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Florida vs California. What I miss and what I don't.

After living in California for a few months, I've decided these are the things that I do (and don't) miss from Florida.

By Crystal A. WalkerPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - October 2023
Compiled image created by me using the following: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay, Image of Calfornia Image by ExplorersInternational from Pixabay, and Florida image by Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

I've lived in Florida for nearly twenty years, and it was starting to feel like I'd never leave. However, that changed earlier this year, and I now find myself on the opposite coast of the USA. Are there some things that I miss in Florida? Sure. However, there are plenty of things that I don't, and IMO, good riddance!

What is NOT Missed


I (literally) cannot count the number of hurricanes and named storms I have been through. This burden is amplified by my job and the number of people I am responsible for. If I had just my husband, dog, and myself to worry about, I'd deem every storm "Hurricane Party" and BYOB.

As a native girl from Kansas, I must say Tornados > Hurricanes.

Don't get me wrong, tornadoes suck, and I've seen a few cows nearly ripped from the fields. However, they are quick, and it's a bonus if you have a basement or storm shelter.

When we moved to Florida and house hunting, I noticed that basements were a rare commodity. Here, you not only get hurricanes but on the outskirts (like where I was), you'll get tornadoes too, so double f*c%!

There were times that I went days without water and weeks without power. (P.S. I would have made MacGyver proud to discover how to brew coffee with a grill, K-cup, and pantyhose on my back porch.)

Image created by the author Crystal A. Walker in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally

Sorry, Florida, but you can keep that sh!t. I understand that I face the threat of wildfires and earthquakes now, but I had enough of your near-tropical sh*t storms.


Sweet baby Jesus, it's hot and humid in Florida, where I felt like I lived in Mother Nature's armpit in the summer. Even at 7 a.m., I was sweating in locations I thought impossible, giving a new understanding of the term 'swamp crotch.'

Ridiculousness News

When I hear of something ridiculous on the news and take a guess where it happened, chances are that I am going to assume it's in Florida. Need examples? Here are a few:

Need I go on?

I don't know if it's the heat or the humidity, but damn, Florida. WTF?

What I DO Miss


Oh, Publix, how I miss you. Not only do I crave your noteworthy "Pub Subs," but you often provided me some much-needed comic relief during Hurricane Season with your iconic Hurricane Cakes. Thinking about your BOGOs on top of that makes me tear.

Despite your recent decision to discontinue your Hurricane Cakes, I still miss you.

Easier Taxes

I am no tax expert, but Florida clearly beats California when it comes to taxes. In Florida, I did not have any state income tax to deal with and received property tax exemptions. Also, let's notice that the sales tax rate of 6% is much better than Cali's at 7.25%.

Cheaper Cost of Living

Three months into living on the West Coast, I am still sticker-shocked by the cost of living here. At the time of this writing, the lowest price for a gallon of gas in Florida is approximately $3 per gallon. However, where I live in California, the average cost of gas is roughly $5.60. Don't even get me started on our grocery bill, either. Being a single-income family, I watch our budget, and OMG, groceries are significantly more expensive in California vs. Florida.

What both states have that I accept

Drivers in both states suck

Dear Florida & California: Your drivers in both states, without a doubt, are 100% S-U-C-K. In Florida, I encountered my fair share of "red light runners." However, in California, I firmly believe that most drivers think they are driving on the Autobahn. When it comes to driving, neither state wins.

Disney & Universal

I've visited Florida's Disney World several times and Universal once, but I immensely enjoyed both amusement parks. However, I can experience both parks again but on a different coast! I have yet to experience California's Disney Land and Universal personally, but from what I've queried, they go head-to-head, and I'm eager to compare both coasts!


Regarding texture, I am partial to Florida's powdery white sanded beaches. However, the area of marine life in California that I have gotten to experience has taken my breath away. Tucking my toes into the warm sand of Florida, it feels like I'm walking on sugar-powder. However, in twenty years of living in Florida, I never pulled over to see whales.

Image captured by the author Crystal A. Walker of whales in Bodega Bay, CA

I've been in California for three months (so far) and have gotten to see whales (and keeping my eye out for great white sharks and harbor seals.) It's a toss-up regarding beach life between the coasts, with both having significant benefits.

As an amateur videographer, it's a toss-up regarding the view. Florida provides a sub-tropical vibe, and warm crystal clear water is tough to beat without taking a flight to an island. However, California's coast is also picturesque, providing a powerful juxtaposition of cliffs that drop into the ocean, often reminding me of the Cliffs of Moher.

Add to the Karma Jar to provide some 'Good Vibes.' Hearts ❤️ and tips ️💸 are always welcome and much appreciated as they help support my writing and contribute to the next adventure I can share with you! 🙏

travel tipstravel advicereviewculturebudget travelamerica

About the Creator

Crystal A. Walker

Blogger | Creative Writer | Traveler | Full-Time RVer

You can find all of my articles on my blog as well on Medium where I'm most active in Humor, Lifestyle, and Travel. I've self-published one fantasy fiction with the sequel in the works.

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  • Christineabout a month ago

    Something to ponder

  • Joe Luca2 months ago

    Weird is universal. FL has a different kind of weirdness than CA - I guess it's a matter of preference. But all in all, CA is better, just more expensive.

  • Gene Lass2 months ago

    The Florida Man phenomenon is a real thing. There's even Florida Woman. I tried to relocate there in late 2020/2021 and remember plenty of oddball stories. In one, Florida Woman went to a liquor store totally naked and got into a fight with someone. That cost of living thing has gotten very complex between Florida and California. Yes, Californians make more - but that's on average. There are some VERY wealthy people there, namely the Hollywood types and Silicon Valley tech people. Then there are the rest, who are sometimes working multiple jobs and only being able to afford to rent part of someone's floor to sleep on, while driving in an hour to work. Or, just sleep in the car. Florida used to be cheap, which is what drove me to try to relocate there. No state income tax is great, and rent and land had been pretty cheap, but not anymore. People are flocking there from all over, namely California, New York, and Illinois, so the price of rent and housing has skyrocketed and shows no sign of going down. I had coworkers in the Tampa area who had decent but not great apartments with rent of about $850 a month. If they wanted to stay in that so-so apartment, they were looking at rents of $1150 a month, and that was about the best they could do for an hour or more in any direction. To have a decent apartment without roaches, mice, or rats, and without randos wandering around outside, you'd be looking at $1300 a month, while wages were pretty stagnant. Not cool. So I left.

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    This is fantastic! May compare Montréal and Toronto one day... 🤔

  • Raymond G. Taylor2 months ago

    Having seen Whales off Monterey I share the joy. Congratulations on the TS

  • Antonella Rustica2 months ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story🧨💞💥

  • I just want to bring something into light. Because everybody just goes by dollar amounts instead of percentages. If you want to make a fair comparison you have to look at the percentages. You cannot go by the raw dollar amount. It doesn't work that way. Yes, taxes and gas in California may be higher then in florida. But in California we make a whole lot more money than Floridians make. The average wage in California is $68,000 in Florida is $48,000. California makes 41.6% more California cost of living $53,000 Florida cost of living is $50,000 The cost of living in California is only 6% more than in Florida yet Floridians make 41.6% less than Californians. So, if you go by percentage it costs much more to live in Florida than it does to live in California.

  • Scott Christenson2 months ago

    Today in Florida Man: Florida man breaks into woman's house, sits on her couch and makes unusual request. He didn't try to commit any crimes while inside, the woman said, but he did ask for water and something to smoke. Shortly after, he grew belligerent again and resumed yelling before leaving her house, the affidavit said. https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/florida-man-breaks-into-womans-house-sits-on-her-couch-and-makes-unusual-request-deputies He attacked his 103-year-old grandma in her bed, Florida cops say — and he had a reason https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article280593489.html ...and last month: Florida man arrested after trying to cross Atlantic in hamster wheel vessel https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66733230

  • Mel2 months ago

    As someone who was born and raised in Florida and moved out to California at eighteen, I do have to say... nothing will ever top Publix subs.

  • Margaret Brennan2 months ago

    I've never had the opportunity to visit California but I've been in Florida for 23 years. You're right about the humidity. It's a killer! The hurricanes seem to be getting worse - all Cat 4s but so far this year, they haven't even gotten lose to us. Our taxes? Well, they keep going up. I think I'd rather face a hurricane (since we at least know they're coming) than be caught off guard by an earthquake. Guess it's like 6 of one and half dozen of the other.

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    I haven't had the pleasure of living in Florida, however I did endure about 6 years in Northern California and I've lived in Tornado Alley for half my life, cumulatively. The cost of living is most definitely the worst part of trying to live in CA. On the other hand, in defense of tornadoes and hurricanes, at least you tend to have some warning. I can't say that for the earthquakes I've experienced. I did get to see whales, one instance of which was a Gray mother and calf actually in a river, under a bridge (great photo op). On the subject of crazy people doing crazy things, you didn't mention where you are in CA, but I'm betting it's not Humboldt County. If I'm mistaken, let me just say, "Give it time." Here's hoping your CA adventures are memorable, in a good way. Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Well now I know! I've been to both states and coasts but don't have a preference. I did see a whale in San Fran years ago and that was cool. Your MacGyver tip was hilarious, glad it worked. And I read that story about the looney college student. I wonder WTF kind of drugs turned him into a demon. Congrats on your very entertaining Top Story.

  • Naveed2 months ago

    Congratulations on achieving top story status!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Loved your comparison of Florida & California.❤️❤️💕 Decades ago, lived in Florida and have visited California a few times . Therefore, your story drew my interest. Both locations have their positives and negstives. Happy to be in Texas!!!

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