The 7 Best Places to Live in Florida
Florida is famous for a lot of weird and wonderful things. It’s the theme park capital of the world, it has more golf courses than any other state, it produces more oranges than any other state, and it’s the flattest state in America.
And with roughly 170,312 km² of area to explore, Florida has a little bit of something for everyone. But your experience of the Sunshine State will depend entirely on where you move to.
To help you suss out where will suit you best, we’ve listed the nine best places to move to in Florida.
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You won't need to choose between beach life and city life in Florida
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Best places to live in Florida – at a glance
If you don’t have time to read the whole article, here’s a quick run-down of the best places in Florida.
|Orlando||Food and drink|
|Palm Springs||Affordable property|
Best for: Food and drink
There are tons of places in Florida that offer amazing eateries, but Orlando tops the chart.
A stroll through the city of Orlando will greet you with a huge variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs – and the food itself is just as diverse. No matter what cuisine you’re feeling – from Spanish to Japanese, American to Turkish – you’re sure to find it on the streets of Orlando.
Our top Orlando food joints include:
- The Melting Pot – A fine-dining fondue restaurant, offering heated pots of cheese and chocolate
- Soco – A modern restaurant serving up southern contemporary cuisine in the heart of Orlando
- Domu – A contemporary bar and restaurant serving home-made noodles, creative small plates, and seasonal cocktails
Good food doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg – and Orlando certainly proves this. According to Numbeo, the average meal for two is around $50. No wonder Orlando came second in a ranking of America's top foodie cities.
|Huge food and drink scene||Lots of tourists|
|Thriving job market||High humidity|
|Plenty of things to do|
Best for: Rural escapes
Florida has a lot to offer nature lovers – whether you’re after peaceful beaches, creature-filled swamps, beautiful sweeping landscapes, or stunning national parks.
If this sounds like your idea of heaven, head to the aptly named Lakeland. Located in the heart of central Florida, this small city is a stone’s throw away from some of the state’s most breathtaking nature reserves.
Like to spend your days hiking through the wilderness? Explore the lush scenery in the Circle B Bar Reserve or the Gator Creek Reserve, where you can find enormous prehistoric-looking gators.
If you’re more drawn to the water, you’re in luck. Lakeland is home to 38 bodies of water. Here you can find an abundance of wildlife, including 143 species of bird – as well as the native Floridian waterfowl.
You can even take a boat trip in the nearby city of Winter Haven, across a 6,000-acre Chain of Lakes – you might be lucky enough to come across otters, alligators, and bald eagles.
|Lots of nature to explore||High crime rates compared to other small cities|
|Close to other cities and attractions||Not as much to do|
|Low cost of living||Threat of hurricanes|
Best for: Families
Moving house with little ones can be stressful, especially when it’s to another country. If this is one of your main concerns, it’s worth considering the family-friendly city of Sarasota.
One of the main things drawing families to this area of Florida is the number of top-quality schools. Overall, Sarasota has 43,485 students in grades K-12 (from kindergarten up to 12th grade), with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 71% of students are at least proficient in maths, and 66% in reading, as of 2022.
If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get your children into the Pine View School – a public, college-preparatory school, located in Osprey (just down the road from Sarasota). This prestigious school came second in US News’s ranking of best schools in Florida.
As for outside of school hours? Soak in the culture at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, have a day at the beach, learn about marine life at the aquarium, or kayak through local mangrove tunnels.
|Brilliant weather all year around||Rising property prices|
|High-quality healthcare||Occasional hurricanes|
|Relatively safe place to raise children||Traffic can get very bad during winter|
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Sarasota's cityscape in front of one of Florida's bold sunsets
4. Palm Springs
Best for: Affordable property
House prices are on the rise across Florida. At the beginning of 2022, the average price of a property in the US reached $348,079. And Florida’s housing stock is even pricer, averaging at around $388,635 – a huge jump from the state’s 2021 rate of $296,000.
But if it’s affordable housing you’re after, head to Palm Springs where the average property will cost you roughly $282,422. This is surprisingly low, considering all that Palm Springs has to offer.
If you’re moving here with your family, you can take day trips to the beach or the water park. And any solo expats can explore beautiful botanical gardens or have an afternoon at The Society of the Four Arts.
|Affordable property||High crime rates|
|On the coast, close to lots of beaches||Struggling economy|
|Diverse population||Not too much to do compared to larger cities|
Best for: Culture
Millions of tourists flock to Miami each year to explore the plethora of cultural exhibitions, literary events, festivals, and museums it hosts.
If art is your thing, you won’t want to miss one of Miami’s largest cultural events – Art Week, which is held every year. This incredible event showcases over 60 exhibitions and events and draws in more than a million art enthusiasts from across the world.
Looking for more of a unique experience? Head to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – an Italian-inspired villa etched with Renaissance aesthetics. Whilst we’re on the theme of gardens, the Flamingo Gardens are also worth a visit. Established back in 1927, this botanical garden is one of the oldest gardens in South Florida.
And when it comes to nightlife, Miami certainly doesn’t shy away. Every Miami neighbourhood has its own nightlife identity, with each offering a range of bars and clubs. But when it comes to legendary mega-club venues, you’ll want to venture down to Wynwood and Downtown Miami.
|Plenty to do||Lots of tourists|
|Lots of beautiful beaches||Property prices are steep|
|Booming economy||Higher crime rates than rural areas|
The famous Miami beach, framed by turquoise sea and skyscrapers
6. Vero Beach
Best for: Climate
Expats in Florida are blessed with great weather all year round, which shouldn’t come as a surprise – it is nicknamed the Sunshine State, after all. But if climate is your top priority, Vero Beach will be a match made in heaven.
With an average daily temperature of 22°C, it's no surprise this area of the Treasure Coast is constantly hailed as the area for hot climate. In fact, Vero Beach came fourth in a comparison of American cities with the best weather.
As well as gloriously balmy weather, expats in Vero Beach can explore beautiful beaches and long coastlines. The three public beaches – Humiston Park, Jaycee Park, and South Beach – are typically the most popular spots, but there are also some hidden gems along the coastline if you look hard enough.
|Miles of beaches to explore||Risk of hurricanes|
|Glorious weather all year round||High cost of living|
|Affordable properties||Limited nightlife|
Best for: Job opportunities
Moving to Florida to further your career? Tampa has plenty to offer you.
There is an abundance of job opportunities here at the moment. In fact, a recent study found that job opportunities in Tampa have grown by 3.2% since 2021, and by a whopping 21.5% over the past decade.
Now’s a good time to move to Tampa for work too, as employment growth for Tampa is projected to be 3.1% per year by 2024.
This influx of jobs isn’t just in one specific industry either – Tampa has a range of thriving sectors. A large portion of Tampa’s local economy is from the MacDill Air Force Base and the US Central Command (CentCom). However, it also has a strong healthcare and education sector.
And when you need to wind down after work, you can enjoy Tampa’s year-round sunny weather, bustling nightlife scene, and variety of cultural venues.
|Thriving economy||Bad public transport|
|Plenty of activities to do||Risk of hurricanes|
|Affordable cost of living||Humid weather|
Best places to live in Florida: the verdict
If you’re after a hot climate with plenty of nature reserves, you’ve got plenty of options on your plate in Florida.
As a recap, the best cities are:
- Orlando: Best for food and drink
- Lakeland: Best for rural escapes
- Sarasota: Best for families
- Palm Springs: Best for affordable property
- Miami: Best for culture
- Vero Beach: Best for climate
- Tampa: Best for career opportunities
So now you know where you’re going in Florida, you just need to know how to get there. If you’re unsure, hand the reins over to us by filling in this short form. Once we’ve received your information, we’ll pass it on to our trusted suppliers, who’ll then be in touch with free shipping quotes for you to compare.