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Old 10-13-2009, 04:14 PM
16 posts, read 111,541 times
Reputation: 23



I've sifted through tons of threads and talked to a handfull of people, but I feel like the more information I get about the Tampa/St. Pete area, the less I know. Are the people angry and elitist? Are they nice and neighborly? Is there rampant crime or is the area quiet and safe? Is traffic a nightmare or nothing to worry about? No two people have told us the same thing, so...

Here's our situation:

My girlfriend and I (in our 40's) live in Los Angeles and cannot take the elitist, rockstar, youth-worshipping lifestyle that is rampant in this city. We also hate the anger that we see play out on the streets daily -- LA is certainly not the laid-back place it used to be. Add the anger and elitism to a life scheduled around extreme traffic (everyday -- and almost every hour -- of the week) and we need out of here.

What are we looking for?

My girlfriend and I are looking for a tropical/semi-tropical locale where life is a little slower than LA -- preferably a town and not a city. We are hoping to find a place where there's a sense of community and not a "free for all." We are not partiers, enjoy ages 30+ most, and enjoy nature and a slow pace. We had hoped to move back to my girlfriend's home, Hawaii, but the extreme cost of living (higher than LA) and lack of jobs (only so many on an island) have made that almost impossible. Also, we looked throughout California but it's overpriced and in severe money, water, and infrastructure troubles. So, Florida's Gulf Coast has seemed a good second choice...

We are simple people. She is retired and I am re-imagining a career after years in filmmaking. She has a consistent income of $3000/mo (net) and I imagine our combined incomes (if I could find work there) would be conservatively $5000/mo (net). We are not looking to buy a home, but if we would find a good deal, we would definitely think seriously about it. Home ownership -- although we would like it -- is not our priority in this move.

Crime is a detractor; we do not want to move into a high crime zone, but we have lived in LA...

So, there you have it.

Is the Tampa / St. Pete area a good fit for any of our wants? Does it sound realistic? If we get positive responses, we will buy some airline tickets and take a look asap.

Mahalo Nui. Many thanks.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:23 PM
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,616,111 times
Reputation: 1031
I think it could be positive, you main points are less crime, nature and a slower pace of life, smaller town/city, semi-tropical, and with 30s/40s yo(as compared with LA).

Look into places like downtown St. Pete, and neighborhoods of both downtown and directly to the north and East of 4th Street...towns in Pinellas County like Safety Harbor, Dunedin...

Now, you will still see traffic at peak times depending where you live and where/when you are going, and crime in certain spots...but this area is nothing like LA at all....

You could even go more rural in places like Dade City, Plant City, Lakeland....

The Gulf Coast is defintely more laid back than LA...Tampa Bay area might be a good fit.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:26 PM
15,115 posts, read 31,011,075 times
Reputation: 18214
Yes, I think you will find what you are looking for in this area. St. Pete is a nice smaller city on the Gulf Coast of Florida, more "Bohemian" than Tampa, but close to Tampa to give you more to do. You will find all ages in St. Pete and Tampa from young to older, and all lifestyles represented. Nothing like LA here. I grew up in the Tampa Bay area, and now live a little to the south in Sarasota. The Gulf coast is a wonderful place to be. If you have $5,000 a month you can certainly live well if you dont' have to have the biggest and best of everything or spend extravantly every night on going out. The area has a lot to offer, and you should come and spend an extended stay and check it out. It seems more and more people are relocating here from California, so it must have something going for it! I know I certainly think it does!

P.S. You might want to check out Sarasota area too, it has a more "tropical" look to it and lots of great amenities in a small sophisticated artsy city. Much smaller than St. Pete - but with every amenity you could want. We have some of the most awesome beaches in the country here, too!

And lastly, there are some who have come here from California, and feel like some areas here are like parts of Cal. was thirty years ago (a good thing). In other words, California in it's golden era.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:58 PM
3,923 posts, read 10,292,044 times
Reputation: 5212
When I first read your post, I cringed. Hawaii and California? Oh my, there are no waves here in the Gulf of Mexico! Now that that's out of the way, please come and visit, several times if possible, exploring different parts of the Bay Area each time. It's worked well for others, maybe it will for you, too. It will take a while to find out if this feels right for you and your GF. One thing Tampa and LA has in common is urban sprawl, but Tampa is much smaller.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:14 PM
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
1,402 posts, read 2,497,738 times
Reputation: 980
I think you will love downtown or surrounding St Pete
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:24 AM
180 posts, read 492,468 times
Reputation: 140
I think from the way you describe what you want and what you don't want, this area could be a great fit for you. I agree with what other people have said that you should visit a couple of times to check things out. L.A. is all about status and flashing your wealth. Tampa is nothing like that. I've heard Miami is similar to L.A. in that regards but I haven't been there so I can't say for sure.

I can tell you the people here are very down to Earth and it's a great place to live if you like the outdoors.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:14 PM
16 posts, read 111,541 times
Reputation: 23
Mahalo for the replies! The more the better!

Thank you for the insights! They're invaluable.

I had a sneaking suspicion that most peoples' take on traffic, crime, and people in the Tampa area wasn't coming from the same prism as a long-time LA resident.

Yes, I've been to Miami a few times and parts are like Beverly Hills on steroids. The "culture" there was very LA-like... but I've never been to the Tampa Area. People who are more down-to-earth is exactly what we're looking for.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:26 PM
55 posts, read 202,299 times
Reputation: 36
Aloha!!! This is right up my alley. I am born and raised in L.A. Then moved to Hawaii ( Oahu), fell in love with the Island and dream of being able to live there again someday with my familiy. Until then we also like you tried to find a good place, tropical, less traffic, less "fake" than L.A. ( though I do love Cali too, all my family is spread out there).
Basically all the things you sound like you were looking for. We were going to move to Tennessee ( not tropical, I know). Then on a visit to my mother in laws, I fell in love with the area. It was much more laid back, really green, beautiful beaches with warm water you could actually swim in like in Hawaii, not L.A. and definitely more affordable. We were able to buy our first home. My husband has plenty of work doing handyman jobs and computer work.
We live in Largo, though I wish now that we had moved to Dunedin. I love main street and just the whole feel and look of Dunedin. It is very close though so no worries. There are also wonderful hospitals and Doctors here. I have been so impressed by that. EVery dr. really listens and spends time with you. Not at all the case in L.A.
Feel free to send me an email and ask anything. jjeska25@yahoo.com
Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:59 PM
Location: Lincoln County Road or Armageddon
4,224 posts, read 5,677,009 times
Reputation: 5775
Make sure you check out Florida's weather-it's stifling most of the year. If you have a problem with endless hot,humid weather, it can be hell on Earth. While Tampa Bay is cheaper than L.A. and Hawaii, it's bargain days are a thing of the past. Also expect to earn A LOT less in your paycheck. People are OK, not too many elitists but plenty of rednecks and weirdos. I've lived in the Tampa/St. Pete area over 30 years and haven't had any terrible crime problems (knock on wood), but it does seem to be getting more violent. Buy yourself a gun like everyone else. The state of Florida has always had a pretty high crime rate-I think it's the heat-but you just have to stay aware like anywhere else.
Pinellas County and Sarasota are nice. Tampa-not my favorite place.
Come check it out but come with your eyes open. Many people paint a rosy picture of Florida, but there's a blackness underneath some don't want to admit to.
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