20 Pros and Cons of Living in Tampa, FL

Updated On October 9, 2023

Florida can seem like a paradise with its warm winters and year-round outdoor activities.

It is true that there is a lot to like about Florida, and Tampa Bay in particular, but even paradise has its downside.

There are reasons it is a favorite vacation spot, and a place retirees like, but sometimes living there all the time is not as cool as a week or two vacations might indicate.

If the negatives do not bother you too much, it can be a paradise.

Tampa, FL
Tampa, FL

Pros of Living in Tampa

1. The weather

Winters are warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year.

Summers can get hot, but if you like it a little hot, it will be tolerable.

There is usually only about one month when the heat is terrible.

The weather is a major draw to Tampa and to Florida in general.

2. Family friendly

The Tampa-St. Petersburg area has 4 million people, but it still retains a smaller town feel and a community charm.

There are a lot of quiet, safe neighborhoods with plenty of parks and public spaces. 

Lots of outdoor activities are also appealing and there is something for everyone.

3. Affordable housing

It is surprising, considering the weather and the location, but housing is at about the national average as far as costs go.

There are some very expensive areas, but there are very affordable housing options in the area.

You can get a very nice home for $200,000. 

4. Cost of living

The cost of living is surprisingly low as well in Tampa. 

There is no state income tax, and property taxes are not very high.

Housing and healthcare are below the state and national average.

Groceries tend to be a little above the national average, but not much else is.

Heating and cooling costs are also below the national average.

According to Wallet Hub, Florida is 45th out of 50 states for overall tax burden.

5. Education opportunities

All of Tampa is in the same school district, making it one of the biggest in the nation.

The schools are highly rated and provide a good foundation for children. 

The University of Tampa and the University of South Florida are both solid upper education centers.

There are plenty of continuing education opportunities as well.

6. Food

Great food is a Southern tradition, and Tampa takes it a step further with a big Latin influence.

The Cuban Sandwich is a Tampa specialty, and that is just the start. 

Access to fresh seafood is always there.

There are a lot of great restaurants in Tampa, and the competition makes them even better.

7. Beaches

The beaches are less than an hour away from most places in Tampa, and there are several of them that are fantastic.

It is also far enough away from the beach to avoid some of the crowds at peak tourist times.

The beaches are very clean and have recreational equipment for rent.

Some have playgrounds and organized events.

8. Professional sports

Sports can be a point of pride for any community, and Tampa offers plenty of options.

There is professional baseball, football, hockey, and soccer.

The University of South Florida also offers competitive collegiate sports.

If you love spectator sports, there is plenty available in Tampa.

9. Lots of festivals

Maybe it is due to the warm weather, but there seems to be some kind of festival going on at any given time in Tampa or St. Petersburg.

There are several music festivals, a Gasparilla art festival, a beer festival, and a pride festival.

There are a lot more, and you can even start your own.

10. Lots of jobs

Tampa has a lot of major corporations with headquarters in their city, and many industries of different kinds.

In 2019, Wallet Hub ranked Tampa as one of the top cities in America for job opportunities.

The small town of North Port, 80 miles to the south, is rated as the best place to get good jobs in the nation in 2022.

Orlando, 80 miles west, is also in the top 10. Tampa was in the top 30. 

Cons of Living in Tampa

1. The weather

While the weather may be the biggest drawing card for the Tampa Bay area, it may also be the biggest negative.

Summers can get very hot and humid which can be uncomfortable.

You will need a good air conditioner to get through the summer months.

During the rainy season, there can also be a lot of rain.

2. Tropical storms

There is the risk of hurricanes, and you can get torrential downpours if the hurricane is within 200-300 miles.

Hurricanes can be deadly if you are in their path, but even being near one can be pretty scary.

There are also tornadoes at times.

Strong storms are definitely a negative in living in Florida.

3. Transportation

There is a public transport system, but it is not easy to use.

You will need to have a car in Tampa if you want to get anywhere easily.

There are a lot of suburbs, so you will probably have a commute to work. 

Getting around can be a real issue if you do not have an automobile.

4. Traffic

Because there is not a solid public transportation system, there is a lot of traffic on the highways.

The interstates get particularly crowded during the morning and evening rush hours.

Once you learn the area, you can plan alternate routes to get around the Interstates, but there is still a lot of traffic to contend with.

It gets even worse in winter when all the snowbirds arrive.

5. HOA Fees

Most suburbs are governed by homeowners associations, and they often have strict regulations as far as keeping up your property and house.

There can also be fees for infrastructure programs and general repairs. 

Housing is not as expensive in Tampa as it is elsewhere but be prepared for the extra fees from the HOA.

The homeowners association has regular fees and can require you to do repairs.

6. Snowbirds

During the winter months, the city gets more crowded when people from northern states descend on the city to escape the cold.

They make prices go up, and they make the roads more congested.

They do help tourism, but they can be aggravating for people who live in the city year-round.

The good thing is, they go away when it gets hot for the most part.

7. Alligators

There are not a lot of alligators around, but they do get into the suburbs at times.

They can get big and they can get dangerous.

They have been known to eat small dogs, for instance.

Florida law is such that some cannot be removed, so there are times when a community has to put up with one.

If you see one, give it plenty of room and avoid them as much as possible.

8. Insects

Insects are a problem throughout the south and Tampa is no different.

Mosquitos are a problem at times, especially in wet areas.

There are also bugs that crawl around, and it can take a lot of effort to keep them out of your house.

Fire ants are also a major pest, and their bites can be very painful for humans and for pets.

9. Allergies

People who have allergies to pollen may have symptoms all year long.

There are plants that bloom all year long, and there is always some pollen in the air.

With ocean breezes, pollen can also travel thousands of miles.

If you have allergies they will probably get worse in Tampa.

Constant exposure to allergens tends to make allergies worse for people who have them.

10. High cost of insurance

The threat of hurricanes has caused homeowners insurance to go up drastically, and it is higher than the national average.

The cost of car insurance is 30 percent higher than the national average. 

Even so, cars generally cost less in Florida Car insurance is more expensive because the state is a no-fault auto accident state, the level of traffic, and the number of uninsured drivers.

Tampa, FL
Tampa, FL

Pros and Cons of Living in Tampa, FL – Summary Table

Pros of Living in TampaCons of Living in Tampa
1. The weather1. The weather
2. Family friendly2. Tropical storms
3. Affordable housing3. Transportation
4. Cost of living4. Traffic
5. Education opportunities5. HOA Fees
6. Food6. Snowbirds
7. Beaches7. Alligators
8. Professional sports8. Insects
9. Lots of festivals9. Allergies
10. Lots of jobs10. High cost of insurance

Tampa Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Tampa Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tampa a safe place?

Any city will have some crime, but Tampa is safer than many cities.

The tourist areas, and better residential areas, are very safe.

The overall crime rate in Tampa is 1,885 crimes per 100,000, and the national average is 2,346 crimes per 100,000.

Even though its crime rate is good, it has increased slightly over the last two years.

Property crime, such as theft, remains the most common crime.

Why is Tampa called cigar city?

In 1886 the first cigar company was opened in Tampa.

They made hand-rolled cigars, like the famous ones from Cuba.

It quickly became one of the major industries in Tampa.

It employed a lot of Cuban workers.

Its weather and closeness to Cuba created ideal conditions.

At one point workers in the city cranked out half a billion hand-rolled cigars in a single year.

What is a Cuban Sandwich, and why is it popular in Tampa?

A Cuban sandwich is essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, with the addition of roasted pork, pickles, and mustard.

The Tampa version adds salami.

According to local lore, the Tampa Cuban was invented for Cuban cigar factory workers in the 1890s.

It is a very popular sandwich in Tampa.

What was Tampa's contribution to the airline industry?

On Jan. 1, 1914, the first passenger airline service was born, taking passengers back and forth between Tampa and St. Petersburg.

It was a 17-mile flight that took 25 minutes.

It only lasted four months, but it is regarded as the first commercial airline flight in the world.

When did Tampa get started?

Spanish explorers were in the area in the 1500s, but it was not until 1824 that the army established Fort Brooks, which became the city of Tampa.

Fort Brooks was incorporated in 1849 and given the name Tampa Town, which was eventually shortened to Tampa.

How big is Tampa compared to Tampa Bay?

The city of Tampa itself has about 400,000 people and is the third largest city in the state.

The greater Tampa Bay area has around 4 million people and is the 18th largest metropolitan area in the United States.

St. Petersburg is in that area and is the fifth-largest city in the state with 260,000 people.

3 Comments on 20 Pros and Cons of Living in Tampa, FL

  1. When was this written and what part of Tampa are you referring to? I feel like you are not fully forthcoming with your readers if this was written in 2023. I feel this would be true foe beinf 30 minutes outside of the city. So I apologize in advance if I am looking at this differently than u.

    I would feel National average to many means little and want to compare where they come from.
    1. The school system is not good. As a former teacher in rhe north and teacher friends here, and kids in school i know, a child coming here from the north is farther ahead. Teachers are paid better in north so you get what you also pay for. I feel bad for the children.
    2. A $200k home on the outskirts of Tampa (30min out of downtown) is not nice. You are looking at $350k for a nice decent house that someone coming from rhe north (-NYC) would like. I have been looking. Double wide trailers are $150k. Rundown homes are $200k and will need alot of work. It’s nor affordable here. Rent, buying, taxes, insurance. And companies buying properties to fix up and sell at a much higher rate. How are our service workers and new grad students to live. Where i live now there are many roommates .
    3. Because there is no state or local tax we get hit with high taxes and very high insurance(u did say). Close to rhe city anyway. .
    4. Not sure how friendly it is here. Your community might be, bur when you get into the areas that are touristy, not so much. Drivers are horrible. People dont waive, people feel entitled. Younger people seem better than the adults.

    I love it here, I just had to accept some of these things. I agree with everything you said otherwise. Thanks for reading this and at least reading another’s opinion and not taking offense. Because rhe article is well written. Have a great day.

  2. R
    Ruby Keene says:

    Went there for a vacation and I must say that if you are into warm weather, you will definitely love living there.

  3. Tampa, FL seems like a great place to live with its warm weather, family-friendly atmosphere, and affordable housing.

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