11 Best Places to Live in Central Florida in 2023

Central Florida is home to lush emerald green surroundings, shimmering waters, exclusive gated communities, endless entertainment options, and restaurants.  

For the past few years, people want to move to Central Florida because of its high-quality infrastructure, multiple income sources, and convenient housing plans.

best places to live in central florida

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You can also check out these amazing places to live in Florida and fast-growing Florida cities to know other lively ambiance, stunning areas, and great job locations. 

Hence, this blog is a guide on the best places to live in Central Florida for an amazing quality of life and opportunities.

Best Places to Live in Central Florida

1. College Park

  • Population: 11,310
  • Cost of living index: 116 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 3,044 (per 100k people)

College Park shares proximity to the downtown area that takes pride itself in its location. The people here stay more like a community.

In the heart of Orlando with an abundance of green space, lake views, and towering oaks it is indeed a great place to reside in Central Florida. They believe it is the best area to live around Orlando, Florida.

You can stay near to Orange Cycle store, around Edgewater Drive. This part makes the best neighborhood to live in Central Florida. I always recommend staying here.

You can enjoy the authentic Bohemian air of Florida with a minimum cost of living. The rent for one person is around $2,519. On the other hand, the median individual income is $50,809.

Also, many people call it a magnet for students. As per USNews, in Florida Middle Schools, College Park Middle has been ranked #748-997. It is also known as a great college town.

From here you also get good access to Orlando’s world-class entertainment and shopping opportunities.

Things to do in College Park

  • Have great lunch at Ollie’s Public House
  • Sit by the Lake Ivanhoe Park
  • Take your father to Dubsdread Golf Courses
  • Go for walk in Albert Park
College Park Florida, best place to live in Central Florida
College Park

Also Read: Orange Picking in Orlando: 8 U-Pick Orange Groves in Orlando

2. Sanford

  • Population: 63,295
  • Cost of living index: 98.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 30.22 (per 1,000 people)

Sanford is a fast-growing city in Central Florida which is still a hidden gem for many Floridians. I have been to Sanford on weekends to spend some leisure time.

Nestled along the shores of Lake Monroe, its scenic waterfront boasts a picturesque backdrop. The historic downtown district exudes character with brick-lined streets, boutique shops, and diverse dining options. Sanford’s community events, such as the weekly farmers’ market and monthly art walks, foster a vibrant atmosphere.

Residents enjoy proximity to Orlando without sacrificing a small-town feel. The city’s commitment to preserving its heritage, coupled with a growing arts scene, makes Sanford a compelling choice for those seeking a well-rounded and welcoming place to call home.

The education facility is good with 89% of adults having a high school diploma. I loved its charming brick-paved downtown. Also, it has a huge craft beer business.

On average, as per Localobserverdaily a household in Sanford earns around $52664. On the other hand, a single adult’s expense is around $38,959 annually. 

If you plan to buy a house, you’re in luck. The land cost you less than the national median home value. Here, it will cost you around $133,800.

Sanford is one of the best places to live in Central Florida because every day you’ll wake up and go to sleep with the view of gorgeous sunrise and sunset.

Things to do in Sanford:

  • Have food at the Old Jailhouse Kitchen and Spirits
  • Have you visited Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Sanford, the best zoo in Florida?
  • Stroll around Sanford’s historic residential district
  • Go for an evening walk along Lake Monroe
  • In the evening hang out with your friends at Wop’s Hops Brewing Company
  • Take your grandfather kayaking at Wekiva River
Downtown Sanford
Downtown Sanford

3. Dr. Phillips

  • Population: 12,733
  • Cost of living index: 115 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 820 (per 100k people)
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If you’re planning to move to Central Florida, after research, Dr. Phillips is the first place that’ll come to your mind. It sits near the Horizon West neighborhood.

Its geographical location is well suited, just southwest of Orange County. Also, it is just 11 minutes away by car from Theme Parks, Universal, and Disney.

The environment is quite remote and peaceful. Time’s Money Magazine stated it as the best place to live in central Florida for families, and young professionals.

The real estate market is also booming because no doubt Dr. Phillips has good connections to major roadways. Also, there are great citrus groves here.

A single adult expense is around $37,771 annually, greater than the annual cost of living for Florida of $36,375. The job market has increased by 3.9% over the last 10 years.

Almost more than half of the residents own homes and lakefront properties. Luxury homes are $1,000,000 whereas, normal houses cost around $342,100.

Things to do in Dr. Phillips:

  • Take your dog to a park on Big Sand Lake which includes a small pool too
  • Go for a small hike taking Longhorn Trail Loop
  • Have mouth-watering tacos and roasted duck at Bartaco
Dr. Phillips, best places to live in central Florida
Dr. Phillips

4. Clermont

  • Population: 47,305
  • Cost of living index: 106.9 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 15.81 (per 1,000 people)

Clermont, situated in central Florida, is a gem known for its rolling hills, picturesque lakes, and family-friendly atmosphere. Nestled among the scenic landscapes is the iconic Citrus Tower, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

With numerous parks, including Lake Louisa State Park, outdoor enthusiasts find ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and water activities. Clermont’s growing community embraces a blend of modern conveniences and a laid-back lifestyle.

The Historic Downtown district beckons with charming shops and eateries. Families appreciate the quality schools and the welcoming environment, making Clermont a delightful haven for those seeking a balance between nature and suburban amenities.

Clermont is a fast-growing area in Central Florida hence if you’re in search of quite a peaceful place then this won’t be a good choice. It’s good for the mid-20s.

For me, Clermont is the epicenter for health and fitness. My friend’s brother was here for Olympic Training for a year. I’ve seen people here are so runner-friendly.

I love its weather. The winters are so good. The amazing lakes, park, green space, and huge outdoor fun is the major draw to moving to Central Florida.

The median home value is around $204,900 with single adult expenses around $37,103 annually. Also, transportation is 10% cheaper compared to the national average.

Pro: In terms of education opportunities, Clermont is lacking behind

Things to do in Clermont

  • Check Clermont Historic Village – the 19th and 20th-century buildings are wonderful
  • Watch a show at Clermont Performing Arts Centre
  • Spend some time alone at Palatlakaha River. You can also go kayaking
  • Come to Orlando Cat Café to play with cats

5. Maitland

  • Population: 20,680
  • Cost of living index: 116 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 16.03 (per 1,000 people)

Just next to Winter Park, close to Orlando sits Harry’s parents’ house – Maitlandthe best place to live in Central Florida. It is a quaint picturesque suburb of Florida.

Maitland has a thriving culture with unique sculpture gardens, art galleries, and event halls. Come to the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida.

It is considered the best place to live in Central Florida for young professionals because of its proximity to Orlando and safe neighborhoods.

Kids and adults have plenty of opportunities for having fun in the water – swimming, and kayaking. I recommend going to SeaWorld Orlando or Cypress Aquatic Centre.

You’ll love the night scene at Maitland. It has fine dining to fast casual dining spots. K Restaurant and Carmel Café have a nice elegant atmosphere. You should come here!

A single adult expense is around $37,771 annually which is indeed greater than the annual cost of living in Florida. A median home value is around $344,800.

Things to do in Maitland:

  • On the weekends come to Lake Lily with your family to bond and enjoy events
  • Try the food at Luke’s Kitchen and Bar
  • Exercise at the West Orange Trail
  • Have a unique experience at Horse Farm
Maitland
Maitland, Picture –Facebook

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6. Auburndale

  • Population: 16,249
  • Cost of living index: 92.2 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 34.06 (per 1,000 people)

Auburndale is an affordable area to live in Central Florida in Polk County between Tampa and Orlando. You’ll be happy to know that it has many lakes.

You only have to spend $34,206 annually on yourself including housing to afford to live at Auburndale. The home value is around $159,900.

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Also, it is close to national parks, state attractions, and Florida’s largest theme parks. In a word, it is an ideal place to play, live, and work. Its environment is very peaceful.

It attracts youth athletes to collegiate students for tournaments. Lake Myrtle Sports Park is always running various events throughout the year.

I was staying in the Auburn Cove area which was very scenic and green. The cost of living was 7% lower than the national average and 6% lower than the Florida average.

In the evening, I used to visit Auburndale Dog Park. If you’ve got a dog, you should definitely check this place out! You can also go to Auburndale TECO Trail for hiking.

Things to do in Auburndale:

  • If you’re a water enthusiast come to Elite Cable Park
  • Buy seasonal Florida products and vintage clothes from International World Market
  • Hungry travelers come to Peebles Bar-B-Que for tasting pork sausage, and sliced beef
  • Spend some time at Hollis Garden

7. Lake Davis – Greenwood

  • Population: 494
  • Cost of living index: 118 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 3,277 (per 100k people)

Lake Davis – Greenwood is the best town in Central Florida for families as they can admit their kids to the best public school in Lake Mary. 

In Florida Middle Schools, Greenwood Lakes Middle School is ranked #448 in terms of performance, tests, and graduation. 

The town sits in the middle of Hiawassee Road to the north and Michigan Street to the south. There is a beautiful lake in the between with a plethora of trees and peace. 

Also, this is a good place to visit in Central Florida for fishing enthusiasts and water lovers. The lake is home to bluegill, black crappie, bass warmouth, and more. 

According to areavibes, Lake Davis – Greenwood has been ranked 80 in terms of livability. Its accessibility to downtown is good, attracting a lot of young population.

The employment opportunities and transport links are varied and diverse respectively. The median household income is $83,902 with a median home value of $330,300.

Things to do in Lake Davis – Greenwood:

  • Sit by the fishing dock to enjoy the air
  • Swimming and kayaking are some good water sports activities you can indulge in
Lake Davis
Lake Davis

8. Winter Garden

  • Population: 50,684
  • Cost of living index: 115.2 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 19.87 (per 1,000 people)

Winter Garden is not like the rest of Florida. It is warm, with big-hearted people, lovely parks, acres of orange groves, and a great subtropical climate.

It is one of the best cities to retire in Central Florida away from the craziness of the theme parks, but close to enjoying Central Florida’s attractions.

Over the past decade, Winter Garden witnessed 28.2% job growth boosting business communities. It is a great place for residents to enjoy outdoor adventures.

Plenty of job opportunities, a strong economy, and strong healthcare amenities made it one of the best places to live in Central Florida for people of all ages.

However, the cost of living and home value is greater compared to the national average. Single adults need to spend $37,771 a year. The median home value is around $285.700.

Additionally, the median household income is around $76,269, hence living here comfortably won’t be a problem if you’re earning a good amount.

Tip: McAllister Landing neighborhood has some upscale real estate homes with gated community

Things to do in Winter Garden

  • Buy homemade chocolates from Plant Street Market
  • Enjoy the recreation scene at Escape Goat
  • Come to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

9. Windermere

  • Population: 3,030
  • Cost of living index: 128.3 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 6.99 (per 1,000 people)

If you want to taste luxury then welcome to the citrus region of Florida, the oldest community named Windermere, the best small town to live in Central Florida.

The best things about Windermere are it does not have any major tourist attraction destinations or shopping centers. It has some hyped-up real estate property and a lake.

It is about 2 square miles small quaint town, home to most business professionals, musicians, artists, and pro athletes. Butler Chain of Lake is a major beauty.

Furthermore, it is the safest place to live in Central Florida as the local police patrol the town ensuring traffic is perfect, beauty is preserved and everyone obeys the rule.

READ NEXT:  16 Best Lakes in Florida with Map to Find Them

In terms of education, Windermere has a fantastic reputation for preserving A-rated schools and facilities. In terms of beauty, even it holds the top position.

However, this place comes with a high price tag. A single adult needs to spend $37,771 a year on his expenses. A median home value is around $567,600. 

Things to do in Windermere

  • Go for food hopping at Keke’s Breakfast Café, Pizza 14, Hawkers Asian Street Food and so more
  • Stroll around the town, clicking pictures and enjoying the streets
  • Check out Beck Brothers U-Pick Blueberry Farm
  • Go for a hike at Tibet-Butler Preserve
 Tibet-Butler Preserve
Tibet-Butler Preserve

10. Lake Eola Heights

  • Population: 2,280
  • Cost of living index: 111 (US average of 100)
  • Crime Rate: 4,069 (per 100k people)

If you desire to live near downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Heights tops the list with its unique charm, distinctive character, and appeal. 

It is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Central Florida as you can take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for fun, education, trails, and parks.

Lake Eola Heights is a lively place, full of energy. You should attend the weekly farmer’s market to purchase an array of things. You’ve too many options to choose from!

It has a lake making it ideal for swimming, kayaking, or taking romantic boat tours. However, because of the lake, there are a lot of bugs and flies. 

It is one of the historic spots which is aesthetically pleasing to your eyes. A median home price is a minimum of $271,133 with a median income of around $63,260.

Lake Eola Heights is an active residential area with varied types of walking trails, nightclubs, restaurants, shops, businesses, and event theatres to enjoy and have fun.

Things to do in Lake Eola Heights:

  • The area is dominated by Lake Eola Park, so go to feed the swans
  • Enjoy a cocktail from Aku Aku Tiki Bar
  • Stroll around the neighborhoods, talk to locals, and have fun

Read More: Ultimate Guide: 5 Best Places for Orange Picking in Florida

11. Rose Isle

  • Population: 552
  • Crime Rate: 1,866 (per 100k people)

If you want to enjoy a suburban neighborhood yet want to stay close to lakes and take full advantage of bars, restaurants, and shops, come to Rose Isle. 

The reason why Rose Isle is termed as one of the best areas to live in Central Florida is because of its diverse environment and population to host.

The place has a gorgeous landscape to explore, a lake for kayaking and swimming, historic sites to enlighten your knowledge, many hospitals for great check-ups, universities to study, and ample business opportunities to flourish.

According to areavibes, Rose Isle is the best place to live in Orlando as it has been ranked #29th in terms of livability.

The median household income is $134,956 annually which is 144% higher than the US average. This place is appealing to both families and retirees.

The median home value is around $472,700, which is 156% higher than the US average. Moreover, the place has magic that can etch in your memory for a lifetime.

 Rose Isle
Rose Isle

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the best place to live in Central Florida, the option is endless but still, I’ve got an exclusive search for you. 

You cannot reside everywhere, thus this list of living in Central Florida gives you a complete insight into its cost of living, crime rate, and other attributes.

If you have ever thought to reside in the Florida Keys at affordable rates then you can check my other blog. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the place.

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FAQ: Best Places to Live in Central Florida

1. What is the best place to live in Central Florida?

A. College Park is the best place to live in Central Florida. The sense of togetherness among the residents is very strong.

2. Where is the safest place to live in Central Florida?

A. Maitland in Orange County is the safest place to live in Central Florida. You’ve 1 in 677 chances to become a victim of violent crime. The place recorded low crime rates.

3. What are the main cities in Central FL?

A. Orlando, Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, and Lakeland are the main cities in Central Florida.

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