8 Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle in 2023

The Florida Panhandle runs 200 miles along the North West of Florida. This charming place not only has appealing beaches but lovable places to live and enjoy with family. 

Florida Panhandle is also home to Grayton Beach, St. Joseph Peninsula, and St. Andrews beach which is considered as one of the best No.1 beaches over the year. If you are looking for the best places to live in Florida Panhandle, I can assure you that there are many cities with a vast scope for education as well as a great standard of living.

Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle

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Florida Panhandle is considered one of the best places because it is loaded with beautiful beach fronts, beach towns with affordable lifestyles, and great career opportunities. This is among the greatest places for leading a comfortable life.

Florida Panhandle will offer your family a lot of things far more than you have imagined. The stunning white-sand beaches, variations in food culture, friendly neighbors, and outdoor weekend goals – this place is the dream of every US citizen.

Stretching from Pensacola to Apalachicola this place will offer you love!

Let’s get ready to explore the best places to live in Florida Panhandle and plan where to live in Florida Panhandle to build cherished memories for a lifetime. You can also check out our Moving to Florida guide if you are planning to relocate here.

Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida Panhandle

Here are 4 cities in Florida Panhandle where you can plan to spend a month or choose a staycation. 


Far from the center but close to the water body lies the great beach which is perfect for you to enjoy and be away from the frenetic haste of day-to-day life. You can also have tasty shrimp, and blue crab, and believe me, these are truly delicious. 


A great place surrounded by rivers, the Chipola to the west, and the Apalachicola to the east. You can witness beautiful-shaped limestone and sit at the beach with a glass of sugarcane juice and enjoy the view. 


This place is famous for Oyster shacks and the annual Riverfront Festival. If you’re a blogger and a beach person who wants to enjoy great nightlife then this place perfectly suits you. 


Marianna is an ancient town of the 19th century with famous and old St Luke’s Episcopal Church and where the Civil War Battle of Marianna took place. You will find some interesting hiking trails to enjoy your weekend trips. 

8 Most Popular Places to Live in Florida Panhandle

1. South Walton Beaches and 30 A

Population: 22084

Cost of Living Index: 97.1

Median Home Value: $291,889 

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 24.11 

Unemployment Rate: 4 %

South Walton Beaches and 30 A are some of the best places to live in Florida on the Gulf Coast. This hidden gem sits west of Destin and north of Okaloosa Island.

A popular destination among students offers educational opportunities with great schools and universities around.  

The aesthetic touch on the city surrounded by lush green palm trees with distinct spring, summer, and fall seasons makes it one of the desirable dream destinations for USA citizens.  

If you want to know the rich culture and history of the Fort then visit The Heritage Park and Cultural Centre. You can walk around the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Fort Walton Temple Mound, Camp Walton Schoolhouse, and Garnier Post Office Museum. 

You can walk around Santa Rosa Beach and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine in Alys Beach. Or you can bring your dog to the dog-friendly beach in Grayton Beach. 

This vibrant place offers rich historical stories, art galleries, concerts, movies under the stars, and state parks. The Air Force Armament Museum is also a must-visit place that exhibits all the items associated with the Air Force Armament.

You can visit the Emerald Coast Science Centre which teaches about robotics, engineering, and the ecosystem. 

Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle | Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach

2. Pensacola 

Population: 9925 

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Cost of Living Index: 87.2

Median Home Value: $199,391

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 43.98

Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

Pensacola Beach has the best retirement community in Florida Panhandle. The south of Pensacola on Santa Rosa Island bordering Alabama lies this stunning white sand beach.  

This is an inexpensive place in Florida and is perfect for unfolding the history and unique culture and studying a lot of different things. It has great educational opportunities for your grandchild too!  

For a relaxed atmosphere and enjoying the sight of fishing, biking, kayaking, other sports activities, or sight of marine animals playing, this beach is perfect. Your retirement days will be full of freedom and love! 

This beach is famous among people for maintaining cleanliness and beauty. The tree-lined streets of the downtown area are perfect for an evening walk by your partner. 

You’ll find different restaurants which offer different cuisine. You should visit Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Gulf Pier or visit historic Fort Pickens. 

The appearance of the natural environment, reasonable hotel and restaurant charges make Pensacola one of the budget-friendly places in the USA

If your son or daughter is visiting you then you might plan a weekend trip to Sand Eco Trail which is 8.5 miles long and explore the local flora and fauna.  

The famous Peg Leg Pete’s seafood restaurant for swashbuckling dining is a must-visit to roam around with alcohol. You should taste crabs which get cooked by the seaside and enjoy the water splashing and flowing by. 

Pensacola Beach is the best place to live in the Florida Panhandle as this place is affordable and you can easily offer a good lifestyle with your savings as you have to pay fewer taxes.


3. Destin

Population: 13702 

Cost of Living Index: 118.6

Median Home Value: $ 516,211

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 13.90 

Unemployment Rate: 4 % 

Just Right between Pensacola Beach, Panama City Beach, and east of Okaloosa Island lies the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” called Destin. 

It has the perfect beach and hub of commercial activities for fishermen for budding. You can taste a variety of fishes and also home to Gator Beach where guests can take pictures and feed alligators. 

Destin is the best place to live in the Florida Panhandle as here you can enjoy the urban air as well as beach life. The public schools in Destin are highly professional and highly rated.

Destin is one of the best towns to live in the Florida Panhandle; it has fine well-fined soft sand which has pure Appalachian quartz which keeps the sand cool still after being kissed by the sun the whole day.

Come to Henderson Beach State Park which is another touristy place and the perfect place to travel alone in the USA. For live night parties visit Destin Harbour Boardwalk which is just right on the shore for the perfect night out. 

You should also come to Crab Island just to add a cherry to your beach experience. Take a boat ride to this place and rent a water taxi and you’re good to enjoy your day. You can prefer water sports activities too.

For great tasty food come to Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House and order some local seafood and enjoy the live music and the night vibe. 

The spectacular view of the starlit sky is whatever USA citizens die for!

This place is beautiful and a little expensive compared to the other places in Florida. It has great job opportunities for youth and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida

popular places to live in Florida Panhandle | Destin

4. Port St. Joe

Population: 3488

Cost of Living Index: 99.3

Median Home Value: $251,419

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 13.18

Unemployment Rate: 4.2 % 

Port St. Joe is the best coastal city to live in Florida Panhandle for digital nomads and young adults. It is nested on the upper Gulf Coast and is one of the famous tourist spots in Florida.

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If you want to quit the city’s hustle and busy schedule, come to this beautiful place. 

It is a perfect romantic vacation spot in Florida to spend some honeymoon time with a beautiful sunset and fancy restaurants to shock your taste buds.

This is a great place in the Florida Panhandle to live in. Learn about its deep history and culture. In 1842 this place was abandoned by its residents after the outbreak of Yellow fever. This place has also witnessed strong severe storms and is still standing strong and upright. 

The Constitution Convention Museum State Park will teach you about the St. Joseph settlement and Florida’s first constitution. From 1999, this place got a new color and got dressed up as a beach town and main attraction spot for tourists. It has some beautiful beaches, friendly people and a relaxed lifestyle. 

It’s the most affordable place to live in Florida Panhandle compared to other places in Florida. But, I’m sorry to tell you that this place is good for retirement and won’t have much to offer to the youth population who dream of great job opportunities.

Visit Krazyfish Grille or Mama’s Wood Fired Pizza or for delicious seafood and luscious food. 

Bring your loved one to the famous landmark of Cape San Blas lighthouse and click great memorable photos. 

5. Tallahassee

Population: 1.91 Lakhs

Cost of Living Index: 93.8

Median Home Value: $231,967 

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 34.42

Unemployment Rate: 4.7 % 

Tallahassee is the safest place to live in Florida Panhandle; the state capital sits on the northeast of Port St. Joe and is away from the beach.

It is a small city but a land of a lot of culture and diversity. 

It has top-rated public schools such as Hawks Rise Elementary School, Killearn Lakes Elementary School, Florida A&M University, and a lot of professional job prospects. 

People here in Tallahassee believe in “Live, Work, Play,” and they are very focused on this slogan. 

You should visit The Museum of Florida History which upskill your knowledge about past and present Florida’s culture. The Florida Historic Capitol Museum teaches you about Florida’s political history. 

If you want to know about the geographical habitats then you’re most welcome to visit The Tallahassee Museum, one of the most beautiful museums I have ever witnessed. 

You can also go to Hangar 38 for a fun dinner and gaming. This restaurant offers a great food variety from pizza to sushi to pasta and other mouth-watering dishes. 

For tasty burgers and sandwiches, you can also visit Midtown Caboose and spend your eve in a beautiful environment. 

If you want your child to know more about space missions then take them to watch a planetarium show, or space mission simulator, or Challenger Learning Centre for Space Science Education Center. 

You can also visit the Leon County Geological Sinks, Alfred B.Maclay Garden State Park to get the beach eclectic vibe. Mashes Sand Beach and Carrabelle Beach is also great place to relax and bathe in the sun. 

To enjoy the light show fountain in the evening join and buy tickets to Cascade Park and enjoy the beautiful colorful young night. 


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6. Panama City Beach

Population: 12751

Cost of Living Index: 106

Median Home Value: $ 384,976 

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 77.49

Unemployment Rate: 4.2

One of the most buzz and best beach towns in the Florida Panhandle is Panama City Beach, which is located north of Port St. Joe.

The amusement parks like Shipwreck Island Water Park, Coconut Creek Family Park are some of the places which I bet you’ve never seen before in Florida. Come to Seacrest Wolf Preserve or the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory to watch incredible pictures.  

If you don’t want to explore parks then I’ve some different place suggestions for you. They are David’s Sno-Balls, chicken po’boys, yummy snow cones, and Runaway Island. 

St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park are some of the best sides of the town where you can see scrub oak forests, the dune lake, and the beauty of green shades. 

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Panama City Beach has better educational amenities and has been ranked by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) “Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15” as 83rd for quality education. 

From Panama City Beach you can access the best beach and have “cool freeze mixes” which are wine smoothies. This is the most affordable romantic getaway in the USA that offers a long mile walk in the sugary sand and paradise in front of the beach. 

7. Seaside

Population: 6737

Cost of Living Index: 144.3

Median Home Value: $ 720,418 

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 10.64

Unemployment Rate: 4.2 %

To the east of Fort Walton Beach and west of Panama City Beach lies this small yet amazing place to live in Florida Panhandle.

It is a picture square beach town but the most expensive place to live in Florida Panhandle. This town offers the best urban town vibe and a great place for a long drive or long walk with your loved ones under the clear sky. 

Spend your night at Central Square and enjoy the best romantic movies under the stars or listen to jazz in any of the beautiful cafes.

I must tell you that you can enjoy the best evening if you’re at Seaside. You can walk to the gourmet food trucks found along Highway 30A and taste some of the delicious food. 

The Seagrove Village Market is very famous among the locals and you should come here to taste mouth-watering foods.

Seaside, a Florida Panhandle Beach Community
Seaside, a Florida Panhandle Beach Community

8. Navarre

Population: 37362

Cost of Living Index: 105.7

Median Home Value: $ 350,070 

Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 7.63

Unemployment Rate: 4 % 

To the east of Pensacola Beach and west of Fort Walton Beach sits this beach town called Navarre.

This is one of the cheapest places to live in the Florida Panhandle because it won’t provide you with fancy and ecstatic nightlife but with peace and a calm environment. Come to Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, one of the most beautiful fishing piers in Florida, and click spectacular photos with beautiful backgrounds.

The famous attractions in Navarre are The Navarre Beach Marine Park, Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, and the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary and artificial reefs.

You can have delicious breakfast tacos and sandwiches at JJ Chagos. 

Are you still thinking about whether the Panhandle of Florida is a good place to live on? 

Then know that it is the home of the best beaches in America and will never disappoint you if you’re a beach person. Fishing is the major occupation of this place but also the home of many tech industries. You will find affordable cities to live in Florida but also the reasons for regretting moving to Florida but you need to take a look at all of these above places.

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FAQ on The Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle

1. What are the best small towns to live in Florida west coast? 

A: Some of top rated best small towns to live on Florida’s west coast are Captiva, Crystal River, and Jupiter. 

2. Where’s the most affordable place to live in the Florida Panhandle?

A: If affordability is your criteria then I suggest you come and settle in Fort Walton Beach. This is one of the affordable places to live in the Florida Panhandle. It is a small town that has so much to offer. 

3. What’s the worst place to live in Florida Panhandle?

A: Florida Panhandle is a great demanding place among USA citizens but certain places are considered as the worst place to live in Florida Panhandle based on climate, crime, opportunities, and many more. Marianna is such a city where you would not want to live for its high crime rate.

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  1. Ummm. Was looking at this site for info as we want to move to Florida. Thank you for the detailed info.

  2. Thank you for sharing such in-depth content on Florida Panhandle. I was looking to move to Panhandle area.

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