Where are the best places in the state of Florida?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Sunshine State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Florida.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 205 places in Florida, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Key Biscayne (Photos)
- Palm Beach (Photos)
- Lighthouse Point
- North Palm Beach (Photos)
- Naples (Photos)
- Gulf Breeze (Photos)
- Marco Island
- Coral Gables (Photos)
- Tequesta (Photos)
- Parkland (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 188,466 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 205 cities, 289 towns, and 172 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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 205, 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
- 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.
1. Key Biscayne
Population: 12,935Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $1,034,800 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (21st best)
This isn’t a knock on the rest of Florida, but Key Biscayne is a little slice of heaven. Key Biscayne blew away the rest of the state across the board.
The weather, measured in terms of rain, sunny days and humidity, is statistically almost the best here, and the residents here earn far more than most residents in other areas of the state.
And when you have really low crime, life is good, at least those who can afford it.
2. Palm Beach
Population: 8,501Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $955,600 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (1st best)
If you want to live in Florida, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Palm Beach area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $115,050 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Palm Beach as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Palm Beach.
3. Lighthouse Point
Population: 10,946 Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $404,900 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (48th best)
There’s two types of people who live in Lighthouse Point. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those who can afford to buy a $404,900 home there.
Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Lighthouse Point is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.
4. North Palm Beach
Population: 12,581 Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $258,900 (50th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (7th best)
North Palm Beach ranks 4th on our list of best places to live in Florida thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Florida that we examined.
People have been flocking to North Palm Beach over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Population: 20,980Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Values: $770,000 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (24th best)
In Naples, everyone loves to call Naples home! The median home value is the 4th highest in Florida.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 24th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Sunshine State.
Naples should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.
6. Gulf Breeze
Population: 6,205Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Home Values: $387,300 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (34th best)
Gulf Breeze has a really low crime rate (25th lowest) and only 5.3% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($98,308). And that goes a long way.
The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Gulf Breeze.
7. Marco Island
Population: 17,361 Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Values: $492,000 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (17th best)
Who doesn’t want to live inMarco Island? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 4.4%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Marco Island in the news in the coming months.
8. Coral Gables
Population: 50,533Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Values: $696,000 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (7th best)
Coral Gables has been called one of the best towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Coral Gables has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 3.9% and lowering. And the Coral Gables police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 83rd lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Population: 5,873Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Values: $319,900 (33rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (31st best)
At an umeployment rate of 5.2%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Tequesta. And the residents command high salaries ($54,730 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($319,900 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Florida. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Population: 28,354 Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Values: $490,100 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (51st best)
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Parkland.
Parkland is a municipality in Broward County, Florida, United States, where zoning laws are designed to protect the “park-like” character of the city. Initially, there were no stores or traffic lights in Parkland, though this began to change in the mid 1990s and early 2000s with the additions of large neighborhood developments like Heron Bay and Parkland Isles.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Florida
- Highland Beach (Pop. 3,689)
- Hillsboro Beach (Pop. 1,467)
- Indian River Shores (Pop. 4,082)
- Pine Ridge CDP (Collier (Pop. 1,833)
- Vineyards (Pop. 3,925)
- Lake Clarke Shores (Pop. 3,517)
- South Beach (Pop. 3,325)
- Harbor Bluffs (Pop. 2,931)
- Melbourne Beach (Pop. 3,189)
- Windermere (Pop. 3,175)
Best Small Towns To Live In Florida
- Jupiter Inlet Colony (Pop. 508)
- Hillsboro Pines (Pop. 510)
- Windsor (Pop. 251)
- Lazy Lake (Pop. 34)
- Gulf Stream (Pop. 660)
- Sea Ranch Lakes (Pop. 663)
- Golf (Pop. 213)
- Pine Island (Pop. 10)
- Belleair Shore (Pop. 81)
- Manalapan (Pop. 270)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Florida:
- Pahokee (Pop. 6,022)
- Belle Glade (Pop. 18,855)
- South Bay (Pop. 5,026)
For more Florida reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Places In Florida
- A Hilarious Look At The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Florida
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Florida
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Florida
|North Palm Beach||4||4|
|St. Augustine Beach||12||18|
|Palm Beach Gardens||20||20|
|St. Pete Beach||29||32|
|Bay Harbor Islands||30||39|
|Sunny Isles Beach||32||42|
|Royal Palm Beach||39||42|
|Indian Harbour Beach||49||58|
|Fort Myers Beach||51||47|
|New Smyrna Beach||81||78|
|Fort Walton Beach||83||77|