Before 2020, plenty of people flocked to the Sunshine State to start over, retire, and enjoy the best areas to live in Florida. Since the pandemic, Florida has seen a considerable uptick in new residents. Single-family home purchases have increased by about 27% in the best areas to live in Florida since October 2020. Regardless, nearly 22 million people live in Florida alone.
It is hard not to be drawn to Florida. The year-round sunshine and no state taxes are enough to entice many people to move to the Sunshine State. The best areas to live in Florida offer a cornucopia of benefits that anyone at any age can take advantage of.
The Best Areas to Live In Florida If You Are Retiring
Retirees often are drawn to Florida because the housing is usually less expensive than in many other states, the weather is warmer (think no more shoveling), and there is plenty to do during your golden years. If Florida has been beckoning to you and you are ready to retire, consider Ocala on your list of potential best areas to live in Florida as a retiree.
Ocala is surrounded by natural beauty. If you love golf, horses, and have a vision of strolling around a quaint downtown area soaking up the sunshine Ocala is for you. Port St. Lucie is another top-ranked retiree town. This sleepy beach town offers plenty to do but at a much slower pace. If golf and the idea of waking up to the smell of salt in the air is on your bucket list, Port St. Lucie is a great destination.
When you are considering which one among the best areas to live in Florida is right for you, consider:
- What type of services do you need? Do you need specific types of care like orthopedic care or other specialty care? You want to make sure that you choose an area that has the providers nearby that you will need. For example, most towns that are the best areas to live in Florida will have some of the most common specialty providers or personal injury lawyers and other professionals, but some will not.
- What type of lifestyle do you envision? For example, Sarasota is absolutely one of the best areas to live in Florida for retirees, but their cultural scene is a little behind. Is cultural activities like visiting museums important to you?
- Affordability of course plays a big role in which one of the best areas to live in Florida are for you.
Finding the best areas to live in Florida is a very personalized endeavor. For example, some retirees do not mind taking loans for home improvement projects to fix up an older home, others really are looking for a turn-key approach to retirement. This simple fact can shape which are the best areas to live in Florida for you.
In Ocala, Tampa, Sarasota, and Port St. Lucie, and many other areas in Florida offer 55 plus communities built specifically with retirees in mind. These communities are safe and secure and offer a turn-key approach to Florida living.
Of course, not every retiree wants to live in a community. This latter group is willing to take some risks that they will have to deal with some residential plumbing headaches when they buy that home that offers a great deal. Choosing the right situation for you is a personal choice, but you should know that there are literally options for every retiree in Florida.
The Safest Places To Live In Florida
If you are more security-minded and safety is a priority for you the best areas to live in Florida are the areas that you likely have never heard of but that are ranked high on the safety list. You won’t find a lot of bail bond services in these areas because there are not a whole lot of people getting arrested.
Number one on the list for the safest towns in Florida is Indian Creek. This teeny-tiny town boasts about 100 permanent residents. It is considered the safest town in Florida. You will not find a bail bondsman here or any type of bail bonding service for that matter.
You likely will not find an accident injury attorney, or any other attorney, unless they are on vacay themselves. The same is true of doctors and other professionals. This tiny town does not offer a lot of services but it does offer an amazing lifestyle. You may run into Julio Inglesias, Jay Z, and or Beyonce who have all been known to spend some time here.
The sleeping little town of Lawtey is in Northern Florida and is well known as a speed trap. There may not be a lot of crime but there is also a police officer hanging around making sure everyone does their part to keep the town safe. A personal injury attorney does not get a lot of work out of this town.
Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County is super safe and super expensive. A new home builder in this town can easily pocket millions of dollars on single home construction. Again, no bail bonding service is necessary, crime is just about non-existent in this ritzy town of about 400 people.
The Best Areas To Live In Florida For Affordability
Maybe for you, it is all about the bottom line. The leader among the best areas to live in Florida on the cheap is Live Oak. This town with a population of 4000 borders on Georgia and offers medium housing prices of about $110,000. You read that right. It is the 8th lowest housing market in the United States.
Just to the east of Tampa you will find Fort Meade. Fort Meade is the second most affordable place to live in Florida. The beauty of living in Fort Meade is the easy access you have to all the excitement that Tampa has to offer without having to pay Tampa housing prices. It has a population of just a little over 6000 so it falls directly in the realm of “small town” for those that want that small-town feel.
Lake Alfred is the halfway point between Tampa and Orlando which offers you a lot of opportunities for day trips. Everything in Lake Alfred costs less than the national average from health care to housing. You can buy a nice house for about $142,000. Rent is even lower than the national average. You can pay around $700 for a two-bedroom apartment. This charming town is well-known for its multitude of antique shops.
Best Areas to Live In Florida To Find a Job
What if you are ready to just start over and the Sunshine State is on your map of places to get a fresh start? The best areas to live in Florida if you need to find a job may surprise you. Tampa heads the list. Tampa had a 3.4% unemployment rate in the thick of the pandemic. That is significantly lower than the national averages. If you are looking for a career move, Tampa may be one of the best areas to live in Florida and find a job.
Palm Bay is a beautiful coastal city in Florida that enjoys an extraordinarily low rate of unemployment. Last check-in December of 2020 the unemployment rate was about 3.5%. Tampa only edged this city out by a mere fraction of a percentage.
Jacksonville is a vibrant northern Florida city that is flush with employment opportunities. Jacksonville ties with Palm Bay with a low 3.5% unemployment rate. If you love the idea of living in a medium-sized city that is rife with nightlife and excitement, and you need a job, Jacksonville should be on your shortlist. The only drawback about Jacksonville is that you will find plenty of bail bonding service companies because it does have one of the higher crime rates in Florida.
Finally, if you need a job, and what to live in Florida, consider Destin Florida. Destin enjoys a very low unemployment rate compared to national averages. Destin has an average annual salary of about $54000 with a really nice low cost of living.
On the Wild Side
If nature is your thing then you want to consider the best areas to live in Florida that will bring you closer to nature. Naples comes to mind for the outdoor enthusiast. Naples is nestled between the gulf coast and the everglades. This means you will have easy access to great days full of outdoor adventures.
Most people think of Florida and think of the beaches, but Florida is home to many lakes, rivers, and estuaries that all make for great opportunities to hike, swim, kayak, and more. The Florida Keys are an excellent spot for anyone that wants to spend their time snorkeling the reefs or kayaking the backcountry.
Amelia Island is an island that is rife with history and natural unspoiled beauty. It is an outdoor paradise that is hard to match. Florida is well-known for its golf courses. If golf is your thing you can literally pick any county in Florida and find an amazing course to golf.
Lovers of Nightlife
Can we really talk about the best areas to live in Florida without talking about where do you live when you want something to do after the sun goes down? No, we cannot. Miami is the trendiest, hottest spot (not because of the temperature) in all of Florida. It lies at the southern tip of the state and is home to exciting nightlife. Miami is the perfect city for anyone that is addicted to a cosmopolitan lifestyle and enjoys hob-nobbing with the rich and famous.
When you think of Orlando do you think of Disney? Most people do. Orlando is all about Disney but that is not all it has to offer. Church Street in Orlando is a pretty hopping scene that draws crowds every night (pandemic rules may have dampened things a bit). Jacksonville is another city in Florida that is known for its nightlife.
Want something that is a little more chill and a lot less expensive than Miami? Consider Ft. Lauderdale or Panama City. Each city is a medium-sized city that has great nightlife and is a lot less expensive than Miami or Orlando.
The Best Areas To Live In Florida On the Coast
If your daydreams of living in Florida involve going to the beach every single day, you have plenty of choices to choose from. Melbourne Florida is located with easy access to Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. If your idea of a good life is spending the day’s beachcombing and fishing, this is the place for you. Single-family homes range in price from about $100,000 to a couple of million.
Daytona Beach had its fame in the 1980s as a spring break headquarters thanks to MTV, but that is just a distant memory now. Daytona Beach is no longer the spring break hot spot it once was. Today this quiet cozy beach town is full of families and race lovers. The average price of a new home here has just a big a range as Melbourne. You will pay between $100,000 and $2 million.
Apalachicola is home to around 2000 people. This laid back sleepy beach town is quiet, calm, and collected. The average home price in the area is just as quiet and calm at around $125,000. It can be the perfect version of coastal living for anyone that wants that Florida Panhandle lifestyle. You won’t find a lot of services in the area like anyone that specializes in estate law or other legal services, but if your idea of perfection is rustic little towns, this is the place for you.
Pensacola bills itself as home to the “world’s whitest beaches”. It is a small town that you can drive from one end to the other in about 20 minutes but it is rich in beauty and plenty to do. It is the home to the world’s largest naval aviation museum. It is also pretty cheap to live there. The average price of a home in Pensacola is about $155,000.
Florida is a great place to live. The cost of living is relatively low, you pay zero state taxes, and who can complain about 300 days of sunshine every year?