Thinking about moving to Florida? With white sand beaches, popular attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, and major corporation headquarters, there’s plenty to love about living in the Sunshine State. But with median home prices around $305,266 and median monthly rent at about $1,800, finding an affordable home can be tough. But it’s not impossible! If you don’t mind living in smaller areas outside of big cities, it’s easier to find a budget-friendly home. Check out these five most affordable places to live in Florida!
- Population: 170,063
- Home Price: $173,400 median purchase price; $1,095 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 80% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
- Distance from Beach: 2.5 miles (Yacht Club Beach)
One of the most affordable cities in Florida and the eighth-largest city in the state, Cape Coral is a family-friendly community that’s perfect for settling down. Located across the Caloosahatchee River from its metro partner Fort Myers, this affordable Southwest Florida city is known for having the most canals in the world with 400 miles of navigable waterways. Not only are the canals a huge draw for new residents, but a competitive real estate market for first-time home buyers and rapid growth of local business have also made Cape Coral one of the best places to live in Florida!
Things to Do in Cape Coral
Spend the day soaking up the Florida sun with the kids, relaxing in the lazy river, or speeding down water slides at Sun Splash Waterpark. Learn about Cape Coral’s unique past and roam through the beautiful rose garden at Cape Coral Historical Museum. Build a sandcastle on the beach and fish off of the pier at Yacht Club Community Park. Hike the 6,600-foot trail and go kayaking at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. Browse through fresh produce, seafood, flowers, and more at the Cape Coral Farmers Market. Take a tour of the Wicked Dolphin Rum distillery and taste a variety of unique rum flavors made from Florida sugarcane. Order Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with the Famous Fish & Chips at Pinchers. Or indulge in gastropub-fusion dishes like Cheeseburger Lo Mein, Fried Pork Tenderloin, and Crab Rangoon Grilled Cheese at 10 Twenty Five.
HOW MUCH WILL MOVING COST?
- Population: 35,882
- Home Price: $157,200 median purchase price; $985 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 78% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
- Distance from Beach: 5.4 miles (Honeymoon Island)
Less than an hour west from Tampa bordering the Saint Joseph Sound is Dunedin, one of the most affordable places to live in Florida. Not only does the area offer budget-friendly homes with waterfront views, but it also boasts tons of outdoor recreation and amazing restaurants all within biking or walking distance. Dunedin is also close to cities like Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, so singles and young professionals who want to work in the city or spend the weekend enjoying urban amenities can make quick trips to big Florida cities 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 Dunedin Stadium. Put on your most decorative mask and attend the Dunedin Mardi Gras Festival and Parade, or grab your bagpipes and take part in Scottish gaming tradition at the Dunedin Highland Games and Festival. Take a trip to Honeymoon Island or Caladesi Island for white sand Florida beaches, gorgeous sunsets, and paddleboarding. Explore antique jewelry boutiques, old-fashioned candy stores, Celtic shops, and much more on Dunedin Main Street. Fill your belly with Tamales, Chiles Rellenos, or a Smoked Salmon Quesadilla from Casa Tina. Or try the Tea Rex Amber Ale or Classic Beetz IPA with some friends at the oldest microbrewery in Florida: Dunedin Brewery.
Fort Walton Beach
- Population: 21,238
- Home Price: $164,100 median purchase price; $941 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 47% of Florida cities.
- Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
- Distance from Beach: 2.4 miles (Okaloosa Island)
If you want to live comfortably next to the ocean in Florida, look no further than Fort Walton Beach! This affordable coastal city in the Florida Panhandle gives residents a small-town feel while boasting all of the amenities and fun of some of the Sunshine State’s bigger cities. Housing options here range from low-maintenance condos to sprawling estates. Nearby business districts like Uptown Station and Downtown Fort Walton Beach create tons of job opportunities for residents in the area, while close proximity to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is ideal if you need to take a trip out of town for work or go on a weekend getaway.
Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach
Have a fun-filled weekend with the kids playing putt-putt at Goofy Golf, or hit the links for a quick round at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club. Swim with dolphins, shake flippers with a seal, or dance with penguins at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Head over to the Island Pier to catch a large tuna or see the beautiful Florida sunset on Okaloosa Island. Experiment with robots, learn about meteorology and play games on the interactive floor of Emerald Coast Science Center. Take your dog for a walk on the trail or round up some friends for disc golf at Ferry Park. Experience Gulf-to-table dishes like Steamed Crab Legs and Blackened Crawfish at The Shack. Chow down on Raw Oysters, Crab Cakes, and Seafood Po’Boys at AJ’s Oyster Shanty. Sample some of the hottest sauces in the world on your enchiladas or tacos at Tijuana Flats, or satisfy your sweet tooth with delicious chocolate gelato at Pino Gelato.
- Population: 102,714
- Home Price: $109,300 median purchase price; $890 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 39% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
- Distance from Beach: 44.8 miles (Apollo Beach)
Nestled between Orlando and Tampa lies the affordable Florida city of Lakeland. While the city was named for the various lakes it contains, Lakeland is known for being a major transportation hub due to its central location along I-4. In fact, it’s just around an hour to commute to Tampa or Orlando from Lakeland, so job opportunities and fun activities in bigger cities aren’t hard to reach. Lakeland is also home to Florida Southern College, which offers excellent nursing, education, and business programs, as well as top-rated Division II athletic programs.
Things to Do in Lakeland
Walk through exhibits of ancient African sculptures and modern Impressionist paintings at the Polk Museum of Art. Shop for antique radios, vinyl records, and furniture at Lloyds of Lakeland in Historic Downtown Lakeland. See a play at the Lake Mirror Auditorium or drift through thousands of roses in Hollis Garden at the Lake Mirror Complex. Go boating or enjoy a picnic at Lake Parker Park. Watch the Detroit Tigers (MLB) take the field for spring training at Joker Marchant Stadium. Get tickets to Sun ‘N Fun, an international expo with hot air balloons, air shows, inflatable obstacle courses, tea parties, and more. Try New Orleans-inspired like Louisiana Fondeaux, Crawfish Etouffée, or Cajun Seared Ahi at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille. Fill up on Seafood Chowder, Paella Valenciana, or Chicken Cordon Bleu at Puerto Rican restaurant Brasa Latina. Or order a delicious latte and avocado toast for breakfast on-the-go at Black and Brew.
- Population: 16,070
- Home Price: $211,500 median purchase price; $829 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 48% of Florida cities
- Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
- Distance from Beach: 3.2 miles (South Beach Park)
If you’re looking to settle down in one of the most affordable cities in Florida, consider Vero Beach! Tucked along Indian River Lagoon, this cheap East Florida city offers great beaches, tons of culture, and close proximity to the action in West Palm Beach! Vero Beach is also home to many beachfront resorts and is located in the citrus capital of North America—Indian River County—so jobs in tourism and agriculture are plentiful. With an average of 232 sunny days a year, inexpensive housing, and lots of outdoor recreation, Vero Beach is an awesome place to live in Florida for active individuals!
Things to Do in Vero Beach
Observe the exotic plants and animals of Florida’s marshland on Capt. Bob’s Airboat Adventures. Pick up new shoes or browse clothes from popular brands like Calvin Klein, Adidas, and Ralph Lauren at Vero Beach Outlet. Marvel at artifacts and memorabilia and learn how the citrus industry began in the U.S. at the Indian River Citrus Museum. Take in over 880 works of 20th-century art ranging from glass and sculptures to paintings and videos at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Attend the annual Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival, where you’ll sample over 100 wines, see award-winning movies, and watch culinary demos. Hunt for treasure at Seagrape Trail Beach, frolic in the water at South Beach Park, or surf huge swells at Sebastian Inlet State Park. Feast on Southern comfort food with a twist—like Short Rib Poutine, Ranch Steak, and Dumpling Mac at Southern Social. Sip on a glass of wine while enjoying cheese and chocolate fondue at Kilted Mermaid. Or dine at Lemon Tree, a local brunch spot known for their Cheesy Grits and Lemon Tree Signature Breakfast Sandwich.
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City statistics from AreaVibes