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The 25 Best Places To Live In Florida

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Living in Florida seems like a dream come true for those that don’t, but it’s something you’ll hear many complaints about by those who do. That’s not to say everyone who lives here hates it, but many of the people raised in our small towns are over it – and that’s what it’s like everywhere. As a lifelong Florida woman raising my family near my own hometown, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The small town on the ocean, weekends on the boat or at Disney with the kids, quaint shops and boutiques, beautiful homes and gorgeous weather and living somewhere everyone knows your name is just indescribable. It’s a great place in which to raise a family, to retire and to spend your time. We love to travel, and even after spending time in some of the most beautiful places in the world, we still love home the most. And I’ve come up with some beautiful places to live in Florida for various reasons, but mostly because of all they have to offer in terms of beauty, activity and family.

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Jacksonville

It’s a lovely city with so much to offer in terms of jobs, housing and beautiful neighborhoods. A portion of the city is located on the gorgeous St. John’s River and the other portion of the city is right on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s close the Georgia border, only a few hours from Orlando and it’s close to the breathtaking Amelia Island. It’s one of the larger cities in the state and with so much to offer, it’s often voted one of the best.

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St. Augustine

It’s small and lovely, and that’s why so many people love to call this oldest city home. Downtown is quite beautiful. The beaches are lovely, the neighborhoods spectacular and just about everything in St. Augustine is going to make you happy. It’s close enough to Jacksonville for commuters who want to work in the city and live elsewhere, and there is always plenty to do and many places in which to raise a beautiful family.

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Destin

Located in North Florida, Destin has some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see. Gorgeous white sand and lovely beachfront communities make this area all about family. That’s what it’s like living here, too, it’s all about family and enjoying all that Florida has to offer. You’ll find family fun, entertainment, beautiful views and everything else you’ve ever wanted in a beach front home.

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Sarasota

It’s a big retirement community, but it features high-end shopping and entertainment, beautiful neighborhoods and some of the most gorgeous beaches in the states. It’s also very centrally located to Tampa, Miami and Orlando so there are many options available for the adventurous soul. Additionally, you will find a myriad of gorgeous golf courses designed to keep you entertained and in shape for the long haul.

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Tampa

What’s so gorgeous about Tampa is all the water. There are big jobs to be had down here, plenty of entertainment and a gorgeous backdrop in which to enjoy your life. There is high-end shopping and dining, the bay, beaches and access to some of the most beautiful places in all the state. And let’s not forget all the beautiful outdoor seating available at the restaurants here with water views that make the entire lifestyle in Tampa completely worth is.

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Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. It’s not far from Miami, but it’s not so close you have to worry about all the congestion and the tourists. It’s a beautiful community with many upscale neighborhoods, beautiful beaches and so many lovely things to do for fun and food. Fort Lauderdale is hip and cool, laid-back and very much a good time. You will certainly enjoy life in this gorgeous Florida city.

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Gainesville

It’s not near the beach, so some people will wonder why it’s on this list. Well, it’s here because I put it here. I’m a born and raised Floridian and Gainesville is where I was married in the beautiful Haile Plantation. It’s a lovely college town, home to the University of Florida, Shands, which is one of the best research hospitals around, and it’s home to some of the most beautiful lakes and neighborhoods around. Town of Tioga and Haile Plantation are two of my favorites, and there’s Gator Football here, and that makes it a great place to be.

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Davie

What people love about this lovely little town is the historic influence it has and the fact that there is so much here to do considering that the area is actually a town and not a city. Davie has a low tax rate, a very low crime rate, good schools and a lot to offer. It’s a great place for people to raise their families and it’s a great place in which you can retire and enjoy the rest of your life. It’s a sweet community and that’s what people enjoy about the area.

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Palm Beach Gardens

Palm Beach Gardens is another lovely community in which you will be quite impressed with the lovely landscaping and clean roads. The area prides itself on keeping things pretty and it’s an eco-friendly community with more than 30% of the area dedicated specifically to green space. It’s beautiful, friendly and perfect for raising a family and enjoying life by the sea. You will not feel out of place or like you’re not right at home when you come here, and that’s part of the appeal of this particular area.

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West Palm Beach

West Palm is gorgeous. It’s a community in which you will find beautiful neighborhoods, gorgeous waterfront entertainment and beautiful beaches. It’s not quite the college town that other beach towns in the state happen to be, and it’s just peaceful and beautiful. It’s close enough to Miami that you can enjoy all that the area has to offer without feeling like you live in a congested area filled with tourists, and you’re really going to find living here is something quite enjoyable and very beautiful. The views speak for themselves.

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Weston

You might not know the name unless you live in Florida, but Weston has a lot going for it. Not only is median household income in the city more than $93,000 per year, the crime rate is among the lowest in the state. So it’s an affluent and very safe community. There is plenty of history here, the people are friendly, and it’s located near some of the most fun cities in the state, which makes it a great place to call home, raise a family, retire or just enjoy a winter home if you plan on spending the rest of your life doing the snowbird thing.

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Coconut Creek

This is an area with a very low crime rate, a high employment rate and a beautiful butterfly garden with some of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see. It’s a lovely location in Florida, and many people love to call it home. With just over 50,000 residents, it is a far cry from a big city, but it’s also not quite a small town. The people here will tell you that they’re quite happy and that they have decided living here is one of the best choices they’ve ever made.

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Pompano Beach

It’s not a huge city, but it’s not a small town. Parents often love to hear that the school district is one of the best in the state in terms of student/teacher ratio, which is always a plus. This means your kids will certainly get a little additional help when it’s needed and even when it’s not, which can only benefit their educational upbringing. Affordable homes, plenty of jobs and a beautiful setting make this just one of the nicest little places to call home in the area.

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Coral Springs

What’s really nice about Coral Springs is the fact that there really is a little bit of everything here for everyone. It’s got a high employment rate that caps off at just over 91%. Additionally, the median household income around these parts is over $70,000 per year, which is actually quite high for many areas in Florida. This makes it a very desirable community and place to live for a very good reason. It’s a lovely community with a great family feeling.

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The Villages

Located near Ocala, the Villages are the place to be. It’s considered a retirement community, but many people live here with their kids. It’s just the kind of place that’s become its own little city, and they’ve allowed it. Dozens of large, beautiful homes are built here each month,  there are high-end restaurants, upscale dining, shopping, hospitals, schools, doctors and everything in between. Everyone here owns a golf cart and that’s how people get around more than driving. The retired people here have entirely too much fun, and it’s the place to be.

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Plantation

It’s located in Broward County, and it’s just lovely. It’s here you will find a perfect co-existence between families and young professionals as well as those who want to live their lives as retirees. You will find plenty of activity, and you will find that there is always something to do here, even if it means heading to nearby Miami or one of the surrounding cities. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time outdoors, because the weather here is beautiful.

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Clearwater

Located near Tampa Bay, Clearwater is a gorgeous beach community. It’s not as big as many of the areas in the state, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s perfect for a very laid-back kind of lifestyle that people look for when they move here. The area is very casual and fun, there are plenty of places to commute to work, and waterfront living is very simple to find in this gorgeous city. Clearwater is amazing, and it’s just one of those places that people adore when they come to the Sunshine State.

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St. Petersburg

Just a little neighbor of Clearwater and Tampa Bay, St.  Pete is a fun place to call home. It’s got a little bit of everything, including a fairly easy commute into Tampa for work. There are fun restaurants, gorgeous homes, plenty of parks and outdoor living and the activities here are endless. You will certainly find that this is the kind of place in which you want to call home if you come to Florida and visit the beauty that is St. Pete.

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Winter Garden

You’ll note that Orlando is not part of this list, and that is for a very good reason. It’s congested, busy and filled with tourists. However, Winter Garden is very close to Orlando and it’s lovely. With lovely neighborhoods, an affordable cost of living and so much to offer in terms of jobs and raising a family, you will find that this is a perfect compromise to living in Orlando since you can take advantage of all the area has to offer without going out of your way.

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Ocala

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I really dislike Ocala. I live about 45 minutes from here, and it’s got terrible traffic, nothing in terms of jobs and it’s just a big time retirement community. There is very little nightlife and the shopping is as dismal as it comes. However, it is the horse capital of the world, and John Travolta and his family have a home here and he’s out and about all the time (I’ve actually been in several weddings at his home and had my high school senior prom there – and he came to see us!) but it’s perfect for those who enjoy a very slow lifestyle.

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Crystal River

Here’s a place that you won’t find on any list of best places to live since it’s such a small town on Florida’s Nature Coast. Just about an hour north of Tampa, this is a hidden gem you hear little about. Located just on the Gulf of Mexico as well as many natural springs, this is my home. It’s not for everyone, but the schools are great and the quaint small-town appeal is perfect. With only about 3000 people to call the area home, you will find some of the most beautiful homes in the most affluent neighborhoods around, in places including Pine Ridge, nearby Black Diamond and on King’s Bay. Life here includes a lot of boating, scalloping and fun in the sun.

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Panama City

It’s pretty far up there and it’s worth the drive for those who live further south of Panama City. It’s a beautiful area with beautiful beaches, plenty to do and access to many other areas in the state. It’s a lovely place to visit and to raise a family, and the sheer beauty of this area is just appealing. It’s why so many people choose to land here whether they’re just starting a family or retiring after raising a family.

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Winter Springs

Another city near Orlando, you will find that Winter Springs is a better choice than the bigger area that is Orlando. It’s not far, but it is a lot smaller and a lot more family-oriented than Orlando. It’s got everything that you need in a home-base, including the fact that you can send your kids to good schools and still find a good job in a good market. It’s a cute place that a lot of people love to call home, and it’s even made a few lists of best places to live in the area.

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Altamonte Springs

Another little suburb of Orlando, many people find that Altamonte Springs offers just what they are looking for in big city living without actually being part of the congested, touristy mess that is Orlando. The area is growing every day, which means that there is more and more for families to enjoy as the days go on, and the weather is lovely year round. You will find that with access to so much of what Florida has to offer, there is very little time left in which to be bored.

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Pembroke Pines

It’s one of the bigger cities in the area, and it’s great for families. It’s great for anyone looking for a place to golf, swim, hang outside and get active. It’s a gorgeous place to go and live, and it’s one of those cities in which there is a small town feel without a small town location. Shopping, dining, entertainment, boating, golfing and everything in between make this community an ideal area to call home for people in every stage of their lives.

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Written by Tiffany Raiford