The Best Places to Live in Florida in 2021

Whether you want to live in the warmest or coldest parts of Florida or prefer the Atlantic or Gulf Coast, there truly is something for everyone in Florida. We've put together this list of the 10 best places to live in Florida. If you're thinking of moving to the Sunshine State, this is the perfect place to start.

Gainesville

Downtown Gainesville, FL.

  • Population: 129,934
  • Average age: 36.7
  • Median household income: $37,264
  • Average commute time: 21.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 39
  • Studio average rent: $815
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,143
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,361

Gainesville is one of the best cities in Florida for a variety of reasons.

One is the weather. Gainesville has good all-year weather averages for those who don't like it too hot or too cold. It's also conveniently located. Since it lies in the middle of the state, it also has easy access to both the east and west coasts. In addition, it's located alongside Interstate 75, meaning it is easy to reach other parts of the state.

Gainesville is a smaller city, with a younger average resident age than all the other cities on our list. It has several city parks, is bike-friendly and has some of the least expensive rental prices.

If you're looking for a small city with great weather and relatively low commute times, you can't go wrong with Gainesville.

Jacksonville

Jacksonville, FL, one of the best places to live in florida

  • Population: 867,392
  • Average age: 41.0
  • Median household income: $54,701
  • Average commute time: 29.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 35
  • Studio average rent: $955
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,081
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,287

Jacksonville makes our list of best cities in Florida and many Floridians would agree. It has the largest population of any city on our list, and it beats out the second-largest city by more than 400,000 residents.

Although the average income is higher than many Florida cities, its rental market is much more affordable than others. In fact, Jacksonville is among the top three cities for rental prices on our list.

Located in the far northwest side of the state, Jacksonville has more shoreline than any other Florida city. Watersports and nature enthusiasts will love having access to the city's parks and ecological preserves.

If you prefer indoor activities, Jacksonville boasts several high-quality museums and is known for having a diverse culinary scene.

This big city has good weather, great rental prices and all the beaches you could want.

Lakeland

Lakeland, FL.

  • Population: 104,867
  • Average age: 45.3
  • Median household income: $47,511
  • Average commute time: 26.2 minutes
  • Walk score: 31
  • Studio average rent: $1,075
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,090
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,263

Lakeland is one of the best places to live in Florida, and although it isn't located along the coast, it has plenty of lakes to delight nature lovers and watersports enthusiasts alike.

Since Lakeland is in Central Florida, it also has some of the best year-round weather. Plus, residents can reach the west coast in an hour and the east coast in 2 hours.

This small city has great rental prices, decent school ratings and easy access to all that Tampa and Orlando offer. Lakeland is known for its small-town feel but isn't plagued by the issues faced by residents in remote cities and towns.

With a moderate average income and low rental prices, Lakeland is a strong candidate for people who are looking to relocate to the Sunshine State.

Miami

Miami, FL, one of the best places to live in florida

  • Population: 442,577
  • Average age: 44.4
  • Median household income: $39,049
  • Average commute time: 34.8 minutes
  • Walk score: 61
  • Studio average rent: $1,843
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,208
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,691

As one of Florida's most popular cities, it's easy to see why Miami made our list of top places to live in Florida. Located on Florida's southeast coast, Miami has some of the hottest summers and warmest winters in the state.

With its white-sandy beaches, happening culinary scene, world-famous nightlife and trendy neighborhoods, people flock to Miami. — making it one of the most populous cities in the state.

Moderately walkable and bike-friendly, Miami has the best of big city living with a beachy vibe. If you're dreaming of warm weather and a busy social calendar, consider moving to Miami.

Orlando

Orlando, FL.

  • Population: 267,038
  • Average age: 39.9
  • Median household income: $51,757
  • Average commute time: 31.2 minutes
  • Walk score: 35
  • Studio average rent: $1,470
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,388
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,689

As Florida's fastest-growing metro area, this list of the best cities in Florida wouldn't be complete without mentioning Orlando. Although Orlando is primarily known for its theme parks, it has much more to offer residents and visitors alike.

Located in Central Florida, Orlando has moderately hot summers and temperate winters. It's conveniently located an hour from east coast beaches and has all the amenities a medium-sized city has to offer. Rental prices are on par with other Central Florida cities on this list and although the city isn't very walkable, it has a decent bike score and average commute times are just over 30 minutes.

If you're looking to move to Florida and want easy access to world-class entertainment with decent proximity to the beach, you can't go wrong with choosing Orlando.

Pensacola

Pensacola, FL, one of the best places to live in florida

  • Population: 52,600
  • Average age: 43.0
  • Median household income: $50,493
  • Average commute time: 24.1 minutes
  • Walk score: 26
  • Studio average rent: $1,042
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,088
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,232

If you're looking to relocate to Florida's panhandle, you may want to consider moving to Pensacola. Although this small city sees much less growth than other cities on this list, it's still a strong contender for those looking to relocate to Florida's Emerald Coast.

As Pensacola is in the far northwest corner of the state, it has cooler summers and winters than other cities that made our top 10 list.

Since Pensacola isn't considered one of Florida's biggest tourist and snowbird hotspots, its rental prices are considerably lower than cities like Miami, Lakeland and St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, FL.

  • Population: N/A
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: N/A
  • Average commute time: N/A
  • Walk score: 53
  • Studio average rent: $1,542
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,373
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,685

St. Petersburg is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. In addition to having the best beach in the country, this medium-sized city has plenty of parks and entertainment centers and is popular among tourists, snowbirds and younger Florida residents.

St. Petersburg is walkable, offers multiple public transportation options and has several eclectic neighborhoods.

In 2021, St. Petersburg opened its upgraded St. Pete Pier, which includes eateries, art galleries, bars, parks and playgrounds. Closer to the city center, residents will find several of the region's best museums, local farmers markets and a booming street art scene.

Rental prices are higher than many cities on our list, but they are primarily due to the city's popularity, proximity to beaches and all the amenities it has to offer.

Tampa

Tampa, FL, one of the best places to live in florida

  • Population: 365,964
  • Average age: 40.8
  • Median household income: $53,833
  • Average commute time: 29.1 minutes
  • Walk score: 46
  • Studio average rent: $1,352
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,367
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,702

Conveniently located right next to St. Petersburg is another of our top cities in Florida. Tampa is a medium-sized city known for having some of the best weather in Florida. It's also near Saint Petersburg's famous beaches and Orlando's world-renowned theme parks, making it a popular city for residents of all ages.

If you're a sports fan, Tampa also has you covered. Between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Rowdies, there's truly something for all sports lovers.

Tampa offers a wide variety of neighborhoods to choose from, at all price points, including Ybor City, a National Historic Landmark District. Tampa is home to both University of South Florida and the University of Tampa and has a thriving job market in several different industries.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach, FL.

  • Population: 107,273
  • Average age: 44.7
  • Median household income: $54,334
  • Average commute time: 28.0 minutes
  • Walk score: 39
  • Studio average rent: $1,977
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,878
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,216

Although it's one of the most expensive cities on our list, West Palm Beach is here for a good reason. Home for residents of all ages, this Palm Beach neighbor has a fantastic art scene, plenty of entertainment options and a thriving shopping and culinary scene.

This small city isn't overly walkable, but it is more bike-friendly than some other cities in Florida. In addition, overall commute times are lower than in neighboring cities.

If you're looking to move to South Florida and want a city smaller than Miami and less expensive than Palm Beach, consider making West Palm Beach home.

Winter Park

Winter Park, FL, one of the best places to live in florida

  • Population: 29,637
  • Average age: 46.5
  • Median household income: $77,899
  • Average commute time: 29.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 49
  • Studio average rent: $1,717
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,416
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,667

Winter Park is another attractive small city for people looking to move to Central Florida. Located on Orlando's outskirts, Winter Park has boutique shops, art museums and parks. You'll also have access to all of Orlando's amenities.

Winter Park has a moderately good walk score, is relatively bike-friendly and offers decent commute times to its residents.

Rental prices are high, but they are offset by a high average income. Needless to say, if you want to move to a quiet Central Florida city and still have adequate access to a larger city, Winter Park should make your shortlist.

Find your own best place to live in Florida

Florida is one of the most popular states in the entire country. With over 800 people expected to move to Florida each day, there's no better time than now to plan your move.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Other demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
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Lindsay MicklesLindsay Mickles is a freelance writer and web designer who has been living in the Tampa Bay area for the past three years. An avid travel blogger, Lindsay enjoys exploring Central Florida's cities and towns every chance she gets. Whether she's searching for the area's best taco truck or discovering the coolest art museums around, Lindsay is determined to experience all that central Florida has to offer.

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