MacDill AFB/W. Central Florida: Area Info, please?


Felonious Monk
March 11, 2003, 11:08 AM
"The Machine that I am a Cog in" has offered 125% of current salary for me to pick up stakes and move the family to the MacDill AFB/Tampa Hill, FL area. Counties surrounding are Hernando and Citrus, on the Gulf Coast. shows cost of living comparison to E. TN anywhere from almost dead even to more than 20% higher, all within a 30 minute radius.

Any Floridians among you that can tell me about the area?
Anyplace to avoid?
We homeschool, and would prefer outskirts/rural/small town to urban/suburban sprawl and traffic.

Any good ranges around there?
How effectively does FL support RKBA? Can I CCW?
(had to keep on-topic! ;) )

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March 11, 2003, 01:59 PM
I'm not real familiar with the area, but let me give you two tips:
1) Check the area out completely -warm breezes and palm trees tend to make even crime ridden area appealing in the light of day. 2) Check it out in mid-winter if possible - your ten minute drive to work in July might take two hours in December (due to snow bird traffic). In December, the snowbirds will slow down in rush hour traffic on the highway from 55mph to 5 mph to look at a pelican or stork. It can be very frustrating...and nutty (as evidenced by locals driving 95 mph on the berm to get around fifty stopped cars. Tampa has more than it's share of horrific traffic fatalities. Unless you want to live on the beach...stay North and/or East of Tampa. The inland areas between St Pete and Clearwater are not too bad either (east of the inter-coastal waterway).

March 11, 2003, 02:00 PM
Valrico was a nice area when we lived there many years ago. It is close to Tampa. I have lived there, in Tampa, and on Macdill AFB. If your line of work allows you to live on base (if there are still houses there) it would be my recomendation. Macdill always felt safe (even during the gulf war), as opposed to Tampa. The area is nice, but you have to go to clearwater or St. Pete for decent beaches due to the brackish water in the bay. I am interested to see what people think of the area now, it's been a while since I have been back...

March 11, 2003, 02:14 PM
You would be about an hour from Southern Exposure in Kathleen FL where Randy Cain teaches about 30 classes per year. See for details.

I spent three years in TPA ending about a year ago. I lived in North Tampa, which would be over an hour from McDill. There are some nice areas in south Tampa, and some ghettos. Generally like the "mid-town" area of most cities.

Traffic is the biggest problem. My office was 15 miles away, 13 of which was interstate. Commute ranged from 40 minutes to 1+ hour.

Tampa suffers from crime, pollution, etc. like all big cities. You can find a place that is liveable with a little research. I assume you already live in Yellow, so this shouldn't be a concern.

I'm not a beach person, so don't know the particulars here. The weather inland where I lived was moderate most of the year. Unlimited outdoor activities available year round.

Some excellent resturants. Check Ceviche in South Tampa.

Fair to middling gun shows, below par gun stores.

If you are willing to make the drive, the area just north of Tampa around Sarasota is really nice.

I'd seriously consider it given the deal you're being offered. TPA is really no better or worse than most cities of it's size in the US.

Good luck.

March 11, 2003, 02:30 PM
"If you are willing to make the drive, the area just north of Tampa around Sarasota is really nice."

That's south of Tampa actually. The areas east of Sarasota/ Bradenton and Palmetto (East of I75) are very nice.

Gray Peterson
March 11, 2003, 03:24 PM
Any Floridians among you that can tell me about the area?

I used to live in Gulfport Florida, a suburb of St. Petersburg, so I know quite a bit about the area.

Understand that the entire metro area has about 2 to 3 million people. Florida's CCW is shall-issue, has been since 1987, so the cops won't really give you any problems.

Areas to avoid on the Pinellas side of the area, the southern end, would be Central avenue south to 54th Avenue south, west to 49th Street, and east to 6th avenue. Especially avoid the 18th Avenue South and 16th Street area. That's Uhuru territory and they don't exactly like anything but black/brown faces there.

You might want to check in to Gulfport, FL. I used to live there, it's a nice town, retiree, but stay west of 52nd Street S. The ghetto of St. Petersburg borders the city of Gulfport, so there's some assorted trash there.

Do not go to the Winn Dixie on the corner of 49th Street and Gulfport Blvd. They are horrible. Drive a mile or two and go to Publix in South Pasadena. Their deli sub sandwitches, especially with Boars Head meat, is really good.

March 11, 2003, 06:20 PM
Thats for reminding me how cold I am.

I lived and currently vactation on Florida's Gulf Coast. Area's to "aviod" is subjective so I'll just say stay away from high crime areas. You should be able to find that info on-line.

I would also check out the Chamber of Commerce web sites at any communties in the area. You should be able to find communities that boast about low crime, re-sale values, great schools.

Some of the best beaches, water, and gun laws in the world.

You can get a jump on things and get your Florida CCW in the mail.

Keep in mind that the extra salary can be sucked up by trips home, phone calls, and new home renovations... if that is your situation.

One thing nice about being accomodating to your employer are the potential pay-offs down the roads. Congratulations and good luck!

March 11, 2003, 06:24 PM
Not only can you CCW, you can NFA. Time to start the paperwork on a machinegun! :) Florida is very RKBA friendly. Everything but some exotic shotgun ammo is legal. State law supersedes local laws so there is no problem with Mickey Mouse county or city firearm regulations. CCW also exempts you from the 3-day waiting period.

Here ( is the site to request the CCW application.

Felonious Monk
March 11, 2003, 07:48 PM
Thanks to all of you for good, to the point, helpful info!

I've got plenty of 'grist for the mill' to consider. I'll let you know what the decision is.

Thanks again, THR compadres!


March 11, 2003, 07:51 PM
Oh...and you'll need a boat. Living on the gulf coast without a boat (even a little one) is plain ridiculous.

March 11, 2003, 08:11 PM
So I actualy live in Tampa about 20 minutes north of Macdill. I like it here. Although I use to live in St Pete and liked it more there. North Tampa (New Tampa and Tampa Palms) is some opf the nicest area around. The hyde park area is also a very nice area to live in and is minutes from the base. There is a lot of realy new development just north of the base right along the water. All and all a very nice area.

March 11, 2003, 08:19 PM
Just a few thoughts.
The new Suncoast Parkway just opened not too long back opening up the possibility of living in Hernando or even Citrus county. My driving time to Tampa Airport from Crystal River is just over an hour in non rush hour traffic. Lots of folks commute daily to the Tampa area to work. So far the living conditions are good, ie low taxes,low crime, moderate traffic, (compared to Tampa) and a relatively conservative attitude where RKBA is concerned.

In my immediate area there are both an indoor 50' range for handguns, and a few miles further, an outdoor range with both handgun, rifle, and shotgun facilities. I understand they have machine gun shoots on the weekends.

The one drawback is that the area is so attractive to retirees that in 20 years it will probably be another Tampa.

Hope this helps some

March 11, 2003, 11:16 PM
As a native Central Floridian, and current resident of Land O' Lakes (no, not where the butter comes from) which is just north of Tampa, near Tampa Palms/New Tampa as an earlier post mentioned, I can say it would definitely be worth the pay hike to come here! Of course, like any large city there are "areas to avoid" but for the most part I love it here. Land O' Lakes, affectionately known as LOL (not to be confused with "laugh out loud" though it used to be considered as such) is actually in Pasco County, the next county north of Hillsborough County which contains Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, and Apollo Beach just to name a few areas. I work in Brandon, which is a 35 minute interstate drive south for me.
The things that I like most about Land O' Lakes after doing most of my growing up here and returning to start my own family after living in Tampa and Clearwater for a while, is that it is now the popular place to build a home. When I lived out here growing up twelve years ago, it was backwoods rural and nobody could understand why anyone would want to live out here (even though it is only fifteen minutes north of TAMPA, THE BUSTLING METROPOLIS where all the fancy-type city folk come from.) We used to be able to go out back and shoot, now that may not be possible without LEA reaction. There were 200 people in my graduating class, but I feel I got eksalunt book lernin' :D. Now all those "fancy city folks" want to move out here like they're pioneering the untamed west or something, and as I last read Pasco County was the 68th fastest-growing county in the U.S. last year. It still has some rural charm, in that I still run into people I went to school with in town either because they never left, or like me they have returned.
The range I shoot at is an outdoor range 15 minutes north of my house, but there are a few indoor ranges in the Tampa and Clearwater areas that I know of. If you're a beachgoer, they're not far at all, but we're out of the way of the madness that is "touristville" if you know what I mean.
As mentioned before, Florida is CCW friendly, however you are not required to have a CCW to keep a handgun (loaded or otherwise) in your vehicle as long as it is out of sight and not in your immediate accessiblity such as the driver's compartment or between the driver's and passenger's seats. Many people may try and tell you of a 3-step rule (that is 3 steps to access weapon, i.e. 1) under the seat, 2) in holster, 3) with thumbreak on) when carrying in the vehicle, but this is not the law, just a good rule of thumb. The law is very vague, and written that way on purpose so that good common sense can be held in consideration when TSHTF. I have been told by LEO instructors that an open (not holstered), loaded handgun is perfectly fine in the closed glove box or trunk without CCW. Long guns can be transported in the open just about any way imaginable, including loaded, in one of those infamous "gun racks", on the seat, or even on the dash (none of which I recommend, BTW, unless you're asking to have them stolen) as long as they are visible, and if they are cased, anywhere is fine. In fact, I'd be surprised if the number of personal vehicles containing firearms was less than those that don't. We're kinda like Texas that way!
I'm pretty sure about this info, but anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong!
There are many great places to live in the Tampa area, I hope you give it some consideration! If there's any more info I can help you with, let me know.

Best, Steve

March 12, 2003, 06:47 AM
I live a couple of hours S of Tampa, but my brother used to live in St Pete and my sweetie lives in Land O Lakes, which is just N of Tampa.

Atticus is right about the boat.

A rural outskirt that has been virtually unmentioned is the area E of Bradenton.

Bradenton and Sarasota are just S of Tampa. My folks live just E of Interstate 75 near Bradenton, and the area is rural and friendly. A short 10 minute blast up the interstate, and you're crossing the Sunshine Skyway into St. Pete. It's the closest you can be to Tampa, while still feeling far from Tampa.

Marko Kloos
March 12, 2003, 09:18 AM
Closed as off-topic.

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