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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Floridians,

I'm retiring within a year, like water, sailing, beaches, and motorboats. Don't care about fishing. I'm thinking of moving to one of the coastal areas of Florida and plan to take a leisurely fact finding sort of ride there in May or June if COVID obliges me. My question is what areas or places along the Gulf side or panhandle would you suggest I check out? I'm single and am thinking of buying a smaller house--no condo or apartments. My price range is modest so no places in the millions of dollars. Sleepy little backwater village sort of describes my interest, as opposed to vibrant night life, high rise city with good shopping.

Areas I've tentatively looked at on Google maps include Ft. Meyers Beach, Seaside, Freeport. Moving East, Panama city, Port St. Joe, and Suwanee. I'd likely end around Yankeetown and return home from there.

Any suggestions on where to include (or where to avoid!), nice roads or parks, that sort of thing would be appreciated. Ditto for any Honda MC places I might want to visit. TIA.
 

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I like your approach. Know what you want first, then go looking. What makes Florida your choice for the Gulf Coast? There are many small gulf towns along the coastline between Florida and Texas.

For me, Florida has too many retired people. I know, I know, I'm one of them. But when you throw in things like baseball spring training, Disney World, spring break, northern vacation destination and many central and south Americas view Florida as their dream destination, the diversity of driving habits from people from all over causes me no end of frustration when I go. And then Florida seems to have this propensity for random toll roads. I do get the marketing image created by Florida of idyllic secluded and deserted beaches but my guess is those places are long gone from everyone moving down from the North in retirement.

I personally like the area between Pensacola and Mobile in Alabama, although, I think over the last years many others have discovered this area, as well. Even Lulu's place (Jimmy Buffet's sister) moved from Florida because of taxation. They physically put her place on pontoons and moved it to Alabama. I also like west of Mobile in Alabama, although you probably need to be careful, as local laws in many Southern states are inconsistent from county to county. Texas has great coastline areas too, but just like Florida, most places are already spoken for.

Good luck with your search.
 

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I like your approach. Know what you want first, then go looking. What makes Florida your choice for the Gulf Coast? There are many small gulf towns along the coastline between Florida and Texas.
Lived in Galveston for 3 years long ago and like the white sand beaches of Fla better. Like the tax situation in Fla, too. Definitely don't like crowds, but also don't want to sit inside for 5 months in Minnesota every winter. I should have mentioned this would be a 6 month location, with a cabin and family up in St. Paul and Wilmar, MN. Thanks for the comments.
 

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How close to the water do you want to be? THAT is your biggest price driver.

I would look in the Big Bend area, but as Red said, Crystal River and north. A bit west and north of Ocala has good riding, but it is land locked.

One other thing you may want to consider that has various options...live in an RV and haul your bike. If it is just you, you have a LOT of options. Travel trailer and put the bike in the bed of a truck, toy hauler travel trailer or toy hauler fifth wheel, Class C towing the bike on a trailer, Class A toy hauler towing a vehicle, Class A towing the bike in a trailer, Class A diesel pusher with the bike on a lift and towing a vehicle, Class A diesel towing a pickup with the bike in the bed.
 

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Most of the locations you mentioned already will likely make a happy retirement home. Don't forget Apalachicola a small old-time town with a long history. If you like Oysters they don't get any better than those harvested in the Bay. Also Panama City you will likely find many properties available at good rates in light of the recent hurricane, Many have moved away and don't plan on returning after that event. Port St. Joe/Mexico Beach is also nice small towns but both were devastated again by the recent Hurricane. Properties and or vacant lots are plentiful. Jimmy Carter used to have a home in Mexico Beach. Wewahitchka another small town but a bit of a drive to the beach areas. South Port just north of Panama City is a nice town. Youngstown nice small town just N/E of Panama City might fit you as well. Calloway and Parker outside of Panama City are small towns unincorporated. Zillow is your friend and is a good barometer sort of speaking for home/property values. Rolling Thunder Bike Show every year on Panama City Beach. Panama City Beach you won't like especially when the college kids have spring break! Enjoy you're soon to be retirement!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
One other thing you may want to consider that has various options...live in an RV and haul your bike. If it is just you, you have a LOT of options. Travel trailer and put the bike in the bed of a truck, toy hauler travel trailer or toy hauler fifth wheel, Class C towing the bike on a trailer, Class A toy hauler towing a vehicle, Class A towing the bike in a trailer, Class A diesel pusher with the bike on a lift and towing a vehicle, Class A diesel towing a pickup with the bike in the bed.
The RV approach has some appeal but where would I LIVE? Or do people drive those things in and park them for months at a time someplace? I’m obviously ignorant of how that sort of existing happens. I think I’ve picked up from your posts that that is how you live now, right?
 

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The RV approach has some appeal but where would I LIVE? Or do people drive those things in and park them for months at a time someplace? I’m obviously ignorant of how that sort of existing happens. I think I’ve picked up from your posts that that is how you live now, right?
Yes, my wife and I along with our dog and cat live in a 42' fifthwheel. We had our 1 year anniversary of "full timing" a couple weeks ago. Thousands of people live in an RV full time. Some are retired, some are still working. Single people, married couples, 4+ person families, etc.

We stick to RV parks with full hookups (electric, water, sewer). Last winter we were in SW Louisiana. This summer we are in western Colorado. This winter we plan to be at a few places in Arizona. Next summer...who knows. It will be somewhere in the western US. We often "workamp" for our site. That is, work for the RV park a certain number of hours per week in exchange for the site. It gets us out of the house and enables us to meet a lot of people from different places. This year we probably will not be meeting that many people.

The bad is having to get rid of virtually all of your "stuff". There is only so much cargo space and carrying capacity in an RV. Storage fees for stuff you may not touch for years is just wasted money. The good is getting rid of a lot "stuff" that you really don't need; nik-naks, dust collectors, photo albums you haven't looked at in decades, clothes you haven't worn in years, etc.

The ability to spend several months in one place, explore as much as you want, then go to another place for several months and explore as much as you want is a great ability. And, if you find a place you like a whole lot, you can stay put.

But the lifestyle is not for everyone.
 

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Yes, my wife and I along with our dog and cat live in a 42' fifthwheel. We had our 1 year anniversary of "full timing" a couple weeks ago. Thousands of people live in an RV full time. Some are retired, some are still working. Single people, married couples, 4+ person families, etc.

We stick to RV parks with full hookups (electric, water, sewer). Last winter we were in SW Louisiana. This summer we are in western Colorado. This winter we plan to be at a few places in Arizona. Next summer...who knows. It will be somewhere in the western US. We often "workamp" for our site. That is, work for the RV park a certain number of hours per week in exchange for the site. It gets us out of the house and enables us to meet a lot of people from different places. This year we probably will not be meeting that many people.

The bad is having to get rid of virtually all of your "stuff". There is only so much cargo space and carrying capacity in an RV. Storage fees for stuff you may not touch for years is just wasted money. The good is getting rid of a lot "stuff" that you really don't need; nik-naks, dust collectors, photo albums you haven't looked at in decades, clothes you haven't worn in years, etc.

The ability to spend several months in one place, explore as much as you want, then go to another place for several months and explore as much as you want is a great ability. And, if you find a place you like a whole lot, you can stay put.

But the lifestyle is not for everyone.
Thanks for the explanation. Lots to consider in that regard. Do you have some idea of the average cost per week or month to stay in such a place?
 

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Thanks for the explanation. Lots to consider in that regard. Do you have some idea of the average cost per week or month to stay in such a place?
Widely varies based on location. Long term (month or season) is usually cheapest. Sometimes just a bit more than a 2 weeks rate. Some charge electricity for long term, others do not. $500 - $600 a month is a fair average.
 

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Don't move to Florida. The roads down here are boring, it's too hot nine months out of the year, it's too crowded, rains a lot, love bugs are terrible twice a year, real estate prices are rising along with impact fees and in general the place just sucks. I should know. I have never lived more than 90 miles from where I live right now. :devilish:
 

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Don't move to Florida. The roads down here are boring, it's too hot nine months out of the year, it's too crowded, rains a lot, love bugs are terrible twice a year, real estate prices are rising along with impact fees and in general the place just sucks. I should know. I have never lived more than 90 miles from where I live right now. :devilish:
Lol. And yet there you are, Capt. Bob! I didn't expect great riding or even good riding, TBH. But if you don't like cold and like water it seems like a pretty good option. That's why I want to do a ride down to see for myself.
 

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Most of the locations you mentioned already will likely make a happy retirement home. Don't forget Apalachicola a small old-time town with a long history. If you like Oysters they don't get any better than those harvested in the Bay. Also Panama City you will likely find many properties available at good rates in light of the recent hurricane, Many have moved away and don't plan on returning after that event. Port St. Joe/Mexico Beach is also nice small towns but both were devastated again by the recent Hurricane. Properties and or vacant lots are plentiful. Jimmy Carter used to have a home in Mexico Beach. Wewahitchka another small town but a bit of a drive to the beach areas. South Port just north of Panama City is a nice town. Youngstown nice small town just N/E of Panama City might fit you as well. Calloway and Parker outside of Panama City are small towns unincorporated. Zillow is your friend and is a good barometer sort of speaking for home/property values. Rolling Thunder Bike Show every year on Panama City Beach. Panama City Beach you won't like especially when the college kids have spring break! Enjoy you're soon to be retirement!
Thanks for all these listings, Kenichi. I went through them all on Google maps which took me a while to respond. Wemahitchka was a real find; a bit far but I'll have to take a ride out there. Glad you mentioned the last hurricane and the effect on property and property values. I was aware but only in a general sense, so that's something to think about both in terms of hassle and financial loss, as well as purchase opportunity. I've been to the state a few times but never on the Gulf side so it will be a fun trip. Thanks again.
 

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Hi Floridians,

I'm retiring within a year, like water, sailing, beaches, and motorboats. Don't care about fishing. I'm thinking of moving to one of the coastal areas of Florida and plan to take a leisurely fact finding sort of ride there in May or June if COVID obliges me. My question is what areas or places along the Gulf side or panhandle would you suggest I check out? I'm single and am thinking of buying a smaller house--no condo or apartments. My price range is modest so no places in the millions of dollars. Sleepy little backwater village sort of describes my interest, as opposed to vibrant night life, high rise city with good shopping.

Areas I've tentatively looked at on Google maps include Ft. Meyers Beach, Seaside, Freeport. Moving East, Panama city, Port St. Joe, and Suwanee. I'd likely end around Yankeetown and return home from there.

Any suggestions on where to include (or where to avoid!), nice roads or parks, that sort of thing would be appreciated. Ditto for any Honda MC places I might want to visit. TIA.
Drair - I'm in Ocala and I and the Prowlers would be happy to show you around. Yankeetown, Crystal River, Homosassa, and Ceder Key are all close and I nice ride. I personally visit both coasts but wouldn't live there. I avoid crowds and tourists, but these are smaller communities and yet to be invaded by self centered A-Holes from the Land of Northern Aggression. We also have our own Face Book Page so most of us use this one infrequently because it is a bit of a Pain In The Ass to use. On FB you can find us at Florida Prowlers Rte. Good Luck if we don't hear from you and let us know where you land. You may end up a "Prowler". I'd send you our club rule book but no one knows or cares who had it last,
 

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Well the closer you are to the center of the state the better the riding is, from Brooksville/Dade City area north through Ocala, Gainesville there is some very pretty areas to ride and lots of small towns. There are few places in Florida that are not near water of some type, the state is full of inland waterways as well as both the Gulf and Atlantic coastal areas.
I like the Atlantic coast better than the Gulf Coast. I think I have heard it said the no matter where you are in Florida you are never more than 85 miles from either the Gulf or the Atlantic. Inland Florida ,not including large to medium sized cities, will be less expensive and less crowded than most of the coastal areas. If you should hear the theme music for Deliverence playing, move on to the next place on your agenda. 😳
 
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Drair - I'm in Ocala and I and the Prowlers would be happy to show you around. Yankeetown, Crystal River, Homosassa, and Ceder Key are all close and I nice ride. I personally visit both coasts but wouldn't live there. I avoid crowds and tourists, but these are smaller communities and yet to be invaded by self centered A-Holes from the Land of Northern Aggression. We also have our own Face Book Page so most of us use this one infrequently because it is a bit of a Pain In The Ass to use. On FB you can find us at Florida Prowlers Rte. Good Luck if we don't hear from you and let us know where you land. You may end up a "Prowler". I'd send you our club rule book but no one knows or cares who had it last,
Thanks for the offers and insights. Cedar Key especially looks pretty cool. Since I posted this I realized I had to delay the trip b/c of COVID issues. But I still want to do it, probably in late May or early June. Also, I'll check you guys out on the FB group pages. Thanks for that.
 

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Well the closer you are to the center of the state the better the riding is, from Brooksville/Dade City area north through Ocala, Gainesville there is some very pretty areas to ride and lots of small towns. There are few places in Florida that are not near water of some type, the state is full of inland waterways as well as both the Gulf and Atlantic coastal areas.
I like the Atlantic coast better than the Gulf Coast. I think I have heard it said the no matter where you are in Florida you are never more than 85 miles from either the Gulf or the Atlantic. Inland Florida ,not including large to medium sized cities, will be less expensive and less crowded than most of the coastal areas. If you should hear the theme music for Deliverence playing, move on to the next place on your agenda. 😳
I think the Deliverance thing is more likely here in my Appalachia setting, but I hear you. Not great no matter where it is! I like the Atlantic Ocean side, too, but haven't seen the West coast so am taking a look. To me home is where you wake up, so on the water is the search, with rides inland as the spirit might move me.
 

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If you should hear the theme music for Deliverence playing, move on to the next place on your agenda. 😳
Yep, we got banjo pickers everywhere here in the 'burg.🎸 NTIC
 

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Thanks for all these listings, Kenichi. I went through them all on Google maps which took me a while to respond. Wemahitchka was a real find; a bit far but I'll have to take a ride out there. Glad you mentioned the last hurricane and the effect on property and property values. I was aware but only in a general sense, so that's something to think about both in terms of hassle and financial loss, as well as purchase opportunity. I've been to the state a few times but never on the Gulf side so it will be a fun trip. Thanks again.
Note: The Florida State bird is a "Mosquito.";)
 
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