Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Santa Rosa Beach, FL
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I'm new to this forum and actually just registered a few moments ago!
i read some of the posts in this thread and wanted to share my opinion about the location where i am.
I currently live in Destin, FL. it's in the panhandle, in the middle between panama city and pensacola. i've moved up here 3 yrs ago from miami. i actually enjoyed living in miami while i was single, it's a very fun place, lots of diversity and just a fast paced place. i was not sailing at that time, but i did think it was a good place to own a boat. retrospectively, miami is well located for both gunkholing or blue water cruising. you can sail to the islands from there, key west or eastward towards the bahamas and beyond.
as far as raising a family with kids, i'm not sure miami is the best environment.
destin is a much smaller town, it's one of the best fishing spots in the gulf coast. i don't do much fishing myself, but i did enjoy it the few times i've been out with friends...the red snappers and the groupers were huge, i saw some of the biggest fish i've ever seen live!!!
as far as sailing, i think it's a decent home port. i own a small 19' shoal draft weekender and i think the area is perfect for small cruises. i also think there are a lot of places you can go to with a much bigger sailboat as well, whether it's hugging the coast or sailing accross the gulf to central/south america or the carribeans.
as far as whether is concerned, i know people freak out when they hear about hurricanes, i did too when i first moved to florida!, but you do get plenty of warning when one is coming your way...you don't get that type of warning before an earthquake! i personally lived in a country prone to earthquakes and i feel hurricanes are a lesser threat even though they might be more common.
the weather in the fl panhandle is not as tropical as in south florida, so it's not as humid, there are bugs, but not as bad as in the keys. spring and fall are just awesome, summer is hot and winter is generally mild. housing prices have come down a great deal and property taxes are lower than south florida.