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Whether you’re a young professional seeking job opportunities, a family settling down to raise children, or a retiree looking for a quiet place to spend your golden years, Florida is a great state to move to. Here are the nine best places to live in Florida!

Cape Coral

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  • Population: 189,633
  • Home Price: $237,400 median purchase price; $1,367 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 34% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.3%

Cape Coral is known as the “Waterfront Wonderland” because it’s home to more canals than the City of Venice! It’s a great place to live in Florida for those seeking an active lifestyle, since Cape Coral offers an abundance of outdoor activities, from strolls through scenic waterfront parks to exploring vibrant marine life along the Gulf Coast. Residents also enjoy boating, kayaking, and fishing along the extensive network of canals and waterways. With this Florida city’s close proximity to Fort Myers, residents also have easy access to top-notch healthcare facilities like Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and educational institutions like Florida Gulf Coast University. And on top of all that, Cape Coral has plenty of fun things to do! Cool down in the water at Pirate’s Cove, Cape Fear, or Zoom Flume at Sun Splash Water Park. Walk the nature trail, pack a picnic, or visit one of the observation piers at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. Find fresh produce, made-on-site guacamole, and homemade jams & jellies at the Cape Coral Farmers Market. Kick off your day with a Lobster Omelet, House Special Pancakes, or the Pork Roll Breakfast at House of Omelets. Pick from the Smokehouse Pizza, Hot Sausage Sub, and more at Lelulo’s Pizza Life. Or try out the Lobster Mac & Cheese, Big Boomin’ Shrimp, and Fresh Sea Scallops at Twisted Lobster.

Gainesville

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  • Population: 133,611
  • Home Price: $179,500 median purchase price; $965 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 34% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

If you’re considering living in North Central Florida, add Gainesville to your list! This Florida city is home to high-quality schools like Santa Fe College and the University of Florida. If you’re ready to start your career, Gainesville’s economy is built on diverse industries such as healthcare, education, and technology, providing residents with a wide range of job options. Leading employers in the area include UF Health’s Shands Hospital, Exactech, and Infotech. For activities outside of work and school, this city has something for everyone! Explore the Butterfly Rainforest, Discovery Zone, or Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Put on your blue and orange to cheer for the Florida Gators (NCAA D-I) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also known as “The Swamp.” Roam through the Bamboo Garden, Bromeliad Garden, or the Palm Hammocks at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Satisfy your hunger with a juicy Clock Cheeseburger Combo, Turkey Reuben, or Tender Sweet Clams at the Clock Restaurant. Treat yourself to an Al Pastor Burrito, Tempeh Taco, or the Chimichanga Plater at El Indio Mexican Restaurant. And taste American classics like the Double Cheeseburger, BLT, or Ham & Cheese Sandwich at Mac’s Drive-Thru, a Gainesville staple since 1987.

Jacksonville

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  • Population: 902,488
  • Home Price: $187,700 median purchase price; $1,089 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 30% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

Located in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville is known for its extensive waterways and picturesque riverfront views, giving it the nickname of “The River City.” Jacksonville neighborhoods like Arlington, San Marco, and Ortega are vibrant areas that offer everything from quiet, charming streets ideal for raising children to hip and trendy spots perfect for young adults moving to the city. Residents also have access to a vibrant art scene, including performances by the Jacksonville Symphony at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts. There are also many other entertainment options available, catering to a variety of interests. Root for local Jacksonville sports teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) at EverBank Stadium or the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (MiLB) at 121 Financial Ballpark. Visit Stingray Bay, Giraffe Overlook, or the River Valley Aviary at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Check out rotating exhibitions, attend artist talks, or walk through the historic Cummer Gardens, which are recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, at The Cummer Museum. Expand your mind with exhibits like the Space Science Gallery, Florida Naturalist’s Center, or the JEA Science Theater at the Museum of Science and History (MOSH). Fill up on Crispy Calamari, Duck Wonton Napoleon, and Shrimp Lollipops at bb’s restaurant and bar. Or get authentic Southern dishes like Smothered Pork Chops, Golden Fried Basa Fish, and Herb Roasted Chicken with a side of Sweet Buttered Corn from Soul Food Bistro.

Melbourne

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  • Population: 82,281
  • Home Price: $186,600 median purchase price; $1,087 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 37% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.1%

Melbourne, FL is one of the best towns for homebuyers seeking a piece of Florida real estate, with a cost of living 10% lower than the neighboring city of Orlando! The Harbor City’s rich cultural scene is demonstrated through annual events like the Melbourne Art Festival and the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival, both of which showcase local talent and creativity. This Florida City also embraces diversity and inclusivity by hosting annual festivities like Space Coast Pride! In addition to these festivals and events, there are also plenty of ongoing activities available. Go on a kayaking tour, feed a kangaroo, or attend Adventure Overnights at the Brevard Zoo, about 20 minutes outside the city. Bring your fishing poles, pedal around on the bicycle paths, or walk on one of the many trails like the South Loop or Riffle Ridge at Wickham Park. Get some shopping done at stores like Zumies, Macy’s, and Journey’s, or sit down for a meal in the food court at Melbourne Square. Appreciate the fresh taste of Florida seafood with the Stuffed Flounder, Sea Bass Lorenzo, or Citrus Salmon at a local chain, Squid Lips. Experience one-of-a-kind dishes like the Bahamian Conch Chowder, Santiago’s Catch, or Ernest’s Rib Platter from Hemingway’s Tavern. And stop by to get the Butterflied Shrimp, Fried Catfish, or Meatloaf Dinner Plate at That Little Restaurant.

Miami

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  • Population: 461,080
  • Home Price: $344,300 median purchase price; $1,242 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 47% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

Miami isn’t just about beaches and nightlife—it’s a vibrant metropolis bursting with opportunity! The city is home to world-renowned institutions like the University of Miami with programs in nursing and finance, as well as Florida International University, which offers marketing and business degrees. As one of the Sunshine State’s major economic centers, Miami offers a diverse range of industries providing job seekers with opportunities at companies like Royal Caribbean Cruises, Baptist Health South Florida, and the University of Miami Health System. Getting into the vibrant cultural scene is easy with events like the Miami International Film Festival and Art Basel Miami Beach, where you can immerse yourself in art, music, and food from around the world. There are also plenty of other fun things to do in Miami! Swim with dolphins, sign your kids up for S.E.A Camp, or try the SeaTREK Reef Encounter at the Miami Seaquarium. Tour the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, Coconut Palm Collection, and more at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which is just a 20-minute drive away. Attend a viewing at the Planetarium, make your way through the three-level Aquarium, or learn about the history of flight in the Feathers to the Stars exhibit at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Enjoy a morning meal of Stuffed Nutella French Toast, Bae’s Shakshuka, or an Acai Bowl at Cafe Bastille. Try unique dishes such as Wood Roasted Local Snapper, Steak au Poivre, or Black Truffle Pizza at Michael’s Genuine. Or choose between Italian entrees like Seafood Guazetto, Traditional Carbonara, or Lobster Ravioli at CRUST.

Orlando

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  • Population: 284,817
  • Home Price: $262,500 median purchase price; $1,253 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 4% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

When looking at the best cities to live in Florida, Orlando clearly makes the list! Conveniently situated near major cities like Tampa and Daytona Beach, The City Beautiful provides great Orlando neighborhoods to settle down in, giving residents easy access to big-city amenities and entertainment. Educational institutions like the University of Central Florida and Valencia College offer excellent degree paths, and there are also tons of job opportunities in top Orlando industries like hospitality, technology, and healthcare. Known as the Theme Park Capital of the World, O-Town beckons residents to immerse themselves in thrilling adventures at iconic attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. But the city’s allure extends far beyond its theme parks! Stop by DinoDigs, KineticZone, and KidsTown at the Orlando Science Center. View art in various mediums from the Tiffany collection or watch free movies during Friday Films at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Drive just 20 minutes away to make a splash at The Grand Reef, observe vibrant flamingos at Flamingo Point, or swim with dolphins in Dolphin Lagoon at Discovery Cove Orlando. Bite into a Meatball Sub, the Barley Brisket Bacon, or a Cubano Fuego at Gnarly Barley. Select from the Tuna Poke Nachos, Fresh Catch Tacos, and Mediterranean Salmon at The Stubborn Mule. And satisfy your hunger with Garlic-Maple Chicken Wings, Sesame Steak Skewers, and Grilled Fish Tacos at Cafe Tu Tu Tango.

Sarasota

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  • Population: 57,787
  • Home Price: $291,500 median purchase price; $1,177 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 13% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.0%

Nestled on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Sarasota is conveniently located near major cities like Tampa and Fort Myers, and it offers residents a wealth of amenities and cultural depth, making it one of the best places to live in Florida. Known for its abundant outdoor activities, Sarasota invites people to spend their days lounging on local area beaches like Longboat Key or playing a round of golf at courses like the Bobby Jones Golf Club. You can explore the vibrant Sarasota arts and culture scene with performances from the Sarasota Ballet or the Jazz Club of Sarasota, and by visiting the Sarasota Art Museum. Educational institutions like the New College of Florida and the Ringling College of Art and Design contribute to the city’s intellectual and creative spirit. When looking for fun things to do in Sarasota, you have plenty of options to choose from! Buy fresh produce at the Siesta Key Farmers Market, rent a jet ski, or sink your toes into the sand at Siesta Beach. Relax while doing Gentle Yoga with manatees, enjoy live music during Laser Light Nights, or explore permanent exhibits featuring Florida’s earliest animals at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, located just 25 minutes away. Feed wild animals, visit the Petting Zoo, or stretch with tigers and other animals during Wild Yoga at the Big Cat Habitat. Sink your teeth into Ocean Scampi, Sesame Tuna, and Scallops Rockefeller at Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood. Try the Chalupa Plate, Special Burrito, or the Chimichanga at El Toro Bravo. Load up on Classic Tacos and Craft Signature Tacos, or build your own burrito at Screaming Goat Taqueria.

Tallahassee

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  • Population: 192,885
  • Home Price: $212,800 median purchase price; $1,022 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 35% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.6%

Are you thinking about moving to Florida’s capital city? Tallahassee is not only home to the historic Florida Capitol building, but it’s also a thriving hub of educational and economic opportunity! Education in Tallahassee is highly regarded, with two top-notch Florida universities—Florida State University and Florida A&M University—adding to the city’s cultural identity. Meanwhile, Tallahassee’s economy is based in top industries like health, finance, technology, and more, with jobs at Tallahassee employers such as Mainline Information Systems, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and the City of Tallahassee. Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts will rejoice at the city’s variety of green spaces to explore, like the Apalachicola National Forest, where you can spend all day hiking, hunting, or fishing. And that’s just the start! Tallahassee is bursting with ways to keep you entertained. Roam through the Tallahassee Tree-to-Tree Adventures, Wildlife Florida exhibit, or sign the little ones up for summer camp at the Tallahassee Museum. Put on some sunscreen before going horseback riding, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. Play games like Super Mario Kart in the Arcade, race around the track in go-karts, or aim for a hole-in-one with mini golf at Fun Station. Fuel your morning with Gary’s Smoked Alaskan Omelet, a Cinnamon Roll, or The Farm House Scrambler from The Egg Cafe & Eatery. Choose between Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, or Malai Kabab at Essence Of India. Or plan a date night in Tallahassee and order the Grilled Citrus Red Snapper, 24oz Ribeye for Two, or vegan plates like Bucatini Pomodoro at Black Radish Bar & Restaurant.

Tampa

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  • Population: 395,912
  • Home Price: $254,600 median purchase price; $1,178 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 27% of Florida cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Located on the scenic Tampa Bay coastline, Tampa offers residents breathtaking waterfront views, fun things to do, and plenty of chances to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The city’s blend of first-rate amenities and affordable homes in great Tampa neighborhoods also make The Big Guava one of the best places to retire in Florida! Healthcare options are top-notch, with convenient access to excellent hospitals like Tampa General Hospital and the Moffitt Cancer Center. Educational opportunities are also within reach at the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. Plus, the city boasts a dynamic economy with top employers in Tampa like Suncoast Credit Union, ProV International, and Bloomin’ Brands. And once the workday is over, there’s no shortage of things to do in Tampa! Go on the Serengeti Safari or the Aldabra Tortoise Insider Tour, or experience rides like Congo River Rapids for some family fun in Tampa at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Support pro sports teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) at Raymond James Stadium or the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) at Amalie Arena. Immerse yourself in nature while adventuring through The Canopy Aviary, Aussie Trek, and Expedition Wild Africa Safari at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Wake up with a Sourdough Cinnamon Roll, Apple Crumble Pancake, or Steak and Eggs for a tasty brunch in Tampa at Oxford Exchange. Start with a Gator Tail appetizer before digging into Charbroiled Oysters or the Gouda Grouper at Ulele. Or chow down on Sauteed Beef Tenderloin, Russian Trout, and Palomilla Steak at La Teresita Restaurant.

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