Best Places to Live in Florida

Moving to Florida? Here are 11 great cities in The Sunshine State

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Gainesville FL
iStockPhoto/Sean Pavone

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S. and has a population nearing 22 million. The state is broken into four geographical areas - the Panhandle, Uplands, the Everglades and the Keys. 

Its location along the southeastern border of the United States provides residents with ample job opportunities as well as gorgeous year-round weather. 

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8 Reasons To Move To Florida

Dreaming of a place where you can swim with a dolphin, attend a pro football game, and drink a beer on a ghost tour all in the same day?

Florida is home to sunshine, Mickey Mouse and more than 600 miles of picturesque beaches. In this paradise, there’s never a shortage of things to do, and the state’s carefree approach to life makes each day a bit more cheerful.

Here's a look at the best places to live in the "Sunshine State."

Miami Beach

This city of more than 92,000 residents features the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world along with great beaches, top restaurants and dynamic nightspots. While the city has a reputation as a party place, there are many family-friendly things to do in Miami Beach. Nearly 20 distinct neighborhoods grace the city’s landscape, making Miami Beach a magnet for diverse groups of residents as well as tourists. Miami Beach ranked as one of the 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live

Tampa

Along Florida’s west coast near the Gulf Mexico, Tampa continues to grow in population thanks to good schools, excellent health care and several Fortune 1000 companies doing business there. Downtown Tampa is undergoing vibrant development with young professionals moving in, and entertainment options include professional sports, nightspots and great restaurants, creating lots of things to do in the city. 

Whether it’s popping into a museum for the afternoon or biking through a nature preserve, there’s no shortage of interesting (and affordable) things for Tampa residents to do. The city also has a thriving LGBTQ scene, and its Pride events are not to be missed.

Orlando

Situated in the heart of central Florida is Orlando, nicknamed “The Theme Park Capital of the World” and drawing 55 million annual visitors. We've already given you 8 reasons to move to Orlando, but here's the nutshell version. For residents, the city has 115 neighborhoods, great schools and excellent health care, along with numerous high-tech companies. About 25 colleges and universities operate in Orlando. 

Gainesville

Home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, Gainesville is one of the best college towns in the country. Residents have great access to healthcare led by Shands HealthCare and North Florida Regional Medical Center, and the economy is led by sectors like education, tourism and transportation.

Gainesville offers a unique mix of outdoor recreation, nightlife, arts and culture and other city amenities, making it a great place to live. Whether you’re a die-hard Gators fan or you want to wake up early on the weekends to go kayaking or fishing, you can do your own thing in Gainesville while getting an awesome education.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Gables by the Sea

Coral Gables

One of the wealthiest cities in America is Coral Gables, situated just southwest of downtown Miami and renown as a shopping destination with many international retailers. The stylish and sizzling restaurants in Coral Gables landed it on our Best Foodie Cities list in 2015. Great weather and a solid array of natural attractions provide many things to do in Coral Gables. Median home prices in the city top $600,000, and Coral Gables houses top employers like the University of Miami and Baptist Hospital of Miami.

St. Petersburg

With 360 days of annual sunshine, St. Petersburg is popular with both residents and tourists. Its low cost of living and quality health care make the city attractive for retirees, and St. Petersburg has also moved in a more youthful direction with a vibrant downtown and multiple nightlife options. Art lovers especially love this sunny city as St. Petersburg is home to the Dali Museum, the Museum of the Fine Arts and the Florida Orchestra

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Photo Courtesy of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort

Naples

If you have big money, Naples might be perfect for you. The city is has one of the highest proportions of millionaires per capita in America and is a great place to retire. The city is small and cozy, with a population around 20,000, but packs a major punch with an n excellent school system and great healthcare. The city is especially popular with tourists due to its close proximity to The Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands.

Port St. Lucie

On the east coast of Florida is Port St. Lucie, a city of nearly 190,000 residents and known for companies that specialize in research and innovation. St. Lucie County Public Schools are ranked among the best in Florida, and sports entertainment options include a PGA Village golf complex (one of the best places to golf in the state!) and the New York Mets spring training complex.

The Villages

As a master-planned retirement community in central Florida, at least 80 percent of homes within The Villages must have at least one person 55 years of age or older. This growing city has a slogan “Free Golf for Life,” with several golf venues on site along with recreation centers, entertainment activities and plenty of places to shop and dine. 

Jacksonville

With more than 500 neighborhoods including a thriving downtown, Jacksonville operates one of the largest urban park system in America and oversees a robust arts scene. Top industries include tourism, health care, banking and logistics, and for water enthusiasts, the city is located on the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. 

Additionally, Jacksonville was one of the 2019 Top 100 Best Places to Live, and it's easy to see why! The city's population is one of the youngest in Florida and there are plenty of opportunities for residents to get out and about. You’ll find lots of local art, great food and most importantly, 22 miles of beaches. 

Tallahassee

The state capital is a big college town with Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College all calling Tallahassee home. Additionally, the city is a major center for trade, agriculture and research. 

The Tallahassee skyline features several buildings taller than 15 stories, and residents enjoy great health care, sports opportunities and a quality transportation system.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for ... more

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Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:23