Arizona vs. Florida for Snowbirds: Which Is Better?

Are you a snowbird searching for the perfect place to nest through a harsh winter? Both Arizona and Florida are well-acquainted with snowbird retirees and have created fabulous opportunities for everyone to enjoy their stay.

They both have appealing weather, gorgeous scenery, and options for great housing, making it very difficult to decide which state is the better choice. However, the verdict from the pros and cons clearly suggest that Arizona is the best place to take a vacation in. But of course, it depends on what you prefer.

Let’s have a comparison of the two states using the following factors:

Retired Couple


Both the states of Arizona and Florida experience climates that are mostly warm, with very mild winters; however, that doesn’t make their weather the same.

The warmth that Arizona provides is described as dry with more days. On the other hand, Florida is humid and rainy, which makes it more prone to thunderstorms that may cause damage to property. Also, hurricanes and storms that can cause flooding. Moreover, the humidity in Florida often makes it feel like it is much hotter than Arizona.

Arizona has been voted as the state with the more pleasing weather forecasts in comparison with Florida since its temperatures are more comfortable for more months in the year. Also, the weather is dry, with only a maximum of 60 inches of annual rain while more sunshine is received in a year. In fact, some cities in Arizona have sunshine for up to 85 percent of the year.


It can be difficult to decide which state has better scenery since they are both polar opposites.

Arizona has scenery that is unique and not seen anywhere else in the world. It comes with mountains capped with snow like the Humphreys Peak, deserts like the Sonoran Desert, and sunsets that are absolutely breathtaking. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is often listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, rivaled by none.

Florida has many lakes and rivers contributing to its lush green scenery. It is; however, flat and not full of many dramatic contrasts as compared to Arizona. It has pretty much the same kind of scenery throughout the state, making it quite monotonous.


Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Due to the high influx of visitors annually, both states have plenty of entertainment choices available.

Florida has a ton of activities to do with water: surfing, fishing, or relaxing on the beach. Florida’s popularity has led to overcrowding in many of its bests spots which dim its attractiveness. The beaches are full of snowbirds, and it is hard to find a cheap place to park.

Meanwhile, Arizona has a larger variety of activities. There are plenty of golf courses that make it a paradise for all golfers. There’s also hiking, camping, skiing in water and snow, and many other recreational activities to do outside in the warm sun. Las Vegas is not that far from Arizona, and if you really want to visit beaches, you can take a short trip to the south of California, which is not far away either!

There is a wide range of sports played by professional teams in Arizona, including soccer teams like the Suns, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks. There are also other basketball and baseball teams, which makes it impossible to be bored if you’re a sports fan.

The cities in both states boast of live entertainment, grand shopping and dining areas, and other attractions seen in urban cities. However, Arizona has more diversity, better service, and a higher quality of amenities offered.

Arizona residents are generally described as more friendly and likely to help you find your way around the state, which is a huge plus. Florida residents tend to be more unfriendly, angry, and aggressive when communicating, coupled with the fact that they are less likely to be helpful.

For your mental health and happiness, you will get along much more easily with the residents of Arizona.


Arizona has outskirts of the cities that are not anywhere nearly as populated as inside the cities. It is a great choice to live in if you don’t want to be suffocated by the complexities and crowd that comes with urban living. When you want to stay in the city, it offers the same developments in Florida but with fewer crowds and bigger places.

Florida, alternatively, is much more densely populated than Arizona due to its huge influx of snowbirds annually, reaching millions on average. This makes the housing in Florida, especially during the winter months, much more expensive, often reaching up to triple the normal price.

The congestion makes shopping malls, stores, theaters, and restaurants crowded with tiny spaces to park and long lines to wait in.


There are almost no irritating insects to be found in Arizona due to the climate. On the contrary, Florida has many large insects, including fruit flies, roaches, scorpions, spiders, and lots of mosquitoes.

Living Costs

The costs of living in Arizona and Florida are quite similar. It depends on the location you choose. In general, Florida is preferred by some due to its policy of zero income tax. Although the tax is present in Arizona, it is very low.

Arizona also has zero tax benefits from Social Security. When it comes to general taxing costs, Arizona is the 7th lowest while Florida is the 10th lowest in rank with lower costs for natural gas and electricity.

Florida has higher costs when housing is considered, and there’s the risk of flooding, which leads to additional costs and repairs.

Road Trips

Arizona Road

Arizona is a great place to go driving for extended hours as you enjoy the landscape as a large chunk of the state is barren. There are many historical sites to visit, in contrast to Florida. Driving for one day will get you to Las Vegas, and if you stay in Phoenix, you can drive to California in just a few hours.

It is very difficult to get lost because the cities are made simple with easy to follow directions, even if you don’t use a map or a GPS.

You must remember that because you’re in a desert, your tank must be full before your road trip to avoid running out of gas in a part of the desert where there are no refilling stations.

Medical Issues

The humidity, dampness, and tropical climate of Florida can be detrimental to arthritis and allergies, increasing your likelihood to require medical assistance. Arizona is a better option if you are asthmatic or prone to allergic reactions.

The care for geriatric patients in Arizona is one of the best in the United States, thanks to its world-class facilities and competent doctors.

Rate of Crime

When it comes to crimes that include burglary, theft of cars, murder, and assault, Arizona has lower rates than many other states in the US. It has a considerably lower rate than in Florida. Moreover, most of the places in Arizona are clean and very safe to live in.

There are lots of ghettos in Florida filled with addicts, dealers, gangsters, and homeless people. The beaches are full of petty thieves. When choosing where to stay and places to visit in, you must take lots of safety measures and ensure that your precious possessions are locked away safely.

Active Communities for Adults

Arizona created the first active community for adults that was up to modern standards. Many other communities followed in its footsteps, including Florida. Florida now has many more communities than Arizona, including The Villages, which is the biggest community there is.

Apart from The Villages, Arizona has a higher number of large communities than Florida has, numbering over a hundred. These communities are usually for adults aged 55 and above, with many activities aimed at keeping you occupied at many hours of the day with spas, tennis courts, basketball, and others.

They have tight security and are made to care for all your needs. The buildings are made to provide the least hassle with rooms that can easily take in wheelchairs as well as walkers.

Ethics in Work and Service

Florida has a worse service ethic than Arizona. Since the traffic is more hectic, people are generally late to almost all events, and nothing begins at the allocated time. Drivers are frustrated, rude, and have a tendency to cut into intersections. People are more in a hurry and abandon courtesy by taking shortcuts.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, whether you choose Arizona, the State of the Grand Canyon, or Florida, the State of Sunshine, your choice will ultimately depend on what you prefer the most and the kind of activities you want to be doing.

We highly recommend that you test both states by going on a vacation for 2 to 3 weeks and talking to people who are locals of the states who have recently moved there. You can also mingle with other snowbirds to find out which state is just right for you.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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