The 15 Best Places to Live in Florida in 2024
Dec 30, 2023
Florida is the 3rd largest state and is home to more than 22 million people. The state continues to post impressive job growth and population increases each year thanks to the absence of a state income taxes, favorable economic conditions and a moderate political environment.
And whether you crave the hustle-and-bustle of city life, a coastal condo or a sleepy suburb, you’ll have plenty to choose from among these 13 best places to live in Florida. In fact, you’ll probably find it tough to choose from these fantastic options!
If you’re new to the state, a first time homebuyer or a native of the Sunshine State, these are the best cities to live in Florida. With average Florida home prices around $400,000, the state offers great affordability, but also boasts several luxury markets where prices are more than 2x the national average.
In this article, we will discuss:
1. Winter Park, FL
2. Destin, FL
3. Parkland, FL
4. Windermere, FL
5. Clermont, FL
6. Sarasota, FL
7. Cape Coral, FL
8. Wellington, FL
9. Ponte Vedra, FL
10. Hyde Park, FL
11. Santa Rosa/Seaside, FL
12. Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach, FL
13. Pinecrest, FL
14. Naples, FL
15. Marco Island, FL
1. Winter Park, FL (Intown Orlando)
Winter Park, Florida, nestled in the Greater Orlando area, is a charming city renowned for its old-world grace, scenic canals, and cobblestone streets. With a population of around 30,000, it represents a blend of culture, academia, and affluence. Winter Park is also famous for its vibrant arts scene, including the renowned Morse Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass. Surrounded by lush greenery and serene lakes, Winter Park offers a tranquil yet culturally rich lifestyle.
At the heart of this picturesque city is Rollins College, a prestigious private liberal arts college known for its beautiful lakeside setting and rigorous academic environment. Established in 1885, Rollins College is the oldest post-secondary institution in Florida, offering a diverse range of programs and a strong emphasis on community engagement and global learning.
- Population: 28,043
- Median Income: $88,688
- Median Home Price: $534,450
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,095
2. Destin, FL (Panhandle/Gulf Coast)
Destin, Florida, located on the Emerald Coast in the panhandle, is widely celebrated for its stunning white beaches and vibrant turquoise waters. Often referred to as the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” Destin has a rich history rooted in fishing, which remains a significant part of its culture. With a population of about 14,000, this city is a perfect blend of laid-back beach life and lively tourist attractions. Destin’s beaches, with their fine, sugar-white sand, are among the most beautiful in the country, drawing beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts alike.
The city is also known for its excellent golf courses and outdoor activities, including snorkeling, sailing, and dolphin-watching tours. Destin Harbor Boardwalk, a bustling hub of activity, offers an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. The city’s fishing fleet, one of the largest in Florida, provides ample opportunity for deep-sea excursions. Destin’s combination of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly attractions make it a popular destination for both tourists and those seeking a serene coastal lifestyle.
- Population: 14,247
- Median Income: $79,481
- Median Home Price: $745,000
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,623
3. Parkland, FL (Miami Suburb)
Parkland, Florida, situated in the northern part of Broward County, is renowned for its commitment to preserving a park-like environment, which is reflected in its lush landscapes and stringent zoning laws. With a population of approximately 34,000, Parkland offers a unique blend of tranquil suburban living and upscale amenities. This city stands out for its well-planned neighborhoods, top-rated schools, and expansive parks, making it an ideal place for families. The community places a strong emphasis on outdoor living, evident in its numerous trails, equestrian paths, and recreational facilities.
Despite its peaceful setting, Parkland is conveniently located near major highways, providing easy access to the diverse cultural, entertainment, and economic opportunities in Broward County. The city’s commitment to maintaining a safe, close-knit community, while being in proximity to the vibrant South Florida urban areas, makes it a highly sought-after place to live. Parkland’s blend of natural beauty, community focus, and accessibility contributes to its reputation as one of the most desirable cities in Broward County. Another perk: Parkland also ranks as one of the safest places to live Florida.
- Population: 36,895
- Median Income: $159,927
- Median Home Price: $1,135,000
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,484
4. Windermere, FL (Orlando Suburb)
Windermere, Florida, nestled among the Butler Chain of Lakes, is a picturesque town known for its natural beauty and exclusivity. With a population of just over 3,000, it offers a serene, small-town atmosphere while being strikingly close to one of the world’s most iconic attractions, Walt Disney World. This proximity to Disney World makes Windermere a highly desirable location for both residents and visitors who seek a peaceful retreat near the excitement of Orlando’s renowned theme parks.
The town itself is characterized by its canopy-covered dirt roads, elegant homes, and an affluent community. Despite its modest size, Windermere is steeped in a rich community spirit and offers a variety of recreational activities, including access to pristine lakes for boating and fishing. Its unique charm, combined with the convenience of being just a short drive from Walt Disney World, provides residents with a blend of tranquil lakeside living and world-class entertainment, making Windermere a sought-after destination in Central Florida.
5. Clermont, FL (Orlando Suburb)
Clermont, Florida, located in Lake County, is a scenic city known for its picturesque hills and lakes, offering a distinct contrast to Florida’s typically flat terrain. With a population of around 40,000, Clermont is celebrated for its outdoor lifestyle, facilitated by its beautiful lakefront park and a variety of recreational activities like biking, fishing, and boating.
A significant landmark in Clermont is the Florida Citrus Tower, one of the state’s first landmarks, built as a tribute to the citrus industry and offering panoramic views of the rolling hills and sprawling orange groves. The tower, standing 226 feet tall, provides visitors with a unique perspective of Central Florida’s landscape. Clermont’s historic downtown area, with its charming shops and restaurants, adds to the city’s appeal. Known as the “Choice of Champions,” Clermont is also famous for its training facilities for athletes, particularly triathletes. The combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and the iconic Citrus Tower makes Clermont a unique and appealing destination in Central Florida.
- Population: 44,530
- Median Income: $73,502
- Median Home Price: $424,100
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,736
6. Sarasota, FL (Southwest Florida)
Sarasota, Florida, is a picturesque city renowned for its vibrant arts scene, stunning beaches, and lush, subtropical environment. A gem on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it offers a unique blend of cultural richness and natural beauty. Sarasota boasts an array of attractions, from the world-famous Ringling Museum of Art to the serene Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The city’s commitment to the arts is evident in its numerous galleries, theaters, and a thriving music scene, making it a haven for art lovers.
One of the most enticing aspects of living in Sarasota is its stunning beaches, such as the acclaimed Siesta Key Beach, known for its fine, white sand and tranquil waters. The city’s real estate market is dynamic, with home values reflecting its desirability as a place to live. These values have been steadily increasing, making it a wise choice for potential homeowners looking for a mix of cultural wealth, natural beauty, and a sound investment. Additionally, Sarasota’s excellent schools, health care facilities, and a strong sense of community add to its allure as an ideal place to call home.
- Population: 60,000
- Median Income: $78,602
- Median Home Price: $614,900
- Median Monthly Rent: $3,000
7. Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral, Florida, situated on the Gulf of Mexico, is known for its picturesque canals, abundant wildlife, and tranquil lifestyle. Often referred to as a “Waterfront Wonderland,” it boasts more than 400 miles of navigable waterways, more than any other city in the world, making it a paradise for boating and fishing enthusiasts. The city is characterized by its laid-back atmosphere, friendly communities, and a plethora of outdoor activities, including golfing, kayaking, and exploring nature preserves.
Cape Coral’s real estate market is attractive, with the average home price being accessible for a wide range of budgets, reflecting its appeal to both retirees and families. This affordability, combined with Florida’s favorable tax climate, makes Cape Coral an increasingly popular destination for those seeking a relaxed, waterfront lifestyle. The city’s commitment to growth and development, excellent schools, and community-oriented approach further enhance its desirability as a place to live, providing a blend of leisure and opportunity in a serene Florida setting.
- Population: 200,972
- Median Income: $66,425
- Median Home Price: $391,889
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,399
8. Wellington, FL (Miami Suburb)
Wellington, Florida, renowned for its equestrian community and tranquil lifestyle, is a hidden gem in Palm Beach County. This village is celebrated for hosting the Winter Equestrian Festival, attracting riders and enthusiasts from around the world. Its equestrian facilities are world-class, making it a premier destination for horse lovers. Beyond its equestrian fame, Wellington offers a family-friendly environment with excellent schools, lush parks, and a strong sense of community.
The area is also known for its upscale shopping and dining experiences, enhancing its appeal as a luxurious yet down-to-earth place to live. The real estate in Wellington is equally impressive, with a median property value that reflects its status as an affluent and desirable community. This value indicates the high quality of life and the stability of the housing market in the area. Residents of Wellington enjoy the benefits of suburban living with the added allure of an equestrian lifestyle, all within the beautiful setting of South Florida.
- Population: 65,398
- Median Income: $40,025
- Median Home Price: $662,648
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,618
9. Ponte Vedra, FL (Jacksonville Suburb)
Ponte Vedra, located in St. Johns County, Florida, is a prestigious seaside community known for its luxurious lifestyle and stunning natural beauty. This affluent area is celebrated for its pristine beaches, world-class golf courses, including the famous TPC Sawgrass, and exclusive country clubs that offer an unparalleled living experience. The community is part of the highly regarded St. Johns County, which is famous for its top-rated schools, making it an ideal location for families.
The county is also known for its low crime rate and high quality of life, contributing to the allure of Ponte Vedra. The housing market in Ponte Vedra is reflective of its exclusivity and desirability, with properties ranging from elegant waterfront estates to modern condominiums. The natural beauty of the area, with its unspoiled beaches and lush landscapes, combined with its commitment to luxury and comfort, makes Ponte Vedra a sought-after destination for those seeking a high-end lifestyle in a serene Florida setting.
- Population: 27,477
- Median Income: $121,430
- Median Home Price: $513,050
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,736
10. Hyde Park, FL (Intown South Tampa)
Hyde Park, located in Tampa, Florida, is a historic and charming neighborhood known for its picturesque streets, classic bungalows, and vibrant community spirit. At the heart of this area is Hyde Park Village, an upscale, open-air shopping district that offers a unique blend of high-end boutiques, trendy restaurants, and lively bars. This village is not just a shopping destination but a social hub where locals gather for events, making it a pivotal part of the Hyde Park experience. The architecture in Hyde Park reflects its rich history, with beautifully preserved homes that add to the neighborhood’s allure.
The area is also renowned for its excellent schools and close-knit community feel, making it a desirable location for families and professionals alike. The blend of historic charm with modern amenities, combined with the community-focused lifestyle of Hyde Park Village, makes Hyde Park a distinguished and sought-after area to live in Tampa. Its balance of tranquility and urban convenience offers residents an enviable quality of life in one of Florida’s most dynamic cities.
- Population: 21,281
- Median Income: $100,386
- Median Home Price: $609,300
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,756
11. Santa Rosa/Seaside, FL (30A – Gulf Coast)
Santa Rosa and Seaside, nestled in the Florida Panhandle along the scenic Highway 30A, are quintessential coastal towns that epitomize the charm and beauty of the region. These towns are renowned for their stunning white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The Florida Panhandle, a stretch of the Gulf Coast known for its natural beauty, serves as the perfect backdrop for these idyllic communities. Seaside, in particular, gained fame as the picturesque setting for the iconic film “The Truman Show,” showcasing its pastel-colored houses and perfectly planned town layout.
This area is also celebrated for its local restaurants, which offer an array of fresh seafood and southern cuisine, capturing the essence of coastal living. The scenic Highway 30A connects these towns, providing breathtaking views and access to a series of quaint beach communities, each with its unique character. The combination of natural beauty, charming architecture, and a strong sense of community makes Santa Rosa and Seaside highly desirable destinations for both visitors and residents seeking a tranquil beachside lifestyle in the Florida Panhandle.
- Population: 14,028
- Median Income: $97,812
- Median Home Price: $975,924
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,895
12. Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island, with its historic and picturesque Fernandina Beach, is a treasured gem along the northeast coast of Florida. Known for its natural beauty, serene beaches, and rich history, this island offers a unique blend of Southern charm and Florida flair. Fernandina Beach, the island’s quaint and bustling heart, is dotted with charming Victorian-era homes and a vibrant downtown area, where local shops and restaurants thrive.
A significant historical landmark on the island is Fort Clinch, a well-preserved 19th-century fort, which stands as a testament to the island’s strategic importance during various periods in American history. Visitors to Fort Clinch State Park can explore the fort, enjoy scenic views, and engage in various recreational activities like fishing, hiking, and camping. Amelia Island’s combination of historical attractions, natural beauty, and a relaxed coastal lifestyle makes it an appealing destination. Its appeal is further enhanced by the friendly local community, pristine beaches, and a calendar filled with diverse cultural and recreational events, ensuring that life on Amelia Island is both enriching and peaceful.
- Population: 38,747
- Median Income: $87,047
- Median Home Price: $358,800
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,384
13. Pinecrest, FL (Miami Suburb)
Pinecrest, Florida, located in the heart of Miami-Dade County, is a lush, suburban village known for its spacious homes, excellent schools, and a strong sense of community. A standout feature of this affluent area is Pinecrest Gardens, once the site of the famous Parrot Jungle. Today, it’s a cultural and recreational hub, boasting beautiful botanical gardens, art exhibitions, and community events, encapsulating the village’s commitment to family-friendly and cultural activities.
Another local favorite is the Wayside Market, a charming and historic fruit stand known for its delicious milkshakes, fresh produce, and quaint ambiance. This market has been a staple in Pinecrest for decades, offering a taste of old Florida charm amid the modern luxuries of the area. Pinecrest’s focus on community-oriented living, combined with its beautiful green spaces and top-rated schools, makes it a highly desirable place for families. Its proximity to Miami ensures residents enjoy the tranquility of suburban life while having easy access to the amenities of a major city.
- Population: 17,398
- Median Income: $76,284
- Median Home Price: $937,600.
- Median Monthly Rent: $5,450
14. Naples, FL
Naples, Florida, is a picturesque city located on the Gulf of Mexico, known for its high quality of life and luxurious amenities. With a population of about 22,000, Naples is famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, world-class shopping, and fine dining. The city is a golfer’s paradise, boasting more than 80 championship golf courses.
Culturally rich, Naples is home to numerous art galleries, and the Naples Philharmonic and the Baker Museum are central to the vibrant arts scene. The city’s close proximity to the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands makes it a prime location for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. The subtropical climate ensures warm winters, adding to its allure as a year-round destination for residents and visitors alike.
- Population: 19,969
- Median Income: $248,988
- Median Home Price: $593,085
- Median Monthly Rent: $2,328
15. Marco Island, FL
When creating this list, several key factors were considered:
- Cost of Living: Evaluate affordability, including housing prices, taxes, and general living expenses.
- Quality of Life: Consider factors like healthcare facilities, educational institutions, cultural activities, and recreational opportunities.
- Employment Opportunities: Analyze the job market, including the presence of major employers and the diversity of employment sectors.
- Safety: Assess crime rates and general public safety.
- Climate and Environment: Consider the typical weather patterns and natural environments, like beaches or parks.
- Transportation and Accessibility: Look at the availability of public transportation, traffic patterns, and proximity to major highways and airports.
- Community and Demographics: Evaluate the diversity and dynamics of the local population, community engagement, and neighborhood feel.
- Real Estate Market: Analyze the real estate market trends, including property values, rental markets, and future development plans.
These factors collectively contribute to the overall desirability and suitability of a location as a place to live. Each factor plays a critical role in determining the quality of life and potential for personal and professional growth in a given area.
Florida State University Influence: Nestled in the heart of Tallahassee, Florida State University significantly enriches the cultural and educational landscape of the region. Its vibrant student community and plethora of academic and cultural events make it an attractive destination for those seeking an intellectually stimulating environment.
West Palm Beach Charms: West Palm Beach, a gem in Palm Beach County, offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and tropical ease. This city is renowned for its scenic waterfront, upscale shopping, and a thriving arts scene, making it a top choice for those who appreciate a cosmopolitan lifestyle in a coastal setting.
Daytona Beach Excitement: Known for its legendary Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach in North Florida is a haven for motorsports enthusiasts. Beyond racing, its expansive beaches and lively boardwalk promise endless entertainment and a fun-filled beach lifestyle.
North Florida’s Diverse Appeal: The region of North Florida is known for its diverse range of attractions, from the bustling university towns to tranquil coastal areas. It offers a unique blend of historical sites, natural beauty, and a slower-paced, laid-back beach lifestyle.
Thrills of Theme Parks: Florida’s world-renowned theme parks are a major draw for families and adventure seekers. Living in Florida provides easy access to these entertainment hubs, offering endless fun and excitement right at your doorstep.
Affordable Housing Options: One of the key attractions of Florida is its affordable housing market. Compared to other coastal states, Florida offers a range of housing options that cater to different budgets, making it an attractive option for retirees, families, and young professionals.
Silver Springs State Park Adventures: For nature lovers, Silver Springs State Park is a must-visit destination. Known for its crystal-clear springs and abundant wildlife, this park offers a tranquil escape from urban life, perfect for kayaking, hiking, and enjoying Florida’s natural beauty.
Palm Beach County’s Luxurious Lifestyle: Palm Beach County is synonymous with luxury living. From its pristine beaches to exclusive golf courses and high-end shopping, it offers an upscale lifestyle that is hard to match. This county is ideal for those who seek a sophisticated yet laid-back beach lifestyle.
Buying a 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, you’ll qualify for our commission refund, which provides homebuyers with a closing cost credit of about $6,500 on average.
Florida truly offers a diverse range of metros and towns, from big city life near South Beach, Miami to rural horse farms in Ocala . The state’s natural beauty is enriched by its natural history, showcased brilliantly at the Florida Museum in Gainesville.
The east coast, with its pristine stretches along the Atlantic Ocean, boasts of nearby attractions like the Kennedy Space Center, making it a perfect blend of entertainment and education. On the other hand, for those seeking affordable cities in Florida, the state offers multiple options like Pensacola, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.