Where to move in coastal US / possibly internationally?
February 23, 2015 5:59 AM   Subscribe

After 28 years in snowy New England and finding a wonderful partner with SAD, I am seriously considering moving to a much warmer climate in the next couple of years. List of caveats below the fold:

I am a nurse so can get work pretty much anywhere. Complicating factor is that partner is a lobsterman and would need to live in a coastal area to continue commercial fishing.

So, non-negotiable:
- Must be within 30 minutes of coast / working waterfront
- No snow !
- Buy a house for <$300,000

Really want:
- Walkable. To at least a couple stores / a park.
- ideally in a small town, or at least a place with a small town feel.
- not completely conservative. Partner is conservative but from a liberal area, I'm liberal from a liberal area.
- close to some scenic outdoor public spaces. Love hiking.

Places we considered:
- Florida. My parents bought a house in sarasota and it would be nice to be close to them. Sarasota is a complete 180 from the liberal small town I grew up in, though. Any coastal Florida communities that are more walkable/small town/not super old?

That's really it. We are in the brainstorming stage now as this won't happen until I finish school in ~2 years.
posted by pintapicasso to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Tampa neighborhood of Seminole Heights ticks every single one of your boxes.
posted by _Mona_ at 6:24 AM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out Gulfport. It's on the edge of St. Petersburg, and it's got a small town feel but easy access to larger city amenities. It's less than an hour from Sarasota.

If you spent some time in Sarasota I suspect you would meet some like-minded people. It's got arts museums and colleges, both of which tend to have at least a few fairly progressive people on their staffs. Go visit your folks during the off-season, and wander around.
posted by mareli at 6:24 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Consider coastal North Carolina - Wilmington in particular. It's colder here than further south, but frankly I grew up with winter and then spent several years freaked out in Southern California because not having seasons at all is just weird. We find North Carolina a good compromise. Maybe an inch or two of snow once or twice a year, but it melts within a day or two, and for most of the winter you can go around in a jacket and flats without socks and it's no big deal. Winter is also fun here because when you do get that inch of snow, everything completely shuts down and you get a fun snow day at home that you can spend making fun of how insane it is that everything shuts down for an inch of snow.
posted by something something at 6:50 AM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

Gulfport, FL was my answer too. I haven't spent a ton of time there, but my in-laws have a house there and I always enjoy visiting. There's a nice downtown area with lots of restaurants and shops, and a neighborhood of cute cottages surrounding it. I think it's a popular spot for vacationing and living for the lesbian (and possibly gay) community, so it's definitely more liberal than other parts of Florida.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 6:59 AM on February 23, 2015

As a note, I've been in wilmington for almost 7 years; it is EXTREMELY conservative. I am a liberal-leaning moderate from the south, even, and down here I am by far quite left of any of my acquaintances, friends, and coworkers. The central and western parts of the state are much more progressive; you cross 95 towards the coast and it's like stepping back in time.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 7:07 AM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by functionequalsform at 7:38 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

not completely conservative. Partner is conservative but from a liberal area, I'm liberal from a liberal area

I don't know whether or not it ticks this box (I kinda think it does, but I am not sure), but I think you can find all the other criteria somewhere in San Diego County.

I have lived without a car here for nearly three years. There are areas where you can get housing and be in walking distance of stores and other amenities. There are places where you can get a house for under $300k. There are small towns. It is coastal. There are places like Torrey Pines State Park where you can hike even quite close to town/city development. Torrey Pines State Park is convenient to parts of La Jolla and I think Solana Beach. Solana Beach is a small town.

So put that on your radar for checking into more closely.
posted by Michele in California at 11:05 AM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Anywhere is Pinellas County (St Petersburg), Florida.
St Petersburg itself seems to fit all your criteria. It is a walkable community. It is more liberal than other parts of Florida. Plenty of homes available in $300K range. And it is 15min to St Pete Beach.
posted by Flood at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2015

Yeah, there are plenty of neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area that you would probably like. Gulfport is a good choice, as are the Old Northeast/Crescent Lake/Uptown neighborhoods in St. Pete.

While I wouldn't describe the area as "liberal", it's definitely "not completely conservative" as you wanted.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:47 PM on February 23, 2015

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