Florida vs California: Which American Beach State Is Better?

Florida vs California

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Whether you're dreaming of moving to a sunny state in America or looking for a beach vacation, you're probably faced with a choice between California and Florida. Both places are amazingly beautiful and have a lot to offer in terms of both coastal flavor and urban charm. Additionally, compared to others, their residents live a more laid-back lifestyle.

With about 40 million inhabitants, California is the largest state in the US by population. It is located on the Pacific Ocean's west coast.

Florida (the third largest state in the US) has roughly 19 million people. The state's borders are the Gulf of Mexico on the west, Alabama on the northwest, Georgia on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Straits of Florida on the south.

They have both experienced rapid growth, each attracting over 2 million new residents in the last decade.

This article will help you decide which of these two countries is better. We'll cover in detail and compare things like the cost of living, crime rates, activities to do, beaches, weather, and much more.

Pros and Cons of Living in Florida vs California

Below are some of the most important advantages and disadvantages related to these two states.

Benefits of Living in California

By exploring and taking in the nine national parks in California, including Alaska, people can enjoy nature. Also, visitors can explore mountains, beaches, deserts, or forests. Over 260 sunny days are available here, and generally, all four seasons have nice weather.

There are more than 7,000 eateries and international hubs with great food (for example, Tacos Villa Corona, for Mexican food lovers). In California, there are many job prospects. It has 12 airports.

Downsides of Living in CA

California has very high taxes. Nearly everything will cost money, and pricey cities are definitely a big disadvantage for this state. It has gotten increasingly crowded since the pandemic, which affects the quality of life.

There are various dangerous animals in the area, including alligators and snakes.

Everyone should be careful around elderly drivers aged 60 to 70. Because of their poor vision, accidents happen very often.

Advantages of Living in Florida

Florida is called the Sunshine State for a good reason: it offers an abundance of sunny weather. And there are warm water baths even in the winter. Individuals won't have to part with their hard-earned money, whether they're retired or not, by paying state income tax or local governments. Additionally, the government will protect their assets. And another plus - It is easy to drive here.

Drawbacks of Living in Florida

Overall, living expenses are higher than in similar cities; also, Florida has a high crime rate. According to healthcare studies, Florida City is ranked 36th out of 50 states in terms of safety. In winter, the weather is not the most pleasant due to the combination of humidity and sun.

Cost of Living in California vs Florida: What's the Difference?

Florida is substantially less expensive than most places in California. Its average cost of living is roughly 3% more than the US average.

But there are some differences across Florida's largest cities. Some have lower rates than the statewide average, such as Pensacola, which has a rate that is 11.8% lower, and Jacksonville, which is 7.4% lower. Of course, there are some opulent places as well, such as Miami (the most expensive city in California), where prices are 11.6% more than the national average.

California generally costs much more than Florida. In comparison to the US average, California has a nearly 50% higher cost of living.

The most expensive major cities in California are San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Accommodation Prices

Median home value:

  • California - $700.00
  • Florida - $300.00

One-bedroom apartment in city center:

  • California - $1,999.81
  • Florida - $1,629.90

One-bedroom apartment outside the city center:

  • California - $1,775.23
  • Florida - $1,311.56

Utility Cost

  • California - $135.28
  • Florida - $126.44

Food and Eating Out

Basic meal with a drink at an inexpensive restaurant:

  • California - $14.3
  • Florida - $15.21

Fast food or combo meals at McDonald’s:

  • California - $8.29
  • Florida - $7.75


  • California - $3.3
  • Florida - $2.84


  • California - $0.99
  • Florida - $0.95

Taxes in Florida vs California

The highest state-level sales tax in California is 8%, with a state income tax of 13.3%, while Florida has no state-level income tax (it has a combined state and local tax of roughly 8.9%). It has a low tax rate, making it easy to start a business there because of the lower tax returns. Florida is incredibly tax-friendly; everything from social security to income to pensions is exempt from tax.

Although California has the highest state and local taxes in the US, its effective property tax rates are lower than the national average.

Florida vs California Crime Rate: Which State Is Safer?

The property crime rate in Florida is 2302.4 per 100,000 people. 76.7% of property crimes are larceny-theft, 14.8% are burglaries, and 8.5% are motor thefts. The safest cities in Florida are Weston, Satellite Beach, Parkland, Sebastian, and Marco Island.

In general, California is a safe state to visit. There are roughly 430 violent crimes per 100,000 people in CA. A data study shows that 60% of crimes are aggravated assaults, 30% are robberies, 9% are rapes, and 1% are killings. The rate of property crime is approximately 2,272 per 100,000 people.

The safest cities in California are Hillsborough, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Santa Margarita, Moorpark, and Beverly Hills.

Things to Do and Major Attractions Compared


Florida is renowned for its tourism destinations, including Seaworld, Disney World, and the Daytona 500 International Speedway. There are stunning, historic cities like St. Augustine to visit, as well as exciting, trendy locations like Miami’s top attractions - Miami Beach, the Iconic Ocean Drive or Everglades National Park. Additionally, there are the Tampa and Florida Keys, which have a unique culture in the US.

Pro sports teams based in Florida are the Miami Heat, Miami Marlins, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars.


Numerous mountain ranges can be found in California, which gives residents access to some of the best hiking (for example, hiking in the Hollywood Hills is great), biking, and skiing paths in the entire world.

There is also the well-known California Wine Country, with a lot of wine farms in regions like Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.

Sports fans will enjoy their time in California as well, with incredible professional clubs to watch live: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, San Francisco 49ers, and San Francisco Giants.

Disneyland California vs Florida

Disneyland, which is close to Anaheim (California), and Walt Disney World, located in Florida, are both amazing places. Yet, there are significant differences between them.

In contrast to Disney World, which has a far bigger land area of about 43 square miles, Disneyland only has 500 acres of land.

Disneyland is home to the Downtown Disney District, Disney California Adventure Park, and Disneyland Park. Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the ESPN Wild World of Sports complex are all located at Disney World.

Universal Studios: California vs Florida

Universal Studios Hollywood is the right place for all who want to feel the experience of a movie studio and theme parks. It is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.

The Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, is a theme park.

Hogsmeade is present in Universal Studios Hollywood, but Orlando contains both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Orlando is more expensive, so spending more money to have fun here is necessary. It has a water park and a volcano.

California vs Florida Beaches

California Beaches:

  • Malibu

Located in California, it is an authentic, luxurious, and romantic beach. Numerous Hollywood celebrities from the music, film and sports industries reside here. Malibu is also well known for its warm climate.

  • Laguna Beach

The magnificence of Laguna Beach is complemented by the flora, fauna, wildflowers, and coastal parks. It is without a doubt one of the nicest family places in California.

  • Pfeiffer Beach

Beaches such as East Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Pismo Beach, Monterey Huntington, Santa Cruz New Port, and Half Moon Bay are great for couples.

Florida Beaches:

  • Biscayne Beaches

Visitors here can participate in risk-taking activities like swimming, kayaking, golfing, and many more.

  • Sarasota Beach

This attractive beach is surrounded by the clear, crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Tourists can visit the Ringling Museum of Art.

  • Cedar Key

When more than 100 performers arrive in April for the annual festival, it's very enjoyable for tourists to be here.

Visitors can go beachcombing, trekking, swimming, boating, or canoeing in Miami Beach, Naples, Key West, Fort Lauderdale, and many other places.

Economy and Job Market Comparison

Florida has the eighth-best economy in the USA (according to U.S. News & World Report), with annual job growth of 2.4%, which is much greater than the 1.4% national average. The typical household income, however, is just around $50,000, which is significantly less than the US average of roughly $57,000.

U.S. News and World Report ranked California's economy as the 10th best in America in the same report, despite the fact that job growth there was only 1.2%, somewhat less than the 1.4% national average. However, Californians have a typical household income of nearly $67,000, which is significantly higher than the $57,000 average for the rest of the state.

California vs Florida Weather: Which State Has a More Pleasant Climate?

Florida is classified as a "humid subtropical" climate zone, with year-round temperatures of 38 to 40 degrees. Florida has much greater humidity. The subtropical climate in Florida features cool winters and hot summers.

The coast of California experiences year-round temperatures of about 70 degrees F, with hot, dry summer months and chilly, wetter winters. That’s why California is the perfect winter destination. It offers both a warm winter vacation in the sun and snow adventures in the hills.

Natural Disasters to Be Aware of

Hurricane dangers are well-known in Florida, where they can also result in excessive flooding. Florida's official hurricane season runs from June to November each year.

California is exposed to earthquakes, droughts, and wildfires.

Apply for Your ESTA and Visit the Sunshine State or California

You will need to acquire ESTA for Florida to explore the sunshine state, and the same applies to California too - visitors must apply for an electronic travel permit. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, is available online and takes less than ten minutes to complete. Visitors who use ESTA must limit their stay to 90 days. This travel authorization is valid for two years or until your passport expires.

However, all tourists planning to stay more than 90 days in the US must apply for the appropriate visa. Compared to the ESTA, the visa application process is far more difficult, takes longer, and requires an interview at the US consulate.

Florida vs California Verdict: Is One Better Than the Other?

Your lifestyle and personal preferences will ultimately determine whether you choose to reside in California or Florida. Florida is a wonderful option if you want to live somewhere affordable, close to great beaches, and you don't mind the heat and humidity.

However, California might be the best option if you desire more diverse weather, access to the mountains, and the ability to find decent, high-paying work.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Despite having a less diverse landscape than the Golden State, Florida offers miles of magnificent beaches.
It is cheaper to live in Florida.
Yes, both countries offer plenty of sun and great, world-renowned beaches.
The cost of living and taxes are lower in Florida.

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