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Ormond Beach, FL

Disappointing - 5/2/2014
2014 April: Moved here about 5 years ago as part of a job transfer. At first, I was impressed by the sunshine and the quiet, laid back lifestyle. If that is what you are looking for, you will probably be satisfied living here. After a short time, this becomes a boring place to live. There is practically no culture, no arts, museums, concert/music venues, etc. There are a few local museums, but they are not impressive. The local concert venue attracts mainly old, long obsolete talent, and just a few events each year.

The big events here are Bike Week, Biketoberfest, and NASCAR races. If you like car racing and motorcycles, this is the place for you. If not, you will grow to dread these events like most of the residents here.

This is mainly a beach resort and vacation town beachside. There is a strange combination of expensive waterfront properties, condos of variable quality ( mostly cheap ), run-down beach cottage neighborhoods (mostly short term rentals), an older golf course community, and some newer but isolated communities with nearby beach access in Ormond By the Sea. This beach is quiet, not many tourists, and no vehicles allowed on the beach.

That is another weird thing: many of the beaches here in Ormond and Daytona Beaches allow you to drive your car or SUV onto the beach. Personally, I go to the beach for natural beauty, and I do not want to look at cars, smell gas fumes, or risk myself or children getting run over. Tragic accidents happen every year, and every year there is a proposal to stop allowing vehicles on the beach, but every year it gets voted down.

On the west side of the Intracoastal waterway, you will find mostly bedroom communities where year-round residents or snow birds live, plus several rental communities. Almost every home is part of an HOA or Condo Association. Buyer Beware. Some substandard developers, unfinished developments, some poorly maintained and run down. Lots of golf course communities, but the country clubs are struggling to survive with a shortage of members. Golf courses are everywhere within 25 miles, so no need to join a Country Club if you like to golf. Almost all of the restaurants and stores are chains and franchises, very average.

Traffic is relatively mild here compared to other parts of FL. The exception is the main bike and NASCAR events. Crime is on the increase in recent years, and stands above the national average. Vehicle break-ins, burglary, vehicle theft, and assaults are fairly common, especially east of Nova Rd, west of I-95, and beachside.

Throughout FL you will find that insurance and health care costs are high, as well as home maintenance costs due to the effects of heat and humidity. You must be vigilant about maintenance to keep mold and insects under control. Many people hire lawn and pest control services. Figure that into your cost of living if you plan to own a home. Also count on special assessments if you are brave enough to purchase in a HOA or condo.

Flood insurance is a big deal in FL. Be sure to research current and proposed rates, which were set to skyrocket for some customers this year. Congress voted on a reprieve for another year or so until FEMA reviews the "affordability" situation. Again, buyer beware. Homeowners' insurance can also be difficult to obtain, depending upon where you live.

Wages are below average nationally and statewide. Therefore it can be a challenge to find and keep talented employees, unless they really embrace the Florida lifestyle. It is not for everybody.

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