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Old 10-08-2011, 07:35 PM
 
93 posts, read 166,523 times
Reputation: 39

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Hi,
I don't usually post on forums like this, but I need as much advice as possible during this time. Thank you in advance for your time and advice!

My husband and I recently moved from Plano, TX, a city just north of Dallas, to the Tampa-St. Pete area. We are in our early thirties and we both work remotely, and we moved to this area because we wanted to live close to family while we begin our own family. (Neither of us have family in Dallas, but my husband's company is located there and he works remotely.)

We sold our house and packed up and moved recently to Tampa-St. Pete. I thought I would be able to adjust fairly quickly, but the more I see of this area, the more bummed I feel about finding an area anything like Plano. What we loved about Plano is that it has 250,000 or so people, top-notch schools, only 30 minutes from a major city, nice parks and fantastic libraries, is very clean and pretty city, diverse, very safe, and part of a thriving metropolis. It has consistently been rated a best place to live and raise kids, and I think for good reason.

I am thrilled to be near family, and I value them more than anything else, but I can't shake the feeling that I might have given up many, many things for this alone, when I could just make a better priority of visiting them. I don't mean to pit externals against family, but I need help sorting these issues out. Am I misguided in even considering moving back, away from family, when we are about to start having kids, or do you think many other factors could outweigh the living-near-family factor?

Has anyone else made this difficult choice--either to live in a place less desirable (to them) to be close to family, or else to move (back?) to a place they loved and settle for visits to see family? Has anyone else here ever moved from DFW to Tampa/St. Pete, and if so, what do you think and/or advise? Is there anything like Plano or the Dallas suburbs here (large population, close to city, great schools, nice housing)?

Please chime in with your thoughts--any help is so appreciated!!!

--Unsure and Needing to Re-Nest NOW
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:10 AM
Status: "On The Lookout" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,389 posts, read 61,750,545 times
Reputation: 31931
You didn't mention anything about the winter weather or access to the Gulf...
which constitute 90% of the reasons most people move to FL.

If those issues aren't important there are a LOT of other places aside from the Dallas suburbs
to find god parks, schools, libraries and such for raising your family.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:30 AM
 
93 posts, read 166,523 times
Reputation: 39
Thank you for your response. Dallas winters are pretty mild, in my opinion (I lived the northeast for 10 years), and I actually really enjoyed the occasional light snow and cold weather, especially around the holidays. The beaches in FL are beautiful, of course, but they aren't a big factor when it comes to considering where to raise our family.

I am eager to find places around here. We have already looked at several: Safety Harbor, Brandon, Valrico, FishHawk, Westchase, and New Tampa. These places all had charms, but not exactly what we had hoped for...no offense to anyone....just that many were very tiny and seemed more like neighborhoods than actual cities when coming from DFW and surrounding cities. For example, yesterday we visited Safety Harbor. It was beautiful, but unless we missed something, it seemed like only a few blocks of subdivisions along with a neat, small downtown. Where are the hospitals, doctors, selection of shopping areas, and is it really this tiny? I could be completely wrong, and hope I am...but so far this is not what we ideally wanted. Brandon is larger but not really our style. Westchase was strangely overly-manicured and uniform and a little strange in some ways (again, this is just my opinion, so no offense to anyone..I'm sure many people dislike Plano...everyone has preferences). Valrico, FishHawk, and New Tampa are too remote from the main cities for us.

Do you have any suggestions for larger surrounding cities, with larger populations, close to Tampa and/or St. Pete, with good schools? (Plano has nationally-recognized schools...)

Again, I worry I will offend and I don't intend to...it is just a huge decision...thank you. And if anyone wants to chime in with advise about the living-near-family factor, I would greatly appreciate it!!! I am struggling...
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,387,002 times
Reputation: 9551
I have no problem with offending people.

Point-blank, the schools in FL or even most of the southeast simply cannot compete educationally with the schools in TX or many other areas. You will be hard-pressed to find a good one - although the research pages of City-Data offer voluminous information for every area. I suggest you research them.

Florida is a totally different mindset from TX. Their little bedroom communities are quite charming and provide a plethora of varied housing - but most folks in FL simply hop on the highway or interstates and drive to the amenities they seek. They don't want the interconnected vastness of DFW. They want their suburban homes and pleasures, with all of the activity centralized "over there". Even structured and planned communities like Port St Lucie started out as a small unremarkable town, that grew exponetially during the housing boom with an entire planned community being built there as well as a commercial center. Then the bust happened, and unemployment and foreclosures commenced. Towns and small cities like this are all over Florida; with developers coming in, building wonderful inspirations to attract the snowbirds from up Nawth - and then leaving or going bust.

Personally, I am quite fond of Treasure Island, but then I have no children or schools to worry about, so I can't speak to those amenities. But most of Florida (Treasure Island included) is, in my opinion, built up to cater to those who want the 'beachy' lifestyle on vacation, and then look at each other and say, "Why just visit when we could LIVE here!" To me, most of Florida is superficial and Disney-World-ish; going about their lives busily and aggressively, not noticing or caring what the rest of the world is doing, bright lights and bright colors that wear on the mind and spirit like the endless droning song of "It's a Small World, After All!" Although some parts of the panhandle are quite rural and nice, I think that is not what you are looking for.

Move to what makes you happy. I did. 1700 miles, away from family and friends and everything I'd done for 20 years, to start my 'new' life and do what I wanted. As long as you have the jobs, income, and amenities that you want, moving to be near family is, to me, the least important reason. But again, I have no problem with offending people.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:12 AM
 
90 posts, read 244,904 times
Reputation: 73
TempNest~

I wish I had more advice for you, but I feel stuck too, as far as wanting to move closer to family (and we are only 8 hours away!). I have only lived in SD & IA so I have NO idea about TX & FL, and 250,000 to me IS a major city...lol. (Obviously I don't get out much).

We have 2 little girls and I feel guilty (though I know I shouldn't because it's life!) that they do not get to see their grandparents on a regular basis. I will tell you as I try and tell myself- we just need to do what is best for OUR families (not our extended families).

You sound like you are pretty happy in the Plano area, and just make visiting each other more of a priority (like you said). I do often wonder if it would be the same if we lived closer to family- now we are SO excited when we see each other it's always a big deal, and I do like that too

Sorry I'm not much help! I wish you the best of luck in your decision making
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:40 AM
Status: "Stranger than Fiction" (set 15 days ago)
 
8,551 posts, read 10,768,083 times
Reputation: 12533
When I lived in Florida in the 90's, I visited Tampa and didn't like it. Well, when we got there and after looking around a bit, I told my husband to "get me the hel* out of here." Not one to mince words. But, I wasn't a fan of Florida at all anyways, except for Fort Lauderdale for vacation time.
I can only say if you're not happy at all with it now, it probably won't get better, even in time. You can always visit and them visit you from Texas.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:45 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
29,691 posts, read 16,462,697 times
Reputation: 22308
I'm not familiar with either area.

But I am familiar with moving back home 'to be close to family'. It's a mixed bag if it is not where you want to be. I felt like I gave up a LOT to be closer to my family and perhaps that made my expectations of them a little too high.

They enticed me back by telling me how my son needed to grow up with extended family ~ then promptly forgot us when we moved back. (Except for Grandma and Grandad - they were wonderful).

We are no longer in my hometown; I had the opportunity to move with my job and get my son into a better school system; larger city, etc.

I'm sorta/kinda/maybe glad my son was able to be around his extended family when he was young ~ OTOH, I wish he would have had the kind of opportunities that he has now. Academics, athletics ~ are all a notch above where we came from.

Bottom line - YOU have to be happy in the area where you live. I read the poster above that was not complimentary about the FL school systems. I have no personal knowledge - but that would be a factor for me. Research like mad.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:18 AM
 
93 posts, read 166,523 times
Reputation: 39
Thank you all so much for your thoughts! It is such a difficult decision...we're lucky to be able to choose, but it is still difficult. It helps to read others' advice, personal experiences, opinions, and thoughts. I will continue to check for more responses!
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:24 AM
 
93 posts, read 166,523 times
Reputation: 39
Phoenix Lady--unfortunately, my extended family really cannot afford to visit us...so it would be all us visiting them. It wouldn't be so bad, though, because a vacation to FL can be really nice. Thank you for your thoughts...
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:25 AM
 
93 posts, read 166,523 times
Reputation: 39
Ringo1--how old was your son when you moved away?
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