11 Best Places to Live in Florida

Posted by Ryan Fitzgerald on Monday, April 19th, 2021 at 10:44am.

Best Places to Live in Florida

What are the Best Cities to Live in Florida?

It's no wonder people are asking what are the best places to live in Florida when you consider that there are over 1,000 people who move to Florida every day. Known for its warm weather, an abundance of golf courses, and pristine beaches, moving to Florida is an appealing option for many. If you are moving to the Sunshine State, you will be happy to know that the 8 cities that made this list are some of the most popular cities in the entire United States and just so happen to be located in Florida. Not only is this southeastern state home to a mixture of quiet coastal towns and metropolitan cities, but areas are surrounded by either lake, canals, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic Ocean.

Factoring in safety and affordability, it is important for you and your family to find the city that is best for you when deciding on a place to live. Our team has compiled this list of the Best Places to Live in Florida to give you plenty of options to choose from while making it easier to decide which area is perfect for you. Read on to learn more about each city and what it is like to live there! 

Best Places to Live in Florida with a variety of different cities to choose from

Naples

Famous for high-end shopping and extravagant dining, this desirable southwest Florida city ranks at the top of our list for numerous reasons. Situated next to the Gulf of Mexico and near the Everglades, Naples has become a prime destination for retirees and seasonal residents. While the area is notorious for its sophisticated lifestyle and culture, Naples also happens to be an affordable destination for families. Only about a two-hour drive from the cities of Miami and Tampa, Naples is in the perfect location.

Perfect for any beach lover, enjoy the white sand and gorgeous sunset views at Naples Beach. Sightsee off of the Naples Pier, or wine and dine at one of the many fine-dining establishments with ocean and beachfront views. Check out The Turtle Club Restaurant where you can dine on fresh-caught seafood in the sand. If you love shopping head to Fifth Avenue South or Third Street South in the Historic Naples Downtown District. Have your choice of art galleries and local boutiques. With an expansive selection of golf courses, low crime rate, and a high-ranking school district, Naples continues to be named as one of the best places to live in Florida.

Homes in Florida on the water whether it's the ocean or a lake and a boat in the backyard with a pier

Sarasota

An hour’s drive south of Tampa and two hours from Orlando, Sarasota is a thriving community nestled on the Florida Gulf Coast. Home to both retirees and families, expect warm weather all year long. With a thriving economy and job market, the healthcare and tourism industries are prosperous. Prized for its abundant art and cultural scene, check out one of the many fine art galleries, the Ringling Museum of Art, or the Sarasota Orchestra. Most notable for its breathtaking beaches, Sarasota is a paradise and a great beach vacation spot. 

With miles of beaches adorned with fine white sand and shallow blue waters, Siesta Key, Lido Beach, and Crescent Beach are all located off of the Sarasota coast. Named the top beach in America year after year, Siesta Key is a gorgeous island getaway full of fun for the entire family. Meanwhile, If you have always wanted to see bioluminescent waters, Sarasota Bay hosts glowing plankton that tends to grow in the summer and fall. Join in on a night kayaking tour to experience this natural phenomenon up close and personal. Full of hiking and biking trails, there are more ways than one to enjoy the natural beauty of Sarasota.

Melbourne

Southeast of Orlando lies the beautiful city of Melbourne, Florida. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, families, young professionals, and retirees alike love the area. Less than an hour’s drive to Cape Canaveral, those living in Melbourne will have the best view of satellite and rocket launches on a clear day. Referred to as the Space Coast, living in Melbourne mixes art and science with natural beauty. This coastal community and the popular metropolitan area offer residents a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere.

With a current population of 576,808 people, the city continues to grow. Thanks to no state income tax, home prices in Melbourne are lower than the national average. Not only will you find a good deal on housing, but expect prized amenities and attractions that everyone will enjoy. If you love hiking, head to the Viera Wetlands which happens to also be a perfect place for birdwatching. On the other hand, not only is Melbourne Beach a fantastic place to enjoy ocean views but you can volunteer to help save and protect Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

Tampa Florida with palm trees in the foreground, water and the city with buildings in the background

Miami

It wouldn't be a 'best places to live in Florida' list without the city of Miami making an appearance. Miami is also known as 'Little Cuba' or the 'Magic City' and you can tell from the image above that it lives up to its nicknames. Miami is unique and there really is no other city in the world quite like it. There's a reason Miami has the second-highest population of any city in Florida after Jacksonville and that is in large part thanks to the economic opportunity and the overall attraction Miami offers.

There are many pros and cons to living in Miami and before you decide to move to Miami you'll want to know what to expect. With all the pros that come with living in south beach from the award-winning restaurants, to the unparalleled nightlife comes some of the cons that you will find in most major cities across the country, from a higher crime rating to a higher cost of living. Miami is a city in Florida that is unlike anywhere else and you really have to experience it to understand if it is the right city for you!

Fort Lauderdale

Miami and Fort Lauderdale are different cities and places to live, they are however close to one another. It likely depends on what you're looking for when choosing the best place to live in Florida because you have several options that offer different experiences for each individual. Fort Lauderdale is 30-miles from Miami and about a 45-minute drive. Fort Lauderdale is a quieter and safer places to live than many of the other major metros in Florida and it's somewhere the whole family can enjoy.

People who live in Fort Lauderdale will be quick to tell you all the reason Fort Lauderdale trumps Miami and all the people who live in Miami will be the first to tell you why the Fort Lauderdale area doesn't measure up to South Beach. Both areas are different and a lot like Miami the only way to figure out if one or the other is for you is by visiting and experiencing them both first hand.

Jacksonville

Jacksonville is the largest and most populated city in Florida - it's also the largest and most populated in the entire southeastern United States with around 900,000 people. Jacksonville is located in northern Florida close to the Georgia line. The city is named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States

Jacksonville is loaded with restaurants, parks, and things to do for the whole family. It's a big reason why so many people are moving to Jacksonville and Florida in general. With so many professional sports teams being located in Florida it's a bit surprising to know that Jacksonville only has one professional sports team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two other NFL teams are in Miami and Tampa Bay while the NBA, MLB and NHL teams are also located outside of Jacksonville. The lower cost of living, the nicer weather, the great economic opportunity makes Jacksonville one of the best places to live in Florida!

Tampa

This major business center is known for its museums, rich culture, and exciting attractions. Home to the Tampa Bay Lightning National Hockey League Team, the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball Team, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers National Football League Team, sports are a big part of life in Tampa. Providing residents with a large metro feel alongside a laid-back beach lifestyle, Tampa is the best of both worlds. The Tampa Bay Metro Area is comprised of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, Florida. This diverse area has become a popular vacation spot and hip place to live. With high temperatures year-round, residents are no stranger to humidity or heavy rainfall.

Not only does Tampa offer an array of dining options, but it is also a prime nightlife destination. The Tampa Riverwalk in the residential district is a great way to immerse yourself in all that Tampa has to offer. Take a stroll on this 2.4-mile riverwalk lined with museums, restaurants, shops, and parks. For thrill-seekers and animal lovers, make sure to check out Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park. With an affordable cost of living and so much to do, it is no wonder that everyone wants to move to Tampa. In our opinion - Tampa is one of the best places to live in Florida. 

Aerial view of a florida beach with cars driving by and beautiful blue ocean

Pensacola

Found in the Florida Panhandle, the city of Pensacola offers a dense suburban feel to its residents. Not only is Pensacola one of the best places to live in Florida, but this growing community is the perfect weekend getaway or long vacation destination. This small beach town has a population of about 53,000 residents and is known for its clear emerald waters and quartz white sand beaches. With an interesting past, Native Americans were the first to inhabit the area before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Considered the “City of Five Flags,” Pensacola has been claimed by the Spanish, French, British, Confederate, and American governments throughout its history.

Today, Pensacola has a thriving downtown area full of culture, local boutiques, art galleries, and beloved restaurants. Home to the National Naval Aviation Museum and the Blue Angels Naval Aerobatics Team, this city is where all naval pilots train. Not only do residents admire all things aviation, but fishing in the deep Gulf waters of Pensacola is a pastime. Catch some grouper, snapper, or mahi-mahi while enjoying an air show in the sky. Drawn to the area for its many employment opportunities, residents can find jobs in healthcare, manufacturing, and tourism.

Orlando

The city of Orlando is a top spot for business, living, entertainment, and recreation. Due to its world-renowned theme parks, Orlando has become a top tourist destination and is one of the most popular vacation spots in the entire United States. Orlando is a large metropolitan city in central Florida and houses more than a dozen theme parks. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are among the driving force of popularity in the city. Walt Disney World itself makes up 25,000 acres of the Orlando area. While the tourist area of Orlando is what outsiders know when they think of the city, Downtown Orlando and residential Orlando offer residents a very different feel.

While Florida is known for being the state of retirement, Orlando residents are primarily young and of working age. Downtown Orlando is the hotspot for nightlife, world-class cuisine, and the place to catch a concert, sporting event, or performance. With a growing bar and craft beer scene, make sure to check out ICEBAR Orlando to enjoy a drink in a below-freezing room at a bar carved completely out of ice. Play golf, admire art at the Orlando Museum of Art or try out some water sports such as waterskiing or jet skiing at one of the nearby beaches. When exploring residential Orlando, this beautiful part of the city features lakefront bungalows and even planned communities.

Fort Myers beach and boardwalk with a picture of the beach, sand, palm trees, and city buildings at sunset

Fort Myers

Ranked as the second-best place to retire in America, the city of Fort Myers has an older demographic where the median age of residents is 48 years old. But with popular beaches, prime fishing, and luxurious shopping, young professionals and business leaders are packing up and heading to Fort Myers, Florida. Inventor of the lightbulb Thomas Edison and industrialist Henry Ford loved Fort Myers so much that they bought themselves a vacation home. You can visit the Edison Ford Winter Estates today which were the homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Home to various gated communities, yacht clubs, fine dining, and beautiful golf courses, Fort Myers sure is a retirees dream come true. If you want to spend the day in the sand, Fort Myers Beach is a fabulous seven-mile beach facing the Gulf of Mexico that has become a popular spring break destination. After a long day under the sun, head to Love Boat for some homemade ice cream. If crowded beaches are not your thing then Sanibel Island may be more of your style. Sanibel Island and Captiva Island were ranked as one of the “Top Ten Best Florida Beach Towns” according to USA Today. Great for shelling and spotting wildlife, Sanibel Island is only a short drive from Fort Myers and is notable for its sunsets.

A white sandy beach with a great view of the ocean and florida trees

Cape Coral

Found in southwest Florida, Cape Coral is a lively community with over 400 miles of canals perfect for fishing and boating that lead to the Gulf of Mexico. Not only do residents love Cape Coral but manatees love it too. When out boating or kayaking, do not be surprised if you catch sight of a manatee. Located around the Fort Myers area, Cape Coral is known as the largest city between Tampa and Miami. Considered the eighth-largest city in Florida based on population, Cape Coral has seen a growing number of younger residents over the past few years.

With an expanding school system, the Lee County Public School District is highly ranked. Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida College, and Cape Coral Technical College are nearby sought-after institutions. While Cape Coral may not have its own beach, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island are within 15 miles. Known as one of the most affordable places to live in Florida, Cape Coral provides residents with an abundance of amenities at an affordable price. Living in Cape Coral is also safe since crime levels are low making this one of the best places to live in Florida. 

The Bottom Line on Best Places in Florida:

If you are moving to the Sunshine State, you must consider all of your options and there are many great ones to consider! By keeping affordability and safety in mind, this list provides you with the best and safest places to live in Florida. From the high-end shopping in Naples to the business district in Tampa, choosing to live in one of these popular locations could prove to be one of the best decisions you could make. Reach out to one of our Realty Specialists today here at Uphomes.com so we can help answer more specific questions on each area in Florida!

Check Out These Fun Facts About Florida: 

  1. Florida has the longest coastline in the United States with over 825 miles of beaches to access.  

  2. Florida has the most golf courses out of all of the other states in the country. 

  3. Florida is the flattest state. 

  4. 80% of America’s citrus fruits are grown in Florida. 

  5. There are no dinosaur fossils found in Florida since it was once underwater millions of years ago. 

  6. The official state reptile is the alligator. 

  7. Florida became a state on March 3rd in 1845. 

  8. Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. 

  9. Florida has more than 9,200 miles of hiking and biking trails to enjoy. 

10.  Florida is the boating and fishing capital of the world.

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Ryan Fitzgerald Raleigh RealtyHi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I have a passion for everything real estate! My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog whether it's the best places to live, move to or invest in real estate! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own please let us know here at uphomes.com as we partner with only the best Realtors® all across the country. Also - Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below... We love comments!

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