How To Homestead in Florida

Florida is recognized for its white sandy shores and tourist attractions, but there is much more than what catches the eye coming from someone who has lived in Florida. 

Florida is packed full of backwoods and has plenty of inexpensive areas to choose from for homesteading. 

The sunny state also has pretty favorable weather and essentially never snows, making it an excellent overall climate. 

The state also has a good amount of wildlife and plenty of other natural resources such as creeks and plantlife to take advantage of. 

Moreover, their gun laws are relaxed, and they do not have any laws that majorly affect homesteaders. Let’s review a few ways to get started homesteading in Florida.

How To Homestead in Florida

Choosing a Location

Florida offers many types of climates, ranging from low 80s-90s during summer, depending on how north or south you are. 

The panhandle of Florida is pretty inexpensive and also has lots of farmland ready for a homestead. 

The southern parts of Florida are a little more pricey but offer warmer winters at the expense of higher humidity. If I were to choose the best area, it would be east of Tampa. 

However, just about any area of the state is just fine for homesteading; it’s really up to personal preference. 

When choosing a location, look for areas with lots of natural resources. 

For example, one place may have plenty of water but have soil full of sand which would be difficult to grow crops on, though still possible.

The Climate

Florida’s climate can change overnight from 40 to 90 degrees, which can wreak havoc on crops. In some areas, especially southern Florida, large spouts of rainfall can flood crops. 

While this isn’t usually a problem as individuals plan for this, your crops could be ruined overnight if you experience an unexpected flash flood. 

Northern Florida can have frigid winters, offering little gardening potential during the winter. On the other hand, southern Florida can be an excellent area to grow a light garden during winter. 

It’s all about what kind of climate you prefer and what you think you’d instead put up with; warmth, humidity, and rain, or rain and occasional winter freezes?

Growing a Garden

In most areas of the United States, ordinary dirt is the most common type of soil. However, Florida has many places that have an overwhelming amount of sand in the ground. 

This can make it very hard to have a thriving garden and lessen the quality of the result. 

Before you decide to buy a piece of property, make sure you inspect the land and perhaps even perform a quick soil test. 

I will say that some sand isn’t always a bad thing, especially if the soil is of high quality. 

Areas located further south will have sandier grounds vs. areas in northern Florida, but keep in mind that north Florida also has essentially no growing season during winter. 

Making Money

If you’ve never visited Florida, know that the state is full of old-school minds that love supporting small businesses. Any fruits and vegetables that you don’t need sell them.

This means that you have an excellent opportunity to make money from your homestead

For starters, you can sell chicken eggs at mom and pop shops, breed and auction off chickens, sell fruits and vegetables at fruit stands, and more. 

I have even seen individuals board horses on their homestead, charging a fee of a hundred bucks or more for each week. 

Plus, unlike some other states, Florida does not require as many licenses and hoops to jump through to be in business, which is excellent for you.

Self-Sustainability 

Florida is a very sunny state, which means it’s excellent for solar panel usage. The UV rays are pretty intense in the state, even during cooler days, making going off-grid much easier.

Moreover, the sunny state gets plenty of rain, so tools such as rainwater harvesting systems will prove to be very useful. 

There is also really quite a bit of wildlife, including deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, and much more. 

This all together makes living off of mother nature and its fruits effortless and easy, making the most challenging part of homesteading essentially the easiest. 

Plus, Florida does not charge any crazy taxes or fees for going off-grid, unlike some other states, and does not require you to report any of this, for the most part.

The Weather

Florida is frequently hit with hurricanes, so I felt that this was necessary to include. I have been through many of these hurricanes, and while I’m obsessed with severe weather, they’re not fun.

If you want to stay in an area less likely to be hit by a hurricane, the northeast is the way to go. 

Southern Florida is hit most often, while the panhandle is hit nearly as often but with much less intensity. 

If I were to name the safest area, it would be 100 miles of Orlando or further north. A strong homestead is likely to survive a medium-sized hurricane, but this is still important to consider. 

You should also think of what it may do to a field of crops, especially if you’re in a flood zone.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does Florida Offer a Homestead Exemption?

Florida does offer a homestead exemption, but there are a few things to keep in mind. You must have legal ownership, including the title of the property you plan to homestead.

Furthermore, you have to be in good faith with the state (no crazy taxes owed, etc.), but it is otherwise pretty easy to get.

The exemption typically goes up to $50,000, but this depends on several factors. Overall, it’s not a bad option, but it’s not bringing competition to the table compared to other states. 

Which County Has The Highest Taxes?

In Florida, the further south you live, the higher the taxes are. This depends on the size of the city, though. 

Miami comes in with one of the highest property tax rates at an average of 1.02%. This isn’t terrible and is manageable with a few acres.

You can expect this to lower the further north you go. It’s often lower in smaller cities as well, even in south Florida.

How Many Acres Do I Need?

To homestead, you do not need much land. I believe five acres or so is optimal and is in the middle of the minimum and high optimal of what I suggest, being one to ten acres.

Anything more than ten acres, and you’ll have your hands full, but with more potential for farming. 

Less than one acre, and you’ll run into space issues. This is why five is an excellent middle-ground for most individuals just getting into homesteading. 


Verdict

Florida is known for its beaches, and unless you’ve lived there, I don’t blame you; it’s essentially all that is fronted online. 

However, Florida has much more than that; if you drive out of the cities, you’ll quickly discover lots of farmland with plenty of natural resources. 

Plus, the land is flat, taking away a lot of the disadvantages that mountains bring. Overall, it doesn’t get much better than this, at least in terms of natural resources. 

On a better note, just about anywhere you choose to live in Florida, you’ll be within an hour or so from the beach in most locations.

However, you’re going to be putting up with humidity, but I highly suggest considering this state nevertheless.



Written by Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things homestead. He grew up on a homestead and helped his parents do the day-to-day. Read more of Bryan's articles.