With its beaches, theme parks, and retirement communities, Florida is a popular place to call home for individuals from all walks of life and has many safe cities. Dreaming of beachside living or a quiet, rural community? Florida has a place for you! If you’re not sure where to move to in Florida, NewHomeSource has compiled a list of the top 10 best places to live.
10 Best Places to Live
1. Tampa-St. Petersburg
The Tampa-St. Petersburg area tops the list of best places in Florida to live! With 46 hospitals and 397 schools, Tampa and St. Petersburg offer diverse choices for you and your family’s medical care and education. Enjoy an average of 246 days in the sunshine, where you can visit the area’s aquariums, museums, and nature preserves. Your dog will appreciate time in the sun, as well – not to mention the 240 canine-friendly restaurants in the region. The political climate is somewhat liberal, and notable suburbs include Citrus Park, Land O’ Lakes, and Westchase.
2. Indian River County
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.70
Childcare Price to Income: 1.04%
Violent Crime Rate: 17.7
Cost of Living: 97.6
If your heart’s desire is a beachside lifestyle, look no further than Indian River County. Popular suburbs of this eastern county in Florida’s Treasure Coast include Indian River Shores, South Beach, and Wabasso Beach. Golf enthusiasts have their pick of the crop of a dozen golf courses sprinkled across the county, including ones with beachside views. With an average of 234 sunny days per year, the weather is almost always ideal for golf or taking your dog for a run through the local parks. The political climate runs moderately conservative, and nearly 160,000 residents call Indian River County home.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.96
Childcare Price to Income: 1.03%
Violent Crime Rate: 35.7
Cost of Living: 87.2
Not only is Pensacola one of the most western Florida cities, but it’s also one of the wettest; Pensacola sees an average of 64 inches of rain per year. On sunny days enjoy strolling along the beach and visiting local highlights like the Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. Pensacola is home to other great open spaces like Bay Bluffs Park and Bayview Dog Park and Beach. This panhandle city leans conservative and has 14 hospitals in its vicinity. If you prefer life in the suburbs, check out Tiger Point, Gulf Breeze, and Oriole Beach.
4. Jacksonville-St. Augustine
Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.27
Childcare Price to Income: 1.10%
Violent Crime Rate: 33.9
Cost of Living: 52.9
Stretching along the eastern Florida coast, the Jacksonville-St. Augustine area is all blue skies and blue water. These two liberal-leaning cities have 22 hospitals and 301 schools. From beaches, amusement parks, museums, and zoos, you’ll always find something to do. Ready for an adventure in the great outdoors? The northern portion of Jacksonville is loaded with nature preserves where you can hike, kayak, and picnic. With its dog-friendly restaurants and parks, your four-legged family members can join in on the fun. If you’d prefer to live in the suburbs, look at Oakleaf Plantation, Lakeside, and Yulee.
5. Lakeland-Winter Haven
Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.70
Childcare Price to Income: 1.20%
Violent Crime Rate: 26.4
Cost of Living: 66.7
Just east of Tampa, you’ll find the area of Lakeland-Winter Haven. Both cities are known for their plentiful lakes, including Winter Haven’s famous Chain of Lakes. Check out more natural beauty at Hollis Garden and Holloway Park in Lakeland. Between the two cities, you’ll find 13 hospitals, 120 schools, and more than 80 dog-friendly restaurants. Like the rest of the Sunshine State, the weather is warm and wet year-round, receiving an average of 50 inches of rain annually. This area leans conservative, and popular suburbs include Beacon Hill, Lake Hollingsworth, and Cumberland.
6. Punta Gorda
Home Price to Income Ratio: 5.96
Childcare Price to Income: 1.21%
Violent Crime Rate: 9
Cost of Living: 97
Punta Gorda is located along the southwest coast of Florida. Nature enthusiasts will love the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, featuring 70 miles of protected shoreline and winding trails. This moderately conservative city encompasses 19 hospitals, a variety of restaurants (including 18 that are dog-friendly), and beachside museums. Punta Gorda’s weather is usually sunny, but with an annual rainfall of close to 54 inches, you’ll want to keep an umbrella handy. If you’re looking to move to the suburbs, check out Charlotte Park, Charlotte Harbor, and Grove City.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 1.00
Childcare Price to Income: 0.22%
Violent Crime Rate: 44.7
Cost of Living: 93.8
The state capital lands at #7 on our list of best places to live in Florida. Tallahassee’s political climate is moderately liberal, and just under 200,000 residents call the capital home. Like the rest of Florida, Tallahassee gets a high average rainfall annually, coming in at 59 inches. Spend the sunny days hiking along the state trails, playing fetch at one of the multiple dog parks, or brushing up on your golf skills at an area course. Rained out? Examine the exhibits at the Museum of Florida History! Tallahassee has 9 hospitals, so you won’t need to worry about access to medical care. Not sure about big city life? Consider moving to a suburb like Crawfordville, Woodville, or Havana.
8. Palm Beach County
Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.81
Childcare Price to Income: 0.59%
Violent Crime Rate: 8.4
Cost of Living: 112.8
Enjoy sunny tropical beach days in Palm Beach County! This somewhat liberal area of Florida stretches along the Atlantic coast and winds its way around nature reserves further inland. After visiting a dog-friendly park, take Fido along when you dine at one of the 50 canine-welcoming restaurants. With 61 inches of rainfall annually, Palm Beach County can get soggy in the summertime. Palm Beach County is home to 33 hospitals and great suburbs like Grandview Heights, Highland Beach, and Boca Raton.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 5.28
Childcare Price to Income: 1.19%
Violent Crime Rate: 9
Cost of Living: 111.9
Naples is located along the southwestern coast of Florida, so you have your pick of beaches to visit. It’s blue skies and abundant sunshine in this somewhat conservative city, with an average of 264 days of sunshine per year. You’ll find all the urban amenities here, as well as access to 13 hospitals. Popular Naples suburbs include Old Naples, Park Shore, and Coquina Sands. Dog lovers can rejoice – with 164 restaurants that allow dogs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dog-friendly city around! Need a break from the beach? Check out downtown Naples, where you’ll find restaurants, stores, and a pier.
10. Broward County-Fort Lauderdale
Home Price to Income Ratio: 5.30
Childcare Price to Income: 1.29%
Violent Crime Rate: 25.1
Cost of Living: 112.3
Broward County encompasses a variety of southeastern cities, with county seat Fort Lauderdale being the largest. Whether you prefer to hit the palm-tree-lined beaches or check out the local casinos and museums, there’s something for everyone in this ultra-liberal area of Florida. You’ll find 30 hospitals in the region, so you’ll always have convenient access to medical care. The weather habitually runs warm and wet, with an average of 63 inches of rainfall per year. Suburbs like Coral Springs, Coconut Creek Promenade, and Pompano Beach are popular options to call home.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.