Top 10 Differences Between Living in Florida and Living in Ohio


We have now reached our 3rd anniversary of living in Florida. It has been quite an adjustment and there were times where we thought it just might not work. I am happy to say that all is well now and on the upswing but I thought I would share a few differences that we have found between living in Ohio and living in Florida. This is not an exhaustive list for sure because each day we add something but as of today here is a small list of differences.


It takes forever to get almost anywhere in Central Florida. There are a lot of tourists that are not quite sure where they are going on top of the fact that there is just a lot of traffic. Even when there is not a lot of traffic, things are spaced quite far apart. In my hometown in Ohio, you could be to about anywhere you wanted to go in approximately 10 minutes. In Florida it could take you 20 to get to the closest Wal-Mart.  It will more than likely look like this when you get there!


Building on #10 there is so much to do and see in Florida. Yes it may take you a while to get somewhere but that is because there is so much to do.  It can’t possibly all be close. Being 10 minutes from Walt Disney World Property, 15 minutes from SeaWorld, 20 minutes from Universal Studios, and 1 hour from Busch Gardens give you quite the list of possible family outings. It is amazing to me the amount of options we have here for entertainment.


In Florida you really don’t know if your neighbors are local or just visiting for vacation. There are many vacation homes and they could be right next door. As a matter of fact the house that we now live in was once a vacation home. The home to our left still is and has new people occupying it each week. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. On one hand it is great to see new people and see how happy they are all the time because they are on vacation. On the other hand it can be quite frustrating when they are still in the pool at 2am or setting off fireworks at midnight. It is also difficult to make friendships with your neighbors because you can’t be sure that they even live there. That did not happen too often in Ohio.


During the summer it will rain every single day! It will only rain for a little while and the sun will once again make its appearance and make the most sticky, humid environment that you could possibly imagine. In Ohio if it was rainy when you woke up, it was probably going to be ugly all day long and the same was true for sunny days. In Florida you always need to be prepared for the pop up storm!


A majority of the people that you come in contact with on a daily basis will not speak English or will pretend that they don’t so that they do not have to communicate with you or listen to any requests made of them. I may notice this more since I am originally from Ohio and there is not a whole lot of diversity in the languages that are spoken but seriously I have had so many times when I try to strike up a conversation in the grocery checkout line or at a theme park and the other person either can’t understand me or is choosing to act like they can’t.


There are Publix grocery stores everywhere. You seriously can’t go a few miles without running into one. They are much like the Kroger stores that we had in Ohio but they seem to be everywhere. I have the choice of 2 that are within 3 minutes of my house. They have the best shopping experience that I have ever had. They rarely are out of items and their customer service is amazing. As a former retail manager I can tell you that they are doing almost everything right! They are a little on the pricy side however. I guess that is the price you pay for not wanting to pull your hair out as you shop.


Schools are completely different in Florida. In Ohio, schools are usually one building or multiple buildings that are connected. They usually have a gymnasium that will double as a cafeteria and they have adequate parking for parents of the students. Florida schools are mainly groups of buildings or portables connected by outdoor walking areas with overhangs. They have cafeterias but their P.E. classes are all held outside. Their gymnasiums are outside and usually will consist of a very large covered area.  Parking lots for parents at schools in Florida are non-existent! They are basically fields! That’s all I will say about that but there are extreme differences between schools in Florida and those in Ohio.


In Ohio you have your fair share of critters to deal with such as bugs or rodents. I will say that nothing that you encounter in Ohio can prepare you for the menagerie that you will encounter when you live in Florida. I have seen spiders that are the size of my fist, 20 frogs on my front door, snakes slither past me and swim in our pool, and a 3 foot alligator on my front porch. There is nothing that can prepare an Ohio boy for looking to his left and seeing an alligator staring at him in the face. I now realize that he was just a baby and had wondered a little way from the marshy area behind our subdivision (the alligator, not me).  I have become a bit more accustomed to the creepy crawlies that I will encounter but it is not something that I am particularly fond of. I have become immune to seeing the lizards that run around.  They become part of the landscape after a while. We formerly were very jumpy as to not step on them. We now just walk and I am happy to say that I haven’t stepped on one yet.  I have even made my peace with the very large birds that make an absolute racket and tear up my yard.  Take the good with the bad I guess.


The scenery in Florida is absolutely amazing. I realize that this is a matter of opinion but I could stare at palm trees all day long as compared to staring at a maple tree. I am merely sharing the differences and not saying one is better than the other but I do really enjoy opening my blinds each day to see palm trees. I have two in my front yard and one inside our pool enclosure and I still am in awe every time I look at them. This is something that may not ever go away! I also love the sound of running water and that is everywhere in Florida. Fountains and water features are everywhere from malls to entrances of housing subdivisions and resorts. Just driving from place to place is a great experience as you take in the wonderful sights. As I mentioned earlier that is a good thing because you will probably be driving for a while.


What else would be #1 than the weather? The weather shapes every other difference on this list. The weather is why schools don’t need indoor hallways and why creepy crawly things are around the house. The weather is the reason I can see palm trees every day and water features year round. The weather is why there are so many who vacation here causing it to be a little less of a Mayberry situation. The weather is the #1 reason we are here! We could argue that we are here for the theme parks but I am not sure that the theme parks alone could keep us 900 miles from our families. My wife and I absolutely detest cold weather. I love the fact that almost every single day of the year I can wear shorts. I may have to put on a hoody or a windbreaker with the shorts but for the most part I can go without needing to wear long pants. I love the fact that a lot of my energy is not spent worrying about the next snow storm and getting to the store before the last loaf of bread and gallon of milk has been purchased. I like the fact that if my son is scheduled to have school, he will have school. There is no waking up and playing the waiting game to see if he needs to attend. I no longer will need to bundle up and find a way to unfreeze our pipes so we have running water. I am not taking years off of my life by the stress incurred from driving on icy roads! I cannot say enough about the difference nice weather makes in your life and your overall mood. People may say that variety is the spice of life. I will take that variety in the form of things to experience, not the barrage of weather issues that can hit me. I can see snow on vacation to Ohio and I can read people’s complaints about the weather on Facebook while sitting by the pool. Funny thing is that the complaints about weather in Ohio do not seem to just be in the winter, it seems year round, which begs the question…Why would anyone choose to live there? (Valid question in my mind but I understand completely that Ohio does have a lot to offer those who have different interests.)

  As you can see there are many things to get used to but for those who have lived here all their life I’m sure it is no big deal. I will say that the #1 thing that I miss in Ohio is my family. I hate the fact that I can only physically see my family a few times out of the year. I have nieces who are growing up and a nephew on the way that I will see very little of. When following your dreams you must make sacrifices but I am working hard to find ways to bridge the gap in the years ahead.

If you are thinking about making the move to Florida, contact me, I can help make the transition a little smoother, especially if you are a Disney fan. I can pass on the tips that have taken us 3 years living here to compile.