Please don’t move to the Gulf Coast. For reasons unbeknownst to me, people all across the country have been talking about the Gulf Coast like this is some kind of Heaven on Earth.
I’d like to set the record straight that whether you’re new to the Gulf Coast or have grown up here, you know that the Gulf Coast — even in all its glory — may not be for everyone. I mean, who wants to enjoy wonderful warm weather, the best beaches in the world, a rich culture and history, and some of the most affordable cost of living in the country?
Here are 9 reasons why you shouldn’t move to the Gulf Coast:
1. You probably won’t be able to handle how beautiful our beaches are.
When I travel to other major cities across the country, people give me a laundry list of superficial qualities of the Gulf Coast. They say to me, “Pensacola? Isn’t that where they have the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Florida?”
“Why, yes. That is true, we are home to the largest protected national seashore in the country, but that’s so shallow of you,” I respond. Does no one appreciate the finer things in life, such as walking along the cigarette-filled beaches of south Florida where 30-plus story condos provide plenty of shade for beachgoers?
Meanwhile, here on the Gulf Coast, we’re stuck with our seemingly endless miles of sugar-white, pristine and protected coastline. I mean, you can walk miles — from Perdido Key to Pensacola Beach — without seeing a soul or stepping on a single hypodermic needle. Where’s the fun in that?
2. The cost of living on the Gulf Coast is ridiculous.
I recently moved to the Gulf Coast after living near big metropolises like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Talk about a hit to the wallet. I was so used to paying 35 different taxes, forking out $12 a gallon for gas, and shovelling out 95% of my paycheck for rent. When I moved to the Gulf Coast, my bank account took a huge hit — all these savings really added up and all of a sudden I could afford fancy meals in the annoyingly-beautiful downtown Pensacola and being able to buy a home. Such a change may not be for everybody — so be warned.
3. You may have to smile a lot.
If you move to the Gulf Coast, you’re really going to miss the stress of the big city. For some reason, people here are just so damn friendly. Soon enough, you’ll be nostalgic for the “good ‘ole days” in New York City or Los Angeles when people you passed by on the street gave you the stink eye or reminiscing to getting the bird every day on your way home from work.
4. The Gulf Coast has more pride for servicemembers than just about anywhere else.
As if people aren’t friendly enough here (see above), you can’t forget the military and the tens of thousands of servicemembers and veterans that call the Gulf Coast home. With all five service branches represented in Northwest Florida among more than a dozens military bases — Keesler, Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Base, Whiting and Hurlburt Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, and Joint-Base New Orleans, to name a few — it can be hard to escape the onslaught of our nation’s finest Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Coastguardsmen.
5. Watching in awe at our one-of-a-kind sunrises and sunsets may mess with your daily routine.
The sunsets and sunrises are just too much, particularly by the beach. If you don’t enjoy these spectacular shows of light on a daily basis, then the Gulf Coast is definitely not for you.
5. There’s just too much history and culture.
Don’t move to the Gulf Coast. There’s just too much to do and so much to learn about our history and culture. Most people still don’t know that the town of Pensacola is nearly 500 years old and is recognized as the first European settlement in the country — years before Jamestown or St. Augustine. Talk about “over the hill.” Residents have to put up with all this history pretty much everywhere they go — from the one-of-a-kind Fort Walton Beach Indian Temple Mound to Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola to the Civil War forts and Spanish shipwrecks lining the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
If you like to spend every weekend sitting on the couch watching Netflix, you better check it before you make the move. You will not be accepted here.
7. You might be spending a lot less time in the fast food drive-thru.
Unfortunately, the food scene along the Gulf Coast might be lacking your typical big city Cheesecake Factory here and all the sugar and processed food it has to offer. Instead, we’re stuck with a diversity of tastes that comprises everything from the freshest and most flavorful seafood served gulfside to the simple and unadulterated southern barbeque you’ll find anywhere.
8. Prepare to lose all that quality time you spend in rush hour traffic.
Millions of Americans have become so accustomed to ever-increasing commutes throughout the country in cities like Atlanta, Houston, L.A. or Miami. Not so on the Gulf Coast. According to studies, the average Gulf Coast commute is “one of the shortest commutes across America.” With all that extra time and gas money on your hands, you won’t know what to do.
9. We don’t have any amusement parks.
Unlike our more famous neighbors to the south, the Gulf Coast isn’t home to any fancy amusement parks. Instead, we just go outside and enjoy the outdoors. The Gulf Coast is home to the largest and most visited outdoor natural amusement parks in the nation — the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which spans from the white sand islands off the coast of Mississippi to Destin, Fla. If keeping things relaxed and simple is not your thing, then you should move to the concrete jungles of Atlanta or Orlando.
Don’t move to the Gulf Coast. You will never want to leave.