Best Places To Live In Florida: Top 7 Sunny Communities, According To Experts

Florida is a destination that continues to attract people from all walks of life. Its unique charm lies in its diverse landscape and cultural vibrancy, making it a top choice for those seeking a peaceful place to call home. From the sun-kissed beaches that stretch for miles to the lush, subtropical wilderness, Florida offers a variety of environments that cater to every taste. Whether you’re a beach lover, a nature enthusiast, or someone who appreciates urban sophistication, the best places to live in Florida provide a perfect blend of leisure and lifestyle options.

People are on the move. A new poll found that one in four people have moved in the last five years. The most popular destination? Florida. And the migration is not slowing down. Florida tops the list of states Americans are moving to right now, and it’s also the third-most-popular state Americans want to move to in the future! Currently, the population is nearing 22 million in the Sunshine State.

The allure of Florida’s coastal cities is undeniable. The culinary landscape is just as diverse, featuring everything from fresh seafood to a fusion of international cuisines. Living in these coastal communities means having the luxury of a relaxed beach lifestyle combined with the perks of urban living. The locals here are known for their friendly nature and a sense of inclusiveness, making it easy for newcomers to feel right at home.

Looking for your dream home in the Sunshine State? That’s great! StudyFinds has got you covered. We have scoured reviews from experts and found the best places to live in Florida. Which Florida city vibes with your personality? Leave a comment to let us know!

The List: Best Places to Live in Florida, According to Experts

1. Melbourne

At the top of the list is Florida is Melbourne. “Melbourne is part of the Florida ‘Space Coast’ that many tourists visit for year-round rocket launches and beach vacations. Full-time residents can find employment opportunities in aerospace and manufacturing offering comfortable salaries. The Palm Bay-Melbourne metro area is conveniently located on the Atlantic seaboard with easy beach access. One cultural highlight is the Eau Gallie Arts District. Geographically, it’s the midpoint between Jacksonville and Miami, and Orlando is roughly one hour away,” writes Forbes.

Melbourne Beach, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida (Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash)

In Melbourne, you feel community warmth matches with sunny climate. “Melbourne, Florida is a great place to live for families and young professionals. It is part of the Florida ‘Space Coast’ and is home to several aerospace and manufacturing companies, offering comfortable salaries and job opportunities. The Palm Bay-Melbourne metro area is conveniently located on the Atlantic seaboard with easy beach access. There is also a cultural highlight in the Eau Gallie Arts District. Geographically, Melbourne is the midpoint between Jacksonville and Miami, and Orlando is roughly one hour away. This makes it a great place to live if you want to be close to the action, but also want to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle,” says Jagran Josh.

Melbourne’s sun-kissed beaches and a chill vibe are a getaway feel. “With a front-row view of the Atlantic Ocean, Melbourne is part of Florida’s Space Coast thanks to its proximity to Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This is where every crewed space flight by NASA has been launched. It’s also where Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been launching astronauts (and his Tesla) into space. Melbourne is also close to Port Canaveral, one of the busiest cruise and shipping hubs in the world. Beyond the cool space and seacraft stuff, Melbourne’s beach-based community offers all kinds of fun activities for residents—a trendy downtown area, thriving art and festival scenes, and a variety of sports for both in and out of the water,” writes Ramsey Solutions.

2. Miami

The runner up for best places in Florida is Miami. “Arguably the most vibrant city in the Sunshine State, Miami packs a punch, and the typical home value in this coastal metropolis is $474,701. Of course, there are many different neighborhoods in this large, bustling city, with major price differences between South Beach and inland communities, for example. Still, as a global hub of finance, culture, arts, and international trade, Miami offers its residents a unique blend of business opportunities, Florida-Cuban culture, sizzling nightlife, fascinating history, and seaside living. If you want big-city living with a tropical twist, Miami is your best bet. It can be a pricey place to live, but the unemployment rate here is 1.7%, much lower than the national average, and while the per capita personal income is $55,477 in the U.S., you can expect to make more in Miami, at $64,849, which can balance out the higher costs of living,” says Travel and Leisure.

Miami, Florida buildings hidden behind palm trees.
Miami, Florida (Photo by aurora.kreativ on Unsplash)

Miami is known for its diverse range of rooftop bars, ocean lounges, and resorts. “Miami is the third most populated metro area on the East Coast. Seated on the southern tip of Florida, this tropical city has a lively beach scene and nightlife that attracts people from all over the world. In fact, celebrities from sports, music and movies can be regularly spotted at Miami’s beaches and resorts. Since a majority of its population is Hispanic (around 70%), Miami has a sizable Latin influence in its local culture, food, and customs.52 And don’t forget to check out the dancing scene in Little Havana for live Latin music. Miami also offers year-round perfect weather, so you can enjoy outdoor shopping and watching pro teams from every major sport—like the Dolphins (football) and the Marlins (baseball). The popular Miami Open tennis tournament is also held there,” writes Ramsey Solutions.

It is a place where new settlers in Florida can plan to buy a new house. “Miami is arguably the most vibrant Florida city with amazing beaches, colorful buildings, an electrifying nightlife along with a prominent presence of Caribbean and Latin American cultures. The city is also famous for its art and fashion exhibitions. Since Miami is Florida’s largest metro area with more than 6 million residents, there are many job opportunities. Aviation, finance, international trade, health care and tourism are the primary employment sectors. Not everyone will enjoy living in the Miami metro area as it’s expensive, has a relatively high crime rate and a tropical monsoon climate. But Florida first-time homebuyer programs in Broward and Miami-Dade counties can help newcomers handle the high cost of housing,” shares Forbes.

3. Orlando

Number three on the list of best places to live in Florida is Orlando. “Orlando, one of the most popular cities in Florida, has a typical home value of $402,064 and an unemployment rate of 2.8%. As one of the top tourist destinations in the state — Orlando is home to more than a dozen theme parks and various other attractions — this city has no shortage of things to do. You can choose from a range of lifestyles, from downtown condo living to suburban single family homes. There’s also a top-tier university drawing thousands of students each year, so the city is poised to continue growing,” shares Travel and Leisure.

Sunrise walk around Lake Eola park in Orlando on a chilly December morning.
Downtown Orlando (Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash)

Orlando offers unique cultures and a welcoming feel. “Orlando is a great place to live for young adults. It has a diverse economy with job opportunities in various industries, that includes biotech, information technology, and healthcare. The city is also home to a number of major tourist attractions, such as Disney and Universal Studios, which bring extra job options and make Orlando a vibrant and exciting place to live. The median income in Orlando is $58,968, which is slightly lower than the state median. However, the cost of living in Orlando is also lower than the state average, so young adults can stretch their dollars further,” says Jagran Josh.

Orlando offers exciting parks and places for outdoor adventures. “When people think of Florida, chances are they think first of Orlando (well, maybe second after the alligators). After all, it’s one of the top family vacation destinations in not just the United States, but the world! It’s the home of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort—Mickey Mouse and Hogwarts. Not to mention SeaWorld Orlando and Legoland Florida Resort. It’s basically theme park heaven. But there are also plenty of activities to enjoy in the Orlando area besides just the theme parks. Because of its multicultural base, the city boasts lots of cultural festivals and a variety of restaurants that’ll be sure to satisfy any hankering you have. There are also pro sports teams to watch and follow, like the Orlando Magic (basketball) and Orlando City SC (soccer). And because of its central location in the state, you can get to so many places other places in Florida in a matter of hours—including the beach,” writes Ramsey Solutions.

4. Tampa

Next on the list of best places to live in Florida is Tampa. “Tampa is not mainly known as an exceptionally safe area, with crime and safety one of the factors that only serve to downgrade the overall appeal of Hillsborough County city. The only comfort you could derive from this is that crime is particularly rampant in Florida, at least compared to most other states. That aside, though, the city of over three hundred and fifty-five residents is generally considered ideal for families, an understanding borne out of high-performing schools in the area, admirable healthcare, and a growing number of Fortune 1000 companies pitching tents here. Indeed, Tampa continues to thrive in terms of jobs, and houses and rent remain below the national average. We could end it here, but let’s throw another one for good measure. Regarding recreation for the family, Tampa has 185 parks waiting to be explored, not to mention a theme park and many other attractions,” shares The Crazy Tourist.

Beautiful nighttime skyline view of Tampa
Beautiful nighttime skyline view of Tampa (Photo by Jesse Adair on Unsplash)

Tampa offers a perfect blend of city and beach. “Located on the scenic Tampa Bay along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tampa is a hub for business, cultural institutions, and outdoor activities, with some of the state’s top restaurants and a high standard of living. Plus, the popular Busch Gardens amusement park is just as fun as any Orlando theme park, with no long drive required (though Orlando is about an hour and a half away if you want to make the trip). You can head to Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, developed by Cuban and Spanish cigar factory workers in the early 1900s, for dining and nightlife unlike anything else you’ll find in the Sunshine State. Across the bay, Clearwater and St. Petersburg are becoming increasingly popular for relocations by young professionals and families. There’s a lot to do and see here, and job prospects are good, with an unemployment rate of 2.6%. One of the most desirable locations to live in Florida, Tampa’s typical home value is $391,314,” writes Travel and Leisure.

Tampa is the city of opportunities with the lowest rate of un-employment. “With a population of 387,050, Tampa is known to be the best place to live in Florida. It is a great place to live for young adults and families, offering something for everyone, with pristine beaches, major sports teams, history museums, and impressive public transportation options. The city has a low unemployment rate of only 2.6%  offering plenty of job opportunities. Plus, Tampa is close to other major cities like Orlando and Miami, making it a great place to live if you want to be close to the action,” says Jagran Josh.

5. Cape Coral

Coming in at number five is Florida is Cape Coral. “Cape Coral is a small city near Fort Myers and the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s southwest coast. Its population of about 204,500 enjoys living near Gulf Coast beaches, golf courses, and other attractions, including 400 miles of canals (and thus ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports). Here, the typical home value is $431,137, up 27.7% from 2021 to 2022. If you want the full Florida experience, you can trust there are a lot of ways to enjoy being outside in Cape Coral, including tennis courts and nature preserves. Plus, you’ll share your hometown with some of Florida’s most charming wildlife, like manatees and birds. Life is quieter and slower in Cape Coral, and for some, that’s exactly the goal,” says Travel and Leisure.

Cape Coral, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida (Photo by mginley on Shutterstock)

It is a place for foodies who love fresh seafood and diverse culinary delights. “Cape Coral—part of the Fort Myers metro area—is popular as it’s situated on the Gulf and has a low crime rate. Locals enjoy exploring the freshwater lakes and canals, and lounging on a sandy saltwater beach. Biotech, marine and medical are target industries for Cape Coral. Several corporations also operate call centers and back-office operations from the region,” writes Forbes.

In Florida, this place offers modern amenities and a perfect balance of life. “The city has a population of 204,510 people, and the median home price is $479,000. It has high job opportunities which brings down the unemployment rate to 2.7%,” shares Jagran Josh.

6. Jacksonville

Number six is Jacksonville. “It is the largest city in the state by land mass, but it has a smaller population than Miami or Tampa. This means that you can enjoy big city conveniences and live on the Atlantic Ocean, with relatively affordable living costs. Jacksonville is a major hub for banking, healthcare, and transportation. The city is also home to one of the nation’s three Mayo Clinics and offers access to many of Florida’s best banks,” writes Jagran Josh.

Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Jacksonville Beach, Florida (Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash)

Jacksonville is a colorful blend of street art and chic galleries. “Jacksonville, the biggest city in Florida (and, believe it or not, the largest city by area in the contiguous U.S.), has a typical home value of $378,914 — lower than the statewide number, but a bit higher than the national value. Add to those the abundant employment opportunities (the unemployment rate in Jacksonville is 2.5%), 22 miles of beaches, well-connected highways, 270 days of sunshine per year, a top public school district in Florida, and tons of things to do, and you’ll see why so many families flock to this city. It’s also one of Florida’s youngest cities, with an average age of 36, and home to the largest urban park system in the nation, according to Visit Jacksonville. Jacksonville is a city that has it all, including plenty of space to welcome newcomers,” says Travel and Leisure.

7. Gainesville

Finally, number seven on the list of the best places to live in Florida is Gainesville. “This is one of the best places to live in Florida because it offers its residents a mixture of urban and suburban life in a quiet and welcoming atmosphere with many friendly faces. The city is home to the University of Florida and also exudes a southern charm, as seen through its natural array of large oak and palm trees, limestone rock, and flowing spring waters. Gainesville is an attractive city full of art, culture, and business opportunities. On the other hand, there are a lot of employment opportunities awaiting you, and out of all of the workforce industries, education services and healthcare are thriving more in this city. The city’s cost of living is significantly lower than the average, and residents enjoy lots of outdoor recreation sites and healthcare facilities.  With a crime rate of 328.23 per 1,000 people, which is 14.72% lower than the average crime rate in Florida, residents in Gainesville can rest easy knowing that it is one of the best places to live in Florida,” says Moving Waldo.

Gainesville, Florida marsh
Gainesville, Florida marsh (Photo by Claribel O’Boyle on Unsplash)

Gainesville is a peaceful small city with a rich diversity of nature. “Gainesville is an excellent place for families as the living costs are low and the population is relatively small with a low crime rate. The city is also home to the University of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History and Kika Silva Pla Planetarium. There are several state parks, hiking trails and bike paths to explore as well. For more adventure, Jacksonville and Orlando are each approximately 90 minutes away to enjoy beaches, theme parks and big-city amenities,” shares Forbes.

Looking for a city with botanical gardens? “Speaking of college towns, Gainesville is a city practically built around the University of Florida. In fact, the university is the biggest employer in the city—almost 12% of the city’s total workforce!11 And because of the university, Gainesville is known as the birthplace of Gatorade. But there’s more to Gainesville than Gator football and sports drinks. Even though Gainesville isn’t near any beaches, you’ll find plenty of outdoor opportunities in the city’s parks, botanical gardens and nature preserves—which includes the famous Satan’s Sinkhole. Gainesville’s arts community boasts everything from theater and public murals to museums like the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention,” writes Ramsey Solutions.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

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About the Author

Te-Erika Patterson

Te-Erika is the Publisher of The Feisty News for Women, the only full-service news source for women. Te-Erika is also the author of How To Love a Powerful Woman, Leave Your Baby Daddy and Loving Female Led Relationships: Relationships that Empower Women. A graduate of The University of Florida, Te-Erika enjoys a thriving career as a digital content creator that has spanned more than a decade. She enjoys chocolate, wine and solitude, and she is currently living a quiet life in Montgomery, Alabama. Follow her @Te-Erika

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  1. This guy cannot be serious with Wellington right? I wouldn’t put that place in top 50. However I have lived in Florida for 17 years and travel daily for work. I would say:

    1)Ponte verde beach
    2) Sarasota
    3) destin
    5) Juno beach

  2. Did someone really mention a park overlooking a highway and chili’s ? If you like traffic and feeling like a foreigner in America then south Florida is the place for you. If you don’t then I would recommend
    Grayson beach
    Rosemary beach
    Miramar beach

  3. Well coming from someone who was born and raised in the Sunshine State I can tell you what I agree with the South Florida comment! You can Boca south and cut it off the state and the rest of Florida would be better off. The finest location in Florida is Ocala and Rosemary Beach!

    – Go Gators!

  4. There is no place more beautiful then BOYNTON beach Florida (besides port au prince). Top Haitian food in Florida , great schools and great mall! I love BOYNTON !

  5. Boynton Beach? Seriously? I guess some people have low expectations.

    Naples is absolutely beautiful, we also really enjoy Winter Park and Jupiter/ Palm Beach area. All these places are very pricey but you get what you pay for!

  6. Peace Brother Wally Walton,

    Most of these comments are crazy!half of Florida is unsafe!
    Not to mention unbearable hot humid weather 34/7
    Snakes and Alligators running around
    High crime rates(. Ever watch COPS? Half the episodes filmed there!)
    Crazy dangerous traffic all over
    Crazy politicians that will eventually mess up your Social Security and Medicare
    Of all the places mentioned, I like Naples the best!

Comments are closed.