Between the beautiful sunny weather and pristine beaches, it’s no secret that life in Florida is pretty sweet.
Florida’s awesome, but where are the best places to live in Florida?
Most of this list consists of coastal and island cities, but it takes more than some soft sand and crystal-clear water to make a city great. So we used Saturday Night Science to analyze Census, FBI, and ZIllow data on crime, economic factors, and the cost of living to find the best places to live in Florida.
Where is the best place to live in Florida for 2023? After analyzing 208 places in Florida, the best place to live in Florida is Key Biscayne based on Census and FBI data.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful mini-island surrounded by the ocean? And it’s close to Miami.
For more reading, check out:
The 10 Best Places To Live In Florida For 2023
|Rank Last Year||3||–|
|Median Home Value||$1,331,900||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0137||0.0216|
Key Biscayne, an island town located just south of Miami. In opposition to the image of Florida as a retiree-state, Key Biscayne’s median age is a low 42, so it’s fair to say that this is one of the hippest places you’ll see on this list. Living in Key Biscayne, you also get access to all the best that Miami has to offer, without the high crime. That’s because Key Biscayne has the 43rd lowest crime rate in Florida, about 70% lower than the national average. Another perk of Key Biscayne over Miami is the weather; being an island, Key Biscayne has cooler summers and lower precipitation than The Magic City.
Word to the wise: you may want to have a lucrative job lined up before making the move to Key Biscayne, because the median home price here is $1,331,900, the 2nd most expensive in Florida. The good news is that the median household income in Key Biscayne is $173,015/year, the 4th highest in the state, so residents don’t have too much trouble making mortgage payments. You also may want to start reading more books if you want to fit in here, because around 35% of Key Biscayne’s population has a master’s degree or higher.
If you decide to settle down here, you’ll probably spend a good amount of time at Bill Baggs Florida State Park on the south end or Crandon Park in the north. That way, you’ll never get bored of going to the same beach every day. Key Biscayne bills itself as an “Island Paradise” and, looking at the data, we’re inclined to agree!
|Stat||North Palm Beach||Florida|
|Rank Last Year||1||–|
|Median Home Value||$418,100||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0077||0.0216|
Let’s take a step back from the hyper-wealthy communities and look at a place where your average Joe can make a good life for himself, North Palm Beach. North Palm Beach’s median home cost of $418,100 is substantially lower than elsewhere in the top ten and combined with a median income of $89,175, this village is one of the most overall affordable places you’ll see on this list.
We think North Palm Beach residents dig the fact that you can spend 25% as much on a home as in Palm Beach and still have access to awesome beaches like MacArthur Beach. And the unemployment rate in North Palm Beach is a measly 1.9%, so nobody gets left out here. One more plus is that there’s no need to fear for your safety here, because North Palm Beach has the 13th lowest crime rate in Florida.
|Rank Last Year||7||–|
|Median Home Value||$909,700||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0083||0.0216|
We’ll wrap up our list of best places to live in Florida with Longboat Key, an island town an hour south of St. Petersburg. Longboat Key has the oldest populous on this list, with a median age of over 70. These septuagenarian residents really know their stuff though, because over 30% of the population have at least a master’s degree.
That older population helps explain why Longboat Key has the 2nd highest rate of insured residents in Florida. And since old folks don’t often go in for violence, Longboat Key’s title as the 10th least violent place in Florida also makes sense.
Both unemployment and poverty rates in Longboat Key are among the top ten lowest statewide, so Longboat Key’s economy is about as good as it gets. You can reward yourself for choosing such an awesome place to live by visiting one of many beaches Longboat Key has to offer.
|Rank Last Year||4||–|
|Median Home Value||$1,200,100||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0169||0.0216|
A city of 19,315 people, Naples is the 109th biggest city to make the cut for best places to live in Florida. Because of its proximity to the Everglades, Naples is a popular destination for ecotourists. Those looking for a tamer experience will prefer Naples’ world-class Botanical Gardens or hanging out at the pier.
If you decide to settle down in Naples, homes here are the 3rd most expensive in the state, but you’ll also get the 8th highest income statewide ($135,657/year). As for actually getting to and from work, Naples has one of the lowest commute times on this list of just 22 minutes. On top of that, GreatSchools gave Naples’ public schools a 9/10 rating, so you can be confident that you’re giving your children a top-notch educational experience.
|Rank Last Year||18||–|
|Median Home Value||$559,300||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0136||0.0216|
Neptune Beach, known for its close-knit community and scenic beaches, holds the 5 position for best places to live in Florida. Located in Duval County, it offers a suburban lifestyle with a population of 6,743 and a highly educated demographic, with 60% of adults graduating college.
Incorporated in 1931, the city enjoys easy access to Jacksonville but maintains a peaceful residential atmosphere. It has a low unemployment rate of 2 and a strong local economy, with a high median income at 109,375. The competitive real estate market is evident with its $559,300 median home value, making Neptune Beach a sought-after location in Florida.
|Rank Last Year||15||–|
|Median Home Value||$808,800||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0061||0.0216|
Marco Island, within Collier County, combines economic stability, indicated by a 105,315 median income and a low 4.0 unemployment rate, with island living. The barrier island is connected to the mainland, allowing easy access to the mainland while island life.
Known for its high $808,800 median home value, the city caters to retirees and tourists alike, providing resort-like amenities and a vibrant culture.
Safety is prioritized with low property crime (5th lowest) and violent crime rates (22nd lowest).
|Rank Last Year||14||–|
|Median Home Value||$612,800||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0050||0.0216|
Weston, recognized as 7 among top living destinations in Florida, was meticulously developed by Arvida/JMB Realty, also notable for their work on Walt Disney World. Weston is a master-planned city with a robust population of 68,029. It sits strategically in Broward County, bordering the Everglades, and enjoys proximity to Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The community boasts a 132,832 median income and has an educated populace with 67 percent of adults holding advanced degrees. The city’s low 3.6% unemployment rate, accessibility to distinguished schools, the Weston Town Center for shopping, and premier healthcare at Cleveland Clinic fortify its status as a prime residential area in Florida.
|Rank Last Year||2||–|
|Median Home Value||$844,500||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0062||0.0216|
An island-city just a half hour outside of Cape Coral, Sanibel is our first representative of Florida’s western coast. Sanibel is a wildly popular destination for tourists, thanks to over half the the island being made up of wildlife refuges like Ding Darling and epic beaches like Bowman’s Beach. There’s seriously an endless amount to do in Sanibel, so you’ll be just as excited to live here after ten years as you are on day one.
Sanibel’s population is super smart, with about 30% of residents having a master’s degree or higher. Big degrees lead to big paychecks, as Sanibel’s median household income is $111,683. And since smart people don’t usually resort to crime, Sanibel has the 5th lowest rate of violent crime in Florida.
|Rank Last Year||8||–|
|Median Home Value||$627,500||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0144||0.0216|
Next up on our list of best places to live in Florida is Lighthouse Point, an affluent suburb of Fort Lauderdale. Low levels of unemployment and poverty keep Lighthouse Point’s economy strong in combination with a median household income of $86,586. It’s also one of the most densely-populated cities to make this list, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll be bored here.
Lighthouse Point also scored a 9.5/10 in the education category of our SnackAbility score, so you better believe kids are getting the best possible start here. And if those kiddos do well enough in school, an ice cream cone from Frosty Point followed by some water park action at Quiet Waters Park makes for a great reward.
|Rank Last Year||11||–|
|Median Home Value||$797,400||$392,904|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0060||0.0216|
Parkland had a spotlight shone on it after the tragic events at Stonemason Douglas High School, but the community responded to the shooting in a way that displayed resilience and compassion. That’s just the sort of thing you’d expect from the 10th best place to live in Florida.
In normal circumstances, Parkland is incredibly safe, with the 6th lowest overall crime rate in Florida.
We named Parkland as one of the best places to raise a family in Florida: 49.36% of households have kids, and with the 18th lowest high school dropout rate statewide, and a GreatSchools average rating of 8.5, parents can rest assured that their kids are getting off to the best start.
Parkland also has the 4th lowest poverty rate in Florida, and the median household income of $188,544 ranks as the 2nd highest statewide. Homes in Parkland have a median price tag of $797,400.
While Miami and Fort Lauderdale are just a short drive away, there’s plenty to keep you occupied within Parkland itself. Like taking an airboat tour of the Everglades. Or get your own boat and go nuts with water sports at nearby Quiet Waters Park.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Florida
Best Places To Live In Florida Size Requirement
Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Florida, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Tallahassee, with a population of 198,259, against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This filter left 208 cities, 279 towns, and 126 small towns.
We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Florida have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’
Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Florida
Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.
We ranked each place in Florida across a number of criteria from one to 208, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Florida.”
The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher is better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Florida. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Key Biscayne at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Summary: The Best Places In Florida
If you’re looking at areas in Florida with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Key Biscayne made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Florida for 2023.
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Florida according to the data:
- Sebring (Pop. 11,006)
- Pahokee (Pop. 5,548)
- Fort Meade (Pop. 5,133)
For more Florida reading, check out:
- Cheapest Places To Live In Florida
- Most Dangerous Places In Florida
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Florida
- Best Places To Retire In Florida
- Richest Cities In Florida
- Safest Places In Florida
- Worst Places To Live In Florida
Best Places To Live In Florida Table
|Rank||City||Population||Unemployment Rate||Home Value||Median Income||Rent||Crime Per Capita|
|2||North Palm Beach||13,092||1.9%||$418,100||$89,175||$1,785||0.0077|
|22||St. Augustine Beach||6,774||8.1%||$497,500||$87,019||$1,456||0.0059|
|23||Palm Beach Gardens||59,088||3.5%||$482,900||$106,544||$2,053||0.0180|
|25||Fort Myers Beach||5,650||3.6%||$538,600||$87,204||$1,713||0.0244|
|32||Bay Harbor Islands||5,843||3.4%||$480,600||$73,587||$2,250||0.0075|
|35||Indian Harbour Beach||8,944||4.3%||$356,800||$78,774||$1,491||0.0085|
|36||St. Pete Beach||8,905||5.7%||$615,300||$112,578||$1,613||0.0238|
|53||Sunny Isles Beach||22,202||4.0%||$424,300||$57,145||$1,839||0.0127|
|55||Daytona Beach Shores||5,087||4.9%||$365,600||$65,334||$1,495||0.0273|
|59||Royal Palm Beach||38,874||4.8%||$348,500||$90,143||$1,983||0.0150|
|74||New Smyrna Beach||30,449||4.4%||$330,600||$73,096||$1,550||0.0106|
|85||Port St. Lucie||210,520||5.7%||$292,900||$75,040||$1,684||0.0095|
|91||Fort Walton Beach||20,919||3.9%||$272,400||$61,820||$1,181||0.0256|