The 10 Best Places To Live In Florida For 2021


These are the cream of the crop when it comes to living in The Sunshine State.

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Between the beautiful sunny weather and pristine beaches, it’s no secret that life in Florida is pretty sweet. And while Florida is often billed as a retirement state, that doesn’t mean it’s just one massive golf course.

From the laid-back tropical vibes of the Florida Keys to the diverse dynamism of Miami, there’s something for every speed in Florida. Ecotourists visit the Everglades in ever-growing numbers, and the folks with Peter Pan syndrome delight at having Disney World right in their backyard. And if you want to see where the Apollo 11 took off, the Kennedy Space Center is just one small step from Orlando.

Alright, alright, Florida’s awesome, but what places are the absolute best to call home? In general, if you start off in Miami and drive north up the coast, you’ll visit a sizeable chunk of cities featured on this list. Florida’s Gulf Coast also has a number of representatives, all of which are south of Tampa. It’s no surprise that most of this list consists of coastal and island cities, seeing as beach-living is one of Florida’s big draws. But it takes more than some soft sand and crystal clear water to make a place great. It also needs to have the essentials — quality schools, safe streets, low crime, and a strong economy where no one is left out. It also helps when the cost of living is reasonable, so you won’t be delayed joining Florida’s other retirees.

If you’re planning on moving to Florida, you may want to move quickly, because it’s one of the fastest growing states in America. So wash back that Cuban sandwich with a slice of key lime pie and break out your beach chair and parasol, because we’re paying a visit to the best places to live in Florida.

Where is the best place to live in Florida for 2021? After analyzing 208 places in Florida, Palm Beach came out as #1 on our list as the best place to live in Florida based on Census and FBI data.

Surprised? We’re not.

Who wouldn’t want to live on a beautiful mini-island surrounded by the ocean? And, it’s close to Miami.

Read on to learn more about who made our top ten list, see how we crunched the numbers, or really just learn more about how epic Palm Beach is.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Florida reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Florida For 2021

Palm Beach, FL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 8,723
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $1,177,100
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
More on Palm Beach: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

We’re going to take a short drive up the coast to arrive at Palm Beach, the best place to call home in Florida. Money troubles shouldn’t haunt you in Palm Beach, because the economy here is rock-solid. Palm Beach has the 10th lowest rate of unemployment and 11th lowest levels of poverty in Florida, so everyone can enjoy the island vibes here. It also has the 4th highest median household income in the state, with residents pulling in $141,348/year. That high pay is kind of necessary in a place where the homes are the 2nd priciest in the state. But with sub-20 minute commute times, at least your transportation costs will be a little lower here.

One thing to consider before you make the move to Palm Beach: with a median age of 70, this may not be the most high-paced, action-packed place to call home. Sure, it’s got the 3rd highest rates of residents with health insurance statewide, but that’s mostly due to the fact that greater percentages of old people tend to be insured compared to young people.

So if a ritzy, comfortable little city with shopping galore and plenty of natural beauty around sounds like just the ticket, consider Palm Beach your top choice.

Key Biscayne, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 12,915
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $1,211,000
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
More on Key Biscayne: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Kicking off our list is 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 30th 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 $1,211,000, the most expensive in Florida. The good news is that the median household income in Key Biscayne is $151,310/year, the 3rd 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!

Sanibel, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 7,319
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $721,200
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
More on Sanibel: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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 $108,081. And since smart people don’t usually resort to crime, Sanibel has the 5th lowest rate of violent crime in Florida.

North Palm Beach, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 13,029
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $328,100
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
More on North Palm Beach: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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 $328,100 is substantially lower than elsewhere in the top ten and combined with a median income of $72,027, 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 2.5%, 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.

Satellite Beach, FL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 10,873
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $300,200
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
More on Satellite Beach: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Satellite Beach is a city of 10,873 located just a short drive north from Palm Bay. Unsurprising for a city with the word “Beach” in it, Satellite Beach has several great beaches to choose from.

The median age in Satellite Beach is 44, which is quite young by Florida standards. That makes it one of the better places for young couples just starting out. Especially when you consider that the cost of living in Satellite Beach is the 100th lowest on this list. And Satellite Beach makes sure that all its residents are doing alright, because with poverty levels at a low 4.9%, this city has the 8th lowest rate of poverty in Florida.

Seeing as poverty levels generally correlate with crime rates, it’s no surprise that Satellite Beach has the 6th lowest crime rate in Florida. This place really ticks all the boxes, and on a budget no less.

Naples, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 21,812
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $988,500
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
More on Naples: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

A city of 21,812 people, Naples is the 104th 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 11th highest income statewide ($107,013/year). As for actually getting to and from work, Naples has one of the lowest commute times on this list of just 19 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.

Lighthouse Point, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 11,195
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $538,700
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
More on Lighthouse Point: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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 $81,445. 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.

Longboat Key, FL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 7,283
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $740,500
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
More on Longboat Key: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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 highest rate of insured residents in Florida. And since old folks don’t often go in for violence, Longboat Key’s title as the 1st 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.

Tequesta, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 6,071
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $381,100
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
More on Tequesta: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

It turns out that if you want a tour of Florida’s best places, all you have to is start in Miami and just keep driving north. Tequesta owes its #9 ranking to its safe streets, relatively low cost of living, top-notch schools, and excellent markets for both jobs and housing. As one of Florida’s safest cities, you’ll never have to worry about someone snagging your Amazon package from your porch in Tequesta.

Tequesta also has the lowest median household income on this list at $78,429, which, along with the cheaper median home price of $381,100, could be considered a good thing since the barrier of entry is slightly easier to cross here. And you better believe that Tequesta’s population of 6,071 knows the importance of education, because this village has the 10th lowest rate of high school dropouts in Florida.

Tequesta is also home to Blowing Rocks Preserve, one of the best places to get a gander at sea turtles in Florida.

Parkland, FL

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 31,454
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $611,800
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
More on Parkland: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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 3rd lowest overall crime rate in Florida.

We named Parkland as one of the best places to raise a family in Florida: 50.07% of households have kids, and with the 4th 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 6th lowest poverty rate in Florida, and the median household income of $154,844 ranks as the 2nd highest statewide. Homes in Parkland have a median price tag of $611,800.

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

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Tallahassee with a population of 191,279 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke 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 left us with 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 to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Florida

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

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, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Florida”.

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Florida? That would be Palm Beach.

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 Palm Beach at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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.

Palm Beach made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Florida for 2021.

Best Towns To Live In Florida

  1. Highland Beach (Pop. 3,689)
  2. Hillsboro Beach (Pop. 1,467)
  3. Indian River Shores (Pop. 4,082)
  4. Pine Ridge CDP (Collier (Pop. 1,833)
  5. Vineyards (Pop. 3,925)
  6. Lake Clarke Shores (Pop. 3,517)
  7. South Beach (Pop. 3,325)
  8. Harbor Bluffs (Pop. 2,931)
  9. Melbourne Beach (Pop. 3,189)
  10. Windermere (Pop. 3,175)

Best Small Towns To Live In Florida

  1. Jupiter Inlet Colony (Pop. 508)
  2. Hillsboro Pines (Pop. 510)
  3. Lazy Lake (Pop. 34)
  4. Gulf Stream (Pop. 660)
  5. Sea Ranch Lakes (Pop. 663)
  6. Golf (Pop. 213)
  7. Manalapan (Pop. 270)
  8. Shalimar (Pop. 792)
  9. Belleair Shore (Pop. 81)
  10. St. George Island (Pop. 641)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Florida according to the data:

  1. Opa-locka (Pop. 16,149)
  2. Starke (Pop. 5,393)
  3. Pahokee (Pop. 6,269)

For more Florida reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Florida?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Palm Beach 8,723 2.3% $1,177,100
2 Key Biscayne 12,915 5.3% $1,211,000
3 Sanibel 7,319 1.5% $721,200
4 North Palm Beach 13,029 2.5% $328,100
5 Satellite Beach 10,873 2.9% $300,200
6 Naples 21,812 3.2% $988,500
7 Lighthouse Point 11,195 3.1% $538,700
8 Longboat Key 7,283 3.1% $740,500
9 Tequesta 6,071 2.6% $381,100
10 Parkland 31,454 3.6% $611,800
11 Marco Island 17,834 3.1% $678,900
12 Coral Gables 50,226 3.2% $846,100
13 Lake Mary 16,698 3.1% $320,100
14 Safety Harbor 17,803 3.5% $268,800
15 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea 6,626 1.4% $441,000
16 Weston 70,614 4.5% $481,800
17 Atlantic Beach 13,575 2.8% $362,300
18 Niceville 15,386 3.8% $238,800
19 Palm Beach Gardens 56,219 2.4% $378,500
20 Boca Raton 97,468 5.0% $458,600
21 Neptune Beach 7,101 4.0% $401,000
22 Venice 23,086 3.9% $252,200
23 Winter Park 30,522 3.4% $447,800
24 Gulf Breeze 6,546 8.2% $371,600
25 Belle Isle 7,010 1.0% $321,700
26 Jupiter 64,565 3.8% $372,800
27 Oviedo 40,370 3.9% $289,000
28 Maitland 17,765 3.0% $372,500
29 Indian Harbour Beach 8,470 5.2% $296,600
30 St. Augustine Beach 6,933 5.9% $415,400
31 Royal Palm Beach 38,962 3.5% $273,900
32 Surfside 5,725 6.7% $625,500
33 Bay Harbor Islands 5,861 8.4% $362,300
34 St. Pete Beach 9,587 7.5% $462,500
35 Winter Springs 36,342 4.3% $246,500
36 Flagler Beach 5,002 4.2% $304,600
37 Wellington 64,396 5.0% $382,000
38 Miami Lakes 30,864 2.8% $386,900
39 Lynn Haven 20,948 4.0% $200,100
40 Jacksonville Beach 23,399 2.4% $368,200
41 West Melbourne 22,225 3.8% $224,400
42 Treasure Island 6,889 5.8% $382,200
43 Sunny Isles Beach 21,942 3.4% $359,900
44 Punta Gorda 19,571 6.7% $325,800
45 Palmetto Bay 24,333 6.2% $562,300
46 Valparaiso 5,145 1.9% $224,800
47 Fort Myers Beach 7,048 3.1% $448,100
48 Rockledge 27,305 4.3% $204,800
49 Dunedin 36,381 4.2% $198,700
50 Key West 24,843 2.2% $611,400
51 Destin 13,702 3.8% $332,000
52 Seminole 18,657 2.6% $203,800
53 Miami Shores 10,459 7.6% $558,700
54 Aventura 37,303 5.0% $355,200
55 Southwest Ranches 7,921 5.7% $641,800
56 Pembroke Pines 170,072 5.4% $288,700
57 Coral Springs 132,568 6.7% $354,100
58 Coconut Creek 60,490 4.8% $192,500
59 Minneola 11,559 5.3% $219,200
60 Miami Springs 14,146 2.1% $410,400
61 Pinecrest 19,244 3.9% $949,400
62 Cocoa Beach 11,619 4.8% $318,000
63 Clermont 35,209 2.6% $233,000
64 Miramar 139,468 5.0% $299,900
65 New Smyrna Beach 26,457 2.2% $256,100
66 Temple Terrace 26,539 1.7% $228,900
67 Doral 59,972 3.5% $394,900
68 West Miami 7,788 3.8% $335,800
69 Ormond Beach 42,545 3.4% $208,800
70 Fernandina Beach 12,364 5.7% $333,900
71 Orange Park 8,734 8.3% $180,800
72 Gulfport 12,335 5.2% $185,600
73 Wilton Manors 12,630 4.4% $326,600
74 Oldsmar 14,657 6.4% $228,400
75 Bonita Springs 55,902 3.5% $311,900
76 Winter Garden 43,648 3.5% $313,600
77 Cutler Bay 44,222 4.3% $287,000
78 Port Orange 62,726 5.4% $179,400
79 Stuart 16,161 2.8% $185,700
80 Sebastian 25,107 6.2% $195,500
81 Davie 104,399 4.3% $309,600
82 Lady Lake 15,426 4.3% $146,300
83 Vero Beach 16,857 5.0% $259,800
84 Fruitland Park 7,848 7.7% $228,200
85 Cape Coral 183,942 6.0% $229,400
86 Milton 9,995 3.8% $129,000
87 Port St. Lucie 189,396 4.7% $207,200
88 Longwood 14,930 5.1% $213,600
89 Cape Canaveral 10,377 4.4% $244,900
90 Macclenny 6,592 3.7% $140,600
91 Altamonte Springs 43,810 5.3% $184,100
92 Marathon 8,702 4.1% $425,200
93 South Pasadena 5,088 9.1% $175,700
94 St. Petersburg 261,338 5.1% $205,000
95 Sunrise 94,060 5.8% $205,100
96 Fort Walton Beach 22,084 5.9% $185,900
97 North Port 66,410 3.6% $188,700
98 Edgewater 23,324 4.2% $155,900
99 Delray Beach 68,217 6.4% $280,200
100 Tamarac 65,874 4.9% $168,900

How Is Your Town In ?

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best places to live in Florida.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.