6 Best Beach Towns in Florida

This Article Will Answer the Question: Where are the Best Places to Live Near the Beach in Florida ?

So you’re thinking of moving to Florida because you love the beach, or fishing or sunsets on the water.

Maybe it’s that tasty fresh seafood all great beach towns have.

With all that coastline in Florida and hundreds of miles of sand and cities and towns all along it, how do you choose which one is best for you?

This should help! Here’s the 6 best beach towns in Florida and how we chose them.

Criteria Used to Choose the Best Beach Towns

I believe beach towns must have the following to to be the best places to live near the water in Florida…

#1-The Town Must Have or be Very Close to Some of the Best Beaches in Florida

Some beaches have dark, dirty looking sand. Some have course sand that feels like it’s best purpose would be for making sandpaper.

Some beaches in Florida have been ravaged by storms, which left very little actual sandy area at the beach to enjoy. Some beaches are poorly maintained or have too much garbage in the sand.

A town had to be have beautiful, clean, well maintained beaches, or beautiful natural beaches to make it onto our list.

The sand had to be soft, the kind of sand that’s great for long walks barefoot along the water’s edge.

The town had to be very close to the beach(es) itself.

Being able to walk or bike to the beach would be ideal.

If that wasn’t possible because most beaches are on keys or islands, or in state parks, a short drive of 30 minutes or less to access them did not disqualify the city.

Most of the beaches in or near the towns below have been named as best by Dr Beach or are well known as preferred by long time local residents.

#2-The Town and the Beaches Must be Safe

There are many towns with nearby beaches that did not make our list because of safety concerns. If the beach area, city or town is affected by high crime, it did not make it onto my list.

I’ve sold homes for a living for almost 30 years, and not one buyer out of 1000’s ever said they wanted to live in a high crime area. Most expressed the area had to be safe, or the safest they could afford. The crime rate for a beach town on our 5 best list, had to be average for Florida or better.

Florida’s crime rate is higher than in most states, so average for Florida may be higher than where you are moving from. Some of the beach towns below are the among the safest towns to live in Florida. We use crime statistics based on annual FBI reporting.

We did not take into consideration if a town was affordable or not, but a couple of towns are more affordable (still not cheap for this real estate market anyway), and we point that out.

All of the towns below also had higher scores than other similarly sized towns for job availability, better schools and other quality of life factors.

So Here They Are,

The 6 Best Places to Live or Retire Near the Beach in Florida

These are also the Safest Beach Towns in Florida

In no special order…

#1 Siesta Key Florida

Best Beach Town in Florida to Retire– Siesta Key is also on our  Best Place to Retire in Florida list because it’s very close to two hospitals highly rated by Medicare.

Siesta Key Beach’s beautiful expansive white sand was just one reason the beach was named as “the best beach in the world” for 2017 by Dr. Beach. This also happens to be a personal favorite beach of mine also. If you want to experience some of the whitest softest sand and enticing clean aqua colored warm saltwater for swimming, this may be the best beach for you too.

Siesta Key Village is a beach-side collection of unique and interesting shops, tiki-bars and restaurants with a Key West kind of feel, but in much safer environment. The violent and property crime rate here are just a small fraction of the national average. So you can eat, drink, sunbath, party and swim (not necessarily in that order) without having to worry about your safety.

Siesta Key is located just off of the south-west coast of Florida and just across the bridge from Sarasota Florida. It’s also about a half hour south of the Tampa and St Petersburg area. So when living on Siesta Key, you would have all that the Sarasota-Bradenton and the Tampa-St Petersburg major employment markets have to offer, two international airports and any kind of shopping, dining and entertainment you could possibly desire, all less than an hour away.

Siesta Key is truly one of the best beach towns to live or retire to in Florida. Places in Florida that offer a very high quality of life and are at the beach are not inexpensive, especially at the tail-end of a Florida boom when housing prices are at there highest like they are now. However, if you can find an apartment, condo or home on Siesta Key you can afford, you’ll get something included with that which most people only dream of but will never experience. And that’s an “island lifestyle”.

Learn more in these videos of Siesta Key Beach, winner of a “Best Beach in the World” award from Doctor Beach


_____

2) Key Biscayne Florida

Best Beach Town in Florida for Families with School-age Children– Students in this beach town have test scores far higher than the national or Florida average.

If you bought Google stock when it was cheap, Key Biscayne, just a few miles out in the water from Miami may be the ultimate town for beach lovers in Florida. Unlike it’s nearby but totally separate neighbor Miami Beach, Key Biscayne is safe.

It has access to some of the most beautiful beaches and water in all of Florida. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park’s beaches were named among the best in the world by the famous “Dr Beach”. Crandon Park has great beaches, tennis, rollerskating and a golf course to top it off. Compared to Miami Beach that gets packed crazy with tourist (or with crazy tourist), Key Biscayne’s incredible beaches are almost a secret.

Key Biscayne scores extremely well in all the other quality of life factors too. The schools are highly rated. When you’re on Key Biscayne you feel a world away Miami, but all of Miami’s amenities and job possibilities are just minutes away. If you can afford the good life, love the beach, prefer quieter places but want access to a crazy world class city when you feel like it, Key Biscayne might be the perfect Florida beach town for you.

Learn more about Key Biscayne in this video.

florida move guide book cover and discription

3) Apalachicola Florida

Best More Affordable Beach Town in Florida  This is one of the few places in Florida with high quality of life scores near beautiful beaches that also has housing costs lower than Florida’s average (as of this writing in August 2018). However, this town is small and our experience has been that not long after we name a place that’s “cheap” many of the almost million unique visitors to this website will enter the real estate market of this pick and change pricing due to increased demand.

Residents of this small town have access to miles of uncrowded pristine natural beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Apalachicola is located east of Panama City and southwest of Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida. This part of the panhandle still has much of that old time Florida charm and friendliness, and the beaches really are amazing.

This area is ideal for those who want to really get away from it all and escape into another world, one where it’s all about the water and taking it easy. The area is uncrowded but there are plenty of shops, restaurants, pubs and fish shack bars. If you never drank away the afternoon in an old time fish shack bar with a totally relaxing atmosphere overlooking the water, well, put it on your to do list. Then quit your job and go to Apalachicola.

Be sure to bring money though, because although this area is as safe as it gets in Florida, and cheap, job prospects aren’t plentiful. This would be a perfect beach town to retire to, or own a vacation home.

Learn more about Apalachicola in this video.

_____

4) Bonita Springs Florida

On southwest Florida’s gulf coast, south of Fort Myers and just north of Naples is where Bonita Springs is located. There are numerous beautiful beaches to comb like Barefoot Beach Preserve State Park. This is a relatively quiet, uncrowded relaxing beach but with amenities like restrooms, showers and picnic tables.

Within an hours drive, there are lots of different beaches, each with it’s own unique charm. That variety is important because it’s not impossible to get bored after you’ve gone to the same beach for the 200th time, trust me.

Bonita spring’s crime rate is about average for the sunshine state. It’s cost of living is just above average for Florida, but access to restaurants, shopping, good schools and employment are better than most of Florida.

If you like warm, clear water with mostly gentle waves and looking for a more upscale beach town that you can afford, Bonita Springs might be right for you.

See Bonita Springs in this short video.

_____

5) Safety Harbor & Dunedin Florida

These two small towns are north of Tampa and St Petersburg, and just north-east of Clearwater. While they may not appear on other best beach towns lists, I’ve chosen this area for a few very good reasons.

First, they are very safe small towns, some of the safest places you’ll find in Florida. They are just a short drive from two of the best, but distinctly different great beach areas on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico Coast, Clearwater Beach (Clearwater the city doesn’t make the cut because of crime) and Caladesi Island State Park.

It’s extremely rare to find safe towns near great beaches with easy access to big city amenities, and still be among the most affordable places to live in Florida. One caveat, it doesn’t take much of an increase in buyers to a small area to push the prices up, and I believe that’s happening in these areas now. Even if it becomes less affordable, this area is likely to remain safe and have above average quality of life factors like better education system ratings and employment outlook. Both of these towns are on other best places lists of ours for 2015.

Dunedin Video

Safety Harbor Video

_____

6) Islamorada Florida

No list of great beach towns in Florida would be complete with a town in the Florida Keys. Islamorada is one of my personal favorite vacation spots in Florida.

Once you cross the bridge onto Key Largo you start to feel different. Your cares start to melt away as you drive by marinas, tiki bars, fish restaurants, surf and dive shops. Islamorada is the first major key south of Key Largo.

The beaches here are unique, and there aren’t many places you can watch the sun rise over the water in the morning on one side of the key, and walk across to the other side and watch the sun set over a different body of water on the other side. Sunrises and sunsets on the water, ahhh.

Islamorada is a very safe place to live, especially for the Keys. That’s why you’d have to sell some of that Google stock you bought early to afford to live here. The schools are great, and there are jobs available but you’d have to hold down five of them to afford the housing.

If you can afford the ticket, the Keys offers a lifestyle unique from anywhere else. Be sure to pick up some Jimmy Buffet on the way.

An Islamorada Video.

Bottom Line: The Sunshine State has lots of coastline, sand and water, but only a few places qualify to be the best beach towns to live in Florida.

_____

Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

  • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.

_____

44 thoughts on “6 Best Beach Towns in Florida”

  1. Key Biscayne?
    The water consistently has low or medium quality and many beaches have been closed due to high levels of bacteria.
    There is a sewage treatment plant a few miles off of Key Biscayne which contributes to the problem.
    It’s unfortunate that you included it without checking on this!

    • Key Biscayne is absolutely one of the very best beach towns to live in Florida. It’s one of the safest places to live in the US with a violent crime rate 90% lower than the national average. It has more restaurants, shops, recreation, etc. per capita than most places in Florida. It has top notch schools, average student test scores are among the highest in the nation and more than twice as many of those kids go on to earn college degrees than the national average. Employment opportunities and salaries for residents are as good as it gets in the country.

      High bacteria levels along Florida’s beaches water is not unique to Key Biscayne. There are sewage treatment plants all along the coast. The failing septic systems of individual homes that leach fecal matter, heavy rains that wash everything into the water including dog feces, etc. cause high bacteria at many beaches around the state.

      Many Florida residents and tourist think water at all of Florida’s beaches is tested, and it’s done every day. Neither is true. According to Florida’s own “Florida Healthy Beaches Program” website on 9/4/2021, “Changes to funding levels in 2011 resulted in a return to bi-weekly sampling, the elimination of all fecal coliform sampling, and a reduction of the number of sample locations” and “At this time sampling in the northern parts of the state was also suspended during the winter months, November through February”

      When I was just a tourist before I moved to Florida, I loved the beaches and always swam in the water. However, after living in the state just a few minutes from the beach, for years, I’ve seen too much. I won’t go into the water anymore. Here’s just one of the reasons “Bacteria lurking in Florida water”

      Bottom line? Key Biscayne deserves to be on this list because it ranks near the top of places in Florida on all quality of life factors (except affordability), and it’s water quality issues are common throughout the state. No Florida beach can claim that it’s pristine every day, and beach water quality problems will likely just get worst as the population and number of yearly tourist (100,000,000+) continues to grow.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Mel and have a great day.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

  2. I am looking at waterfront house near Dunedin, Tarpon Springs. Is this a reasonable area?

    • No It’s like a circus with high priced restaurants and outdated amenities.

  3. Ron,

    What’s your thoughts on New Port Richey and Dunedin?

    • New Port Richey is not on any of our best places lists. Dunedin (which is near some great beaches) appears on more than one of our best places lists, including this one
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  4. How is Amelia island to live?

    • Look for Fernandina Beach in this article.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
      • Amelia Island is beautiful! Can be pricey very close town to cut down on pricey and is very close (Not just Fernandinho Beach as already mentioned)

  5. Hello, My husband and I are looking to retire near the beach in a less touristy, quaint, nice town but still has the amenities we would like, such as a grocery store, restaurants, bars. I have recently been looking at Appalacola but I’m afraid the town might be too small or not very nice. I was also considering Port StJoe. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

    • Vero beach all the amenities there beaches aren’t crowded no spring break crap no tourist

      • Vero Beach is not on any of our best places lists, but there are far worst places in Florida to live near the beach. I’d tell my family and friends considering Vero to read this article first. If someone is going to go through the expense and hassle of moving 1000 miles to live near the water in Florida, why settle for less than one of the best places while also lowering risk as much as possible? Doing so could lessen the possibility of having to move again to correct a bad choice, which is more common than what most prospective new residents are aware of.
        _____
        Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

        • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
        • I for one appreciate your honesty! Refreshing. I want to move to Florida to retire as well. I have friends & relatives in Tampa & St. Petersburg (they live in lovely homes!! Homes I can no longer afford.

          I will look forward to your review on St. Pete and St. Petersburg:-). I definitely LOVE the water and so I would like to live as close to beautiful water as possible :-)

  6. Both of our kids are looking at colleges (on the gulf side) and careers in Florida (marine / water studies). Looking to move in the next couple of years to be closer to our kids. Looking at Cape Coral area and would like a home on the water with Gulf Coast access. Any feedback on this general area (Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda). Right now we live in central California near the coast in a town of about 24,000 people.

    • Cape Coral is on many of our best places to live lists, so is Punta Gorda. Fort Myers is not. The West coast of Florida has both better places to live right at the beach, or just a short drive away. This other list of best places on the west coast of Florida may help.

      The Florida Move Guide explains the potential pitfalls of buying “waterfront properties with access” in Florida and the best way to avoid them. Be cautious in Cape Coral. Will it take 4 hours at no-wake speed to get to the Gulf or will only a kayak be suitable for the shallow water at some spot between you and open water (and that’s only at high tide)? The book also explains why moving near family or friends already in Florida increases the chances of long term satisfaction with relocation to the state.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
    • To Anonymous… Well, if you have to leave the central CA coast, I guess you can try FL. I’ve lived in both places and I pine for central/northern California… albeit the CA of the past. I lived in San Jose in the 2000s, until 2009. Those were the best years for me. I cannot think of anything I didn’t like about CA. I moved for my job, so I rented until my job forced me to move again. I never had to worry about the high cost of home ownership, but I also never saved any money to buy a home. Living in San Jose for 8 years was more like an 8 year vacation.

      Obviously, things have gotten a lot worse in CA over the past decade, so I wouldn’t move there at this point… but if I had a choice, I wouldn’t live in FL either. The humidity here in FL is so oppressive. It’s nice to be able to be outside in winter, but it’s impossible to enjoy the outdoors in the endless summer. I live right on the beach on a beautiful barrier island, with plenty of ocean breezes, but the humidity still drains my energy and keeps me indoors. The one reason I will stay in FL is the strong sunlight streaming into my bedroom nearly every morning. I can’t function in winter with low light, so FL sunlight helps me to function more normally. Of course, living near your family is the reason you’re moving, so you will make the best of it and I’m sure you will find many things about FL to love.

      • Go back to Cali then

  7. Are the barriers island towns on the space coast such as Melbourne Beach too close to sea level to be considered a good place to buy a home? What about Merritt Island?
    Thanks Stan

    • Beach towns in Florida are wonderful places to visit. Investing in a home in these places has been a great investment in the past. The answer to your question about barrier island towns in Florida (because the situation is somewhat different in some other states) is in this article if you haven’t already read it, but from your question it seems you already have.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  8. Hey Ron, great info! thank you for sharing.

    Any thoughts on the best cities to buy a condo that’s close to the beach? I am thinking of Miami and south beach area, but open for other cities recommendation, and your advice on the current market, as well as your opinion on condo vs single family?

    Thank you very much!

    • Hello BK,
      Miami doesn’t qualify for any best place list on this website because of high crime rates and other issues. Just one of those issues (shared with some other beach cities in Florida) is discussed in this Washington Post article.

      Condo or single family home near the beach? For some a condo may be best, for others a single home would be. The Florida Move Guide thoroughly explains which is best for who. This is based on having to sell for people who just moved to Florida and bought a condo, so they could buy then buy a home. And vice versa. Some did that multiple times, and then moved “back home”. All of that buying, selling and moving was great for real estate brokers, but those poor(er) folks lost a lot of money.

      The market? Personally I feel the Florida real estate market, near the beach or not, and the stock market (written 5/20/20) both suffer from “irrational exuberance” as a former Fed Chairman once said. From even before the historic Dutch tulip pop, all bubbles burst.
      Good luck BK.
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
  9. Hello
    What about Celebration?
    How about the Boardwalk at Disney, can people buy those for year round living ?
    Thank you

    • Celebration Florida has very high quality of live scores, with the exception of affordability as you might expect. It doesn’t have direct access to any of the theme parks. Doctor Phillips, an area located in the middle of Disney, SeaWorld and Universal Studios would be worth considering as an alternative.

      Golden Oaks and the new Four Seasons offer the opportunity to own a “Disney” property with access but the cost of the homes is far beyond what most Americans can afford at a couple of million and up.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

      _____

  10. Hi there! We moved to Wisconsin from Pensacola and are looking to move back. Our daughter will be out of HS next year and will be going to College. We REALLY want to move back in that direction (older kids are in South Carolina and the rest of family is in Pensacola & Louisiana.) What are your thoughts on Orlando or Clearwater areas? ANY ANY help would be greatly appreciated; I’m getting information overload when I research :) My husband and I are both Managers in the restaurant industry

    • Hello Lisa,
      Missing family and friends “back home” is one of the many reason lots of people who move to Florida, move back to where they moved from. Sometimes we don’t realize how important family relationships are until we’re 1000 miles away. In the Florida Move Guide I explain I noticed over the years that people who moved to Florida near family or friends that were already in the state, were far more satisfied with their relocation, than people who moved where they didn’t know anyone. Meeting new people and making new friends in a new place isn’t always easy.

      People who moved less than an hour from family and especially 30 minutes or less, if they were the kind of relatives (or friends) they would have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with or a enjoy a Super-Bowl party, were far more satisfied with where they lived and for much longer.

      If you moved to Orlando, you would be closer than Wisconsin, but probably still too far away to visit regularly. Pensacola is the only area you mentioned where you would actually be close to relatives. Pensacola, Orlando and Clearwater don’t qualify for our “best” places lists because of crime rates higher than the national average, but there are places less than an hour away from all of them, that are on our lists. Our best places in the Orlando area may be the easiest places to secure employment in your line of work, but my guess based on limited information, would be that if you were able to find solid employment less than hour away from the Pensacola area, that may work best long term. It’s closer to the beach than Orlando too, if there was a specific reason you were reading this beach article when you commented. Good luck Lisa.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

      _____

  11. Hello Millie,
    Navarre is not on any of our best places lists because of crime rates. The crime rates are almost exactly the national average. Our requirements are that all choices must have crime rates below the national average, but we tend to choose places with crime rates far below the national average for our best places lists. Why? Because a few years ago Orlando’s violent crime rate more than doubled in just 1 year. Most people moving to Florida spend a fortune to do so and usually intend to stay put for a long time so they sink money into a home. So we choose places that will likely remain a best place for years. We want to avoid recommending a place that will be removed from our lists a year after people move there. Navarre isn’t a bad choice but there are far better places for the long term in my opinion.

    Carabella has less than 3000 people which is not necessarily a bad thing, but the lack of shops, restaurants, doctors, etc. for miles in this small town may be an issue for most people who plan to live there full-time. The Florida Move Guide explains how moving to Florida means finding a new barber or hairdresser, doctor, dentist, grocery stores you like, etc and how difficult that can be, even in more populated areas. If you’re accustomed to many nearby options, will you feel like you’ve moved to the middle of nowhere and possibly regret it? Good luck Millie.
    _____
    Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

    • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

    _____

  12. HI Ron,
    Just ordered your book as my wife and I are considering a move to south Florida. We are too young to retire but spent many vacations in Lauderdale- by- the sea (LBTS) the typical traveler and love the town. Our kids are almost through college, we re both professionals and have the means to buy a condo outright but I think now we will keep an eye on prices and wait it out. My wife would leave the snow tomorrow, I’m a bit more skeptical especially after reading your blog for the last 6 hours.
    We prefer LBTS because we know the area but are options are open. She is a parochial school kindergarten teacher and I’m an engineer / former business owner who has a good opportunity to consult in Florida which makes me flexible. Would we move there? Yes if she gets a job probably have to but we also have a place in northern Michigan that we want to summer, summer in Florida is not my thing so when schools out were gone.
    What can you tell me about this area of LBTS? Has been a great vacation place, yea I know, but full time!! Did I tell you I will be traveling so plan on escaping when needed. I’m really worried about my wife spending time alone with crime and such, seeing how not mentioned as a safe place. Shes not worried but being 5 7 125lbs and not a black-belt, I am. Should we seriously consider another area. She really does not have to work but is one of those very passionate teachers who loves what she does and would like to find something to keep her busy. Paul

    • Hello Paul,
      Since you’ll be reading the Florida Move Guide, I don’t need to cover what to consider before moving to the state. I’ll just provide some thoughts on Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

      It’s completely natural for us to want to move to a place we’re familiar with because it provides us with “certainty”. We know the place. One of the biggest mistakes people make when moving some place new, is to consider only how livable a place is at the moment. However, when we make long distance moves, we usually intend to live/own in that location for many years. Perhaps decades. What will LBTS look like in 5 years, or 20?

      Here’s a few thoughts…

      1) LBTS currently has property and violent crime rates below the national average. The violent crime rate is actually lower than the property crime rate. It doesn’t earn an A for crime but it’s a solid B.
      2) The number of crime reports coming from the Silver Shores section is lower than the Town Center area.
      3) Fort Lauderdale to the south has a violent crime rate almost twice the national average and crime overall has increase year over year. Property crime is already more than twice the national average.
      3) Pompano Beach to the north has a violent crime rate more than twice the national average.
      4) LBTS reportedly has an elevation 7′ above sea level. I’m sure you’ve read about the National Climate Assessment that was just released. This article may be of interest to you also.
      5) In general, a place that experiences crime increases usually see’s property values decrease as people move out while fewer people desire to move in. Properties in these areas can become very hard to sell also.
      6) I have read reports that property values are already being negatively affected in areas of higher risk of “natural” disasters, although at this point it has just mostly prevented highly desirable places from appreciating as much as they would have in the past when events weren’t as severe or happened as often. I expect this to become more of a factor to where at some point in the not too distant future it will cause a loss in value.

      Will they have to rename this beautiful place Lauderdale-in-the Sea in 10 years? I hope not, but… Good luck Paul.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
      • Ron,

        Thanks for the incite. My sentiments regarding surrounding towns exactly, wanted my wife to hear if from an expert.
        Is the tide the same concern on the whole coast of Florida or just east (ocean) side? Is it possible to on a great beach Siesta Key that is 3 ft above sea level without fear it wont be there in 10 years? I realize there are no guarantees with Hurricanes and such, but ‘King Tides” that hit Lauderdale are a concern.
        Paul

        • Hello again Paul,
          “Sunny day” flooding isn’t the only problem along Florida’s coasts. You’ll read more about the issues in the Florida Move Guide when it arrives, and they are only getting worse as the climate continues to change. Take a look at the video at the bottom of this page for one example. After reading the book, you’ll know what 95% of the people thinking of moving to Florida don’t know, but it’s what causes those moving vans heading out of Florida to be just as full as the ones coming in.
          _____
          Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

          • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
          • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
          • Ron,
            Received your book read it in one sitting, very informative. Unfortunately my wife all of the sudden is not afraid of huge spiders. Do you have any pics of them crawling up thru the shower drain? Kidding.
            I saw that video after looking at places on Siesta Key, and talking to my sister who has a place in Sarasota who warned me how bad red tide was this year. Is this the norm?? If it is combined with a bad hurricane year prices will drop like a rock along the west coast. Oh, but hurricanes break up red tide!!
            As a business man who has bought and sold several pieces of property. I really appreciate the education gained by reading your books and blog, mostly from a financial position. I never realized property down there had price swings like they do, your incite kept me from making a big short term mistake. What metrics do you monitor that indicate a housing bubble?? Beyond the crystal ball…
            Paul

            • Hello again Paul,

              You wrote “Unfortunately my wife all of the sudden is not afraid of huge spiders. Do you have any pics of them crawling up thru the shower drain? Kidding.”

              Sounds like she’s sold on Florida. Happy wife = happy life.

              “I saw that video after looking at places on Siesta Key, and talking to my sister who has a place in Sarasota who warned me how bad red tide was this year. Is this the norm??”

              Recall what the book said about changes taking place in Florida? Red tide is just another part of it.

              “What metrics do you monitor that indicate a housing bubble?”

              It’s part historical statistics, current numbers and the fact that every boom in the history of man has come to an end since even before the Dutch tulip bust. Watching extremely wealthy individuals consistently sell and cash out at the top (because the next bust is near) when every one else is buying “because if I don’t things will just be higher next year” helps. Part of it is just experience, such as seeing places that for decades were highly priced desirable beachfront homes become worthless as they slid into the water gives you a perceptive that you didn’t have as a newbie buyer to Florida who is an “expert” because they have vacationed in Florida so often (I confess, I had this common attitude too when I first moved to Florida). Buying a place at 3′ over sea level, in Florida, on or near the coast, in 2019? People don’t need tea leaves, just watch the news and connect the dots.

              Good luck Paul.
              _____
              Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

              • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
              • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  13. We are thinking about moving to Florida from Indiana. Just me and my girlfriend were not quite old enough to to retire yet. We will need to work for several more years I’m 55 she is 50. So we need to find a place were employment is good and prices are low .Close to the beach

    • Hello Derek,
      You wrote: “We are thinking about moving to Florida from Indiana. Just me and my girlfriend were not quite old enough to to retire yet. We will need to work for several more years I’m 55 she is 50. So we need to find a place were employment is good and prices are low .Close to the beach”

      I hope you didn’t sell your house and will arrive in FL looking for such a place immediately, as so many people do every day. Looking for places that don’t exist… Here are a few thoughts

      1) Indiana’s cost of living is among the lowest of the US states. It’s one of the top 10 cheapest. The cost of living in Florida is higher than most US states.
      2) Unless you qualify for a few specific in demand occupations, your pay in Florida will almost certainly be lower than for the same job than in Indiana. Just read through the comments on this post and take note of how many people complain about low pay in Florida, including many nurses.
      3) The closer you get to the beach, the more housing will cost you, except in areas with high crime. Even some formally nice well known beach towns where crime is now high, prices have tanked. Daytona Beach right now (summer 2018) at the height of the next bubble of high prices, has home prices 25% lower than Florida’s average (including inland homes). Why is this when almost every other town with beaches in Florida has housing cost far higher than Florida’s average? Because property crime there is now approximately 300% higher than the national average and violent crime is almost 400% higher.

      Millions have move to Florida only to move out. 30,000+- more a month add to that number now. This would happen to fewer people if research was done before the move to determine if what they picture living in Florida will be like, will likely match up with the reality they’ll find after moving.

      There’s no way I can know exactly what “good employment” or “low cost” means to you. I would pick a few towns from the list above (or other lists on this website) and then search those towns on Realtor dot com to see what home and rental prices are in those areas. I would then search jobs in that area that I might qualify for and could reasonably expect to get. That may give you an quick idea of how well what you have in mind matches up to what is out there. Good luck Derek.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  14. Hello Kerry,

    You wrote: Looking to move to florida salt water canal / pool home.

    There is no shortage of pool homes on water with access to the Gulf or Atlantic Ocean. HOWEVER, they are expensive and of course taxes are much higher, so you’ll want to avoid making an expensive mistake because buying these types of properties can be complicated. The Florida Move Guide says to use an agent who is a specialist who likely owns a boat, knows the waterways well because they have actually navigated them and can give you valuable advice. You don’t want to end spending a lot of money to be on a canal but can’t use it except during very high tides. Or it takes you hours in no wake zones just to get out to where you want to be. The book says to beware of agents that advertise themselves as “waterfront specialist” that present themselves as experts but have never even been in a boat in those expensive waterways they are trying to sell.

    Need good schools middle and high school. My daughter currently in gifted and talented. City water and sewer.

    This will be a challenge. Every one who will gain financially from your home purchase or has anything to do with the schools will tell you the schools in that area are terrific. Of course that’s not true if you are looking at how those student’s test scores compare to other cities and states. Many parents relocating children from the northern US are often shocked by the difference in what the schools are like in Florida. The truth is, the best schools are where the parents send kids to school that are not disruptive, are respectful and are ready to learn because they have learned the importance of good grades from their parents. I have noticed that higher the higher the median sale price of homes in a town is, the higher the percentage of kids in class that are there to learn. If you’re looking for a waterfront pool home then chances are you will relocate to a town that has a high median sale price, unless you make the mistake of buying an expensive home in a town surrounded by areas with high crime rates, which I don’t think you’ll do.

    You may want to start here:

    Punta Gorda on Florida’s west coast. Lots of waterfront pool homes with access, student test scores considerably higher than the national average and Florida as a whole, according to The National Center for Education Statistics (Federal Government).

    Destin Florida in the Panhandle. Beaches, boating and fishing. Student test scores far higher than Florida and national average.

    Bar Harbor Islands in South Florida, east coast. Island lifestyle. Student test scores far above Florida and national scores.

    The crime rate in all of these places is far lower than the national average. Good luck Kerry.
    _____
    Ron Stack

    • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
    • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  15. What about Vero Beach?

  16. Hello, Thanks for all the great info. I am looking into the Jacksonville area for possible retirement, but my greatest concern is safety and of course affordability. Can you guide me as to an area that would be a good option near or around the Jacksonville area? Thanks so very much!

    • Hello Millie,
      There are two towns near Jacksonville Florida that area qualified to be on our best places in Florida lists. They are…

      1) Fernandina Beach. It has a very walkable historic downtown right near the beach with lots of unique shops, restautaurants and pubs. It has very low crime rates, a requirement to be chosen for lists on this blog. The cost of housing there has risen steeply in the last couple of years, just like every other place worth living in Florida but an island lifestyle that most people only experience while on vacation, is included.

      2) Pointe Verda Beach, a nice little town in an area thats been documented for having residents that live longer in better health. Again, any town in Florida that has “beach” right in its name does not come cheap but they are some of the best places to live in Florida, especially if you love sun and surf and can comfortably afford to live in such places. Good luck Millie.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

      _____

  17. thank you in advance! middle age couple no kids looking to relocate to fl. from ma. sick of the cold! def want a small trendy less touristy beach town maybe in the Tampa area or at least on the gulf side with a small town feel, walk to shops, restaurants etc, pristine beaches, low crime, younger vibe, affordable….is there such a place?currently have family in Pensacola, clear water, Sarasota, and Bonita springs.

    • Have you looked at Gulfport Florida? Only 10 minutes to St Pete

      • Gulfport Florida does not qualify for any of our best places lists because the property crime rate is far higher than the national average and has increased year over year, student average test scores are far lower than average for the US, and other low ratings. St Petersburg doesn’t qualify either because of high violent and property crime rates, low test scores, etc.
        _____
        Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

        • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

Comments are closed.