Tallahassee or Pensacola: Which North Florida City is Best for You?

Northwest Florida offers an entirely different vibe than the rest of the state, but which part of North Florida should you settle in? Are you looking for classic Florida beachside living or one of the state’s biggest college towns?

Pensacola and Tallahassee are two of North Florida’s jewels, both with a history that dates back to the 16th century. And being just 200 miles apart, they have a lot in common.

Let’s break down what makes each Pensacola and Tallahassee special and figure out which one is right for you.


Tallahassee: More Than a College Town

Tallahassee is the largest city in the Florida panhandle, and with it being home to Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, and Florida A&M, the city continues to grow. It’s the eighth largest city in the state, and compared to other big cities like Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami, the cost of living is much more reasonable.

Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida

If political and legal work opportunities are of interest to you, Tallahassee is the place to be. The Florida Bar and Florida Chamber of Commerce are both headquartered in the city as well as numerous state agencies.

If you’re looking to cut down on driving, Tallahassee is a great place to call home. Also known as “Cycle City,” Tallahassee has more than 700 miles of biking trails throughout the city, meaning you don’t have to rely on gasoline to get around.

And because we’re talking about North Florida, Tallahassee has something few Florida cities can claim: seasons. Winter won’t be too cold, but you will see more consistent temperatures in the low 60s, while much of Florida is lucky to get below 70 once or twice a year.

The one thing Tallahassee doesn’t have is a beach, but there are multiple Gulf Coast beaches that range from 20 miles away to just 130. Not bad for a quick day trip to soak up some sun.


Pensacola: White Beaches As Far As The Eye Can See

As the westernmost city in the state—and only a stone’s throw away from Alabama—Pensacola is right at the heart of the Emerald Coast. If you’re looking for simple, beachside living, this is the city for you.

Average home prices rank way below other beach towns in the state (such as Naples or Sarasota) and the white sand beaches are some of the top-reviewed in the country.

Sunrise over the ocean at Pensacola, Florida

If you’re looking for a bayou vibe in Florida, the annual Crawfish Festival in Pensacola is the closest thing you’ll get to New Orleans without hopping on a flight.

If you’re an aviation buff, you’ll know that Pensacola has been called “The Cradle of Naval Aviation” and is home to the first Naval Air Station commissioned by the US Navy in 1914. Tens of thousands of naval aviators have trained here, including John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. The Blue Angels are also stationed in Pensacola.

With beaches everywhere you look, Pensacola is the city to be in if you plan on spending just about every day outside. Minus a thunderstorm here and there, you’ll get a few hours of sunshine every day to take a stroll on the boardwalk or paddleboard along one of the streams.


Which City Is Best For You?

Both Tallahassee and Pensacola have affordable cost of living indexes compared to the rest of Florida and both have strong job markets. Tallahassee’s job market is built around two large state universities, the state government and legal practices while Pensacola’s is built upon tourism, healthcare services and the military.

Both cities offer endless outdoor opportunities from hiking to boating as well as wildlife, nature trails and state parks. And with average annual temperatures in the high 60s, you can enjoy all of these outdoor amenities almost 365 days a year.

Fort Pickens National Park in Pensacola, Florida
Fort Pickens National Park in Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is a small beach town with plenty of water activities right at your fingertips, while Tallahassee offers big city nightlife and action without the high prices.

Ultimately, the decision comes to whether you’re a beach person or not and how you feel about college students.

You may love the beach, but so do a lot of people, so if you’re planning to move to Pensacola, you need to be willing to deal with lots of tourists year-round, especially during the summer. The extra traffic, crowding, and trash during peak seasons take some getting used to.

In Tallahassee, the biggest obstacle will be the 70,000 or so college students living there during spring and fall semesters. FSU and Tallahassee Community College both enroll more than 30,000 students and that’s a lot of extra bodies that might make it feel like you stayed too long at the frat party.


Whichever You Choose, Let Cento Moving Help You Get There

Pensacola and Tallahassee both offer amazing amenities to residents, so either way, you’re in for an amazing time!

Packing up everything you own and moving, however? Not so much. Unless you’re working with Cento Moving.

We’ve moved Orlando residents everywhere from Winter Park to Hawaii and everywhere in between. Call us today to kick start your new life; Cento Moving can get you to your new home without the stress.


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