What an incredible dilemma! I spent six years living in Southern California and now I live in South Florida. I am the perfect person to answer this!
First off, picking the wrong place to live can literally suck years off your life. Between the stress of moving, finding a new place, finding a new job, meeting new friends, learning your new area, and then discovering you hate it, the wrong move is one of the worst life decisions you can make.
For the record: My ideal weather would be eleven months of low humidity and sunshine with temperatures hanging out in the high 70s during the day and maybe mid-60s at night. The twelfth month would then be thirty-five to forty degrees, with heavy snowfall every other night and sunny skies during the day. In this perfect scenario, I live on the beach for the eleven months of the year where the weather is perfect; then I live near a ski resort during the fresh-powder-for-one-month phase to take advantage of the snow.
The closest place on Earth to this is Southern California, where you have skiing and snowboarding about two hours away from the ocean. San Diego has the closest real-world scenario to the warm version of the temperature scheme I described above. A few towns on the outskirts of Los Angeles, like Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, are truly the closest if you want to live on the beach and near a mountain, like Big Bear. I lived there for six years and it was fantastic. For people who love ice fishing, snowshoeing and generally don’t like warm breezes, barbecues and cold beer on a hot day, places like Minnesota would be more to your liking.
For those of you who enjoy outdoor activities and want nothing to do with the winter, there are lots of places you can live that have no winter or maybe just a mild winter, but if you want to be close to the ocean and near major cities, the two states you end up choosing between for the warm-weather lifestyle are Florida and California.
This chapter includes a long list of myths about Southern California and long list of truths about South Florida. Here’s a sample of each:
Los Angeles Beach Living Myth #1: It’s 75 and sunny every day! You can go to the beach whenever you want!
Truth: The truth is this myth was perpetuated by visitors and/or people who live inland, near Beverly Hills and Hollywood and Downtown L.A. For those of us who have actually lived in the beach towns surrounding Los Angeles, it is most definitely not 75 and sunny every day. Added up, you probably get about five to six months of near-perfect beach weather, which, admittedly, is incredible and much more than most people could ask for, but the other six or seven months are a smorgasbord of wind, smog, overcast skies, much cooler temperatures than you’d expect and, amazingly, a month or so of rain.
Living in South Florida Truth #3: South Florida has the strangest local news stories in the country.
Local writers like Dave Barry have made an entire career out of reporting these odd stories. The only answer I can come up with as to why the news is so nutty here is that the insufferable humidity drives people crazy. If you hear about suitcases showing up in lakes with body parts in them, odds are, that’s a Florida story. If you hear about a golfer losing his leg to an alligator while looking for his ball, that’s a classic Florida story. If you hear about a golfer losing his leg after he opens a suitcase in his kitchen and finds an alligator inside of it, now you’re really zeroing in on the type of local news stories that happen here.
For the full list of Truths and Myths about So Cal and Southern Florida, buy The Three Dollar Scholar today for $2.99.