Where is the Best Place to Live in Florida for 2024

If you live in Florida, you know how unique each city here can be. Though many from out of state think it is all beaches and humidity, there actually are a lot of differences between each area. Today I am going to answer the questions where is the best place to live in Florida with my top ten locations.

I have taken into account both the US News and World Report ranking and my own experience. Of their top fourteen list, I have included seven in my top ten, although I go into more specific areas than they do. I will include the population, median home price, median age, median income and average commute time for each place as well from Best Places. As of 2023, here are the best places to live in Florida.

Where is the best place to live in florida

#10 – Melbourne

Median Home Cost$277,000
Median Age45.5
Median Household Income$40,400
Average Commute Time21.7

First on the list is my own hometown, which may seem biased, but US News and World Report actually ranked it as #3 in Florida, and #18 in the country. I do think there are a lot of pros about living in Melbourne, like seeing space shuttle launches and being close to Orlando and Port Canaveral, but also a few cons.

What Melbourne does have of the best place to live in Florida is a more affordable real estate market, easily accessible beaches and good jobs and schools. The main cons of living in Melbourne are less of a restaurant and shopping scene than other places and infrastructure that has not kept up with growth. If you want to live near the beach, this still ranks as one of the cheaper places in Florida to do that, at least for now.

live in melbourne florida

#9 – Jupiter

Median Home Cost$485,800
Median Age46.1
Median Household Income$70,240
Average Commute Time23.2

Next at number nine is another town in Florida that holds a special place in my heart. That would be Jupiter, where my husband and I got married! My family vacationed here for years growing up and it always was the quintessential beach town to me.

Though it is a wonderful vacation spot, it is lower on my places to live in Florida due to having the second highest home prices on this list and a higher median age. It does tend to be more of a snowbird town, so there isn’t as much going on as other places on the list. Still if you want top notch beaches, nature experiences, and shopping, Jupiter is definitely one of the best areas to live in Florida.

#8 – Gainesville

Median Home Cost$229,700
Median Age26
Median Household Income$32,108
Average Commute Time17.7

Number eight might seem like an odd choice, but after a few visits to Gainesville, I think it is one of the best places to live in Florida! This town is known for being the home of the University of Florida, and because of this, it is a college town. However, this has led to a lot of great academic jobs, as well as the opportunity to still experience the nearby nature.

Gainesville is pretty far from the beach, but many locals enjoy the nearby springs for cooling off in the summer. You also get more of a feeling of seasons here than more southern parts of Florida, and the foodie scene is excellent. Gainesville has the lowest housing prices, commute time and median age on this list, but it also comes at the lowest salary. If you can tolerate the muggy, quiet summers and are looking for a laid-back place to work remote in Florida, Gainesville is a bargain!

live in gainesville florida

#7 – Delray Beach

Median Home Cost$274,900
Median Age46.2
Median Household Income$50,833
Average Commute Time22.2

Another wonderful Florida beach town to live in is Delray Beach. This has a bit more going on than Melbourne, and slightly lower home prices. There is a good mix of retirees and young professionals, putting it in the middle of the pack for most of the statistics.

Those who live here enjoy the small-town sense of community with the big city number of amenities.  There is a growing art scene and tons of options for dining. You can find a lot of similarities between here and Jupiter, but I rank it higher due to the more plentiful things to do and diverse population.

#6 – Tampa

Median Home Cost$306,900
Median Age35.6
Median Household Income$43,740
Average Commute Time24

On both my list and US News and World Report’s list, Tampa is ranked #6 of the best places to live in Florida. As a growing city, it definitely deserves a spot here, with so much entertainment, restaurants and public parks. It also has more affordable housing than most cities, and a younger population that is friendly to newcomers.

I visit Tampa frequently and it is a favorite destination of mine. I didn’t rank it higher mainly due to traffic and proximity to the beach. Though it feels like a coastal city, it is still at least a half an hour drive to most beaches’ worth visiting. The traffic in and out of the city can be brutal too. If you don’t mind that, this city is perfect for foodies, sports fans and dog owners.

tampa florida

# 5 – Coral Gables

Median Home Cost$902,900
Median Age40
Median Household Income$93,590
Average Commute Time24.3

According to this list, the best east coast beach town to live in is Coral Gables. This suburb of Miami boasts beautiful beaches, ample things to do and great schools. This comes at a price, as this town has the highest home price of any place on this list and by a lot.

If you are looking to be close to a big city, but still get a residential vibe in your neighborhood, Coral Gables offers that. Of course, this also means you will be looking at more traffic than many Florida places. Coral Gables has the longest commute time of any of these best Florida places to live. It is ideal for young professionals and families, if you can find housing in your budget.

#4 – Naples

Median Home Cost$399,000
Median Age65.6
Median Household Income$80,571
Average Commute Time19.3

Where is the best place to live in Florida? According to US News and World Report, it is Naples! I have been here a few times and while I love the area, I did not rank it as my top choice.

There is a lot going for Naples, Florida, such as a wonderful downtown, absolutely gorgeous beaches and lots of outdoor activities. However, is also has the biggest snowbird vibe of any place on the list. If you visit anytime between October through April, you can expect it to be a retiree’s paradise, with plenty of early bird specials. The median age here is the highest on the list, so anyone who moving should definitely expect an older vibe, Regardless, the low population and commute time, makes it an attractive city for anyone wanting to live the coastal lifestyle.

#3 – Sarasota

Median Home Cost$333,400
Median Age47.2
Median Household Income$41,670
Average Commute Time20.4

Another gulf coast city that has it all is Sarasota, just a couple hours north of Naples. This ranked as the #2 best place to live in Florida on the US News and World Report list and I agreed it should be in the top three. This has all the perks of being a beach town with city amenities.

Within minutes, you can go between the beach and the downtown. This means there is plenty of art, culture and nature to enjoy. It is also not too far from Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers, so the opportunities for things to do are endless!

Many people realize the perks of this area, and because of that, the cost of living is higher than other areas on this list. The population tends to skew to older retirees as well, but the job market and schools still rank high. As for beach lovers, it is hard not to agree that Sarasota is one of the best places to live in Florida.

sarasota things to do garden

#2 – Winter Park

Median Home Cost$367,300
Median Age44.9
Median Household Income$56,995
Average Commute Time24

My second-place choice for best place to live in Florida is inland, which may be surprising. However, I find Orlando to be growing as a wonderful place to live, especially the area of Winter Park. Close to downtown Orlando, this town has so much to offer, while being close by to Florida’s top attractions.

One thing you will not get in Winter Park is beaches, but you are still less than an hour from both the gulf and east coast. This makes the proximity perfect for experiencing all Florida has to offer, while also being conveniently close to the airport for travel outside as well. Though Winter Park is on the higher end of home costs, it is reasonable considering the level of amenities the area affords. You also do not have to worry about the coastal issue of hurricanes as much living here!

Orlando as a whole was ranked #10 on the US News and World Report list because of the excellent schools and low crime compared to other cities. Winter Park specifically excels in both areas and has a decent job market as well. This town is right in the center of all the action, but still gives off hometown vibes, especially walking down Park Avenue.

#1 – St. Petersburg – The Best Place to Live in Florida

Median Home Cost$284,100
Median Age42.6
Median Household Income$45,483
Average Commute Time23.6

Though I would be happy in any of these best places to live in Florida, if I could choose anywhere to live it would be St. Petersburg. Just across the bridge from Tampa, this city has both an amazing downtown and some of the best beaches in the country. Combined with lower home costs and a younger population, this makes it an excellent destination for Florida transplants!

Every time I visit, I am in awe with all the things to do. The downtown is the perfect size and always has fun events going on. People are super friendly and you can bring your dog almost everywhere too! The close proximity to Tampa, Clearwater and Orlando is another high-ranking factor for here, although traffic is to be expected on weekends.

If you want fun in the sun and a job market for professionals, St. Petersburg is the best place to live in Florida. Whether you move here or not, I highly recommend a visit! You might just find yourself wanting to move here like me.

st. pete florida rooftop bar

Know Before You Go: Where is the Best Place to Live in Florida?

If you are looking to find a place to live in Florida, I recommend these top ten places. These are just my personal anecdotes, so check out this US News and World Report article I reference for more statistical advice. Here are some more stats to keep in mind before moving to Florida!

  • The median home cost for the state of Florida is $334,882. The average for this list is $386,100, so it definitely skews toward more expensive areas in the state. Look for smaller towns if you are looking to spend less on housing.
  • Looking at the ages, the median age of Floridians is 42 and the average of this list is 44. This is still higher than the national average, due to retirees.
  • For income, this list and the rest of the state are on par. The median state household income is $55,642 and the average of this list is $55,563.
  • The median commute time for the whole state is 28.4 and the average of this list is 22 minutes. This is still lower than most states in the country.

What do you think is the best place to live in Florida? Let me know if I included it! If you are looking to move to Florida, be sure to check out my top reasons to and cons of living here to be prepared.

10 best places to live in Florida