Our Florida Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 863 miles, and drove for 14 hours and 51 minutes during our 1 week in Florida. We did not travel South of Orlando, since we had ventured there 2 years prior. The map to the right shows our path through Southern Florida 2 years ago.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Florida over the past week.

Famous Person: (Unable to find a worthy candidate)

Famous Food: Key Lime Pie

Roadside Attraction: Swampy: The World’s Largest Alligator

State Capitol/Museum: Tallahassee

National Park: Everglades National Park

Historic Location: St. Augustine

Can't miss attraction: Key West

Made in the USA tour: Showcase of Citrus

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Florida.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $197.00

$ 2.36 gal. in Gainesville, FL was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.65 gal. in Cocoa Beach, FL was highest price paid.


On par with the national average

Groceries: $126.00

Walmart $52.00

Costco $69.00

Aldi’s $5.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $167.00

Golden Corral $19.00 (unbudgeted, but not too bad)

Starbucks $8.00 (tea x3 in exchange for free WIFI)

Moes $16.00 (unbudgeted, but yummy)

Moes $12.00 (unbudgeted, but yummy)

Vegan Chinese $26.00 (budgeted and delicious)

Hotel Breakfast $16.00 (breakfast with family)

Hotel Breakfast $19.00 (breakfast with family)

Zen Bistro $29.00 (dinner with family)

Hotel Desert $16.00 (dessert with family)

Costco Pizza $6.00 (3 slices of average pizza)


We tend to eat out more than usual when visiting family.

Entertainment: $52.00

Redbox $2.00 (movies x1)

Showcase of Citrus $50.00 (admission x2 monster truck ride)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x5 nights)

Hospital ER $0.00 (Hospital parking lot x1 night)

Hotel $0.00 (Crashed with family x1 night)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $5.00

Parking $5.00


Of course, we did great in this category

Florida Expenses Grand Total: $ 547.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Florida Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our yearlong cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 8

“Tourism, industry, construction, international banking, biomedical, healthcare, simulation training, aerospace, defense, and commercial space travel all contribute to Florida having the 4th largest economy in the US”

Lori: 7

“With an average median household income of $49,426, Florida ranks 38th in the nation. What good is a thriving economy if the pay is crap? This is why people retire to Florida instead of working there.”

Economy score: 7.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 8

“With a 0% income tax, and a 6.65% sales tax after local surcharges, and the 27th lowest property taxes in the US, Florida is a very tax friendly state."

Lori: 7

“Cost of a gallon of gas, and cost of food, and cost of housing is on par with the natural average”

Cost of living score: 7.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 2

“While Floridians enjoy 237 sunny days a year, 355 hurricanes and tropical storms have made landfall since 1900, which averages out to 3 per year”

Lori: 2

“Florida is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and is among 6 states that declared opioid abuse a public health emergency in 2017. Not surprisingly, Florida’s violent crime rate is 10% higher than the national average”

Quality of life score: 2


Nate: 8

“Florida is home to Blue Angels, Disneyland, Key West, Everglades, Kennedy Space Center, 663 miles of beaches, and 1,997 miles of coastline attracting visitors from all over the world!”

Lori: 4

“Vegetarian eateries were far and few in between, and I did not see a single solar panel while driving through the Sunshine State proving Florida is not a progressive state”.

Culture Score: 6


Nate: 7

“Florida was an exceptionally beautiful and well-manicured state. Although the roads were in excellent condition, the traffic was absolutely was atrocious due to overpopulation, which got progressively worse the further down you traveled on the peninsula”

Lori: 9

“Although The panhandle is less populated the peninsula, goods and services were readily available throughout the state, and everywhere you looked stores were open for business and bustling”

Environment Score: 8

The verdict is in:

The final score for Florida was 6.2, and it will NOT be our new home state! Nate already used his wild card, and Lori opted not to her Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Colorado 9.2

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Texas 7.3 (NATE’S WILD CARD)

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Arizona 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Florida 6.2

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

California 5.9

Nevada 5.8

Nebraska 5.7

Utah 5.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

New Mexico 4.5

Louisiana 4.3

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9