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Top Cities to Live in Florida

There are many great reasons to move to Florida: miles of pristine coastline, breathtaking sun-kissed beaches, gorgeous surroundings, a vibrant culture, and all the unforgettable activities in Miami and the Keys.

If you’re planning to relocate to the Sunshine State, take a look at what these fantastic neighborhoods have to offer.

Fort Meyers: Sun, fun, and culture

Fort Meyers boasts a small-town atmosphere combined with the best amenities a Florida city has to offer. The city is home to a ton of cultural events such as the Music Walk, Art Walk, Art Fest Fort Meyers, and more.
Residents here get to enjoy quick access to some of the best venues for boating and fishing, as well as popular beaches such as Sanibel Beach and the Cativa Beaches.

Pembroke Pines: One of the safest neighborhoods

With small-town charm and gorgeous surroundings, the award-winning community of Pembroke Pines is considered one of the safest and most desirable cities in Florida. The place is breathtaking, with over 28 scenic parks, lush landscapes, and beautiful tree-lined streets. At the same time, Pembroke Pines is minutes away from office districts, restaurants, and shopping and entertainment hubs.

Longwood: Family friendly

If you’re looking for a place that’s more family oriented than most, the suburban city of Longwood is the community for you. Compared to other cities in Florida, Longwood has a relatively small population of around 13,000.
Most of its residents are composed of families, making it one of the region’s best places to raise children.

Miami: Something for everyone

Want to live in a city that has something for everyone? You’ll find a dizzying array of things to do and places to go to in Miami. Whether you’re looking for beaches, high-end shopping centers, five star restaurants, or exclusive clubs, Miami has it all. The city is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, and it’s not hard to see why.

Broward County Public Schools

The sixth largest public school system in the country and the second largest in Florida, Broward County Public Schools or BCPS serves 238 educational institutions along with 99 charter schools. Established in 1915, BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. It currently has over 260,000 students and 175,000 adult students. BCPS features one of the most diverse, multicultural student populations in the country, with more than 200 countries represented by its students.

Three-Year Strategic Plan

Led by a new superintendent and several new board members, BCPS started a three-year strategic plan in 2012 designed to help every student reach their highest potential. The plan’s objective is to focus on every level of education, from early childhood all the way through high school, to ensure that all students have the right knowledge and experience that will lead them to success after high school.

The plan focuses on three primary goals: high-quality instruction, continuous improvement, and effective communication. Through the plan, the district hopes to improve its four-year graduation rate by 90 percent and increase the number of college and career-ready graduates by 80 percent in 2015.

To further inspire its students, the school district will promote its achievements on TV, radio, print, and social media.

Schools in Pembroke Falls

The community of Pembroke Falls is proud to have three excellent public schools served by Broward County Public Schools.

These schools are:

  • Lakeside Elementary School
    900 NW 136th Avenue, Pembroke Pines
  • Walter C. Young Middle School
    901 NW 129th Avenue, Pembroke Pines
  • Charles W. Flanagan High School
    12800 Taft Street, Pembroke Pines

If you’re looking to enroll your child, all three schools provide quality education for Pembroke Falls residents. They have an excellent curriculum, top-notch facilities, and outstanding faculty and personnel.

Book Review: Flip by Rick Villani and Clay Davis

Flip: How to Find, Fix, and Sell Houses for Profit by Rick Villani and Clay Davis is an excellent read, whether you’re new to real estate or a seasoned pro.

It provides plenty of helpful insights for those looking to invest in property that requires some TLC.

You’ll learn if a piece of property is worth your investment. You’ll also be able to avoid the many potential pitfalls that come with flipping a house.

An Indispensable Guide

Even if you’ve never ventured into real estate before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to understand the steps involved in fixing a house and selling it for profit.

I liked how the authors were careful not to overwhelm their readers, neatly dividingthe various aspects of real estate investing and presenting them in easy to digest, bite-sized chunks.

As you read through the detailed step-by-step guides, you’ll begin to develop a strategy that will have you analyzing each investment like an expert.

Refer to the guides often to eliminate the guess work and pave your own path to success.

Helpful and Honest

Yet, in no way does the book sugarcoat that fact that flipping homes is tough work.

What it does is guide potential investors so they don’t dive headfirst into perceived opportunities, and regret their decision afterwards.

There are personal stories that illustrate the roller coaster ride involved in each investment – all the risks, challenges, frustrations, rewards, and celebrations.

These real life scenarios foster an airtight approach to investing, showing reader show to take multiple paths leading towards a perfect purchase.


I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Not only is it extremely helpful, but it’s very entertaining as well. It’s the type of book that’s very hard to put down.

If you plan on flipping properties, read Flip first.

Nature Preserves and Nature Parks in Pembroke Pines

In previous posts, we already talked about the Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area, which has an intense concentration of wildlife. This former sprawling estate has been converted and divided into 4 different eco-zones. You can rent a canoe for a mile-long ride down a freshwater lagoon or simply try your luck fishing at the seawall. For horticultural enthusiasts, two short trails are planted with the local vegetation. Who knows? Along the way one or several of the 200 bird species may accompany you along the way with their remarkable songs. There is also a paved park road for wheeled visitors in skates or bicycles.

The Chapel Trail Park Nature Preserve covers a vast expanse of 450 acres. Its most prominent feature is the wetland ecosphere, providing an interesting first-hand experience of how this delicate environment works. The almost-hidden lives of birds, deer, marsh rabbits, alligators, other reptiles and fish are all intertwined in a critical balance. This preserve brings home the point of how important it is for all of Florida – and the rest of the country – to safeguard this natural balance. Although there is no admission fee, canoe rentals are $7 per hour all the way to $25 for the whole day.

As one of the oldest botanical gardens in Florida, the Flamingo Gardens has more open exhibits of plants and local wildlife, most notable among which are,of course, the pink flamingos in their elegant bright pink plumage. Its 60 acres house more that 3000 tropical to subtropical species. Flamingo Gardens is built around nature’s own bounty, and features one of the remaining natural and untouched old jungle growth in South Florida. These include some of the oldest trees in the area, including a “unique hammock” of 2-century-old oaks. It’s unique Wray Home, the original residence of Floyd and Jane Wray, is a now a museum that captures 1930s Floridian life and all the issues that the era shared with the rest of America.

Family-Friendly Places in Pembroke Pines

Pembroke Pines has a strong sense of community that is built on the strength of the family. And so it boasts several public spaces that are designed around wholesome activities the whole family can share. Here are just some of many venues to enjoy and build memories in.

Family Fun Centers

In Pembroke Pines you are surrounded by different sports and activities, with new ones springing up daily. In addition to baseball, basketball, football and other traditional sports, more unusual activities like capoeira and parkour also have their followers.

This could be the perfect place to find a sports program or mentor for your kids in their favorite sports. You could also find something everyone in the family can do on or in the water such as scuba diving or fishing.


You want your kids to run and play to their hearts content and there are plenty of venues for that in Pembroke Pines. You shouldn’t have to worry too much either since the city’s playgrounds have been built with child safety and fun in mind, which is especially important for younger children.

We like the atmosphere at Jumping Jelly Beans (1250 E Hallandale Beach FL 3309, Telephone: [954] 458-3737) for toddlers and preschoolers. For older and more adventurous children, visit the Blue Moon Outdoor Center (3400 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach, FL 33160, Telephone [305] 957-3058) that offers to show you and the family “the real South Florida” through stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, and boating.

Picnic Places

Sometimes you just want to enjoy some quieter times amidst wide-open and pleasant surroundings. And there are few places that can match Pembroke Pines when it comes to the range and diversity of its picnic venues.

Most public parks, nature preserves and other outdoor areas welcome family picnics. You will find various facilities such as clean and safe public restrooms, picnic tables, and specially zoned areas that allow no motor traffic and noise. Relax. You and your family have earned it.

Top Reasons to Visit Pembroke Pines

The views. The energy. Or it may be the warmth or the percolating culture. There may be a million reasons to visit Pembroke Pines. We are confident that one or all of of those reasons would be perfect for you.

Pembroke Pines’ Natural Natives

People have come to regard Pembroke Pines as a natural sanctum for rare flora and fauna. Several protected or rare species from owls, squirrels, sea turtles and endemic vegetation are the main delights for nature lovers and visitors.

Pick a Landscape, Any Landscape

In a surprisingly short interval, you could move from dunes and shoreline to mangroves and wetlands and into scrub forest before finding yourself in open flowered prairie. Such is the range of Pembroke Pines’ surprising topography.

With Open Arms

As we’ve already mentioned in previous posts, Pembroke Pines is the typical example of the American city as melting pot. You can feel the vibrancy of early American, Caribbean, Afro-American, and Central/ South American cultures with each step you take through its sunny streets. And Pembroke Pines is just getting started.

In a rapidly globalizing world, even more peoples and countries are starting to take a serious look at the Florida area. More recently, visitors from Asia are starting to show greater interest. This means we are in for an even more exciting interplay of cultures and evolving identity for Pembroke Pines.

A City of Potential

The upbeat mood of an improving economy can be catching. And that certainly seems to be the case when you look at what’s happening in Pembroke Pines. Streets and neighborhoods have been transformed. There is also a more proactive spirit among the citizenry to uplift communities as only they can do themselves.

More and more visitors are thinking of eventually becoming residents. And understandably, some actually do take that step.

That may be the most crucial advantage for Pembroke Pines. A collective optimism has acquired a momentum that is almost unstoppable.

7 Best Pizza Places in Pembroke Pines

The art of the perfect pizza has seen a blossoming of regional styles and tastes, with as many differences in crust thickness, tomato sauce volume and consistency as there are new ingredients to top off the pie.

And so in no particular order, here’s our top 7 pizza picks in the Pembroke Pines area; we’re confident you will find your new favorite right here.

Coley’s Pizza
Shoppes of SilverLakes, 18381 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines

If it’s New York-style pizza you’re after, you can’t get much closer than Coley’s with its faithful recipes of large hand-tossed thin crusts. It has a generous but not heaping amount of tomato sauce and sublime cheeses, which is perfect if you want to fold it in half for easier eating, naturally. Customers swear by great service and a cheerful atmosphere.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
11037 Pines Blvd 3430, Pembroke Pines

What sets Anthony’s pizzas are its signature charred-crust pies with its unique patch-burn crust. It’s truly “well-done pizza” as only this pizzeria serves, along with a mouth-watering menu that includes oven-roasted chicken wings, and roast beef sandwiches.

Dough Boys Pizza
292 NW 172nd Ave, Hollywood, FL 33029

A crust that’s baked neither too thin nor too thick, especially for its unbeatable Margherita pizza, is what keeps them coming back to Dough Boys. That and its amazing spread – from their garlic rolls with molten mozzarella to Chicken Caesar Salad to baked ziti and calzone – makes this a neighborhood favorite.

John the Baker
Stirling Town Center, 2116 N Flamingo Rd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028

John the Baker is an actual person who happens to bake the best mushroom pizza in these parts. He’s also formed close personal ties with residents who can’t seem to get enough of his unmatched Italian subs and “awesome” lasagna.

Amici’s Ristorante& Pizzeria
Village Square, 1629 N Hiatus Rd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Amici’s claim to fame is that it simply makes the “best sauce” and puts it on its wonderful pizzas as well as on what has been described as an amazing Eggplant Parmesan sandwich. It also has a smaller and more intimate vibe.

Jersey Johns Pizzeria
Pembroke Pines Shopping Plaza 10460 Taft St, Pembroke Pines, FL

This pizzeria’s specialty is in delivery, and there’s certainly a huge swarm of customers who keep its phone ringing off the hook. The house specialty is its Pepperoni pizza and wings.

Santino’s Pizza and Pasta
Shoppes of SilverLakes, 18267 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33029

This is where to get thin, delicious pizzas and enjoy them in a wholesome and cozy family atmosphere. The subs are good here too, and if you still have room you must try their “traditional” Stromboli.

Best Charity Organizations for Pembroke Pines

As a diverse and multifaceted community, Pembroke Pines has many noteworthy charities dedicated to the advancement of social, medical, or cultural aims.

American Legion

A leading veteran’s association serving a wide range of concerns, the American Legion has been making a difference since it was chartered and incorporated in 1919. As the nation’s most comprehensive fighting veteran’s service agency, it is especially active in the youth programs and “wholesome programs in our communities.”

Road Runners Club of America

As a 501[c] 3 classified nonprofit organizations, all donations go directly to support the RRCA’s programs that support national health through long distance running. Founded in 1958 with a focus on the sport, the RRCA’s recent push back “into the heartland” of America may also describe a return to the basic values of integrity and health. It has an especially enthusiastic number of adherents in the Pembroke Pines area due to the beautiful running venues available.

The Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund

Since 2010 the JCHF has been providing critical medical outreach missions, primarily through cardiac surgical missions for indigent children in Jamaica as well as other countries. There are an increasing number of infants and children afflicted with congenital heart disease, and the JCHF provides free pediatric open-heart surgery that would otherwise be very expensive to obtain.

Culture Vultures

As a community arts group dedicated to “spreading culture around South Florida,” Culture Vultures has also committed to present an enlightened message that goes “beyond art.” Started by Connie Di Falco-Friedman together with four art-loving friends, the group hosts a series of traveling lecturers on all aspects of culture including music, philosophy and psychology.

This is just a sampling of our favorite charities that deal with special interests in cultural exchange, medical philanthropy, and the promotion of youth and health values. Please take your time in researching these particular groups further either on their websites or through online resources to see what they are currently engaged in.It’s also important to double-check identities and authorized agencies that accept donations on their behalf.

Best Local Tours in Pembroke Pines

There are countless things to do in Pembroke Pines. You may want to engage in more conventional activities or you’re leaning towards something more interesting, something that’s off the “normal” track. It’s all yours to experience and Pembroke Pines has more than its fair share of options.

The best way to have fun and gain more local knowledge is to take any or all of Pembroke Pines’ tours. We’ve lined up a few for your consideration, just remember some are definitely not for the meek or the weak of heart!

The Ghost Tours

Pembroke Pines is such a great place to live that,well, some souls have grown too reluctant to leave.

Some swear by the fact that this is indeed the case at many venues. They’ve got imaginative names such as the Waffle House Murders, or the Tropication Arts Poltergeist. Wherever chains may be rattling, there’s a local tour to take you through a bone chilling evening of exploration.

But if you do see something rush past the corner of your eye. If you hear, or worse, feel something go bump in the night, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Boating and Watersports Tours
Or if you want a brighter but no less thrilling daytime activity, there are many tour companies that make the most of the breezy Florida waterways that surround Pembroke Pines.

Strengthen your core with Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board tours that provide instruction and training for every skill level from beginner to expert. Professional instructors at Leeward Paddle Tours are more than happy to help you achieve your most optimum form with special tips and pointers.

Helicopter Tours

Pembroke Pines and its surrounding areas are simply so vast and diverse that sometimes the perfect way to take it all in is from the 10,000-foot view or higher. That’s why numerous helicopter tour companies operate in the area, providing unequaled views of coastlines, waterways, and of the interior Everglades.

South Beach Helicopters is just one of the many competent companies that operate reliable aircraft fleets and will take you through an exciting sweep of this exceptional landscape.

Pembroke Pines History and Interesting Facts

Pembroke Pines is the second most populous city in Florida’s Broward County, its name derived from that of an old influential British landowner and the whistling pine tress that dominate the area.

The Postwar Years

Boasting great natural beauty, Pembroke Pines has always been a bountiful and productive region. By the time WWII ended, the city was already an established agricultural and dairy production center. It also became a natural haven for retiring veterans who established homes and families in the area. Soon, Pembroke Pines became the quintessential 1950s baby-boomer community of white picket fences and wide lawns, a defining picture of prosperous American suburbia.

A Balmy Climate

Pembroke Pines is historically viewed as a haven for those who seek a quieter and yet more active lifestyle.

Its historic population surges in the 60s and 70s were the product of people choosing Pembroke Pines for its relative protection from violent weather. Although the city has seen its share of hurricanes and storms in its westward expansion, its center sits in a somewhat more tranquil corridor.

Peak summer temperatures usually begin in May at 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), peaking in July to August at 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). From September, temperatures usually gently cool to 75 degrees F (24 degrees C) in January. December to March normally mark the coolest periods in the year for Pembroke Pines.

Cultural Diversity

What has recently been fueling the latest population and economic growth is the dynamic explosion in cultural diversity and exchange. The last recorded census of 2010 lists nearly 13% in population growth for Pembroke Pines.

About 20% of Pembroke Pines residents claim foreign or mixed ancestry. Additionally, age demographics were evenly spread among the generations by 2000, with nearly 60% of residents between the ages of 18 and 44 years old. These twin factors of cultural diversity and relative youth of the population explain the transformational vibe that is this community’s defining characteristic.