12 Best Places to Live in Florida in 2023

As someone who was born and raised in the United States (Florida to be exact), I was surprised to discover such a beautiful state in the Southeastern region of the United States. The only state in the world bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean has so much to offer!

I’m very proud to say that I have been around the best places in Florida and I’m so glad I got here to stay for 8 years of my life. If you’re not from around here, you might be overwhelmed and worried reading the pros and cons of living in Florida on the internet. 

Best Places to Live in Florida

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But, if you’re looking for the best advice and true information on the best places to live in Florida, keep reading. As always, I know what you want and I’ve got you that. I’m lucky enough to experience such beauty in Florida. 

Welcome to the world of natural beauty, sandy beaches, flourishing world-class economy, stunning diving sites with plenty of marine life, unique wildlife programs, and lazy beach towns and cities. Florida’s culture is diverse and there are plenty of safe places to live in. 

The best places to live in Florida will bring you instant smiles and enjoyment screams in your mind. It is one of the best solo travel destinations in the USA, close to a heavenly experience. 

But many can ask me…Where is Florida? I’m glad you asked! It is a state in the United States of America that shares a northern border with Georgia and Alabama. It is surrounded by sea in the east, south, and west making it the most suitable place for beach lovers. 

What makes Florida a dream destination to live in?

What makes Florida so special so demanding? Why does the Sunshine State attract thousands of newcomers every year? It’s obvious – the longest coastline, amazing places in Florida Panhandle, gorgeous beaches, and plenty of romantic vacation spots– it is an interesting state.  

Here are the 5 reasons why moving to Florida is a great idea. 

  • Out of 365 days, 200 days you’ll experience warm sunshine and mild weather. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to buy tan creams, come to the beach and the natural tan is waiting for you! You can always flaunt the natural tan you got from the beach. Isn’t that interesting?  
  • Are you tired of paying half of your income to the government as a state income tax? Then this Sunshine State will help you to save a lot of money because there is no income tax policy in Florida
  • Florida has teams in all of the major league sports – three National Football League teams, two Major League Basketball teams, two National Basketball Association’s teams, two National Hockey League teams, two Major League Soccer teams, and one Women’s Soccer team and a lot more minor league teams. What are you thinking? Welcome to Florida to all sports lovers. 
  • If traveling is love then Florida is your home. You will find here several beautiful natural springs, stunning beaches, gorgeous theme parks, and hundreds of vacation spots along the Gulf Coast that are fun and exciting. You will be surprised to see some of the best budget-friendly places in America.
  • Once you’re in Florida you’ll be instantly a beach person. You have access to world-class beaches like Sarasota’s Siesta Public Beach, Clearwater Beach, Panama City Public Beach, Pensacola Beach, Grayton Beach, and St. George Island, and a lot more. 
  • Florida is a great place with like-minded people that share their values. Florida is renowned for being tolerant and open to people from other states and countries. These are some of the most progressive towns in Florida.

Yes. There are many great places to live in Florida but that doesn’t make it perfect. Many people repent after moving to Florida. The cons are severe climatic conditions, heat waves, sales tax, and the negative effects of urbanization. But, let’s consider the good things about Florida right now…and the best and most popular places to live in Florida. 

Recommened Read: Affordable Paradise: Discover the Cheapest Places to Live in the Florida Keys

Where Are The Best Places to Live in Florida?

Calling a place ‘home‘ is a huge decision and I don’t want you to rush in taking a decision. Hence, I want you to take time and read it further making a sound decision based on living options, convenience, and distance from the city, education, job opportunities, health system, and affordability. 

These are the 10 best places in Florida to live in. It will make you happy because Florida is a mixture of coastal towns, metropolitan cities, and places surrounded by lakes, and canals. 

1. Tampa

  • Population: 371,453
  • Average Salary: $47,980
  • Median Home Price: $400,000
  • Cost of Living: 111.9(National Average=100)
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Job market: 8/10
  • Education: 7/10

Major tourist attractions: Tampa Museum of Art, Lettuce Lake Park, Salvador Dali Museum, Henry B. Plant Museum, Cheetah Hunt, downtown St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. Tampa nights are gorgeous and evergreen, a night stroll around the Tampa Riverwalk lined with museums, restaurants, parks, and shops is the desire of many. You can also visit nearby Caladesi Island, and Honeymoon Island as a day tour from Tampa.

Tampa is the best place to live in Florida with kids and it is on the Gulf Coast of the United States of Florida. The city is surrounded by Tampa Bay in the north and Old Tampa Bay in the East. From Tampa, it is a one-hour ride to Disney World which is home to many popular African-themed animal amusement parks, and Bush Garden. 

Tampa has stunning views of beaches and Hyde Park, Westshore, Davis Island, and Beach Park have the best housing options to reside and welcome newcomers from worldwide. It is considered as the 6th most attractive region of the country for job opportunities and land development. It also has a lot of professional sports teams and museums. 

READ NEXT:  11 Best Places to Visit in Florida in February (2023)

Tampa Bay produces 75% of graduates every year with scholar marks. “The Cigar Capital of the World” is the safest and most comfortable place to live, where the crime rate is very low. Aside from a comfortable stay, Tampa offers the most affordable healthcare system in the world.

Tampa has a fame for beautiful dog beaches which are calmer and more beautiful compared to other beaches in the United States. With an affordable yet gorgeous lifestyle, it’s one of the best places to live in Florida.

Best Places to Live in Florida | Tampa
Tampa

Learn More: 11 Best Places to Live in Central Florida

2. Gainesville

  • Population: 141,341
  • Average Salary: $47,000
  • Median Home Price: $324,500
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Job market: 6/10
  • Education: 7/10

Gainesville, Florida is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Sunshine State. As a former resident, I can attest to its charming atmosphere and diverse community. Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville is a bustling college town with a lively arts scene, unique local shops, and delicious eateries.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Gainesville is the perfect place for you. With easy access to numerous parks, lakes, and nature reserves, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy. The nearby Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a must-visit, featuring hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and even the opportunity to spot wild bison.

For families, Gainesville boasts top-rated schools and family-friendly attractions such as the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo and the Florida Museum of Natural History. With its abundance of pubs and music venues, the downtown area has a thriving evening scene.

Gainesville is an excellent choice for people wishing to live in Florida on a budget in terms of affordability. In comparison to other cities in the state, the cost of living is quite inexpensive, and there are a variety of housing alternatives available to fit any budget.

Overall, Gainesville offers a unique blend of culture, nature, and affordability that makes it a great place to call home. So if you’re considering relocating to Florida, don’t overlook this charming college town!

Gainesville

3. Miami

  • Population: 6,090,660
  • Average Salary: $50,060
  • Median Home Price: $560,000
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Job market: 5/10
  • Education: 5/10

Major tourist attractions: Biscayne National Park, the Everglades, Miami Beach art fair, Vizcaya Museum &Garden, Wynwood Walls. A walk around Fairchild Tropical Garden, a gorgeous garden, and community programs like dogs event, and volunteer opportunities are worth time spending.

Miami is the third most populated metro area and the best place to live in Florida for young adults. Ask me, why? Miami contributed a large share of economic success stories in the past. Its close proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean makes it a hub of international trade. The vibrant community offers banking careers and trading opportunities to the young population.

Miami won’t be the best place to live in Florida but suburbs like Doral, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne have perfect weather and are quite affordable to live in. Miami has been ranked as 128 based on the quality of life and job opportunities. “The Magic City” or “Little Cuba” has award-winning restaurants and blooming nights.

It has good quality private schools which rank 94th in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking of 2019. Hence, this is such a better opportunity for your child’s future. Though it’s one of the most expensive places to live in Florida but offers a lot of growth. The Healthcare industry is also great and hospitals like Baptist Health South Florida and Mount Sinai Medical Center have fame all over the USA.

The place is surrounded by beautiful antique stores, craft beer breweries and vintage sports, car dealers, and cosmopolitan life. If you are tired of busy city life, explore these hidden gems in and around Miami on weekends. It is one of the best places to live in South Florida with perfect weather for dance lovers to shake their hips at the Latin music at Little Havana. But, the crime rate is higher so stay aware and stay safe. 

Miami
Miami

4. Naples

  • Population:  371,453
  • Average Salary: $47,980
  • Median Home Price: $745,000
  • Cost of Living: 111.9(National Average=100)
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Job market: 7/10
  • Education: 6/10

Major tourist attractions: Naples Pier, Mount Vesuvius, Castel Nuovo, National Archaeological Museum, Cappella Sansevero, Catacombs of San Gennaro, and The Baker Museum.

Walk around the streets of Florida especially Santa Lucia, a market and ground for customers and sellers. This is one of the happening places to explore the bakeries, cafes, and nightlife. 

Two hours’ drive from the cities of Miami and Tampa lay a perfect and the prettiest city in Florida, Naples. Along the Gulf of Mexico and edge of the Everglades sits Collier County, home to Naples, Immokalee, and Marco Island. It has its name for calm waves, ‘sugar’ sand beaches, and perfect romantic weather. 

Because of its prime location, it is a great place to live in Florida for retirees. The gorgeous beaches, ocean views, art galleries, seafood restaurants, and splendid views of the sky during sunset and sunrise play a positive role in the health of the old both physically and mentally. Naples has been ranking no.1 in an annual Gallup-Sharecare well-being survey for residents having the highest sense of purpose and a positive outlook.

If you have the address of Collier County then you can enjoy a free sticker to bypass beach parking charges. The smaller parks like Clam Pass Park, Barefoot Beach Preserve, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are so beautiful. The education system is not so established but still good for the elementary level. 

In Naples, residents of Marco Island and Immokalee are exempted from paying property tax. The crime rate in this area is low and has developed good hospital infrastructure. 

Naples
Naples

5. Sarasota

  • Population: 803,709  
  • Average Salary: $40,040
  • Median Home Price: $575,000
  • Cost of Living: 111.9(National Average=100)
  • Safety: 4/10
  • Job market: 7/10
  • Education: 5/10

Major tourist attractions: The Ringling Museum of Art, or the Sarasota Orchestra, beaches like Lido Beach, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, and Crescent Beach.

Siesta Key is known as the quintessential stop for beach lovers and a small piece of heaven with gorgeous weather and bioluminescent water. 

An hour’s drive south of Tampa and two hours from Orlando, Sarasota lies on the Gulf Coast with its own vibrant culture, and beach environment. Laurel Park, Gillespie Park, Lakewood Ranch, and Siesta Key are the best places to live in Florida with families.

At Sarasota Bay, you can enjoy the young night by performing a night kayaking tour to experience night beauty. 

This artistic place offers huge opportunities to perform in the Sarasota Orchestra, the Sarasota Opera House, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Ranking 5th as the safest place to live in the US, Sarasota is the best place to live in Florida for singles to sit back on the beach and enjoy the classical live music and enjoy the tune and perform with other performers. 

READ NEXT:  12 Best Places to Live in Miami For New Residents 

Sarasota also ranked among the fastest-growing places in Florida. It is not a cheap place to live, the average rental price for an apartment is slightly higher, and the median home value here is around $387,630. 

This is a pretty safe place in Florida and perfect for single moms. Sarasota is also home to Jerry Springer, Brian Johnson of AC/DC Stephen King. 

Sarosota
Sarosota

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6. St. Augustine

  • Population: 15,175 
  • Average Salary: $60,200
  • Median Home Price: $570,000
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Job market: 6/10
  • Education: 7/10

St. Augustine, Florida is a historic coastal city located on the northeastern coast of the state. St. Augustine is a well-liked tourist attraction for both inhabitants and visitors because of its enchanting architecture, gorgeous beaches, and fascinating history.

The city boasts a variety of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, galleries, and live music venues. Its downtown area is home to unique shops and restaurants, and its beaches offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

From old houses to contemporary condos, the housing options in St. Augustine are diverse. The city’s flourishing economy and low unemployment rate make it a worthwhile investment, despite the fact that housing costs there may be greater than in some other Florida communities.

Overall, St. Augustine offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that make it a great place to call home. Whether you’re a retiree, young professional, or family with kids, there’s something for everyone in this charming coastal town.

7. Jacksonville

  • Population: 1,503,574  
  • Average Salary: $48,270
  • Median Home Price: $350,789
  • Affordability: 8/10
  • Safety: 5/10
  • Job market: 8/10
  • Education: 7 /10

Major tourist attractions: Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra, Hanna Park, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, beaches of Jacksonville, and VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

An evening stroll around the streets of San Marco and the Southside neighborhood is mesmerizing. You can see the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens; watch the show in the Ritz Theatre and Museum or the Florida Theatre.

Jacksonville sits just south of the Georgia state line and is one of the largest cities in the United States by land. The idyllic beach, phenomenal natural beauty, marshes, and wetlands are all that Jacksonville has to offer. It is the best and cheapest place to live in Florida as the cost of living is low and the median home sale price is around $235,000.

The healthcare facility is very strong, and 13.8% of locals work in the hospitality industry and 12.3% of the population works in the tertiary sector. It also has a great education facility for the bright future of your small one. Aetna, Johnson & Johnson, and Mayo Clinic are a few of the big names which played an important role in the thriving economy of the place. 

There are a lot of bridges around which makes it perfect for clicking pictures and taking a small walk between works to fresh your mind. 

Best Cities to Live in Florida | Jacksonville
Jacksonville – PC: Flickr

8. Fort Myers

  • Population:  737,468
  • Average Salary: $45,300
  • Median Home Price: $399,900
  • Affordability: /10
  • Safety: 4/10
  • Job market: 7/10
  • Education:  6/10

Major tourist attractions: Sanibel Island, Fort Myer Beach, Edison and Ford Winter Estates, and banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

After a tiring day, you can walk to the Love Boat to taste some flavourful ice creams. You can also walk downtown, River District to witness the best sunset. There are a lot of great breweries for a chill evening. 

Fort Myers is the best place to live on Florida’s west coast because the livability of the city is easily affordable for people of all ages. It sits between Tampa and Miami on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It has top golf courses, international airports, and phenomenal town life. The price of the median house is around $277,900. 

This is an amazing place to live in Florida near the beach to enjoy beautiful nature, wildlife, lush greenery, beach, and notable sunsets. Fort Myers has earned the nickname “City of Palms” for beautiful royal palm trees along McGregor Boulevard. This place sits 80 miles south of Sarasota in Lee County. 

The public schools in Fort Myers are very well-graded and you’ll be happy to know that this place has great opportunities for your child. Manufacturing, information technology, and financial services are growing and raising employment opportunities for the young population. Lee Health is the largest health care in southwest Florida. 

If you’re here, don’t forget to taste pie at the Key Lime Bistro or dine at Bubble Room Restaurant. 

Fort Myers
Fort Myers

9. Pensacola

  • Population:  488246
  • Average Salary: $43,920
  • Median Home Price: $316,900
  • Affordability: /10
  • Safety: 5/10
  • Job market: 6/10
  • Education:  6/10

Major tourist attractions: the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Project GreenShores, National Naval Aviation Museum, the Pensacola Lighthouse, Jr. Museum, the historic T.T. Wentworth, Fort Pickens, and Maritime Museum.

Pensacola is one of the best places to live in Northern Florida. Just keep your car at home and walk along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the beautiful vibe. 

West of Florida’s Panhandle lays Pensacola known as the “City of Five Flags,” the history behind which is that the 5 governments of Spanish, French, British, Confederate, U.S. claim to the area of their own. The fantastic vibrant atmosphere defined by an unbroken line of aromatic and stretch of white sugar-like sand makes this place perfect for fishing all-round the year.

It is an affordable city in Florida, the cost of living and house value is on the low side. Its economy is thriving and is the home of the National Naval Aviation Museum and the Blue Angels Naval Aerobatics Team. The healthcare, tourism, and manufacturing industry are flourishing making it more desirable among people to live in. 

Pensacola
Pensacola

Read Also: 11 Best Weekend Getaways in Florida in February

10. Cape Coral

  • Population: 204,549
  • Average Salary: $58,084
  • Median Home Price: $450,000
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8.5/10
  • Job market: 7/10
  • Education:  5/10

Major tourist attractions: Fellowship Park, Rotary Park Environmental Center, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, Sirenia Vista Park, and Harbour View Gallery. 

The presence of a long and wide stretch of the sand belt, lapped at by clear blue water and backed by a beautiful environment. 

Cape Coral sits Southwest of Florida which is perfect for fishing and boating in the Gulf of Mexico. This place is around Fort Myers and the largest city between Tampa and Miami. Over the past years, there has been an increase in population in Cape Coral.

Cape Coral is not only the best place to live in Florida but a perfect place to spend your weekend and soak sunlight on the beach. This place looks like Venice; the waterfront views with 265 days of sunshine each year make it the best place to live in. 

READ NEXT:  10 Best Places to Retire in Florida in 2023

It is considered as the third most affordable city to live in Florida where the median income is around $50,000 and the median home value is around $265,000. The local job market is flourishing and unemployment is also low.  Healthcare, and education is all working smoothly and have great fame. Hence, this is one of the best cities to live in Florida.

If you are planning to move to Cape Coral, check out the pros and cons of living in Cape Coral.

12 Best Places to Live in Florida in 2023
Cape Coral – PC: Flickr

11. Orlando

  • Population:  2508970
  • Average Salary: $46,140
  • Median Home Price: $369,000
  • Affordability: /10
  • Safety: 5/10
  • Job market: 8/10
  • Education:  8/10

Major tourist attractions: Theme parks, Dr. Phillips Center, The Amway Center, Thornton Park, and Lake Eola. It is the home of many fine restaurants and you can spend a memorable evening in one of them.   

Downtown Orlando is the best place to live in central Florida. You can also consider staying in Oviedo, where job availability is high and there are a lot of big private schools. In the 1920s’ Downtown Orlando was named ‘City Beautiful’ to feature canopied oaks and lakefront bungalows. It is also called Orange County. 

Houses range on average $223,900 and the residents embody a strong sense of community. Therefore, indeed it is the best place to live in Florida and enjoy the view with great infrastructure. 

Read Also: 12 Amazing Day Trips Ideas From Orlando

 Disney World, Orlando
Disney World, Orlando

12. Daytona Beach

  • Population:  646,288
  • Average Salary: $40,930
  • Median Home Price: $299,000
  • Affordability: /10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Job market: 7/10
  • Education: 6/10

Major tourist attractions: Dayton Beach. 

Daytona is known for the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts NASCAR’s famous Daytona 500. Every year in the winter season Daytona Beach overflows with tourists for having the perfect temperature and people love to enjoy the sunshine on the beach. 

The cost of living in Daytona is lower than the national average. Therefore, you can plan to buy your house and plan to make your home. It is the best place to live in Florida because you’ll have access to great communities like Port Orange, South Daytona, Ponce Inlet, Ormond Beach, and Holly Hill. It is also one of the most beautiful gay-friendly places in Florida.

Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach

Is It Cheaper to Live in Texas or Florida?

Florida and Texas are two brilliant places to live because both have fantastic weather and no personal income tax. But the study reveals that Florida is 11% more expensive than Texas. For a comfortable stay in Texas, you need to earn on average $47,462, and in Florida, you’ve to earn on average $52,675. 

The Tech industry and oil industry in Texas are booming and every year thousands of young professionals are moving for job opportunities. The unemployment rate in Texas is 4.1% and in Florida, it is 4.9%. But the poverty rate in Texas is 16.7%, whereas in Florida it is 16.1%. 

Though Texas is cheaper than Florida, I don’t regret moving to Florida. Florida sits in the southeastern part of the US and I love its topography and its tropical climate.  There are ample cheap places to visit in Florida which lowers my expenses and I can afford Florida.

Where Should I Not Live in Florida?

Cities like Detroit or St Louis, Palatka, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Dade City, Lake Worth are places not to live in Florida. The crime rates are higher and because of its location, it is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, and sinkholes. 

What Are The Safest Places To Live in Florida?

Cooper City, Weston, Sebastian, Port St. Lucie are some of the safest places to live in Florida based on crime and economic cost. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, retired, or a family man, these places are the safest and happy places to live in Florida. 

Final Words: 

If you’re planning to move to the affordable beach towns in Florida or the fastest-growing cities in Florida, then I advise you to consider all the above options and consider one. Based on affordability and safety, I’ve provided you with the top 10 places to live in Florida. You must read this Florida checklist before moving to the Sunshine State.

Florida is a great place for singles, retirees, and a family man. There are a lot of tourist attraction spots, amusement parks, and outdoor activities to perform. So, here I lay down my experience and research on the best places to live in Florida, and I hope it’s helpful. 

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FAQ on The Best Places to Live in Florida

1. What are The Best Places to Live in Florida for Young Professionals?

A: A lot of industries and tertiary sectors are growing in Miami, Tampa, Winter Springs, Doral, Coral Gables, and Parkland making these popular towns to live in Florida among the young population. On average, the young population makes around $48,000-$56,000 making these places desirable. 

2. Is It Better to Retire in Florida or California?

A: It is quite difficult to choose between Florida and California as both are exceptionally stunning and have flourishing economies, but in Florida, residents don’t have to pay income tax, and the housing costs are much lower compared to California. Hence if you don’t have an income then it’s better to choose Florida over California to live in. 

3. Where is The Most Peaceful Place to Live in Florida?

A: Bowman’s Beach is the most relaxing and peaceful place to live in Florida. It witnesses the beautiful gorgeous beaches, eye-soothing view of the Gulf, and the best view sky during sunrise and sunset.

4. Where Are The Best Places to Live in The Florida Keys?

A: If the sound of crashing waves and a beautiful clean beach is always your dream then the Florida Keys is the best place for you. It’s away from city commotion and you can settle in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, and Key West. Camping in Florida Keys is very popular and it is highly recommended for adventure-seeking people. You should know the pros and cons of living in the Florida Keys.

5. What City in Florida Has The Lowest Cost Of Living?

A: Kissimmee in Florida offers the lowest cost of living, warm hospitality, no income taxes, and great happy living. The grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment, recreation, medical facilities, and other facilities are cheap making it one of the cheapest places to live in Florida. 

6. What’s Bad About Living in Florida?

A: Extreme climatic condition like high humidity, high temperature, and being prone to natural disasters makes it undesirable to live in Florida. 

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3 Comments

  1. The list is amazing. Can you please suggest some affordable beach towns in Florida?

    1. Thank you Nathan for your kind words. You can check Palm Bay, Tarpon Springs, and Fort Pierce for affordable Florida beach towns.

  2. Seafari YC says:

    Thank you for sharing this list. I hope I get a chance to get the opportunity to live with my family in Florida.

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