10 Best Places to Live in Florida

Where is a good place to live in Florida?

The Sunshine State has a lot going for it. Whether you’re looking for abundant sunshine, access to beaches or no state tax, Florida is a great place to call home. But with over 65,000 square miles, it can be tough to figure out where to live because you’ll find different benefits to living in each city or town. We’ve highlighted 10 of the best places to live in Florida so you can start to figure out where your family might call home next.

10 best places to live in Florida

We looked at various factors — crime rate, housing costs, employment opportunities, arts and culture, outdoor recreation, schools, and weather — to determine the best places to move to in Florida. Here are our top cities to consider when looking at the southernmost state:

1. Naples

Biggest advantage: great schools

Naples is a luxury community with a family focus. It has so much to offer residents with beautiful Gulf-side beaches, a low crime rate, and high-end shopping. While home prices are above average, you get amazing amenities like culture, nature and excellent schools. Several area public schools have below-average teacher-to-student ratios and above-average test scores.

2. Gainesville

Biggest advantage: younger population

While many locations in Florida are known as retirement hot spots, Gainesville is a great place to live if you’re a young professional. Only 10% of the local population is over 65 here, with the median age being 26. There’s no beach, but there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature with several state parks nearby. You can hike, tube, kayak, boat and bike in the forests, reserves and parks just a few miles away.

3. Sarasota

Biggest advantage: culture

Sarasota is one of the best places in Florida for retirees because it has so much to offer. The beautiful white sand Gulf beaches provide you with endless sunshine and ensure your family will come to visit to play in the waves. You can enjoy a small-town feel with big-city cultural attractions, including an orchestra, ballet, opera, museums, theaters and more. All of these venues provide ample volunteer opportunities as well!

4. Nocatee

Biggest advantage: master-planned neighborhoods

Near Jacksonville, Nocatee is a unique place with 25 square miles of master-planned community. While it’s a small town with a population of around 14,000, it’s been created with residents in mind. There are 22 neighborhoods, many specialized by age group, so you can enjoy gathering with your neighbors who are in the same stage of life as you. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean you’ll be bored. Nocatee boasts water parks, pools, a farmer’s market, community events, dog park, kayak launch and nature trails. You’ll stay active here!

5. St. Augustine

Biggest advantage: historical district

If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to a European city with brick-lined streets and old-world architecture, then St. Augustine is the best place in Florida for you! It’s known as the Ancient City, boasting that it’s the nation’s oldest. While it does draw plenty of visitors, it has so much to offer residents as well. Charming cafes and unique shops cover the historic district, and community events bring businesses and locals together to celebrate. And with 42 miles of beaches, you don’t have to choose between the stone Castillo de San Marcos or the sand — you can have them both!

6. Orlando

Biggest advantage: something for everyone

If you’ve ever visited O-Town, rest assured that living here is very different from shuttling to and from the theme parks. In fact, there are over 100 neighborhoods in Orlando, so there’s something for everyone. Families enjoy areas like front-porch community Lake Nona or the tree-lined streets of Delaney Park. Young couples love the networking and diversity of Mills 50 and cyclists enjoy the paths in Lake Eola Heights. And with over 76 million visitors to the area, there’s plenty of public transportation and tourism jobs in many neighborhoods across the city.

7. St. Petersburg/Tampa

Biggest advantage: employment opportunities

The Tampa Bay area, including St. Pete, is a bustling place that somehow combines a laid-back beach lifestyle with high-tech innovation. Tampa is home to many new tech startups as well as six Fortune 1000 companies, like Publix, Roper Technologies and Bloomin’ Brands, the restaurant company with Outback and Bonefish Grill. It’s not all work and no play, though. When residents are ready to relax, they had to the beaches in St. Petersburg, where they enjoy an average of 361 days of sunshine a year.

8. Fort Myers

Biggest advantage: fast-growing area

While Fort Myers has historically been known as a top spot in Florida for retirees, its population has recently become more varied, with young people and families moving to the area because of low crime rates, economic opportunities and a myriad of recreational opportunities. The significant number of people moving to the area has ignited tons of growth. The international airport stays busy with business commuters and tourists alike, and the area is booming with new jobs and cultural diversity.

9. Jacksonville

Biggest advantage: thriving business community

Florida’s largest city is one of the best places to live because it offers anything you can think of. For starters, Jacksonville has over 20 miles of uncrowded beaches and the largest urban park system in the nation, with 10 state and national parks. Its nightlife, museums, and shopping rival other metro areas, but its biggest draw is the thriving business community. Nationally recognized companies like Johnson and Johnson, Fidelity Investments and Aetna call Jacksonville home, and you can too!

10. Coral Gables

Biggest advantage: small town near the big city

Without being too far from the city amenities of Miami, Coral Gables feels like a world away. The cost of living allows most residents to own their own homes, and neighborhoods thrive with local coffee shops and cafes. Schools here are top-rated, so if you’re looking to move to Coral Gables with kids, you’ll be more than pleased with the educational opportunities. Lastly, the restaurant scene has had a recent resurgence, with many national publications highlighting eateries across the city, so you don’t have to drive into Miami for a great meal.

Where will you live in Florida?

As you research places to live in Florida, which of these towns sounds like the best one for you and your family? We’d love to hear what you’re looking for as you search for places to live in the Sunshine State! Leave us a comment below and tell us what town you’re considering.


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