Jacksonville isn’t just the biggest city in the state of Florida—it’s also the biggest city in the Southeastern United States! With great weather year-round, a thriving economy, a high quality of life, and easy accessibility to the Atlantic Ocean, it should come as no surprise that the area is an excellent spot for families to settle down and raise kids. If you’re thinking about moving to Jacksonville, here are the best neighborhoods for families based on affordability and safety!
Beacon Hills & Harbour
Home Price: $241,000 median purchase price; $1,137 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 73% of cities in Florida
This Jacksonville neighborhood is bordered by St. Johns River and Mill Cove, giving homeowners ample opportunity to enjoy riverfront views or go out on the water by launching a kayak or canoe from the Fulton Landing Boat Ramp.
Because the Beacon Hills & Harbour area is almost exclusively residential, families can enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere where it’s safe for kids to play outside and not have to worry about a ton of traffic, like they would in more urban areas.
Though the neighborhood itself may not be home to a lot of amenities, it’s anything but isolated! Hidden Hills Golf Club and Ed Austin Regional Park (which features a disc golf course and community center) are both just a few minutes away in the neighboring Hidden Hills area. There’s also the nearby Jacksonville Arboretum & Garden, which offers 120 acres of trails through scenic woodlands.
Home Price: $297,300 median purchase price; $1,016 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 81% of cities in Florida
Located on the southeast side of the city, Deercreek is one of the best Jacksonville neighborhoods for families to plant roots. The area offers a variety of homes that are perfect for any family size, such as two-bedroom condos, townhomes, and single-family homes.
Since the neighborhood is located between I-95 and the I-295 beltway, residents can get anywhere in Jacksonville pretty quickly. Take a 30-minute drive east to build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and play volleyball at Oceanfront Park. Or travel northwest to Downtown Jacksonville to catch a Jacksonville Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field.
If you’re looking for fun a little closer to home, become a member at Deercreek Country Club! Adults can play a round of golf or tennis while the kids can splash around in the pool or take golf lessons. The club also hosts tons of events throughout the year like luau-themed bingo and Yappy Hour, which allows furry friends to join in on the fun!
Home Price: $166,400 median purchase price; $1,342 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 40% of cities in Florida
Oceanway is an affordable area in Jacksonville that continues to grow at a rapid pace. Located in the northeastern part of the city, the neighborhood’s close proximity to I-95 and the I-295 beltway makes it easy to commute for work, as well as to get to Jacksonville International Airport.
With Dunn Creek flowing through most of the neighborhood, first-time homebuyers may find housing with a view of the water. If buying a home isn’t the current plan, however, there are plenty of single-family houses and luxury apartments available for rent in the neighborhood.
Residents also have convenient access to local amenities. River City Marketplace is home to major retailers like Walmart and Lowe’s, as well as a movie theater and a variety of family-friendly restaurants like Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings. For outdoor activities, the nearby William F. Sheffield Regional Park is a great option, as it offers playgrounds, sports fields, trails, and more. And don’t forget about the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, which is only about 15 minutes away!
Home Price: $157,200 median purchase price; $934 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 21% of cities in Florida
Though technically more of a suburb than a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Orange Park offers some of the area’s most affordable housing and a plethora of kid-friendly amenities. The suburb’s close proximity to the Naval Air Station Jacksonville means there’s a higher number of military families in the area as well.
This Jacksonville suburb is bordered by Doctors Lake and St. Johns River, so there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and boating throughout the year. Orange Park also hosts a Farmers Market from September to June, as well as several family-friendly events, including the Fall Festival, Hometown Holiday in the Park and Carrie Clark Day.
The area is served by several elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools—the most notable being Oakleaf High School, which offers an Aviation/Aerospace Academy program, as well as a health science program that allows students to qualify as Certified Nurse Assistants.
Home Price: $334,250 median purchase price; $778 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 91% of cities in Florida
Bordered by Roosevelt Boulevard, Ortega Forest is one of the safest, most beautiful neighborhoods in the Jacksonville area. Not only is the overall crime rate 71% lower than the national average, but Ortega Forest also offers sprawling colonial estates and ranch-styled homes with waterfront views at an affordable price.
Located closely to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, this is another great spot for military families to settle down in the area. In addition, Jacksonville families love this neighborhood because of its great schools. Stockton Elementary, Ortega Elementary, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School are all highly-rated and serve the area.
Families can travel to the neighboring Ortega area and go fishing at Stockton Park or play fetch with a four-legged friend at Bettes Park. For more active families, a day out on the Ortega River kayaking and paddle boarding is always a good time.
Home Price: $143,912 median purchase price; $1,252 median monthly rent
Crime Rate: Safer than 68% of cities in Florida
Sandalwood is a great neighborhood for families in the Jacksonville area, thanks to its budget-friendly housing and great schools. Families moving to Sandalwood will find a variety of home options to fit their needs, from luxury apartments and condos to traditional single-family homes and modern ranch houses.
If you have kids about to start high school, Sandalwood High School is an excellent place to attend—it’s considered one of the most diverse public high schools in the Jacksonville area. There’s also Florida State College at Jacksonville nearby if you or your child is pursuing higher education!
While Sandalwood is mostly known for being residential, shopping, entertainment, and outdoor recreation are just a short trip away! Regency Square Mall offers stores like Sports Mania, Record Town, and Bath & Body Works, as well as an AMC Theatres, where families can take advantage of discounted ticket prices on Tuesdays. There’s also Patton Park, which has 120 acres of sports fields, picnic areas, and more to explore.
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Data from AreaVibes