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Where in Florida to live ?

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I am looking to retire and move back to Florida from Maryland in the next year. I was in Apollo beach- south of Tampa 20 miles in 2006-08. However the real estate down turn killed that move, could not sell Maryland house in time to make it all work out, bought nice house in a great waterfront community in Apollo Beach- The Mirabay, and loved it. However we could not give away our house and 4 1/2 acres up in Md at that time. Wife told new boss to F himself and quit,( reason we moved there) I just got my real estate license there and opened Home Inspection company, no time to get up and running before the real estate switch turned off, we were in a bind and came back to Md to old life. Only took another year to sell the Florida house, But now wife is long gone (thanks) and Im gonna go back real soon. Question is, WHERE ? Loved that Apollo Beach area, BUT not real close to a beach area, I saw only a High class and a lower class of people there- not much of a middle class did I see in 2 years. Either driving a mercedes or hittin you up for money at the gas station. Also I am one of those dreaded "car guys" always working on a hot rod, motorcycle,boat or something with an engine, even in my late 50s. The home owners association did not exactly love me, so no more gated communities with HOA rules in a binder. So where can I be within walking-biking distance of a beach, have a garage to tinker and play and enjoy the warmth of the southern part of the state. It was never too hot there for me, we moved from MD in July of 2006 and it was 106 with the heat index in Md, drove to our new house for settlement in Apollo Beach, it was 92, how sweet it was. I guess i will start a zillow search or realtor.com search again. Just looking for general suggestions, loved the Gulf side, but who knows, any help is appreciated, Thanks Mike

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