Boca Raton is the southernmost city found in Palm Beach County, Florida. It was first incorporated in 1924 as Bocaratone, then adjusted in 1925 to the name currently used. If you’re from the community or the region, you probably just call it “Boca.” You’ll find it about 40 miles north of Miami.
Boca Raton is one of the richest communities in the southern part of Florida. About 100,000 people live in the city proper, with another 100,000 people living in the postal ZIP code outside of the municipal boundaries. It is also the home of Florida Atlantic University, and the city serves as the corporate headquarters for several organizations.
Many of the buildings in Boca Raton have a Spanish Colonial or Mediterranean Revival vibe to them. The resort area was initially inspired by Addison Mizner, who helped to guide the initial layout and building of the city. You won’t find any billboards or signs in the city, and there are strict development codes in place for commercial buildings.
List of the Pros of Living in Boca Raton
1. Boca Raton funnels extra money toward public services.
The taxes in Boca Raton are slightly higher than what you’ll find around Florida, but those funds go directly toward public services and their workers. You’ll receive the protection of a city police force and a country sheriff’s office when you start living here. Both precincts have a reputation for providing a world-class living experience, giving everyone that extra dose of protection they need.
The crime rate that you’ll find in Boca Raton is significantly lower than the rest of the region, so you will find that the safety you receive is worth the extra investment.
2. There are lots of wide-open spaces available to explore.
Boca Raton might offer access to an urban environment, but it also has some open spaces that allow you to start exploring. The houses are not stacked on top of each other to create cookie-cutter neighborhoods here. If you travel outside of the regular rush hour, then running your errands doesn’t take long at all. You’ll discover several hiking trails around the community that are perfect for a sunny day. Cycling paths are also available, and this advantage comes together to provide a lot of excitement for everyone to appreciate.
3. The school system in Boca Raton has a reputation for success.
Your children will attend some of the best schools in the country when you start living in Boca Raton. This advantage applies to virtually every age level and grade, including whatever collegiate studies you choose to pursue. Once your kids graduate from high school, they can stay close to home by attending Florida Atlantic University if they want. There are numerous institutions within a couple of hours, including Miami University, that offer unique choices to consider.
You can rest assured that the overall attention and priority given to the educational system in Boca Raton will encourage successful outcomes. A total of four public high schools, five middle schools, and a dozen elementary schools serve the area. About 20 private schools are also available to consider.
4. The weather in Boca Raton is consistently pleasant.
You will find that the weather in Boca Raton isn’t as sunny as some other spots in Florida, but you’ll still receive an average of 231 sunny days each year. That’s above the national average. If you don’t like dealing with snow, then you’ll love it here in this community because it rarely gets that cold.
The only time snow ever came to the area was during the cold wave of 1977. You can sometimes experience temperatures that get close to the freezing mark when fronts move through at the same time a high-pressure system sits to the northwest, but you can avoid the white stuff almost all of the time.
5. You can get outside to explore nature almost whenever you want.
Boca Raton offers plenty of nature trails, reserves, and parks for you to enjoy when you get tired of the city’s beautiful beaches. There are several rivers, lakes, and springs for you to visit when living here. If you have a boat, then the waterways around the region allow you to float along at whatever speed you prefer. It is not unusual to see iguanas in this community, and even the occasional alligator stops by to visit.
Some of the wildlife in the area can be dangerous, so you’ll need to approach waterways with caution. This advantage can also be one of the most exciting aspects of life in Boca Raton.
6. The real estate market stays consistently valuable in Boca Raton.
When you start living in Boca Raton, you’ll find that there is a wide range of homes that cover most of your pricing spectrum. You’ll need to have some money available to live here, but the community can accommodate most households if you give yourself enough time to find a deal. You’ll find estate-style homes, condos, and apartments all providing a sense of security and value, especially if a golf membership comes as part of the detail.
When you begin to explore the neighborhoods of Boca Raton, you’ll find that the combination of properties and cost creates an intriguing combination that’s worth exploring.
7. You get to fuse urban and suburban life in Boca Raton.
One of the most popular aspects of living in Boca Raton is that the city offers a suburban feel without sacrificing the urban amenities that you prefer. The culture, art, and corporate access that is possible here allows you to enjoy all aspects of life without sacrificing something you need or want. You can travel from your neighborhood into the downtown sector in just minutes, even when the traffic is a little busy.
You’ll find mom-and-pop stores still competing with the chain outlets and restaurants, allowing for retail therapy and recreation without forcing a compromise. The opportunities for fun are virtually endless because of this advantage.
8. You will find lots of beach space available to enjoy while living here.
The eastern coast of Boca Raton provides two miles of beaches for you to enjoy. The two most notable areas are South Inlet Park and Red Reef Park. The latter offers an environmental complex and educational center that features a butterfly garden, sea tanks, and a boardwalk trail to follow. Then you can climb an observation tower to get an incredible view of the area.
Another option to consider is Sugar Sand Park, which provides a Children’s Science Explorium for the family. You’ll find dog parks, golf courses, and green spaces along the Intracoastal Waterway that provide fun swimming, birdwatching, and picnicking opportunities.
9. There are plenty of employment opportunities found in Boca Raton.
Office Depot has its global headquarters located in Boca Raton, taking up a 28-acre campus in the city. A company that operates prisons called the GEO Group has its headquarters based in One Park Place. The hotel company Luxury Resorts is here, along with media companies like Friend Finder Networks and American Media. BMI Gaming, Vitacost, and Jarden are also significant employers.
Even with all of these opportunities, the two largest employers in Boca Raton are the regional hospital and Florida Atlantic University. IBM and ADT Security Services also make the Top 10.
10. Boca Raton offers a robust library network.
The Boca Raton Public Library serves the residents of the city, while three branches of the Palm Beach County Library System provide options for residents who live outside of the city limits. If you have a library card with the county, then you can use it at any of the 16 branches that are in the region. You’ll have access to several databases with your membership, along with audiobooks and e-books that you can check out from home.
11. You will be living in a strategic location for the rest of Florida.
You’ll find that Boca Raton offers a fantastic geographic location for you to enjoy some of the best opportunities that Florida offers. You’re within an hour of getting into Miami or the Ft. Lauderdale region. There are three airports serving the area so that you can catch a flight to almost anywhere in the world when the wanderlust strikes. You can also make it to the Treasure Coast without difficulty. That means you get to stay within a reasonable distance of the top places that tourists like to visit without being overwhelmed by their presence.
12. Boca Raton offers some superb restaurants to try.
If you want a fast and affordable meal, then there are plenty of chain restaurants and fast-food opportunities available in Boca Raton. You will find that there is a vibrant culinary scene that you’ll want to explore when you start living here. The restaurants are superb, with local favorites being Rebel House, Max’s Grille, and Farmer’s Table. High-end chains are also located in the city, including a Morton’s.
List of the Cons of Living in Boca Raton
1. Traffic in Boca Raton is not for the faint of heart.
You will find several toll-based and free options to help you get around the region, but the traffic in the area is consistently heavy. Over six million people live just to the south of you, so there are lots of commuters who make their way out of Boca Raton every day for work. Tourism also helps to create more logjams on the Interstate system throughout much of the year.
If you start living here, then it is a good idea to take a handful of test drives to where you plan to work so that you can budget an appropriate amount of time. You might find it to be easier to drive on the side streets instead of the main thoroughfares.
2. The heat and humidity of Florida can get to you.
Living in Boca Raton is fantastic during the traditional winter months of December and January. When you are there in July and August, the heat and humidity can become oppressive. This disadvantage is one of the primary reasons why the “snowbird” population is so high in this region. Many retirees live in the community during the winter, but then they move north during the summer to stay cool.
It does stay fairly warm throughout the year here, so investing in a robust air conditioning system for your home should be a priority. Then make sure you’re prepared for the weather to change at a moment’s notice.
3. Rainstorms are somewhat common in Boca Raton.
When you live in Florida, planning for a hurricane is just part of your life experience. Having an evacuation plan in place is a good idea so that you can stay safe when a strong storm comes through the area. The weather in Boca Raton can be somewhat unpredictable because you might find yourself basking in the sun at one moment, and then running away from torrential rains in the next one.
That’s not to say the rain is miserable and cold like it tends to be further north. If you don’t like being wet or managing the weather each day, then Boca Raton might put on a show that keeps you away.
4. There is virtually no public transportation system in the city.
Even though Boca Raton is one of the most affluent cities in the state, the public transportation structure it offers is one of the worst. If you don’t own a vehicle when living here, then your next best option is to purchase a bicycle. The buses that do run in the city are inconsistent, with few stop times and unpredictable arrivals. Accessing light rail or some other alternative is not possible.
5. Everything closes early when you’re living in Boca Raton.
If you live somewhere else in Florida, like West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, there are businesses that stay open all night long. You won’t find the energy dying out until 4 am in some spots. When you start living in Boca Raton, then experience is very different. You’re lucky to find a convenience store open past 11 pm, much less a grocery store or a restaurant. That means you’ll need to plan ahead for any events you want to host at home since all of the supportive businesses will be closed for the evening.
Your other option would be to enjoy the nightlife somewhere else, although that would likely mean booking a hotel room for the night.
6. Boca Raton lacks a coherent nightlife.
As for the nightlife options that are available in Boca Raton, there are a handful of clubs and bars from which to choose. None of them are comparable to what you’ll find in the surrounding communities. Most of the people who live here end up going to Fort Lauderdale if they want to have an affordable night out with their friends. If cost isn’t an issue for you, then Miami is another option to put on your radar.
7. The cost of living is a significant issue that you must consider.
You don’t need to be wealthy if you want to start living in Boca Raton, but you do need to be beyond living paycheck to paycheck. Palm Beach County enforces a sales tax of 7%, which means you’re paying a little more than the 6% you’ll find in other parts of the state for the items you need. The cost of services in the city is also higher, partially because of the fact that it takes more money to buy what you need.
Property costs are impacted by this disadvantage, although you have more service structures to enjoy in a safer environment. The median price of a listed home in Boca Raton is about $430,000, while you can expect to pay about $2,300 per month if you prefer to rent.
8. Crime can still be an issue in some parts of Boca Raton.
As late as 2007, there were nine known gangs operating in the Boca Raton region. The city also has a connection to the Mafia, with the Gambino family still working out of the city. Pearl City is a neighborhood known for being a drug trafficking hub in the region. Officials are noting that there has been a rise in the number of opioid and heroin overdoses happening throughout the population center.
The Greater Boca Raton area bridges the older farming communities with modern manufacturing and technology jobs to create a unique Floridian environment. Some people refer to the city as the “Beverly Hills” of the state because of its beach resorts and 5-star shopping centers. About 1 in 5 homes are for sale at a minimum price of $655,000, with 12% above $1.28 million.
There are several perks to consider if you can afford to live in Boca Raton. It is safe, allows for easy access to the rest of Florida, and has a robust artistic community that includes galleries and theaters.
When reviewing the pros and cons of living in Boca Raton, the cost will always be the first factor to consider. If you can find employment and manage the housing prices, then you will discover that a lovely piece of paradise is awaiting your arrival.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.