Relocating is tough - from personal experience though - it can be a lot of fun! When I relocated to North Carolina - I had a few friends down there so that made it a little easier. I rented for 12 months (6 months would be fine) - this gave me some time to really soak it all in.
With a Realtor in the backyard in those areas - you might benefit from them as a resource. A little "self-promo" here - but Coldwell Banker National Relocation Services is a wonderful way to hook up with a few Realtors in different areas of the country.