Best Places to Live in Florida

Best places to live in Florida has been put together here for your update incase you are considering the places you can go for your vacation. Florida is a good place to be anytime and anyday.

Florida is gorgeous. That much is not in dispute. However, the Sunshine State does often take some flak not just from the media and general public, but its own residents as well.

It is accused of being too hot. Property values are said to fluctuate too much. It is too touristy. With many illegal migrants. And old people. Unemployment is high. There is a deep divide between the haves and the have-nots. Crime. Drugs. The list goes on.

The thing is, though, there is no place in the world without its ups and downs. And Florida remains the third most populous state for a reason – after California and Texas, and just a spot above New York.

The beauty of the state would put most places to shame.

Endless miles of coastline. Stunning beaches. 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. Thousands of miles of hiking trails. The Everglades. Theme parks galore. And, of course, one of the most vibrant nightlife in the world.

With a median home value of $211,200, against a national average of $201,900 (latest figures from Zillow) homes can be said to be affordable.

The state has excellent schools with an average of 8.3 out of 10 on GreatSchools, one of the most complete school-ranking platforms. This is significantly higher than the nationwide average of 6.0. General affordability is almost on par with the national average (101 vs. 100).

All promising figures.

For anyone looking to move to Florida, there are plenty of great places to stay – if you know where to look. Besides, the Sunshine State had an incredible nine cities on the 2017 list of 100 Best Places to Live in America, an annual ranking by the U.S. News & World Report.

Here are the 15 best places to live in Florida based on hard data:

1. Valrico

valrico florida
valrico florida

First up on our list is Valrico, a suburb of 36,975 that lies 14 miles east of Tampa. It guarantees a balanced blend of quality amenities, affordability, and strong economic growth.

Median home value currently stands at $190,200, and the area promises great value. Local schools got a solid ranking on GreatSchools, scoring an 8/10. In a state that has been accused of being violent, crime rate is extremely low in Valrico.

As well, median household income has grown exponentially over the last two decades, and currently stands at $70,732, registering one of the best performances in Florida. Still, only less than 30% households are families with children, essentially making this sort of a hidden gem for families.

2. Oviedo

Oviedo, florida
Oviedo, florida

Oviedo is a suburb in Orlando that constitutes 13 neighbourhoods which are home to some 38,550 people.

It is mostly a white-collar city with close to 90% of the workforce involved in white-collar jobs. In a part of the state where availability of jobs is high, Oviedo is the symbolic apex of Central Florida’s livability, especially when you factor in the added incentives.

Its schools are first-rate, and the suburb offers plenty of recreation for families who love the outdoors. Be it canoeing or hiking at the Little Big Econ State Forest, alligator-watching at Lake Jesup, attending the weekly food truck night and local concerts, strolling in the parks and walkable lakes, just to cite but a few examples.

Houses in this ethnically-diverse town average $223,900, and the residents embody a strong sense of community.

3. Weston

Weston, florida
Weston, florida

Weston is a small city of just over 68,000 situated in Broward County.

It may have missed a spot in the best places to live in the United States, probably due to a number of incidences related to crime, but Weston has for years remained a highly desirable place for reasons aplenty.

It has one of the highest percentages of families among communities in Florida, meaning a large part of it is designed to accommodate this reality. Its schools score an impressive 9 on GreatSchools, and they also witness a high graduation rate.

It is not short of fascinating stuff to do, including a visit to the multiple museums and historical sites, hanging out in the nature reserves, biking on the city’s 46 miles of bike trails which promise spectacular views of the Everglades and so on.

What’s more, unemployment rate in Weston is low, with a high median household income of $93,814 that is enough to cushion against the high cost of living (rent averages $1,939, with median home value standing at $399,000, both of which are some way off the national mark).

4. Sarasota

 

Sarasota, florida, USA
Sarasota, florida, USA

Sarasota emerged at position 14 in the list of Best Places to Live in America, the state’s highest ranking, technically making this the best place to live for families in Florida – based on the report.

When you get down to crunch the numbers, it is easy to see why.

Sarasota is downright beautiful. Its sugary white-sand beaches are stunning, always ranking among the best in the country year after year.

It has one of the most buzzing art scenes for a city its size, complete with orchestras, ballet, opera, museums, professional and community theatre companies, and roots rocks and blues artists.

There are plenty of dining options and really great restaurants where you will readily find the award-winning Sarasota craft beers.

There are parks and reserves everywhere, and so happens a great deal of celebrities have homes here – Jerry Springer, Brian Johnson of AC/DC; Stephen King even!

All that and you wonder how properties have managed to remain so incredibly low.

Rent is at a paltry $933 (compare that to a national average of $928) with median home value ($169,100) way below the national mark. It is not uncommon to see a three-bedroom two-bath single-family home going for $200,000.

5. Naples

Naples, florida, USA
Naples, florida, USA

If you feel like flexing some financial muscle, Naples might just be the place for you.

The city of 20,600 residents has carved out a name for itself as a millionaire playground, with high-end shopping and golf course galore. Naples is strikingly beautiful and to think you could rent a home for $1,100 sounds like a bargain considering the perks.

It is marked by peaceful white sand beaches, a pedestrian-friendly downtown area, and tourists love it for its proximity to the Ten Thousands Islands and the Everglades.

Crime rate is low in Naples, and it boasts an outstanding school system with a high graduation rate.

There is plenty to do, including spotting dolphins, fishing or watching the sunset at Naples Pier, and the kids are sure to love the Naples Zoo where you can jump on a catamaran to Monkey Island (yes, there are real primates there).

Living in Naples can be life-changing – for the better. Gallup-Healthways named it the Happiest and Healthiest City in 2017.

6. St Petersburg

St Petersburg, florida USA
St Petersburg, florida USA

With sunshine every day of the year – bar five – St Petersburg has seen itself branded the Sunshine City.

It has a population of about 250,000 people who are attracted to the area in Pinellas County for its affordable cost of living and quality healthcare, two things that have endeared it to retirees.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a sleepy neighbourhood. Quite on the contrary actually.

St. Petersburg has a lot going for it, and it is particularly famed for its active arts districts, museums, theatre companies and festivals and events hosted all year round. Recently, it has also taken a more youthful turn and features multiple nightlife options with a vibrant downtown.

Considering a two-bedroom single-family home goes for an average $145,100, you will be hard pressed to find a better place to live in Florida.

7. Tampa

Tampa, florida USA
Tampa, florida USA

Tampa is not particularly known as a particularly safe area, with crime and safety one of the factors that only serve to downgrade the overall appeal of the Hillsborough County city.

The only comfort you could derive from this is that crime is particularly rampant in Florida, at least compared to most other states.

That aside, though, the city of 355,600 residents is generally considered ideal for families, an understanding borne out of the presence of high performing schools in the area, admirable healthcare, and a growing number of Fortune 1000 companies that are pitching up tent here.

Indeed, Tampa led the state of Florida in terms of job growth, adding a staggering 41,000 jobs in 2016 alone.

Houses remain at an enticing $160,300, with rentals going for $960.

We could really end it here, but let’s throw in another one for good measure.

As far as recreation for the family goes, Tampa has 185 parks waiting to be explored, not to mention a theme park and a myriad other attractions.

8. Orlando

Orlando, florida USA
Orlando, florida USA

Another big city whose population stands at 257,000, the cost of living in Orlando remains surprisingly affordable despite the city emerging as one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state.

Houses average $160,500 with median rent hovering at the $1,000 mark. And here is why we think this is the best deals you can get in Florida.

The Greater Orlando area has so many amusement parks that it has been christened The Theme Park Capital of the World, and we really can’t take anything away from a city that draws as many as 55 million visitors annually.

But tourism is beside the point if you’re looking to be a local.

Orlando has 115 neighbourhoods, and more reasons why it warrants a mention on our list are 1. Unemployment rates are lower compared to the rest of the country (this is a biggie in a state with a high unemployment rate); 2. The public education system can hold its own; 3. The city offers good public transportation.

As well, sports lovers might have to contend with coin-toss decisions every other weekend because there are all manner of great sports teams here. Basketball. Ice hockey. Soccer. Baseball. Women’s football.

9. Tallahassee

Tallahassee, florida USA
Tallahassee, florida USA

Show of hands if you thought Miami was the capital of Florida…

The big city may be the most famous place in Florida, but the plaudits for state capital go to [drumrolls] – Tallahassee!

Tallahassee often escapes attention partly because it is more of a big college town, with the likes of Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College all based here.

The capital’s 187,000 residents enjoy more than a low cost of living in a city where decent houses go for $177,900 on average.

There is quality transportation system, the colleges have spiced up the nightlife and shopping, and there are many wonderful activities for families – museums, local parks, festivals, sports events etcetera.

10. Davie

davie, florida USA.
davie, florida USA.

Davie is a suburb that lies 30 minutes outside of Miami. More than 97,000 people call it home, a population that perfectly reflects the great diversity of Miami, and the state in general.

This is a popular shopping town where you will find everything you need without having to venture far out, although there can be a snarl-up when everyone is out.

By and large, though, this friendliest of towns is known for its high quality of life. Income per household averages $59,680, with residents also enjoying minimal tax rates.

Homes in Davie go for $210,800, and the universities in the town also mean the right infrastructure is in place to accommodate college students. Families, too, are well catered for by the city’s numerous schooling options.

The place offers the benefits of living outside of a large metro area, but still close enough to the big city. If Miami is your kind of town but you fancy taking up residence just outside of the bustle, then Davie is a great contender for the most ideal locations.

11. Fort Myers

Fort Myers, florida USA
Fort Myers, florida USA

You will find Fort Myers about 80 miles south of Sarasota in Lee County.

It has a population of 68,500, with retirees having a particular affinity for the area mainly due to its general livability. Great weather. Gorgeous beaches. Restaurants aplenty. Major retail and outlet shopping. And even an international airport, the RSW.

As well, Fort Myers has one of the most affordable costs of living for a town of its stature, with homes averaging a low $146, 800.

Add a charming downtown to that equation, a farmers market, top golf courses such as the Eastwood Golf Course, and plenty of other recreation options, and it not hard to see why Fort Myers was featured in the Best Cities to Live in America list, landing at position 38.

12. Lake Mary

Lake Mary, florida USA
Lake Mary, florida USA

Lake Mary is a growing town in Seminole County that currently has a population of just 15,000.

Despite its low numbers, single-family homes in this area average $254,500.

This is a little on the higher side and probably the high cost of living was one of the reasons the town missed out on the best places to live list. Because few places in the entire state can guarantee a more ideal setting for families than Lake Mary.

It is best suited for parents in search of jobs that are financially rewarding who also want their children to grow up in a place with a strong sense of community.

Median household income stands at $85,100, and the place is adding many jobs in the tech industry, a plus for parents with children who are into math and science.

The schools score favourably on GreatSchools, managing a rating of 8/10.

13. Jupiter

Jupiter, florida USA
Jupiter, florida USA

Jupiter is a small town in Palm Beach County whose 59,000 residents place particular emphasis on the environment.

The air quality is super, and Jupiter has made efforts to invest in ‘living green’.

This is also the birthplace of the Jupiter Seafood Festival. If you have never heard of it, this is a festival that comprises three days of food, music and plenty of family fun.

Cost of living is a tad high, with rent prices averaging $1,430.

While crime rate is still a niggling issue, as in most of Florida, the desirability of this area has never been in question, and the high cost of homes ($283,700) just serves to reinforce this.

Community events and parties are often hosted at the 65,000-square-foot community centre.

Jupiter also boasts a great public school system that ranks 9/10 on GreatSchools, and all these factors combine to make this town one of the best places to live in Florida.

14. Winter Springs

 

Winter Springs, florida USA
Winter Springs, florida USA

Winter Springs perfectly marries great academics, easy access to many entertainment venues, and opportunities for social interaction, the result of which is a great place to live and start a family.

The city of 34,000 is just half an hour’s drive from Orlando, where families go for more fun and entertainment options if need be.

Four out of five elementary schools in Winter Springs scored an ‘A’ on standardised testing, and the area also has two high-ranked colleges close by – the University of Central Florida and Seminole State College.

Single-family homes in Winter Springs average $205,600. But it is possible to get a three-bedroom home going for $161,000, with a four-bedroom property even selling at $189,900!

Most people work white-collar jobs, with as much a portion of the city (87%) reserved for residential living.

This is one of the best options for families in Florida.

15. Lutz

 

Lutz, florida USA
Lutz, florida USA

Rounding off our list of best places to live in Florida is Lutz, a small suburb in Tampa with a population of slightly above 20,000 residents.

We consider it one of the best areas because this is an affordable community where cost of living is affordable with rents averaging below the national average at $903. Homes are valued at $231,400, and although that’s a little high in Florida, a median annual income of $67,847 can offset that.

Moreover, crime rate is one of the lowest in the state, and the area has some great schools which rate a strong 9 on GreatSchools.

This is one of those nice neighbourhoods that somehow manage to provide exceptional value for families.

As added perks, the community is just 15 miles away from the economic centre that is Tampa. And families having convenient access to some of the best beaches in the state, with Honeymoon Island, less than an hour away, serving as a perfect example.

Florida USA has beaches, low taxes and a warm climate make a lot of areas in The Sunshine State an attractive place to put down roots. But when it comes to the best places to live in Florida in 2020, there are eight cities that stand out.

 

Port St. Lucie takes the top spot on our list. Located on the Atlantic side, it offers desirable traits like a relatively low cost of living, vibrant culture, high safety and a robust job market.

You’ll find other cities on this list situated along both the East and West coast, with the majority located in the lower half of the state. All of them offer sought-after qualities, but there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each.

Whether you’re thinking about moving to Florida or already call it home, this list can help you find the best cities in Florida for your situation.

What to consider in a place to live

If sunshine and beaches are what you’re after, Florida has plenty to offer. Yet it takes some thought to figure out which part of the state is best for you. Along with subjective factors like climate and proximity to family, you’ll want to consider more objective traits like affordability, culture, job market, safety and education. It’s even important to look at how much a city is growing.

The cities on our list are some of the most populous and fastest-growing in the state. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be smaller places around these major metros that are equally or more desirable places to live, but this list of larger metros can serve as a starting place for your search.

Ito determine this list of top places in Florida, we measured:

Affordability: Here we considered housing expenses and the cost of living in each city compared to income.

CultureUsing Gallup’s research, we looked at well-being rankings for each community. In addition, we considered how each city compared in terms of activities, events, restaurants and nightlife.

Job market: Using data from the Census Bureau, we calculated each city’s unemployment rate and considered commute times.

Safety: Violent and property crime rates were measured and ranked by city using data from the FBI.

Educational attainment: Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to factor in the educational attainment of a city.

Net migrationHere we looked at the growth of a city using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are some very nice places to live in Florida in 2020 also

1. Port St. Lucie

Port St. Lucie, florida USA
Port St. Lucie, florida USA
  • Affordability: 9 out of 10
  • Culture: 9 out of 10
  • Safety: 9 out of 10
  • Job Market: 8 out of 10
  • Education: 3 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Affordability/Culture

Biggest limitation: Job market

Sitting on the southeast side of the state, Port St. Lucie scores high in nearly every category. Culturally, it offers a relaxed atmosphere with plenty to do. Uncrowded beaches with free admission and free parking mark it as a top destination. But there’s also ample opportunity for outdoor activities on the water or on land, including boating, fishing, golfing and hiking. During the spring, it’s even the training grounds for the New York Mets baseball team. Though smaller than nearby Miami, the city is growing in population while maintaining a relatively low cost of living and high degree of safety. There’s also a bustling job market, making it more attractive to new residents.

2. Jacksonville

  • Affordability: 9 out of 10
  • Culture: 5 out of 10
  • Safety: 3 out of 10
  • Job Market: 7 out of 10
  • Education: 9 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Affordability/Education

Biggest limitation: Safety

Despite having one of the largest populations in the state, Jacksonville is one of the most affordable places to live, boasting reasonable housing prices and a low cost of living overall. It’s also well-educated, with a number of colleges and universities—including Florida State College at Jacksonville and the University of North Florida—calling the city home. Residents can enjoy access to waterways and outdoor activities. That’s in addition to a thriving theatre scene, an NFL football team, plenty of restaurants and a number of breweries. In terms of the job market, the Naval Air Station is one of the largest employers, but health and banking are also big industries—Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Citi Bank and Baptist Health are all located in the area.

3. Cape Coral

  • Affordability: 8 out of 10
  • Culture: 9 out of 10
  • Safety: 9 out of 10
  • Job Market: 5 out of 10
  • Education: 4 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture/Safety

Biggest limitation: Education

Gulf Coast beaches, minimal crime and a low cost of living make Cape Coral one of the top places to live in Florida. This growing city in Southwest Florida offers many of the amenities you’d expect out of a beach town — watersports, boating and golf. But it also provides 400 miles of canals, several parks and numerous natural preserves. The job market is a bit lacking, but there are still a number of employers in the area for job seekers to choose from, including Lee Health, Publix Super Market, Walmart and Gartner Inc.

4. Fort Lauderdale

  • Affordability: 7 out of 10
  • Culture: 8 out of 10
  • Safety: 6 out of 10
  • Job Market: 6 out of 10
  • Education: 7 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture

Biggest limitation: Safety/Job market

Culturally, Fort Lauderdale has a lot to offer. White-sand beaches and 300 sunny days per year may be the main attractions, but citizens can also take advantage of nature activities, events, shopping, nightlife and an arts scene. However, there’s more than culture to Fort Lauderdale. It provides better-than-average safety and affordability with a decent job market and a high rate of educational attainment. Large employers in the area include American Express, Microsoft, Spirit Airlines and Marriott International.

5. Tampa-St. Petersburg

  • Affordability: 7 out of 10
  • Culture: 4 out of 10
  • Safety: 7 out of 10
  • Job Market: 9 out of 10
  • Education: 9 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Job market/Education

Biggest limitation: Culture

The Tampa-St. Petersburg area is a good place for job seekers. Along with being relatively affordable, it’s home to seven Fortune 500 companies, including Publix Super Markets, WellCare Health Plans and Raymond James Financial. Educational attainment is high in the area as well, with more than 50,000 students enrolled at the University of South Florida and more students are enrolled at other colleges and universities nearby. Compared with some other cities on our list, the area doesn’t get rated as high by residents for overall well-being, but that’s not to say there isn’t a decent culture. It has the amenities of a larger metropolitan area and the lifestyle of a beach town. For example, it’s possible to lounge on the beach and visit the Salvador Dali Museum  in St. Petersburg during the day and take a stroll on the Tampa Riverwalk at night.

6. Miami

  • Affordability: 7 out of 10
  • Culture: 8 out of 10
  • Safety: 3 out of 10
  • Job Market: 4 out of 10
  • Education: 9 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Education/Culture

Biggest limitation: Job market/Education

Miami is a major tourist destination and a hotbed for culture, offering residents both outdoor recreation and a vibrant nightlife. It’s a beach city, but you can also explore nearby natural areas like the Everglades and Biscayne National Park. Home to the University of Miami and Florida International University, the population is young and educated. And while the unemployment rate is relatively high compared to other cities on this list, job seekers can find several larger  companies in the area like Baptist Health and American Airlines.

7. Clearwater

  • Affordability: 6 out of 10
  • Culture: 8 out of 10
  • Safety: 8 out of 10
  • Job Market: 8 out of 10
  • Education: 5 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture/Job market

Biggest limitation: Education/Affordability

With miles of white-sand beaches and turquoise water, it’s not surprising that Clearwater ranks high for culture and well-being. Of course, it’s not just the Gulf Coast that makes this town attractive. Activities like boating, watersports, dolphin watching, shopping and dining add to its allure. In addition to culture, there’s a solid job market. That could be because it’s close to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, which is host to a number of Fortune 500 companies. While a bigger portion of residents’ paychecks go towards cost of living expenses in Clearwater, housing prices are slightly below average overall.

8. Orlando

  • Affordability: 5 out of 10
  • Culture: 5 out of 10
  • Safety: 4 out of 10
  • Job Market: 9 out of 10
  • Education: 8 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Job market

Biggest limitation: Safety

As you might expect, the home of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios has a booming job market, making it one of the best to move to in Florida. However, the Orlando job market doesn’t rely solely on the tourist industry. It’s also host to major employers like Darden Restaurants, AAA, Tupperware Brands and Wyndham Destinations. You’ll also find a high degree of educational attainment in this central-Florida city, with more than 69,000 students enrolled at the University of Central Florida. It gets a lower well-being score than other places on the list. Yet because it’s a major tourist destination, there’s still an abundance of things to do. Residents have the opportunity to explore theme parks, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and more.

Next steps

Once you find your best place to live, you may want to buy a home there. Mortgage rates have seldom been lower and lenders have loosened their requirements for getting a home loan. What’s more, there are state and local programs to help first-time homebuyers get a place of their own with little or even no money down. Bankrate has resources to help with every step of the homebuying process.

 

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