in California. I don't know your financial circumstances; some people are able to move back and forth. But I have spoken with several people who moved out of the Bay Area because of the cost of living, and now regret that they can't afford to come back.

If I were in your position, I would make a list of pro's and con's covering every aspect of this Bay Area versus Florida Space Coast dilemma, then follow my heart.

I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide.

Maybe you're crazy, but life's an adventure.

My husband and I, after 10 years in the SF Bay Area, moved to the gulf side of Florida in July. I had a similar situation where it was my husband's idea and I at first absolutely didn't want to move to FL. I mostly grew up in the Bay Area and have family and friends in CA. (My husband doesn't and was really tired of bay area life). But we visited during a nice time of year (April) and it became easier for me to imagine living here. We both work remotely so that wasn't an issue. The move itself was terrible even though nothing bad happened. It just sucked moving across the country with our 5 year old and a cat. We had already purchased a property sight-unseen and moved into it without any of our belongings for the next 3 weeks. Having no childcare and working full time and not having our stuff, plus it was like the height of summer heat and humidity. It was pretty miserable. But, it's about 3 months later now, and the weather is starting to get cooler in the mornings. It actually was "sweater weather" this morning (I have not work any jeans or sweaters since moving here). We're more settled in now since our furniture and other belongings arrived, and our son has settled into kindergarten. We live a couple blocks from an "olde downtown" area, and we got bikes. Being able to ride around town on flat ground is pretty awesome. I'm still not a fan of the heat and humidity or bugs, but I hear that goes away in the winter/spring months. The red tide is a problem here in the gulf, which has put a damper on our enjoyment of the area beaches, but I'm hopeful that will also get better in the coming months. We don't have friends or family here but we plan to do most of our traveling to see family during the summer when it's kind of unbearable in FL, which seems to be pretty common.

Feel free to reach out if you want to know more about my experience moving from SF Bay Area.