As someone born and raised in the US (Florida to be exact) such a beautiful state in the southeastern region of the US is truly amazing. The only country in the world bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean has a lot to offer!
One person told us: I am very proud to say that I have visited the best places in Florida and I am very glad that I got to live here for 8 years of my life. If you’re not a resident, reading about the pros and cons of living in Florida on the Internet can leave you overwhelmed and worried.
- 1 What are the Best Places to Live in Florida
- 2 St. Augustine
- 3 Gainesville
- 4 Pensacola
- 5 Jacksonville
- 6 Yulee
- 7 Daytona Beach
- 8 Choosing the Best Places to Live in North Florida
What are the Best Places to Live in Florida
We’ve evaluated the best places to live in North Florida to make sure you get a detailed and unbiased review of these Sunshine State cities.
The southern part of Florida usually gets all the attention, but the north has numerous top-quality cities and towns that are fun and affordable with easy access to the best beaches in the world.
For this article, we used the latest data on affordability for each city, based on housing costs and overall cost of the living, education system, and crime levels.
We’ve also made sure to find cities that are really desirable to live in and do for yourself. Also, we have taken into consideration that the shots are close to amenities such as beaches or parks.
To get our research right, we made sure to cross-check each choice multiple times with other data and rankings from major magazines and online databases like Wallethub, Niche.com, and U.S. News & World Report.
So without further ado let’s check out the results of the best places to live in North Florida.
We featured St. Augustine as the number one city in today’s article – St. Augustine tops our list of the best places to live in North Florida. Not only did it come in first place for North Florida, but it topped the list of best cities in all of Florida
Advantages – Disadvantages:
+ Cultural refuge
+ Charming downtown
+ Great beach
– High cost of living
– Lots of tourists
Previous records for the city of St. Augustine
2021: Travel + Leisure – One of America’s 11 Best Small Towns
2020: Country Living Magazine – One of 20 Small Towns That Make a Big Impact.
2020: USA Today – “St. Augustine is the Best Historic Small Town”
2019: MSN.com – “St. Augustine ranked second among the 25 most charming cities in America.
2018: Condé Nast Traveler – “St. Augustine named one of America’s most beautiful cities”
It is truly a special city, one of the most beautiful in all of America. In charming historic downtown, there are 144 blocks of boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, cozy bars, and quaint coffee shops. St. Augustine also has thriving art, culture, and live music scene, making it an ideal city for both families and retirees.
St. Augustine is located right on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, so it has direct beach access. In fact, it was named the #5 beach town out of 205 in the US by Wallet.
The job market in St. Augustine is also quite strong. It is expected to grow by 50% over the next 10 years, which is higher than the US average of 33% and higher than other cities on this list.
Some of the top employers in the area include Fidelity Investments, Mayo Clinic, Bank of America, and Amazon.
So, what are the downsides of St. Augustine? Mainly the high cost of living? For example, the smoll median home price in St. Augustine is $315,000
But, if you can afford it, find a more complete city than St. Augustine and buy a home to live in.
We put the city of Gainesville in second place because the city is located on a plateau between two rivers, Gainesville is sunny and green all year round. The city has a relatively low crime rate compared to other cities and boasts high-quality healthcare facilities as well as a strong economy.
The biggest downside to living here is that it’s somewhat isolated—there are few major highways through the city, making commuting more convenient than the other Florida cities.
Still, if you prefer to live close to campus (University of Florida), you may not mind the suburbs or a short distance from your job. Fortunately, the city has public transport options like buses and trolleys.
Sometimes we want to live in a place away from all the hustle and bustle associated with major cities, yet not so far from them. If so, then Gainesville might be the best place for you to go. The city is strategically located between some of Florida’s major cities, including Jacksonville and Orlando, as well as multiple pristine beaches.
Gainesville is perfect for young people because it’s home to the University of Florida, so it’s surrounded by the buzz and activity of young people.
The presence of the university opened up the space, increasing the number of investors arriving. It also skyrocketed the growth of the job market. It is a good place to live as a young person who has just finished school and is looking to build a life.
Centrally located in North FL
To engage in many activities
A booming economy
Attractive job market
Suitable for young and old
Accommodation is mostly student-centric
Heat and humidity can be challenging
Other notable mentions
Palm Valley: Just 30 minutes southeast of downtown Jacksonville, Palm Valley is one of the best small towns you can live in Florida. It boasts above-average employment opportunities, a low crime rate, and plenty to do or see.
Neptune Beach: With a total population of just over 7,000 people, this is another great city to consider when considering North Florida as your new home. There are plenty of shopping opportunities, restaurants, boutiques, and bars. In addition, it is only half an hour away from the most populous city in Florida – Jacksonville.
Fleming Island: Despite the name, Fleming Island is more of an inland town than an island. Here, residents enjoy many attractions and activities, including fishing and boating. The crime rate is remarkably low, and the school system is excellent, making it a great city to live in.
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Advantages – Disadvantages:
+ Excellent school system
+ Growing job market
+ Low housing costs
– Some pockets of crime
Pensacola takes the third spot on our list and is the most northwesterly city. It sits west of the Florida Panhandle as the last major city in Florida before Alabama.
Pensacola is best known for its easy lifestyle and proximity to some of the best beaches in the world. Pensacola Beach is only 15 minutes from downtown Pensacola, and Destin, rated the number one beach in all of Florida (and often the world), is only an hour away.
Meanwhile, Pensacola as a city has a lot going for it. It’s a great place to live for families and retirees alike, with many amenities and things to do in the downtown area and beyond. Pensacola was also named the 15th most desirable place to live in the entire United States by U.S. News & World Report.
The cost of living in Pensacola is also lower than in other cities. Housing costs are 27% lower than the rest of the U.S. If you look for homes to live on Zillow, you’ll find that the average price of a home is around $170,000.
The Pensacola job market is also expected to continue to grow, growing an estimated 42% over the next 10 years, outpacing the national average of 33%.
Best place to live in North Florida right now – Jacksonville
Advantages – Disadvantages:
+ Cheap, big city living
+ Tons of things to do
+ Growing job market
– Certain areas of crime
– Heavy traffic and long commutes
Jacksonville is the fourth largest city on our list as Florida’s commercial and financial center. It has a well-established and thriving downtown with many quiet suburban neighborhoods in the surrounding area. There’s also easy access to the outdoors, as it ranks as one of the best big cities in the US for outdoor activities.
It’s easy to see why, as there are numerous parks around the city and several state forests a short drive away. Of course, there’s the legendary Florida coastline and beaches just 30 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach are all accessible and miles away.
That’s what makes Jacksonville so attractive – you can enjoy the big city life at an affordable price, with quick access to the beach and nature. The cost of living in Jacksonville is 6.5% lower than the rest of the US, which is pretty good considering it’s a big city.
If that’s not enough, there’s always something to do around town. You can watch the Jacksonville Jaguars play football during the fall or indulge yourself in the delicious food scene.
Additionally, there are many trendy places around Jacksonville that are perfect for visiting and living. The hip San Marco neighborhood is across the river from downtown, while the thriving Five Points and Riverside communities are just 10 minutes from downtown.
Also, don’t miss the historic Springfield neighborhood, which is booming with new restaurants and breweries just 5 minutes from downtown.
But, there are some downsides to its popularity – there is a lot of traffic which can affect your daily commute as well as some areas of crime.
Still, Jacksonville continues to attract new residents and the job market is expected to grow 44.4% over the next 10 years, well above the national average of 33.5%.
Jacksonville’s top employers include big names like Bank of America, JPMorgan, Chase, Amazon, and healthcare providers like Baptist Health and Mayo Clinic.
Advantages – Disadvantages:
+ Close to major cities and beaches
+ A wide range of affordable home options
+ Lots of outdoor amenities
– Increasing popularity
Just north of Jacksonville is the small community of Yulee The city of 14,100 residents is an ideal blend of easygoing suburban living and close proximity to the financial center of Jacksonville, Florida, all at an affordable price.
Yulee is only 20 minutes from the beaches of stunning Amelia Island, one of the best beach towns to live in the region.
So, why did we rank Eulie so high on this list of the best cities in North Florida?
For starters, it offers a structured lifestyle for virtually every age group Outdoor lovers can enjoy the John Muir Ecological Park or the expansive Yulee Sports Complex and Gymnasium, which includes baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts, and a playground for children.
Meanwhile, the city features ten different neighborhoods that can offer the perfect fit for everyone from young professionals to retirees.
Housing costs in Yulee are also quite reasonable. Recent statistics show that average home prices here are 2% below the Florida state average, which is pretty good considering the proximity to both Jacksonville and the beach.
Additionally, its school system is often considered one of the best in the region. In AreaVibe’s latest ratings, Yulee received an “A” grade for its teaching quality.
If you’re looking for a city that combines affordable prices, a low cost of living, and strong job prospects, Daytona Beach is the place to visit. The proximity to Jacksonville and Orlando makes the site suitable for all ages.
For a long time, the area has mainly been aimed at seniors in retirement. However, today it is gradually being started by the middle-aged working class as well as the vibrant youth.
If recent statistics are anything to go by, the job market in Daytona Beach is expected to grow by 43% over the next ten years, which means we can only expect good things from the city.
Like other cities in Florida and as the name suggests, Daytona Beach is right next to the Atlantic Ocean, which means you can enjoy long stretches of sandy beaches. It would be a suitable and attractive place for a young family.
Affordable cost of living
Tons of activities to indulge in
High tourist arrivals
Report crimes in specific areas
Choosing the Best Places to Live in North Florida
Choosing accommodation can be a daunting task. For good reason, many people become complacent when choosing a location to start a life or moving from where they left off. Before jumping right into the best places you can buy a home in North Florida, let’s take a look at some factors to consider when reviewing these places.
The cost of living can be more or less depending on the place or city. The difference comes because of differences in development and economic growth. When looking at the best place to buy a home, you need to make sure that it is a place where you can afford the cost of living. Areas outside of your regular living expenses can be very challenging for you. We’ll take a look at this element when comparing some of the best places in North Florida to buy a home.
People want to make sure they can get a job quickly wherever they go. You want to make sure you can get a job quickly and maintain your livelihood while choosing a place to live. It is an aspect used to see some of the best places one can live
You want to make sure that the place you want to move to is not stagnant in terms of infrastructure and economic development. You can quickly tell if an area is developing by looking at its growth rate over the past few years. Infrastructural development can increase the rate of population growth. Similarly, as you progress as a person, your position will increase.
Finally, it is always important to consider your safety when deciding where to buy or rent a home. Whether you’re a retiree, looking to raise a family in your middle age, or starting a new family, everyone wants to live in a place where they feel safe. That’s why you’ll occasionally see the phrase “crime rate” in the remaining bits of this article.