There's a hair salon, a KFC and a church at every corner in the Big Peach.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
I lived in Florida for 22 years, and as soon as I graduated from college, I moved around to different states for my profession. At first, it was a small Texas town, and then I made my way to Augusta, GA.
I feel I'm pretty well versed in my Southern era to say you couldn't pay me to move back to the Big Peach...even though it is way cheaper to live there.
In Augusta, I was paying about $800/month less in rent than I am in Florida and for a bigger space. It was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that came with a balcony.
The municipality was smaller, so the cost of living was cheaper for food and other necessities.
On the flip side, the pay ratio (depending on your job) runs at a sliding scale with the economy. So, ultimately I was getting paid less there, too.
Georgia did have fall leaves which were gorgeous to look at, but it was seasonal and humid and I was itching to escape. However, I'd choose Florida's wet air over Georgia's any day. Here's why!
Georgia's weather was seasonally bad.
Speaking of the humidity, Georgia had the weirdest seasons. The summers were hot and humid and had no coastal breeze. The Spring was the only grace period because Fall was rainy and wet.
During winter in Augusta, it would drop to below freezing overnight...and it would never snow!
As a Floridian, I might not be a huge fan of snow, but if it's going to be cold, it at least should make the full commitment. After all, Florida is hot all year round. That's what I call going all in.
Of course, we have to keep our A/C running which hikes up a nice electric bill, but it's worth it when the weather cools down a couple of degrees in the winter months.
Many Georgians have golf-obsessed and pretentious attitudes.
I couldn't tell any sports fanatic I was living in Augusta without the response, "where the Masters is!" I learned quickly that the town was only fun one week out of the year when it turned into a golf version of Disney World.
The grass on everyone's lawns was cut, their hedges were clean, and the tourists rolled through and rented out the old money homes with wraparound porches during tournament week.
You wouldn't even know where the golf course was cause it was enclosed in tall bushy gates. The organization practically ran that town and kept everything under wraps. Not to mention, everywhere you look, someone is wearing apparel with the Masters' logo on it.
In Florida, we show our pride for multiple football teams, a basketball team as well as baseball. We also have the PGA Golf tournament, but it isn't the focal point of Florida sports like golf is for Georgians.
Georgia had so many lakes, so little beaches.
Kayaking in a lake in Columbia County, GA.
Jenna Kelley | Narcity
I'll give Georgia one thing, the place has some really gorgeous lakes to kayak, but the only popular beach was in Savannah, which was hours away from where I lived, and it's so far out on the coast, it's even about 45 minutes outside of the eastern city.
You can go to Jekyll Island or Tybee Island, but Florida is surrounded by all types of beaches.
I used to hate the beach, but when that luxury was taken away from me, I realized how much I missed clear turquoise blues over dark, nasty water. Plus, the beach is free and you need to rent kayaks to enjoy the lake.
It's too Southern for me.
If you know anything about South Florida, it's like a tropical New York. The more North you go, the more Southern the state gets, so by the time you reach Georgia... forget it.
Almost everyone says "y'all", and one of the first times I heard someone casually use the phrase "by golly" was in Georgia.
Southern comfort food establishments are almost every other restaurant you pass.
If you go just a couple of minutes outside of each big city, you're in a farm town or a never-ended two-way road with houses that seem like they are in the middle of nowhere due to acres and acres of land surrounding them.
While the housing market is probably better in Georgia, I missed my big-city living so badly, I had to move back home. Skyscrapers, suburbia, and the hustle and bustle of a shopping center are what I like.
Big Georgia cities didn't sell me.
I loved my time in Savannah, as it is a more artsy town with rich history, but it's still a fairly small city for it to be considered "big".
I've been to Atlanta multiple times, and the tourist attractions are fun, but the city just didn't feel safe. As soon as you get to the airport, there's a PSA throughout the building that warns you to beware of sex trafficking. TikTokers in ATL are constantly warning others about it, as well.
When I went back to Augusta, and I would take my dog for walks, there was more than one time when a car would slow down next to me and roll down their windows until I would tell them to leave me alone or pretend I was on the phone.
As far as Florida, I grew up here, so I at least know my whereabouts better than the place I moved to for only two years. I also have family that lives close by and I'm more familiar with safe places to travel and where to stay away from.
Honestly, it's just kind of boring.
The downtown area in Augusta, GA had little to choose from and the city was in constant battle with traditional vs. modern. This means all of the bars and random costume shops around them (yes, I'm serious) were new and improved but they had to open in structures that were built ages ago to maintain the historical aspect of the town.
It really just looked like one bad weather incident would tear them all down.
The Sunshine State is filled with downtown areas, touristy spots, and even various clubbing and nightlife scenes. You can be in Miami or even in Tallahassee (a major college town) and find a good variety.
Hair salons, fast food, church: A Southern trifecta at every corner.
I would take long road trips from Georgia to Florida and back again, and in between cities, there's a whole lot of nothingness. However, you can guarantee at every light and every corner, there's a church, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a hair salon.
Luckily, the gas was cheaper in these areas, but I'd rather be in more populated spots in case something were to happen where I could have gotten stuck.
From Florida to Texas to Georgia, I think I found my forever home in the Sunshine State.