Off grid living in Florida ( The Sunshine State )

Florida is located on the east coast of the country, with a population of around 21 million this is one of the states with the highest population density. Although Florida is set in the southern part of the country it is unlike its neighboring states. Florida is a very popular retirement state, and a tourist hotspot, in some areas you will simply not be able to get away from the tourists. Most of the state is just above sea level, which means if global warming continues then large parts of the state will vanish under the sea.

Living off the grid is legal in Florida but this is a bad state for living off the grid, mostly due to the high population density and the millions of tourists visiting this state every year. On the other hand, the local climate is great for growing crops, the cost of living is just above the national average and the local wildlife is fairly diverse. As the population density is high, you will have some trouble finding suitable land for off grid living, and in some areas, the crime rate is fairly high.

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Florida has such a high population density that it has around 25 cities with over 100k residents, most of the states in the USA have around 3-5 cities above 100k population. The biggest cities in Florida are Jacksonville with a population of 880k, followed by Miami 451k, Tampa 380k, Orlando 275k, St. Petersburg 260k, and Hialeah with 240k residents. Do note that the population of the bigger cities can fluctuate a lot as around 130 million people visit this state every year.

Generally speaking a state like Florida with such a high population density is not good for off grid living, there are simply too many things that make Florida probably one of the worst states for off grid living. The people who live in Florida say that the state has two climates hot and hotter, and this is true for the most part. The humidity in the southern parts of the state can be fairly high, and this will make life extremely complicated off the grid, especially without an AC unit.

A large part of Florida is considered marshland, and a lot of towns and cities are either built right on top of the marsh or right next to it. These areas are often overrun by bugs during the summertime, and in some areas, it can get so bad that they actually do property damages as they climb into wants and small cracks in the houses. In addition to this bugs tend to be more aggressive the hotter the temperatures get. If you want to take a look at one of Florida’s neighbors then check out my recent article Off grid living in Georgia ( Peach State ).

Florida climate

Most of Florida has a humid subtropical climate, although in the southern parts of the state the climate is tropical. The average temperatures during the summertime are around 90°F, and the average temperatures during the wintertime are around 60°F although in the northern parts of the state it can fall to around 40°F. The subtropical and the tropical climate both have one thing in common which is high humidity. If you want to move to a homestead then you have to equip your kitchen accordingly, for more information check out my recent article ( Top 18 ) Homestead kitchen must haves.

Types of crops grown in Florida

Due to the mostly subtropical climate, Florida is ideal for growing crops, in some areas the growing period can be all year round. The most common crops in Florida are cotton, citrus, sugarcane, watermelons, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, and beans. Most people who live off the grid in Florida tend to grow either fruits and vegetables which then they sell at the farmer’s market, although some do grow food for their own consumption. If you want a state which has more or less the same climate as Florida but with a much lower cost of living then check out my recent article Off grid living in Alabama ( Heart of Dixie ).

Freshwater availability in Florida

Florida is a fairly humid state, although it doesn’t have a lack of water, but the problem is that a lot of groundwater is contaminated with either marsh water or saltwater. This is mainly because the southern parts of the state are just above sea level and with each natural disaster the sea covers some of these areas. The good news is that harvesting rainwater in Florida is legal and in some areas the authorities give generous incentives and even rebates for rainwater harvesting.

The annual rainfall in Florida is around 55″, generally speaking, the areas on the coast get most of the rainfall.

Florida wildlife

Due to the local climate, Florida has a lot of wildlife, the most common animals are alligators, white-tailed deer, raccoons, manatees, otters, and key deer. The most common freshwater fish are yellow bullhead, white bullhead, swamp darter, warmouth, and taillight shiner. The most common saltwater fish are barracuda, bluefish, bonefish, bonito, catfish, red drum, black drum, and groupers. You will need a fishing license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing https://myfwc.com/license/.

Generating power off the grid in Florida

  • Solar power: Generating power with solar panels in Florida is extremely easy, the sun is shining all year round and you will be able to generate power even during the wintertime without any problems. Florida has probably one of the most generous solar incentives in the country, you can apply for 3 different programs like the Property Tax Exemption, Sales Tax Exemption, and the Federal Tax Credit which is 26%.
  • Wind power: As Florida is a peninsula the weather can be fairly unpredictable and the winds can get powerful. Although some areas do offer incentives for wind power systems, there are no statewide incentives, but you can still use the federal tax credit.

Florida off grid laws

Living off the grid is legal in Florida, you can grow your own food, generate your own power, and harvest rainwater. Although in some areas going off the grid with a property that already has utilities will be a challenge due to the high population density. With that being said if you move to a remote area make sure to follow the building code and especially the septic system setup. When it comes to homeschooling you have to notify the local authorities and make sure to inform yourself about the local homeschooling laws. If you want to know the best places to live off the grid in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Florida ( Top 8 Counties ).

Florida road access

Generally speaking, the quality of the roads are fairly high, the problem comes in remote areas. Most of the problems related to road access are in the southern parts of the state where there are a lot of areas considered marshland, and these areas are off limit for most vehicles. People who live near a marsh often use an airboat to get around. In areas where there is no problem with the roads, you will still have to watch out for wildlife crossing the roads, especially alligators.

Price of land in Florida

A lot of people think that buying a house in Florida is extremely expensive, the truth is that the average price of property and housing is only 3% above the national average. Generally speaking, the areas which are tourist hotspots and the ones which are on the coast will have higher prices than the national average, up to 5-10x times higher. Although hopefully, you do not want to go off the grid in Miami in a luxury villa, if you do please send me pictures.

Florida property tax

Florida’s property tax is below the national average, currently, it is at 0.98% and the national average is 1.08%. Clay County has the lowest property tax at 0.87%.

Cost of living in Florida

The cost of living in Florida is just above the national average, I bet you dint thought so. In general, you will pay around 3% more for housing, 3% more for groceries, 2% more for utilities, and 12% more for transportation. The only thing which is cheaper in Florida is the healthcare system which is around 3% less than the national average.

Florida jobs

Florida’s unemployment rate is at 3.2% which is below the 3.6% national average. The minimum wage is $8.46 which is above the neighboring states. The biggest industries where most of the people work are tourism, agriculture, aerospace and defense, international trade, commercial fishing, and financial services.

Florida crime rate

Due to the high population density, Florida’s crime rate is fairly high, when it comes to violent crime, there are around 3.85 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is 4 crimes per 1000 people. The safest areas are around Islandia, South Palm Beach, Jupiter Inlet Colony, Sewall’s Point, Hosford. The areas with the highest crime rate are around Florida City, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Ocala, and Cocoa.

Florida natural disasters

Due to its geographical position, Florida tends to have a lot of natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and heatwaves. As global warming is getting worse every year, Florida will start breaking record high temperatures every year, in fact, the summertime is probably the worst part to visit this state due to the high temperatures and the high humidity.

In conclusion

Overall I can not recommend Florida for off grid living, the climate is extremely hot, the crime rate is high and the population density is one of the highest in the country. Florida is a very popular destination for people who want to retire, but living here off the grid is a completely another story.