Five Things Northerners Don’t Usually Need to Live in Florida

As someone who recently moved to The Sunshine State from the northern panhandle of West Virginia (near Pittsburgh), there was a lot to learn about living in a state 1,000 miles south of our hometown. As frequent visitors of Orlando prior to moving, I thought we had a good grip on the reality of living in Florida. However, there are just some things you need to experience to fully understand. Many of the changes we don’t miss about our transition from the snowy northern states to Central Florida. Learning from our first month as new residents, here are five things we realize northerners should not bring to live in Florida.

Trading snowy days for sandy days isn’t the worst idea.

Heavy Clothing or Bedding

That heavy winter coat you keep in your closet or the big down comforter you would bust out on the coldest nights won’t do you any good in Florida. At the coldest, some mornings can dip into the 30s in the winter. From there, the day usually gets warmer. If you’re heading to the theme parks on a cold morning, you’re better off dressing in layers that can more easily be removed and stored in a backpack. The same goes for your bedding.

We have found a light quilt with additional light layers to be better than being stuck with a heavy, hot, and thick comforter. It’s fine to keep your jackets and things like gloves because they can be useful on chilly nights. But heavy winter gear will not get enough use to warrant keeping around. Our dogs even gave their winter coats away to dogs in need. You may want some heavier stuff, but you certainly won’t need them to the extent you did in the north.

Odie is not upset about not needing his winter coat anymore.

Ice Scrapers, Snow Shovels, or Anything for Winter Weather

Okay, you may want a small ice scraper, because there was one morning when we noticed some ice on the car. But truthfully, I would rather defrost our car a little longer than store something we will use so little. But you definitely don’t need a snow shovel. Nor do you have any use for keeping a bag of rock salt. It just doesn’t get that cold here. Do yourself a favor and give those items to a friend or family member staying in the north. There is no sense in keeping things that won’t get used. This brings me to my next item…

December in Florida on a breezy beach.

Your Junk

Most Florida homes are on a concrete slab which means no basement. Most don’t have usable attics either. We have a crawl space attic we don’t want to bother with since I’m sure it’s a hot place to store stuff. Coming from a home with a large finished attic and basement, I thought we would really miss all that storage space. It turns out, we don’t. We purged and purged some more before we moved and realized we didn’t need all that junk hanging around our house. If you haven’t used it in a year or it hasn’t brought you joy in the past year, throw it out, sell it, or give it away. You’ll be surprised how many things you actually don’t need.

Your Sunday Driving

To me, Sunday Driving is a leisurely drive on a day when most people aren’t out and about. I remember how empty the roads were in Wheeling, WV on Sundays as we drove home from church. Don’t move to the Orlando area with that expectation. Sundays are busy and traffic can be tough. Locals are off work and making their way to the theme parks. People are on vacation. It’s busy and expecting a relaxing Sunday ride through Florida is not going to happen. We have found some of the best times to travel are on weekdays in the middle of the day during non-rush-hour times. Even then, it’s still busy but not as bad as it can be.

The Thought of Visiting the Parks Daily

Yes, you’ll live a lot closer to Walt Disney World, Universal, and other theme parks. Yes, you probably moved to be able to visit more often. But now you’ll no longer be a visitor on vacation. You’ll be a resident with a job and responsibilities. These might include getting the kids to school, taking care of your pets, etc. We try to make it to the parks once a week, but sometimes life just gets busy and you decide that day off is more responsibly spent mowing your grass, cleaning your house, and catching up on laundry. Sometimes you trade an evening at Universal for an evening at Target. You’ll get to go to Disney a lot, I promise. But maybe not as consecutively as you are used to.

Do I visit Hogwarts or Target this Sunday?

Join the Conversation

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on living in Florida as a former Northerner. To take part in the conversations on all things related to Moving to Orlando, residing in Florida, and living near theme parks, join our Moving to Orlando Facebook group. Stay tuned to to stay up to date on what’s going on in Central Florida.

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Amy Krieger

Amy loves all things Disney from the theme parks and resorts to the beloved films. She and her husband, Paul, are originally from Wheeling, West Virginia. They now live in Central Florida with their two fur kids, Odie the greyhound and Hermes the Spanish galgo. As Disney Vacation Club members and Disney World Annual Passholders, they visit Disney World and other Disney properties as often as possible. Full time, Amy is the Manager of Loan Origination for Monera Financial, a World of DVC company where she helps buyers finance DVC contracts. She is also a contributing writer for a few DIS websites.

4 thoughts on “Five Things Northerners Don’t Usually Need to Live in Florida

  • For those of you coming from desert states, such as Arizona, California, Nevada, etc., do not bring your swamp coolers or any other type of device that cools by misting the air. Florida is very humid, and REMOVING water from the air is critical to keeping comfortable here. Even if you are willing to live in a cool sauna, your home won’t like it, as condensation will build up on your windows, walls, and even some furniture. This can eventually cause water damage and/or mold to grow in your home. Welcome! but keep your home dry.

  • Was that a Greyhound? We rescued two retired racers and they were such loving dogs. Sadly, they both succumbed to cancer too early in their lives. Would love to rescue more… just don’t know if I can say goodbye as quickly as I did before.

    • Yes, it is! We have one retired racing greyhound (now 11 years old) and one Spanish galgo (basically greyhound from Spain with some differences). I’m so sorry to hear about your greyhounds. We just lost a greyhound last August to bone cancer so I completely understand the heartache. You may want to consider adopting a galgo. Personalities are nearly the same as greyhounds (with a little more intelligence) but not susceptible to cancers like greyhounds are. I’d be happy to provide you with some resources if you ever decide to adopt a galgo. There are many in need of homes.

  • Actually…we have loved having our snow shovel in Texas…..we bought one for the one year we lived in PA when we were first married…..and it is now the shovel we use to get rid of dead wildlife that the dogs get in the back yard.


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