Year-round sunshine, tropical beaches, an abundance of nature and wildlife, stunning architecture and one of the world’s top vacation destinations—it’s easy to understand why so many Floridians refer to their home as "paradise." Still, the Sunshine State encompasses so much more than the “everyday vacation” aesthetic for tourists and full-time residents alike.
From acclaimed institutions of higher education and plentiful job prospects to an affordable cost of living and easygoing lifestyle, it's no surprise that Florida continues to attract transplants from across the country interested in relocating there permanently.
Florida's universal appeal spans demographics. Here's a helpful breakdown of several of its diverse communities, along with potentially perfect moving matches.
Millennials & City Types
St. Petersburg. The city of St. Petersburg is one of Florida’s most popular migration destinations for young professionals and entrepreneurs. Dubbed "The Sunshine City," St. Pete attracts new residents opting for a more subtle, less glossy lifestyle than areas of Florida's Atlantic side. Located on a peninsula with Tampa Bay on one side and Gulf of Mexico on the other, St. Petersburg touts a relatively low cost of living considering its coastal geography. In addition to its beaches, St. Pete is home to trendy office buildings, shops, markets, music venues, and outdoor spaces, making it a prime choice for young adults. The city's gorgeous coastline also attracts international tourists—with miles of white sand, palm trees, nature trails and bike lanes leading to bright turquoise waters.
Miami. Located on the Atlantic coast of Florida’s southeastern tip, the city of Miami and its surrounding neighborhoods are best suited for those seeking a faster, more urbanized way of life. Miami’s tropical aesthetic, Latin American influence, athletic appeal (as home to four major league professional sports teams; the Miami Heat being one of these) and all-inclusive hub for the arts, culture and entertainment, make it a classic cosmopolitan gem.
Boca Raton. This city combines classic beach living with progressive culture and lifestyle. One of the wealthiest communities in South Florida, Boca Raton is known as a business hub, home to several corporate headquarters of multi-billion dollar companies, five colleges, a vibrant arts and social scene, thriving tourism industry, and a better job market in comparison to neighboring areas. Nearby Delray Beach is a popular surfing destination, and Boca Raton is one of the few locations in Florida offering ferry rides to the Bahamas.
Jacksonville. The largest city in Florida, Jacksonville’s population is comprised mostly of families and working professionals. Its high average payroll salary reflects the multitude of job opportunities particular to corporate banks, financial services and health care. These booming industries provide residents with advantages over surrounding areas, and Jacksonville’s favorable school systems draw families here as well. The city also boasts a low cost of living, and is known as the jackpot for planned communities and housing developments.
Fort Lauderdale. Located just an hour north of Miami on the Atlantic coast, this lush, oceanfront community showcases gorgeous homes with brightly colored gardens nested on waterways where residents can dock their boats. Successful artists, harbors, restaurants and miles of sandy beaches make it an enjoyable place to both live and visit. Home to much of Florida’s prime oceanfront real estate, the cost of living in Ft. Lauderdale remains higher than other communities within the region.
Gainesville. Home to the University of Florida and other surrounding colleges, this densely populated city in northern Florida is perfect for working class families, and similar to Jacksonville, its advanced technology sector and outstanding health care facilities create a prime job market for industry workers. Additional amenities such as parks, nature centers, zoos, museums, amusement parks, and education centers, also attract families.
Tampa. Tampa Bay, on Florida’s west coast, offers both a mellow beach lifestyle and the benefits of a large metropolitan area. Its suburbs ranked among the highest in Florida for upper to middle class families, Tampa has countless family friendly amenities, as well as a cost of living that's lower than the national average.
Naples. Retirees are drawn to Florida for many things, affordable housing and plenty of activities among these. Naples is home to gorgeous beaches, health centers, low taxes, an affordable real estate market, and an active social scene focused toward its large population of senior residents.
Cape Coral. For retiree seeking affordable living paired with a lifestyle on the water, look no further than the city of Cape Coral. Dubbed a "Waterfront Wonderland," it is home to more than 400 miles of canals leading to the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean—the most amount of any other city in the world.
The Villages Retirement Community. Referred to as the ‘adult Disney World’, The Villages is one of the largest active retirement communities in the world. Spanning three counties and zip codes in central Florida, with more than 120,000 residents, The Villages is a truly remarkable self-sustaining town with luxurious amenities, replete with town squares, boutique storefronts, restaurants, post offices, and countless recreational activities. Located 20 miles north of Orlando, The Villages is an ideal campus for retirees seeking a life upgrade specifically catering to their age bracket and associated needs.
Crystal River. The beautiful city of Crystal River is situated off the beaten path, around two hours inland from Tampa. Its namesake is one of the state’s cleanest and purest spring-fed waterways, which the community was built around. Florida’s pristine freshwater springs serve as a key area for nature enthusiasts to swim, snorkel, dive, kayak, and hike. Crystal River and nearby Rainbow and Homosassa rivers nurture many thriving ecosystems of plants and wildlife that are home to the endangered Florida manatee and countless birds, fish, turtles, wild pigs, armadillos, reptiles, and more.
Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are a string of about 1,000 small islands off Florida’s southernmost tip. With world-renowned beaches and a low population of permanent residents, its cost of living is comparatively higher than other areas. Activities for those relocating here include swimming, boating, snorkeling, and beach-hopping, among many others.
Mount Dora. Mount Dora is a gorgeous lakefront city in central Florida with a rustic appeal and quaint, small town charm. Known for its picturesque lake, impressively lush gardens, antique shops, bed and breakfasts and wineries, Mount Dora puts a classy spin on nature-oriented living.