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The 20 Best Places to Live in Florida for Families


In every state, some places are considered desirable and others are not. There are also areas better suited to some demographics than others. For example, there are some locations that are fantastic for retirees and others that are perfect for families. The groups it will best suit depends on an area's features. Families looking for a place to call home often look for somewhere with low crime rates, excellent schools, strong transport links, and a range of family-oriented activities and attractions. So, where are the best places for families to live in Florida? Here are the 20 best places to live in Florida for families.

20. Fleming Island

Fleming Island is in Clay County by St. Johns River and has a population of a little more than 30,000. The huge choice of entertainment and leisure facilities in Fleming Island means that families living in the area can always find things to do in their free time. However, the area's activities and attractions are just one of the reasons why families choose to live on Fleming Island. It is a safe area with low crime rates, which puts parents at ease. Other positive features are the outstanding schools, affordable cost of living, good transport links, many parks, and restaurants serving various cuisines.

19. Spanishtown Creek: A Vibrant Tampa Suburb

If you like living in an area that combines an urban setting with a small town feel, then Love to Know says this is a great choice. The vibrancy of the Tampa suburb is something that appeals to both families and young professionals. It is one of the smallest places on this list of the best places in Florida for families, as the population is around 1,400 people. There are many parks, coffee shops, and restaurants in Spanishtown Creek.

18. Harbor Island

Harbor Island is consistently ranked as one of the best neighborhoods to live in, not only in Florida but anywhere in the United States. The area has an urban feel and many features that will appeal to families. Some of these include excellent public schools, affordable and diverse housing options, a vast array of outdoor activities to enjoy, and low crime rates. Other appealing factors that will appeal to various demographics are the vibrant nightlife, good commutability, and many employment opportunities. Harbor Island lies across the Garrison Channel from Downtown Tampa.

17. Fruit Cove: Best Place for Families to Live in Florida for Natural Beauty

For many people, the surroundings make a huge difference to their happiness, so they look for areas that are naturally beautiful. Less than 30,000 people live in this Jacksonville suburb, and it is considered a safe place to live. The area has a more rural feel than most other places on the list, so it will suit people who prefer quieter locations. It is a coastal town with a stunning beach along the Atlantic Ocean, and there are plenty of green spaces to enjoy. The housing and living costs are affordable, there are activities for families to enjoy, the transport links are good, and there are outstanding schools in the area. On the downside, there is not a lot of nightlife in Fruit Cove.

16. Fish Hawk Ranch

Fish Hawk Ranch is a suburb of Tampa where a high proportion of the residents own their own homes, which means it has a less transient community than many other towns in the area. One of the area's best features is the public school system, although the affordable housing costs, community diversity, and green spaces also make this an appealing place to live. The award-winning gated community has around 6,000 homes, which are set along tree-lined streets. Some of the neighborhood's facilities include swimming pools, tennis courts, nature trails, shops, and clubhouses.

15. Palm Valley

Palm Valley is a town near Jacksonville in St. Johns County on the extreme northern Atlantic coast of Florida that is home to fewer than 20,000 residents. Those who live in the area love the community feel and the suburban vibe. It is known for being a great place to raise a family for several reasons, including outstanding schools, the beach, affordable housing, recreational facilities, employment opportunities, commutability, and low crime rates.

14. Nocatee: Best Master-Planned Community in Florida for Families

Only in Your State lists Nocatee as one of the best places to raise a family in Florida. It is a master-planned community in St. Johns County in northeastern Florida that is home to under 20,000 people. The community is divided into several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own features. It is a safe place to live, and there are various recreation activities, parks, golf courses, and restaurants. Nocatee is within easy traveling distance of the major airports in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

13. Orlando: Best Location for Family-Friendly Activities

Not all the best places to live in Florida are on the coastline, as Orlando is inland in Central Florida. As Orlando is one of the world's most popular family vacation destinations, it is no surprise to find it on the list of the best places in Florida for families to live. It is home to some of the United States' most famous family-oriented attractions, including Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World. Orlando also has amazing weather, a strong economy, nearby areas of natural beauty, great schools, a vibrant downtown area, good healthcare resources, and a reasonable cost of living. If your location of choice is Orlando, there are some neighborhoods that are better suited to families than others. Some of these include Baldwin Park, Celebration, Winter Garden, College Park, and Oviedo.

12. Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is in Central Florida on the Atlantic Coast. Living in Daytona Beach gives families the best of both worlds. On the one hand, families have good access to employment and educational opportunities, transportation links, shops, restaurants, and all the conveniences you expect to find in an urban area. On the other hand, there are amazing beaches, beautiful open spaces, and a multitude of leisure activities to enjoy, including motorsports and golf. Additional reasons Daytona Beach is popular with families are the low crime rate compared to other cities in the state, access to the Halifax River, and a lower cost of living than the state's average.

11. Lakeland

Lakeland is part of the Tampa Bay area, and the predominant feature of the area is its 38 lakes. There are multiple reasons why Lakeland is a wonderful place to live for families. If living somewhere with excellent schools is an important factor in your relocation decision, then Lakeland is a strong contender. Some other pros of the town are the affordable housing and the array of activities, with something to suit all interests. Furthermore, the crime rates are low, meaning it is a safe place to live, and the weather is also an appealing feature.

10. Fort Myers

Health concerns cause many people to relocate with their families, and air quality is a factor in the decision. Fort Myers is one of the best options in terms of air quality, which is a particular concern for people with a family suffering from respiratory conditions, such as asthma. The city is known for its beautiful scenery, shell-covered beaches along the Gulf Coast, and rich history. Despite the many positives of the city, it has a reasonable cost of living. Fort Myers is in the Southwest Florida region, and it is known for attractions such as the Southwest Florida Museum of History, Imaginarium Science Center, City of Palms Park, and the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.

9. Port St. Lucie: The Safest City in Florida

If low crime rates and safety are high on your priority list when choosing where to raise your family, then Port St. Lucie is a good option. According to SafeWise, it is the 20th safest place in the United States to raise a child, and it is the safest city in Florida. Other plus points in favor of living in this city include the weather, low cost of living, excellent schools and colleges, many parks and recreational spaces, close to the coast, and multiple recreational activities. Port St. Lucie is 113 miles north of Miami on Florida's Atlantic Coast.

8. Ocala

Ocala is a city that will appeal to many demographics, including families. The city has a small-town feel and a beautiful downtown, and it is an excellent place to live if you enjoy dining out and shopping. Some pros of opting for this city are the fantastic weather, the reasonable cost of living, and the proximity to a wide range of family-friendly activities. Some notable attractions include Rainbow Springs State Park, Ocala National Forest, and Silver Springs State Park. Ocala is in the northern region of Florida.

7. Tallahassee

Although people who want to live close to the coast would not choose Tallahassee as a location in which to live, the state's capital has a lot to offer for families. Those who live in this location love that the city combines history with modern living and that it has a friendly, community-oriented vibe. The rates of serious crimes are low, and there are multiple green spaces amidst the urban developments. Another benefit for families choosing to live in Tallahassee is the low cost of living, which is approximately three percent lower than the national average, while the cost of housing is around eight percent cheaper. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region.

6. Naples: The Happiest City in Florida

Naples is in the southern part of Florida on the Gulf Coast, and it lies between Miami and Fort Myers. According to Naples Relocation Experts, Naples has been rated the happiest city in the United States for four consecutive years using the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index. The feel-good vibe is not the only reason people want to raise a family in the area, as it also has low crime rates, fantastic weather, and beautiful beaches. Naples is known as the Golf Capital of the World due to the area's large number of Golf Courses. However, on the downside, Naples has one of the highest costs of living rates among Florida's metro areas.

5. Tampa

Tampa is Florida's third-most populous city, and it lies on the Gulf Coast. One reason people want to raise their children in Tampa is the schools, especially the high schools. Another reason is the low crime rates, which means it is one of the safer cities in which to live in Florida. Furthermore, there are plenty of activities and attractions for people of all ages to enjoy in this city, including Busch Gardens, so there are many ways people can spend their leisure time. There is good access to watersports on the Gulf or the Bay, great shopping and dining options, many museums, and less than an hour's drive to the attractions in and around Orlando. However, a final point to note is that Tampa has an international airport.

4. Pensacola: One of the Most Affordable Places to Live in Florida

Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle. The fact that Pensacola is one of Florida's most affordable locations is a huge draw to families. However, like in most parts of Florida, the cost of living is on the rise. It is a laidback city with a carefree vibe, which is something the residents find appealing. However, the city is also a good choice for families who enjoy spending time outdoors due to the multitude of parks and expansive beaches.

3. Jacksonville

Jacksonville is on the Atlantic coast of Florida in Duval County. Although the cost of living is rising in Jacksonville, the average annual income is above most metro areas in Florida. However, the financials are not the main reason people live in the city. Other reasons to choose this city to raise a family include the high quality of life, easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, diverse entertainment options, multiple parks, good schools, and safe neighborhoods. Extra Space Storage says that some of the best neighborhoods in the city for families are Beacon Hills & Harbour, Oceanway, Deercreek, Ortega Forest, Orange Park, and Sandalwood.

2. Sarasota

Sarasota sits on the southeast coast of Florida. The city was once known more for being a fantastic place to live for retirees but is not an equally great place to live for families. One reason why it is now such a great family option is the low crime rates. However, other appealing factors include the air quality, the education system, the coastal location, and the things to do for people of all ages.

1. Melbourne: Overall Best Place to Live in Florida for Families

According to US News, the best place to live in Florida for families is Melbourne. It is a metropolitan area with a population of just under 80,000 residents 72 miles southeast of Orlando. There are some highly rated schools in Melbourne and plenty of parks, restaurants, and family-oriented attractions. Housing is affordable for families who want a foot on the property ladder. Especially compared to many other cities in the state, and the cost of living is reasonable. However, the strong transport links give good access to cities such as Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.

Family living in Florida is important, but if you're simply looking for the best places to live in Florida, look no further.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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