I'm also from the Midwest and have been living in the panhandle since 2007 and Niceville since 2013. This website doesn't allow me enough words to really answer your question. Bottom line, weather great, beaches some of the most beautiful in the world, crime low, school system consistently highly rated. It will take a Midwesterner 2-3 years to fully acclimate to the heat. After that, you'll love it. There is a rainy season from late spring through the summer where on any given day at any given time a pop up shower or thunderstorm can occur in addition to usual thunderstorm systems. There is always the threat of tropical systems and hurricanes. However, unlike Midwestern tornadoes, you get plenty of warning with tropical systems. Economy is overwhelmingly tourism and military. We are surrounded by Eglin AFB - the largest AFB in the free world. By large, I mean three times the size of Chicago. If you are military, you will do well here. Civilians can sometimes struggle as military is placed on a pedestal. If you have military experience, security clearance, or some type of specialized training that the military or DOD contractors can use, you will get good employment. Most everyone else is stuck with tourism jobs - i.e. seasonal, part-time, and low wage. Wages are lower here in general for all jobs, but so is the cost of living. The culture of the south is completely different than what you are used to in the Midwest. It will take some adjustment. So much more I could tell you but I'm out of space to write. Good luck.