Best Places To Live in Florida


Best Places To Live in Florida

So where are the best places to live in Florida? First who am I to give such an opinion? I am a licensed Broker's Associate with Wendy Morris Realty. I built this site and wrote over 3000 pages about different cities and communities in Florida. I have lived in Florida around 40 adult years and lived in the NW, NE, South and Central Florida. Yes that includes Miami for 10+ years, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach FL.

Where you will find the best places to live in Florida depends on your particular tastes. Trust me South Florida is a world of it's own and there is a certain flair that many will enjoy and there are quite a few things there that many will not be happy with. Here is some information on each part of Florida and yes I will be mentioning the parts of Florida that are my favorite and the area which I currently live and work.

Northwestern Florida

Northwest Florida is known as lower Alabama. Obviously it is not Alabama but it is commonly referred to as just that. The reason is it is rather rural. When you run into a Native Floridian from this area they will quite possibly pronounce Florida differently depending on their age and education level. No, joke. 

I actually loved it there because the beaches are second to non. The sand is white as snow and the Gulf of Mexico an iridescent green that I though looked incredible. The cities I frequented were Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City beach and yes Tallahassee. Of those Tallahassee and Pensacola were my least favorite followed by Panama City. Destin is amazing but touristy and Fort Walton Beach is very nice but a little to rural for my tastes now or to be listed the best place to live in Florida.

Northeastern Florida

Northeastern Florida is also very nice. Jacksonville has everything other than a football team that can actually do well. Hidden gems there include St. Augustine just to the south which is where I actually lived. One of our sons lived in Jacksonville and so of course we went there as often as needed or could be tolerated. Jacksonville and Saint Augustine edge out South Florida and yes Northwestern Florida in my opinion on the list of best places to live in Florida.

South Florida

As I stated above I lived all over South Florida. I was actually in Federal Law Enforcement and was kept fairly busy. Truthfully I would not live in most of it today although there are a few gems worth speaking about positively. Namely Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Palm Beach FL. My wife and her family were all from Boca Raton. We lived there and loved it for a couple of years.


Miami was just far to hectic, had to much crime (yes the rumors are true) and was prohibitively expensive. The only thing I enjoyed there was how easy it was to take our boat to the Keys for the weekend. Miami and by the way everything south of Fort Lauderdale gets a thumbs down.

Fort Lauderdale and Boca

Fort Lauderdale and Boca Get a marginal thumbs up. They are both crazy expensive for what you get and the traffic is absolutely terrible and everything seems to be a toll road. The culture, the beach and many of the people make this area worth living in. I would move back to East Boca tomorrow, if the need arises but not by choice as I can now live anywhere I choose. Palm Beach Florida is still nice but like parts of Pensacola just a little to rural to be the best place to live in Florida or even in the final cut.

Central Florida The Clear Winners

Central Florida is made up of the east coast (to rural), Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa Florida. That is only going from east to west and not in any other order.

Orlando FL

If you want all of the perks of living in on of the best places to live in Florida then Orlando is my number three location. In Orlando there are vastly different portions which should be considered according to your tastes. Kissimmee is southwest of Orlando and is rather rural and has a lot of resort communities which allow daily renting. A big thumbs down to that as Airbnb is awesome unless it is right next to your home.

Orlando contains Lake Nona. Lake Nona is in Eastern Orlando just east or the Orlando International Airport. Very modern, beautiful, lots of commerce and very worth the effort to investigate. Inside of the actual city this is my pick other than a gorgeous downtown Condo. Orlando also contains a census designated place/area known as Dr. Phillips. Dr. Phillips is a little old for my tastes but this is where you will find great schools and Universal Studios. Be ready to bust out your checkbook for a newer home or one of the may lakefront homes in Dr. Phillips.

Near Disney and just east of Orlando you will find Winter Garden FL and Windermere FL. Both amazing choices and two of the hottest places real estate wise in the entire Orlando area. Both of these cities have borders with Walt Disney World and contain some amazing homes, golf and beautiful lakes.

Lakeland FL

Lakeland Florida is on the list of best places to live in Florida because of lifestyle, the local cost of living and because it is between Orlando and Tampa on Interstate-4. Or for those of us with grandchildren or are kids at heart you could say Lakeland is between Bush Gardens and Walt Disney World. I live in outside of Lakeland because I work all over Central Florida and can get to where I need easily and usually toll free. You just so happen to be able to still buy a lakefront home in this part of Florida for far less than most cities. My waterfront home would cost millions more in Windermere or Tampa.

Tampa FL  the clear winner

The best place to live in Florida is Tampa FL. There is really no contest unless you are concerned about hurricanes and I am not. Orlando is two wind-zones lower that Tampa and your insurance will be lower there as well. But you have the gulf, Old Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Bay and the most gorgeous downtown you will find in Florida here in Tampa.

So where is the best place to live in Tampa? You could easily say it is one of three places. Downtown, specifically in Channelside of Water Street. If downtown living is not your thing then visit Davis Islands which is where Tom Brady chose, thank you Tom. If not then search the homes for sale in South Tampa. South Tampa has some incredible areas an homes. Not to mention both sunsets and sunrise can be observed over the bays. Jump on a boat and you can be in the Gulf of Mexico in minutes. It is absolutely incredible here and if you are a condo fan then you have plenty of amazing ones to choose from on Bayshore Blvd where you get a bayfront sunrise and the beautiful Tampa Skyline. Tampa FL is the clear winner amongst the best places to live in Florida.

All listing information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified through personal inspection by appropriate professionals. Listings displayed on this website may be subject to prior sale or removal from sale; availability of any listing should always be independent verified. Listing information is provided for consumer personal, non-commercial use, solely to identify potential properties for potential purchase; all other use is strictly prohibited and may violate relevant federal and state law. The source of the listing data is as follows: Stellar MLS (updated 6/22/24 2:03 PM) |

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