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Florida: the 10 Best Places to Live

A list of the most desirable cities to live in Florida, for reasons such as job opportunities, healthcare, school quality, and more.

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For many people, living in the “Sunshine State” is a dream come true. Florida is the third-most populous state in the US after Texas and California, with a population of approximately 21 million residents. Most people are attracted to the state by the stunning beaches, waterway, and vibrant nightlife. Florida has excellent places to live, numerous job opportunities, and world-class facilities. Here are some of the ten best places to live in Florida.

10. St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is the 5th most populous city in Florida with a population of approximately 257,000 residents. Locally referred to as the “Sunshine City,” it experiences sunshine throughout the year. The majority of the people are attracted to St. Petersburg because of the quality healthcare and affordable housing. The city has a lot to offer both to its visitor and residents including all year round festivals and events. Although it is popular among the retirees, St. Petersburg also features a vibrant nightlife option. Housing is considerably affordable, with a two-bedroom house going for $145,100.

9. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is approximately 28 miles north of Miami. It has a population of approximately 180,000 residents and is the County Seat of Broward County. Fort Lauderdale is a popular tourist destination, with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area receiving over 12 million visitors in 2012. One of the major reasons people love living in this city is job opportunities. While the cost of living may be high, the unemployment rate is only 3.5%. Apart from employment opportunities, the city has a number of recreational activities for the residents including entertainment and nightlife.

8. Tampa

Tampa is a city in Hillsborough County, on the west coast of Florida. The city has a population of approximately 335,000 residents while the metropolitan area has a population of about 3 million residents. Although Tampa has a slightly higher crime rate compared to other places in Florida, the city is generally considered ideal for families. It has numerous schools, better healthcare, and a number of Fortune 1000 companies. Tampa has the highest job growth in Florida. The average cost of owning a home in the city is $160,000.

7. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is an area in Pinellas County on the west central coast of Florida. It is part of the city of Clearwater and includes a resort and residential areas. Clearwater Beach is known for the impeccable beaches and clear water. The beaches stretch over 2.5 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the beaches, the area has an inviting small-town atmosphere which is an attraction to many. In 2019, Clearwater Beach was named the best beach and the 6th best beach in the world. The region also offers recreational activities such as boat tours, shopping, and miniature golf.

6. Sarasota

According to the US News & World Report, Sarasota is the 14th best place to live in America and the highest ranked city in Florida. The city is located on the southern end of the Tampa Bay Area on the western coast of Florida. Sarasota is known for several things including resorts, beaches, cultural, and environmental amenities. Its sandy beaches are often ranked among the best in the country. The art scenes are always complete with museums, theater companies, orchestras, and opera. The city has park reserves everywhere. Despite having plenty to offer, the property costs in Sarasota have managed to remain low.

5. Palm Beach

Palm Beach is the third best place to live in Florida according to AreaVibes. This small town in Palm Beach County has a population of about 8,500 residents. It is located in the north of Miami and separated from the West Palm Beach and Lake Worth by the Intracoastal Waterway. Apart from the beachfront mansions, people are attracted to Palm Beach by the low crime rate which is 54% below Florida’s average. The town is also in close proximity to several amenities such as schools and hospitals. However, the cost of living is about 80% higher than the rest of Florida.

4. Naples

Naples has consistently featured on Florida’s livability index as one of the most popular destinations for those looking to settle in the state. It is located in southwest Florida and has a population of approximately 20,000 people. Naples has a very low crime rate, about 32% below the state’s overall crime rate. It also has some of the best schools in Florida, with a graduation rate that is 15% higher than the average. The city is pedestrian-friendly and has some of the best beaches in the state. Despite being one of the best places to live, the high cost of buying a home and the cost of living in Naples is higher.

3. Gulf Breeze

Gulf Breeze has an estimated population of 6,500. The city is perfectly located on a peninsula south of Pensacola and north of Pensacola Beach in Santa Rosa County. Gulf Breeze is a commuter town, with the majority of the residents working elsewhere. The city has the highest household income Pensacola metropolitan area. Living in the city offers residents the suburban feel. The median household income is $100,880, almost twice the national average. The city has a low crime rate, great recreational facilities, and highly rated schools.

2. Orlando

Orlando is the County Seat of Orange County and one of the largest tourist attractions in Florida. It is the third largest city in Florida. The rate of unemployment in Orlando is also lower than the rest of the country. The city also offers adequate public transportation.

1. Tallahassee

The city of Tallahassee is the capital city of Florida and the home of some of the most prestigious universities in the state such as Florida A&M University and Florida State University. Residents of Tallahassee enjoy a low cost of living. The average cost of owning a home is $178,000, which is relatively affordable to most people. Tallahassee has a quality transportation system, quality nightlife, and a lot of fun activities for families in local parks and museums.

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