I concur with your assessment about Austin. When I moved here 42 years ago it was the ideal place to live... great weather, low taxes, very low cost of living in general, low crime, good jobs, and easy to get around. Not any longer.Austin has tripled in size since I've lived here, which I hate. I loved Austin when it was a medium sized city of 300K and there was space between it and the surrounding bedroom communities. Now, not so much. It's a huge city with huge city problems, I know everyone likes to harp on the homeless problem, but they have re-enacted the camping ban and it hasn't helped. The homeless are hardly the only problem. They haven't expanded I-35 in 50 years and Loop 1/Mopac (the other freeway though Central Austin) got another lane in the last 5-7 years but it was toll only and it still has the same three free lanes it's had since 1981.
Staying in Texas generally would require us moving somewhere with cheaper property values as the tax rate is close to 3% per 100K. And most places the sales taxes are in the 7.5-8.25% range so Tennessee's 9.45% doesn't look that bad with property taxes less than 1/3rd of what they are in Texas.
The Carolina mountains are nice once you get farther away from Ashville which is trendy and expensive. I would have to study the topic more.
Florida is a hard no on climate and topography.
If you like the Carolina mountains why not look at the eastern Tennessee mountains? I have some friends that moved there about 5 yeas ago. They get a little more winter on the western side of the mountains, but still not bad.