People are people. There are some Yahoos that won't accept anyone that doesn't look like them and they aren't really happy about them either. There are a lot of stereo types of the south that come from the last century. I would argue that the South has actually done better for true racial acceptance than the smug northerners/big city people like to believe.
The things you'll have to be aware of is that small towns, under 20,000 people or so, are just that, small. There are a limited number of people and they tend to be very homogenious. Otherwise, they know everybody and everything about every family going back through many generations. I grew up as an interloper in a small farming community in Michigan. It mattered who your antecedents were and what people thought of them. My parents, from New York
, did not have an easy transition into the much slower life style of that community but found friends and stayed there for more than 20 years. Anyway, that's the virtue asd well as the curse of small town living.
So, it's really going to be what you find are necessities in life. If you need a major mall and/or eclectic shopping
, the theater, off the wall political or social attitudes, horrified by anything that is not paved, then small town life is not for you. If you are like the majority of us, then medium sized towns will fit the bill. If you are from NYC
, stick to Miami
. We've found that you can take advantage of most things that major cities offer without the disadvantages if you locate about a no traffic hour outside of the city. Prices are way more reasonable and/or the quality of houses way better. When you want to take advantage of what the city has to offer, just hop in your car and your there. It's also way cheaper to rent a hotel
room if the occasion needs more than just an in/out.
Taxes are a consideration. Some states do not tax boats, which Sean brought up. If you have a big boat, it could be a significant dollar consideration. Some States don't tax pensions and/or other forms of compensation. I doubt that any State, outside of the NE will be as committed to lightening your wallet as California, in any case.
is a consideration wherever you go. Hurricanes are a threat up the entire SE coast. Don't let the last few years activity lull you into feeling there is a safe area on the right coast. The farther north you go, the less the threat but the worse the overall weather
. I've wintered over in Norfolk and found it a nice compromise for weather and proximity to everything the East Coast has to offer. Shirt sleeve sailing season is 9 months long and the short winters are sailable except when a short term storm comes through. One caveat, July and August can be a bit sweaty unless you are out on the water or have good air conditioning
. Of course, that's not unique to just Norfolk afflicting just about everywhere but Maine
You also might look at the PNW. People don't realize it but the boating
season is year around if you dress for it. Temp's are almost never below forty, winds are better in the winter and the cruising grounds are wonderful all the way up into Alaska
. Of course, it's not an environment
for those afflicted with SAD. If you like the sun, all day, everyday, forget it.
The suggestion to rent a motor
home and take a leisurely land cruise
is a great idea. It's difficult to get the true essence of a community from the freeway. Hanging out for a few days or even longer will give you a better feel for the area. One thing is certain, you will probably have a lot of money that will stay in the bank after selling your California Property unless you insist on buying
waterfront or major city areas.
Good luck. Your family is not an anomaly. Hear from more and more people that they are bailing from CA as soon as they can because of onerous regulations
, high taxes and just too many people. One word of advice, don't try and Californicate wherever you go. It's not where you came from and that's its charm.