Thinking about moving to Florida? With white sand beaches, popular spots like Disney World and Universal Studios, and a laid-back lifestyle, there’s plenty to love about living in the Sunshine State. Though Florida has a pricey real estate market, there are still plenty of budget-friendly areas to settle down. Check out these eight most affordable places to live in Florida!
- Population: 18,501
- Home Price: $96,500 median purchase price; $821 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 51% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
- Distance from Beach: 18.4 miles (Max Beach)
Located in the middle of the state between Tampa and Orlando, just south of Lakeland, Bartow is one of the best Florida towns to live in. Known as the City of Oaks and Azaleas, it’s surrounded by magnificent historical buildings that date back to the 1800s, ancient trees, and lush nature. This small, friendly area also has great restaurants, family-run businesses, museums, annual events like the Bloomin’ Arts Festival and Bartow Halloween Parade & Carnival, and many more to things to love. Major industries in Bartow include mining, agriculture, and government, and the city’s central location makes commuting to nearby metropolitan areas easy via major roads like Hwy 17 and State Rd 60.
Things to Do in Bartow
Birdwatch, jog, or hike through 7.5 miles of trails encompassed by cypress swamps at Mosaic Peace River Park. Learn about the significant journey of L.B. Brown—a former slave who became a community leader—with a guided tour of his home or by celebrating the annual festival at the Historic L. B. Brown House Museum. Pick out unique gifts, antique furniture, and knick-knacks at The Krazy Kricket. Visit The Wonder House to stroll through its grounds and tour the historic four-story house (with two more stories underground) built by Conrad Shuck. Pick up freshly baked goods like a Mammoth Cinnamon Bun, Danish Turnover, or Quiche at Cookie Jar Bakeshop & Eatery. Grab lunch with modern American dishes like a Reuben Burger, The Grove Chicken, or a Seafood Duet at Zest Bar and Grill. Get together with the family and feast on dishes like Campechana with Octopus, Mole Enchiladas, and Steak Envuelto at Hacienda Mexico. Or indulge in seafood dishes like a Snow Krab & Shrimp Platter or a Fish Platter with Sweet Corn Hush Puppies at Krab Kingz Seafood of Bartow.
- Population: 170,063
- Home Price: $173,400 median purchase price; $1,095 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 78% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
- Distance from Beach: 3 miles (Yacht Club Public Beach)
One of the safest cities in Florida and the seventh-largest city in the state, Cape Coral is a leisurely, family-friendly community that’s perfect for raising children or retiring. Located across the Caloosahatchee River from its metro partner Fort Myers, this beautiful Southwest Florida city is known for having the most canals of any city in the world, with 400 miles of navigable waterways. Not only are the canals a huge draw, but a growing real estate market for home buyers has also made Cape Coral an attractive place to live in Florida. Additionally, with a pleasant subtropical climate, sandy Gulf Coast beaches, beautiful parks, and weekly farmers markets, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities in Cape Coral for all ages.
Things to Do in Cape Coral
Looking for Cape Coral activities? Spend the day soaking up the Florida sun with the kids, relaxing in the lazy river, or speeding down water slides at Sun Splash Family Waterpark. Learn about Cape Coral’s unique past and roam through the beautiful rose garden at Cape Coral Museum of History. Reserve a tee time and challenge your friends to 18 holes or sign up for private lessons at Coral Oaks Golf Course. Hike the 6,600-foot trail, spot wildlife, or go kayaking at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. Taste a variety of unique rum flavors made from Florida sugarcane—like Banana, Vanilla Bean, and Pineapple—on a tour of the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery. Order Shrimp Scampi and Pinchers Crab Cakes with the Famous Fish & Chips at Pinchers. Indulge in gastropub-fusion dishes like the Crab Rangoon Griller, Galbi Burger, and Baja Boats while sipping craft cocktails at 10 Twenty Five. Or enjoy a romantic night out with wine and fusion Mediterranean plates such as Sous Vide Pork Chop, Mozzarella Stuffed Wagyu Meatballs, and Gnocchi Trifolati at Gather.
HOW MUCH WILL MOVING COST?
- Population: 6,782
- Home Price: $82,600 median purchase price; $816 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 13% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
- Distance from Beach: 35.6 miles (Hudson Beach)
Historically known for agriculture, Dade City sits inland atop the gentle slopes of Pasco County and is part of the greater Tampa Bay Area. Dade City is one of the most affordable cities to live in Florida, and residents benefit from a low cost of living with their pick of Georgian, Ranch, and Spanish-style homes. As for things to do in Dade City, you’ll find plenty of eclectic restaurants, museums, shops, and parks. Residents gather frequently at popular events like The Dade City Market Place, Kumquat Festival, and Florida Bug Jam. For those seeking job opportunities or looking to further their studies, Tree City also offers access to excellent higher education at Saint Leo University and Pasco-Hernando State College – East Campus.
Things to Do in Dade City
Learn about Dade City’s earliest farm equipment and agricultural tools through displays in more than a dozen preserved buildings at Pioneer Florida Museum & Village. Grill out with friends, play racquetball, or walk your dog at Price Park. Browse unique Funko Pops, vintage comics, and a wide selection of sweets at Dade City Candy, Comics & Collectibles. Looking for family activities in Dade City? Feed lemurs and otters, get up close with giraffes, or observe more than 70 species of animals like hippos and camels during a Wildlife Drive-Thru Safari tour at Giraffe Ranch. Grab brunch with friends and try dishes like the Farmers Breakfast, Eggs Benedict Florentine, or Mushroom Swiss Omelette at Kafe Kokopelli. Indulge in delectables like an Angel Garden Salad or Almond Chicken Croissant while enjoying Traditional Afternoon Tea at Angel Tea Room & Heavenly Treasures Gift Shop. Dig into Cajun and Creole fare such as Cigar City Gumbo, Muffuletta, or The Hottie at Green Door on 8th. Or chow down hearty dishes like a Brisket Meal or Smokin’ Grilled Chez with Banana Pudding for dessert at Dade City BBQ & Ice Cream Company.
- Population: 35,882
- Home Price: $157,200 median purchase price; $985 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 76% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
- Distance from Beach: 6.8 miles (Honeymoon Island)
Located on the western edge of the state and bordering the Saint Joseph Sound is Dunedin, one of the best places to live in Florida. The city is well known for its Scottish heritage, which is still celebrated today with the annual Dunedin Highland Games & Festival event. Not only does this affordable Florida city boast tons of outdoor recreation and amazing restaurants within biking or walking distance—but it also offers stunning budget-friendly homes with waterfront views. Dunedin is also close to cities like Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, so residents wanting to work in the city or spend the weekend enjoying urban amenities can make quick trips without the high price tag of living there.
Things to Do in Dunedin
Watch the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) round the bases during spring training at TD Ballpark. Take a downtown walking tour or discover the city’s history through artifacts and photographs at Dunedin History Museum. Lounge on the white sand beaches, go paddleboarding, and bird-watch at Honeymoon Island State Park or Caladesi Island State Park, some of the best places to visit in Florida. Explore jewelry and craft boutiques, stop by local eateries, and attend fun events like the Dunedin Downtown Market along Main Street. Start your weekend with breakfast food like Niki’s Oats or Southern Belle and a cup of craft coffee at Dunedin Coffee Company & Bakery. Looking for a great Mexican restaurant in Dunedin? Fill your belly with Tamales, Chiles Rellenos, or a Smoked Salmon Quesadilla at Casa Tina. Splurge for date night and dine on French and New American cuisine with dishes like White Truffle Lobster Risotto, Chilean Sea Bass Lyonnaise, and Pappardelle Bolognese at The Black Pearl Dunedin. Or try rotating flavors of beer on tap—like the Apricot Peach Ale, Celtic Gold, or Pipers Pale Ale—at the oldest microbrewery in Florida, Dunedin Brewery.
- Population: 128,610
- Home Price: $143,900 median purchase price; $858 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 10% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
- Distance from Beach: 25.2 miles (Keystone Beach)
Located west of St Augustine and Daytona Beach, Gainesville offers residents big-city amenities with small-town prices. Known for its lively college town atmosphere, friendly neighborhoods, great healthcare, and lush nature spaces, Gainesville is one of the best places to live in Florida for young adults and families alike. Outdoor lovers can look forward to hiking trips, relaxing at parks and gardens, and visiting a variety of museums. On top of that, residents don’t have to travel far to receive quality education, since both the University of Florida and Santa Fe College are located within the city. Gainesville is also one of the best places to retire in Florida, thanks to low housing costs and amazing healthcare facilities like UF Health Shands Hospital and HCA Florida North Florida Hospital.
Things to Do in Gainesville
Cheer on the Florida Gators (NCAA D-I) football team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also known as “The Swamp.” Looking for Gainesville date ideas? See 24 different plant collections—featuring bamboo, herbs, azaleas, and much more—during a guided walking tour or while exploring on your own at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Bring your kids to learn about Earth’s history with Florida Fossils, observe butterflies and birds at the Butterfly Rainforest, and play in the Discovery Zone at Florida Museum of Natural History. Enjoy an evening of live performances like Shrek the Musical, Romeo + Juliet, and Clue at one of the oldest community theaters in Florida, Gainesville Community Playhouse. Have an afternoon coffee break sampling Smoked Mexican Mocha, Rose Cardamom, or Drip Coffee at Wyatt’s Coffee in Downtown Gainesville. If you’re searching for the best Mexican food in Gainesville, try classic dishes like Camarones a la Diabla, Mojarra Frita, or Huarache at La Tienda. Munch on Mediterranean-inspired fare with Toasted Panna-Rustica to start, followed by main dishes like Braised Bison Short Rib Panino and the Good Morning Burger at Paramount Grill. Or grab an outdoor seat and order the Roasted Cabbage Salad, a Brisket Sandwich, and Fried Beets at Public & General Restaurant.
- Population: 856,616
- Home Price: $140,000 median purchase price; $955 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 16% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
- Distance from Beach: 22.4 miles (Jacksonville Beach)
The largest city in Florida by population is Jacksonville, which sits at the northeastern border of the Sunshine State. The city offers many employment opportunities for young professionals, with major companies like Fidelity National Financial and CSX Corporation located in Jacksonville. Additionally, major roads like I-95 and I-10 provide easy commutes for work, and Jacksonville International Airport is handy for traveling longer distances. With a plethora of outdoor and water activities, a vibrant restaurant and craft beer scene, museums, art galleries, and more, Jacksonville has something to offer everyone. As one of the most affordable places to live in Florida, residents can also find cost-effective housing in family-friendly Jax neighborhoods boasting historical Colonial, Greek Revival, and Queen Anne home styles.
Things to Do in Jacksonville
Go surfing, play beach volleyball, or relax on the beach at one of the best vacation spots in Florida, Jacksonville Beach. Visit Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve to explore the beauty of the salt marshes and learn about local historical events at both Kingsley Plantation and Fort Caroline National Memorial. Admire a variety of plants in the botanical gardens, say hello to animals like manatees and tigers, or spot ornate sculptures around the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Browse European and American art dating back to 2100 B.C. or appreciate the lush architecture and landscaping in the Cummer Gardens at Cummer Museum. Indulge in Spanish-inspired fare like Spanish Pork Mojo skewers, Risotto, and Pan-Fried Whitefish at 13 Gypsies. Grab unique, handcrafted sub sandwiches like Aunt Carol, Jack Del Rio, or Peruvian from Angie’s Subs. Hunting for the best sushi in Jacksonville? Sample the Kelmon Roll, Fancy Q Roll, or Sashimi Deluxe at Sushi Bear Sushi & Grill. Or spend your evening relaxing by Neptune Beach while ordering dishes like the Beach Burger and Boom Boom Shrimp Tacos with a Melon Squeeze mixed drink at Lemon Bar & Grille.
- Population: 66,840
- Home Price: $136,300 median purchase price; $968 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 33% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
- Distance from Beach: 9.8 miles (Lakefront Beach)
Situated just 30 minutes from Orlando, Kissimmee is known as the “Vacation Home Capital of the World” and the central hub for larger-than-life themed attractions like Walt Disney World, Legoland, and Universal Studios. But Kissimmee isn’t just a great place to visit—as one of the most affordable cities in Florida boasting a low cost of living, it’s also one of the best cities to live in Florida. This is also due to Kissimmee’s pristine lake beaches, unique restaurants, and lush green golf courses. On top of that, with major roads like the I-4 and Florida’s Turnpike—as well as Kissimmee Gateway Airport and easy access to Orlando International Airport—it’s easy for residents to travel for business or pleasure.
Things to Do in Kissimmee
Hop on thrilling rides like the Hurricane, Skycoaster, and Headrush 360 at Fun Spot Kissimmee. Explore waterside trails, go paddling or fishing, or enjoy bird-watching at Shingle Creek Regional Park. Learn how people in this area lived in the 1800s and embark on a scavenger hunt at Osceola County Welcome Center & History Museum. Watch car shows, ride the Ferris Wheel or Paratrooper, or get some retail therapy at gift shops and boutiques in Old Town Kissimmee. Dig into Traditional Gyros, the Regular Big Dawg, or a Grilled Chicken Hoagie at The Downtown Deli. Treat your tastebuds to traditional Puerto Rican cuisine with Pork Shish Kebabs, a Cuban Sandwich, and a side of Sweet Plantains at Tony’s Antojitos. Order Yucatan-inspired Mexican fare like Tacos De Pescado, Flautas, and Chuletas at El Borrego Mexican Cuisine. Bring your friends out for a dance night and drinks like Captain Punch, Mermaid Water, or a Rum Runner at Sun On the Beach.
- Population: 78,911
- Home Price: $125,400 median purchase price; $863 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 8% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
- Distance from Beach: 3 miles (Melbourne Beach)
Named after the Australian city, Melbourne, Florida is a vibrant coastal town situated along the Indian River Lagoon just 45 minutes from Cape Canaveral. Melbourne is both a great vacation spot and one of the most affordable beach towns in Florida—offering budget-friendly housing and a lower cost of living than many other Florida cities, all while being right on the water. Known for its artsy culture, Melbourne is home to the Eau Gallie Arts District, where residents can shop local businesses, browse art galleries, and visit historical sites. The community also gathers at annual events like the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival, Melbourne Art Festival, and Downtown Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. While residents have great amenities at their fingertips, those itching to travel can take advantage of major roadways like I-95, public transportation through Space Coast Area Transit, and air travel at Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
Things to Do in Melbourne
Go boating, play beach volleyball, or fish at Melbourne Beach. Take a one-of-a-kind kayaking tour through the zoo, feed birds like lorikeets and cockatiels, or admire other animals at the Brevard Zoo. Spend a day in historic Downtown Melbourne to explore quirky shops like Creative Bazaar Art & Oddities and Tangled Rose Boutique, or paint your own pieces at Get Fired Up Pottery. Stroll through 15 acres of flora and fauna, identify native plants, or have a picnic at the Joy & Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden at Florida Tech. Dig into comfort food like French Toast, Biscuits & Gravy, or a Buttermilk Short Stack at That Little Restaurant. Stop for a Milky Way Latte with a Cucumber Dill Wrap or Brie Apple Nut Melt sandwich at 905 Cafe. Order casual Thai dishes like Thai Fried Rice, Red Curry, or Volcano Chicken at Jao Thai Kitchen. Or listen to live music while enjoying Irish pub fare like Shepherd’s Pie, Potato Balls, and Crab & Shrimp Cake at Meg O’Malley’s Restaurant & Irish Pub.
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City statistics from AreaVibes