12 Best Places to Live in Florida
Jan 16, 2023
Florida is the 3rd largest state and is home to more than 22 million people, a number that continues to increase every year thanks to no state income taxes, strong economic conditions and a conservative political environment.
Whether you crave the hustle-and-bustle of city life or would prefer somewhere a bit quieter, you’ll have plenty to choose from among these 12 best places to live in Florida.
In fact, you’ll probably find it tough to choose from these fantastic options!
The 12 Absolute Best Places to Live in Florida
If you’re new to the state or just aren’t completely sure what you want in your new hometown, the following are considered to be the best places to live in Florida.
1. Clermont, FL (Orlando Suburb)
About 20 miles west of Orlando, you’ll find fast-growing Clermont. Known for its lakes and rarely found rolling hills, Clermont is family friendly, safe and beautiful.
The south Lake County area attracts hikers, bird watchers and vacationers to romantic cabin rentals overlooking sparkling waterways. For a unique view from above, families can take a trip to the top of the Florida Citrus Tower, an observation deck offering a 360-degree view of eight Central Florida counties. With a median home price of $391,000, Clermont is an affordable option for new Floridians.
2. Destin, FL
While South Florida and the west coast of Florida get most of the attention, the panhandle is truly an underrated part of the state. Destin is located in between larger cities like Pensacola and the state capital of Tallahassee.
Destin is a gem along the gulf coast and is one of the larger cities along the panhandle. The beaches in this region are often referred to as the "Emerald Coast" due to the gorgeous, turquoise blue-green gulf waters.
3. Sarasota, FL
With a population of about 55,000, Sarasota and nearby Fort Myers, this west Florida city sits on the Gulf of Mexico and is a large enough city to offer all the amenities you'd expect from a big beach town.
4. Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral is known for its 400 miles of canals, and some refer to it as a “Waterfront Wonderland,” because it has more miles of canals than anywhere else in the world. In fact, most of them are navigable and will take you to the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico.
The average home price is $487,500 – making it relatively affordable compared to other cities on our list.
5. Parkland, FL (Miami Suburb)
Parkland is a tranquil city nestled in a serene, wooded environment in Northwest Broward County. This unique city was incorporated in 1963. Parkland offers some of the best public schools in the Miami area and is ranked as one of the best places to live in Broward County, according to Niche.
Another perk, Parkland also ranks as one of the safest places to live Florida.
6. Wellington, FL (Miami Suburb)
Wellington is home to some of South Florida's top luxury neighborhoods, so it's very common to see multi-million dollar homes here. While residents love the area for its gated neighborhoods, cleanliness and safety, Wellington is certainly a more expensive place to live with a higher median property value of $677,000. In fact, it ranks as one of the richest cities in Florida - along with nearby Palm Beach.
7. Windermere, FL (Orlando Suburb)
Located just 20 miles west of Orlando, Windermere boasts a small town feel and tight-knit sense of community.
If you ask current residents of Windermere what they love most about living there, you will most likely hear, “It’s safe, small, quiet and clean.” It is a highly sought out place to live in Central Florida, thanks to these qualities. Living in Central Florida can be busy due to the high amount of tourism, but living in Windermere allows residents to have that small town feel, while still being able to enjoy the local tourist attractions such as Walt Disney World.
8. Ponte Vedra, FL (Jacksonville Suburb)
Ponte Vedra Beach is an affluent seaside community and suburb of Jacksonville in St. Johns County. You have all this to enjoy and so much more even though the median home price in Ponte Vedra, which is just over $432,000, is a lot less than you’d pay for houses in many other coastal Florida cities.
9. Hyde Park, FL (Intown South Tampa)
Upscale Hyde Park is renowned for its dining and nightlife scene along South Howard Avenue, or "SoHo" to locals. Hyde Park Village boasts cocktail bars and coffee shops alongside indie boutiques and clothing stores.
The Hyde Park and broader South Tampa area ranks as one of the top suburbs in Tampa, despite being so close to downtown - one could argue that it's more of an intown neighborhood, rather than a suburb.
10. Santa Rosa/Seaside, FL (30A)
Seaside founder Robert Davis' grandfather, J.S. Somlian, purchased the 80 acres the town rests on in 1946 for a family retreat. In 1978 the planning began for the first New Urban town; the goal was to make an old-fashioned beach town, with traditional wood-framed cottages indicative of the Florida Panhandle.
A little known fact is that Jim Carey's 1998 hit movie, "The Truman Show" was filmed entirely in the small, idyllic town of Seaside.
11. Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island is part of the Sea Islands chain of barrier islands, on Florida’s Atlantic coast. It has a history of Spanish, French, British and American rule. Today it’s a popular holiday destination known for its luxury resorts, golf courses and sandy beaches, including Fernandina Beach.
12. Pinecrest, FL (Miami Suburb)
Pinecrest is a suburb of Miami & Miami Beach. In the 1930s, the area's growth began to evolve around one of the first tourist attractions established in the Miami vicinity - Parrot Jungle and Gardens.
Today, the former wildlife attraction has been turned into a community park, Pinecrest Gardens, where concerts, art shows and other special events are held year-round. At historic Pinecrest Gardens, the Farmer's Market is a popular weekly event. Or try the Wayside Market for delicious shakes, fresh juices and locally grown fruit.
Honorable Mention Cities (Barely Missed the Cut!)
#13: Naples, FL
#14: Marco Island, FL
#15: Lutz/New Tampa, FL
Get a 1% Closing Cost Contribution When You Buy Your Home In Florida
As you plan your move, check out guide to relocating to Florida and connect with a local SimpleShowing agent who is familiar with all of these areas. We sell hundreds of homes in Florida each year! Best of all, when you work with a SimpleShowing agent, you’ll qualify for our Homebuyer Refund Program, which provides homebuyers with a closing cost credit of about $6,500 on average.
If you're already in state and considering selling, learn what to expect in terms of closing costs in Florida.