When it comes to major life events, few are more significant or potentially stressful than the decision to move from one city to another. When these two cities are separated by a huge number of miles, cultural differences, unique weather, and a completely different lifestyle, it can all seem like a lot to process and figure out.

So why do people do it? Plenty of reasons. But for those who are deciding for themselves rather than having it made for them, it often comes down to finding a way of living that’s more in line with what they want out of their life. No two people are the same, and fortunately, the world has provided a range of cities, regions, and local personalities so that everyone can find the perfect place for them.

With that in mind, we put together this guide for a specific type of move that we’ve found many of our awesome new residents have experienced—moving from Michigan to Florida. As more and more people start looking for a way to escape the brutally cold winters and experience more of that famous Florida sunshine, we’ve found that a lot of those people are eager to make a change but don’t know exactly where to start.

Meanwhile, many people moving from Michigan to Florida worry that they won’t be able to adjust to the changes that are waiting for them. How will they know what neighborhood to choose, where to eat, where to enjoy themselves on a weekend, and whether the area they select will be right for their own unique lifestyle? Moving from Michigan to Florida can be a fantastic, life-changing experience— but it is a major move. Nearly 1,500 miles of space separates the two states, not to mention two very different local cultures and overall vibes.

So with that in mind, let’s start by addressing some of the most basic differences between Michigan and Florida and how they’ll impact your decision.

Weather

When you live in Michigan, you experience the full extremes that Mother Nature is capable of delivering. From mile summers to absolutely chilling winters and everything in-between, you can’t get too comfortable with one weather cycle before another comes blasting in and requiring you to break out your winter parka.

Florida, however, is pretty much the exact opposite. Moving from Michigan to Florida means saying goodbye to distinct seasons and hello to warm, pleasant and mild weather just about all year long. While Florida does have a few months of rainy season each year, even this period is mild and stays relatively warm even when cloudy.

When it comes to weather, Michigan and Florida could not be more different. It’s up to you to decide which you prefer.

Food

Don’t get us wrong— we’re sure Michigan has some excellent places to eat both within the cities and in the surrounding suburbs and rural areas. But when it comes to a wide range of cuisines from all over the world prepared by some of the most renowned chefs on the planet, it’s tough to beat Florida. You’ll find food for literally every taste you can imagine, all prepared in authentic settings by those who are true experts in their field.

That doesn’t just include the cities and tourist-centric areas, either. Even when you move into the more traditionally ‘southern’ areas of Florida, you’ll find world-class southern classics as well as plenty of international fair that will have you dreaming of that favorite item from the menu long after you’ve signed the check.

So when you’re talking about a long list of delicious food options on any given night, living in Florida can’t be beat.

Diversity

Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country, with a range of ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds all converging to make the state a magnificent melting pot that’s representative of the American experience as a whole. If you’ve found that you like Michigan but wish you had the opportunity to interact with more people from diverse backgrounds who can trace their stories all over the world, Florida might be your unique opportunity to have exactly that unique experience. It’s a wonderful place to dive in and take part in the full richness of the human experience for yourself, whether you choose Miami, Orlando, Tampa Bay, or elsewhere.

Opportunities

Hoping to find a great job in Florida? Good news. The state’s job economy is currently thriving, especially compared to Michigan’s which is relatively stable. In fact, Florida’s rate of employment is nearly twice what you’ll find in Michigan— and it boasts a lower unemployment rate, too.

Because so many major companies (and an increasing number of startups) are basing their headquarters in Florida, you’ll find no shortage of openings in your chosen field. So if you don’t have a job already lined up for your move, you can rest assured that you’ll have plenty of chances to interview, find a position that’s right for you, and land that dream job in the sunny workforce of Florida. You’ll be living the dream in no time.

Night Life

Speaking of living the dream, entertainment in Florida is quite literally like a dream. Nowhere else in the world will you find such an amazing combination of theme parks, entertainment venues, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, music venues, live performers from around the world. Because Florida is such a destination for many tourists and locals alike, it brings in some of the best performing talents in every field—from world-famous musicians to big-name comics and everything in-between. And don’t forget that Florida is also home to some of the world’s most famous theme resorts, including Disney World, LEGO Land, Universal Studios, and many more.

Whatever you like to do after clocking out for the day, Florida will give you a hundred different options in your exact area of interest to choose from at night. The entire state is basically an adult playground, waiting to be explored.

What Area in Florida is Best for Me? 

low angle photography of green palm trees during daytime

Are you more interested in moving from Michigan to Florida now than ever before? Then let’s dive into some of the details about two of the most popular destinations in Florida—Orlando & Tampa. While there are also other great places to live in Florida, like the Miami Beach area or Tallahassee, our team is most familiar with Orlando and Tampa, and we’re most able to give you top-notch recommendations and details about these two major destinations.

So without further ado, let’s start with brief summaries about these two cities before diving deeper into what makes each of them special and what you’ll find when moving to each one. By the end, we hope you’ll feel more informed and better equipped to make the right decision when moving from Michigan to Florida.

Orlando

Orlando is an established city with an up-and-coming vibe. Long known to be a major tourist destination, one of the most visited cities in the country, more and more people are realizing that it has value beyond just a weeklong trip. As a result, more and more people are flocking to the city as their long-term home.

It’s not hard to see why. Orlando is bustling with theme parks, nightlife, incredible restaurants operated by world-famous chefs, and beautiful weather and outdoor recreation opportunities you can enjoy year-round. With all of that, it’s not difficult to understand why many people who move from Michigan to Florida ultimately decide to settle in Orlando. It’s a thrilling place to live that also brings all the comforts of a great place to live long-term.

Tampa 

Tampa may not be as instantly iconic and recognizable as Orlando—after all, it’s hard to compete with Disney World. But Tampa Bay brings a charm and appeal all its own. Tampa is located right in the middle of Tampa Bay, a beautiful natural harbor that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. In this historic city, you’ll find a range of attractions and opportunities to hold your interest, including the historic Ybor City—first grown by Spanish and Cuban workers and now a vibrant nightlife district filled with good music, beautiful people, and delicious foods.

Tampa also offers some of its own theme parks, including Busch Gardens, in an effort to compete with the big-name appeal of Orlando. Overall, Tampa is a strikingly beautiful city with a whole lot to offer in its own right.

Now let’s dive deep into the details of what makes each of these two sunny Florida cities so special.

Orlando

Crowds walking through Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Let’s start with some of the general stats you should know about Orlando. The city has a respectable population of 286,000—no small town, but not among the nation’s largest cities. The median age of people living in the city is 34, and the population of the city has been steadily growing each year by roughly 2%.

Meanwhile, the average income of a household in Orlando is an impressive $52,000. So what else do you need to know about Orlando before making your move from Michigan to Florida? We’ll cover its economy, educational opportunities, safety ratings, culture, and more. If you want to learn more about specific neighborhoods in Orlando, check out our guide to the best neighborhoods in Orlando.

Economy

Orlando boasts a bustling local economy, driven by a robust group of businesses that call the city home and employ many of its people. Of its total population, over 160,000 people are consistently employed within the city, accounting for a wide spectrum of industries and fields.

This makes Orlando a great place to find work, as the city’s growing business base and population means that there are plenty of job opportunities in whichever industry interests you most. Some of the most popular industries in the city, however, are found in health care, hospitality, retail, entertainment, and food services, as well as science, finance, and agriculture.

Another plus about Orlando is that relative to the nation as a whole, there’s less income inequality than you’ll find elsewhere. You’re less likely to experience extreme poverty and exorbitant wealth, instead finding that for the most part, wealth is evenly spread out within the city— at least relative to many other locations in the country.

Education

If you were to rattle off some of the most famous colleges in Florida—Florida State, University of Florida, University of Miami, etc.— you probably wouldn’t be familiar with many in Orlando. However, the city actually has a bustling education scene for both primary and higher education.

Orlando is home to Valencia College, the largest university in the city, as well as the Orange Technical College and Adventist University of Health Sciences. Those moving from Michigan to Florida and worried about finding great schools need not worry—the educational culture in Orlando is alive and well.

In fact, over 15,000 degrees are earned each year in the city, and 50,000 of the city’s population are students at any given time during the year.

Safety

Worried that big city life will bring big city risk? Here’s the truth about crime and safety in Orlando. While Orlando is a major city, and urban areas always bring higher than average crime rates than rural areas, Orlando is actually a relatively safe city when compared to other major metropolitan areas in the country. Orlando doesn’t have higher violent crime rates or property crime rates than comparable cities, making it a smart choice for those who want to experience the big city without constantly worrying about being the victim of a crime. As long as you’re responsible, make safe decisions, and understand the inherent risks of city living, you’ll be just fine when calling Orlando home.

If you’re moving from Michigan to Florida, you’ll find that Orlando’s crime rate is significantly lower than that of Detroit. This is always welcome news to those who move from Detroit to sunny Orlando.

Culture

Where do we begin? Florida as a whole has a rich culture unlike anywhere else on earth, and Orlando turns all of that up to 11. Here you’ll find people from all over the world, all bringing their culture, cuisines, music, entertainment, and joy for life to the city. On one corner you’ll find mouthwatering southern fare, on another you’ll be treated to spicy Mexican dishes, and you’ll then have your pick from dozens of fantastic bars, nightclubs, or entertainment venues to enjoy.

Florida natives are also known for their warmth and hospitality, eager to welcome anyone into the family and culture that makes Orlando so wonderful. Plus, Orlando dwellers know that they live in one of the most fun cities on earth, filled with theme parks, resorts, rides, and vibrant adventures. This brings a sense of family and fun to every neighborhood, where everyone feels as though they’re experiencing the great adventure of life together.

Overall, Orlando has a culture all its own. But you don’t have to worry about being slow to feel at home. The city is known for bringing people in, making them a part of the family, and then making sure they never want to leave thanks to all of the incredible fun and adventure the city has to offer. Your worry won’t be whether moving to Orlando will be the right move, but rather whether you’ll ever want to move again once you arrive!

Overall

In general, Orlando is a fantastic place to call home. It offers just about everything someone could want, regardless of whether you’re a young single person or a family. From tons of entertainment, beautiful outdoor spaces and weather and vivid nightlife to relatively safe neighborhoods, plenty of educational opportunities and a thriving job market, Orlando has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a city that’s not just one thing but contains many of the best parts of city living from all around the world, Orlando should be high on your list. Many of the people we talk to who consider moving from Michigan to Florida ultimately end up in Orlando—and it’s not hard to see why. This vivid city is a sure way to enliven your experiences and discover just what you’ve been missing out on in your current city life.

Tampa 

City view of Tampa, Florida

Tampa may not have as much fame and attention as Orlando, but did you know that it’s actually the larger city by population? Home to over 375,000 people, Tampa is located on the beautiful Tampa Bay and brings in people from all over the world thanks to its range of attractions. If you want to experience coastal living in a laidback yet vibrant city where you’ll immediately feel at home, then you should give Tampa a strong look. And if you’re moving from Michigan to Florida, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more welcome change than trading your winter parka for your year-round swimsuit and sunglasses.

Here are some of the additional details about Tampa that you’ll want to know before making the big move.

Overview

Tampa is sunny and warm for nearly the entire year, although there is a ‘rainy’ season that runs from June until November. Even during this period, the weather is warm and sunny days are common. And that’s a good thing because Tampa has more outdoor attractions than you can possibly imagine. We’re talking about over 160 different parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces.

Meanwhile, if you were worried that Orlando would hog all of the theme parks, don’t worry. Tampa features Adventure Island, Zoo Tampa, Busch Gardens, and the world-renowned Florida Aquarium. Whatever your area of interest, you’ll definitely find something for you in Tampa.

Some of our favorite neighborhoods include Hyde Park and South Tampa, which each provide their very own charm in an up-and-coming environment that’s constantly growing with more things to enjoy. 

Cost of Living

How much it will cost you to live in Tampa will depend largely on your lifestyle and how you spend your money, but in general, you’ll find that the city is less costly to live in than other major metropolitan areas in the country. The cost of living for a single person living in the city is right around $850 per month (not including housing), which is pretty respectable considering that the price of an apartment can be as low as $375 (and as high as $3,200 depending on what you’re looking for and which neighborhood you decide to settle in and live.)

white and blue concrete building under blue sky during daytime

Work

Did you know that Tampa is the seventh-largest seaport in the United States? In fact, half of all sea-based importing and exporting that happens in the state of Florida goes through Tampa. This makes Tampa a great place to try to find a job, but it’s not the only reason. There’s also a bustling tourist industry (three major cruise lines operate out of Tampa) as well as multiple major companies with their primary headquarters in the city. These include TECO Energy, Raymond James Financial, Publix, and OSI Restaurant Partners.

So if you’re looking for the perfect job opportunity to help jumpstart your new adventure in Florida, Tampa is a great place to begin your search. The city also boasts an average monthly salary of $3,300– and that’s after taxes. Not bad at all.

Culture & City Life

Tampa is an interesting paradox—on one hand, a bustling metropolitan area thriving with business, nightlife, entertainment, and tourism. On the other hand, it’s also a laidback coastal town where you’ll often find residents posted up on a beach and simply enjoying the beautiful weather.

This laidback vibe is evident throughout the city. For example, did you know that Tampa features the world’s longest uninterrupted sidewalk? Talk about a relaxing stroll. Bayshore Boulevard is 4.5 miles long and stretches through some of the city’s most beautiful areas.

Attractions like this are representative of what makes Tampa such a desirable place to live. It combines big-city living with relaxed coastal charm, and it’s why we recommend that anyone moving from Michigan to Florida gives it a strong look.

Let McKinley Help You Move to Florida

At McKinley, we believe that moving shouldn’t be a stressful experience—just an exciting one. If finding the perfect place to live is one of your concerns for an upcoming move, then let McKinley remove that stress from the equation. We offer excellent rentals throughout Florida and can help you find the perfect neighborhood and unit for your interests, budget, and desired lifestyle.

We’ll help you move to Florida whenever the time is right for you.