Orlando and Central Florida Best Areas to Move

Where’s the Best Place to Live Near All of the Theme Parks, Shopping, Dining and Entertainment of the Orlando-Central Region of Florida?

Did you just get back from a Disney vacation in the Orlando area and loved so much you’re thinking about moving there? Or were you just offered a great new job in the Central Florida area?

Maybe you’re retiring and always enjoyed the amazing choice of dining and shopping options in Orlando while visiting Florida. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn where the best places to live in the Orlando area are, you have come to the right place!

How Does a Place Qualify for Our Best Places to Live in the Orlando Area List?

#1 Crime and Safety in the Orlando Florida Area

Florida has one of the highest overall crime rates in the US today. Of course that fact isn’t mentioned in the brochures for your last vacation because that’s not what it’s purpose was.

If you heard sirens while on vacation in Florida, you may have assumed it was just a routine response to something innocent like a car accident. The truth is that Orlando’s property and violent crime rate are more than twice as high as the national average. In the past, Orlando’s murder rate more than doubled in just 1 year (2015 from the prior year).

That’s why to qualify for any of our best places lists, a place must have crime rates lower than the national average. The FBI breaks crime rates down into 2 different categories for reporting…

  • Property Crime- These are crimes such as burglary of an unoccupied home, smashing windows of an unoccupied vehicle or stealing a kid’s bike from the backyard when no one is around.
  • Violent Crime- Rape, shooting someone, or robbing someone of their possessions by force or by using the threat of force. Threatening a kid in the backyard in order to take his bike would be considered a violent crime.

All of the places on our list below had property and violent crime rates that were below the national average, as reported to the FBI for the most recent year available at the time this post was written. Most of the places on our lists have crime rates far lower than the US average and are among the safest places to live or work in the US.

#2 Fun and Convenience in the Orlando Florida Area

All of the places on our lists must have a combined higher number of dining, shopping, parks and other recreation opportunities per capita, than are available in most other places in Florida. So our choices offer not only a safer environment, but also more places to go and things to do so you can enjoy where you live.

#3 Better Schools and Job Opportunities in the Orlando Area

This is important for more than the obvious reasons. Due to periods of explosive growth, cities in Florida can change dramatically very quickly. If kids in your new town get a better education, and there’s more job opportunities, there is a better chance of crime rates remaining low. So your new home town has a better chance of remaining a “best” place farther into the future.

Additionally, I’ve seen lots of retired people move to Florida who never thought they would have to ever work another day in their life. However, due to costs that rose far faster than their fixed income, they were forced to go back to work to make ends meet. Living where there’s better job opportunities couldn’t hurt, just in case.

florida move guide book cover and discription

So Where Are the 4 Top Places to Live in the Orlando Florida area?

In random order…

1) Minneola Florida, One of the Best Places to Live in the Orlando Area

Minneola Florida is a small town of only 11,000 residents just 30 minutes west of downtown Orlando. Minneola’s property and violent crime rates are so low, the town is among the safest places to live in the US. Yes, it’s true, there are still great places to live in the US that are almost as safe as “Mayberry RFD”.

Living in a town like Minneola gives you easy access to the theme parks, shopping, dining and huge diversified employment market that Orlando offers. But it also provides you with a safer more tranquil place to live, away from the traffic congestion and other ills that major cities can suffer from.

Learn more about Minneola Florida in this video from the comfort of your chair

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2) Dr Phillips Florida is Without a Doubt One of the Best Places to Live in the Orlando Area

The 12,000 people who live just a 20 minute drive southwest from the center of Orlando in a town named after a generous physician, live in a town that enjoys higher quality of life factors such as lower crime rates and schools that produce students that have higher test scores. While Minneola is more of a nice quiet rural town, Dr Phillips is more like an upscale Orlando suburb of Orlando.

The cost of living in Dr Phillips is far higher than Florida’s average but it buys the highest quality of life available in Central Florida today. This would be an excellent place to call home in the Orlando area if you can afford to live here comfortably. especially if you have children of school-age.

Good videos on Dr Phillips were not easy to come by but this may provide more insight.

3) Oviedo Florida is a Best Place to Live in the Orlando Area

Just 25 minutes northeast of Orlando is a small city of 36,000 that is well known for the chickens that still run free throughout its older downtown area. Many people who are employed at the nearby Central Florida Research park, University of Central Florida and Seminole State College live in Upscale developments in Oviedo.

Although the cost of living here is just slightly more than Florida’s overall average, Oviedo offers residents a disproportionately high quality of life when compared to most of Florida. The crime rate here is about 60% lower than the national average for both property and violent crime. Oviedo may be a great choice for families with school-age children because student test scores in Oviedo are much higher than the national average, which is extremely hard to find elsewhere in Florida.

Oviedo is a great places to live in Central Florida, but there weren’t many videos available that highlight the town, so here’s one about the chickens

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4) St Cloud Florida, a Better Place to Live in the Orlando Florida Area

St Cloud Florida is is a small city of 40,000 about 40 minutes south from the center of Orlando. St Cloud is our pick for those looking for the best place to live in the Central Florida/Orlando area that’s also affordable. The cost of living in St Cloud is considerably lower than Florida’s average and that’s mostly due to currently lower housing prices.

While crime rates here are not as low as our other choices, they are considerably lower than the national average, and far lower than Florida’s average. Student test scores here are higher than Florida’s average too.

It’s not easy to find a town with lower home prices, low crime rates and higher student test scores, in today’s Florida. If you want to enjoy a higher quality of life in the Orlando area for less cash out of your pocket, St Cloud Florida may be your ideal spot.

Of Course we have a St Cloud video or you.

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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.

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8 thoughts on “Orlando and Central Florida Best Areas to Move”

  1. Hello yall, my name is Amber and I NEED YALLS HELP!!!
    MY EYES ARE CROSSING FROM SO MUCH GOOGLE MAPS RESEARCH…
    WHAT CITY WOULD YALL SUGGEST Orlando area?? I HAVE 3 BOYS 12,7AND 6.
    LOOKING FOR SMALLER TOWN BUT WITH JOB OPPORTUNITIES, NOT TO FAR FROM DISNEY ;).
    ANY COMMENTS I WILL APPRECIATE THANK U GOD BLESS

  2. I have lived in Kissimmee for 10 years now and I too worry about sink holes I’ve do everything so easy research and Kissimmee falls in the Osceola County and pretty much it hasn’t had one. But also commenting on what Ron there said about crime listen crime is everywhere it’s not how he makes it seem. Just like any other thing u have to deal with pedifilers,mugging, and all that crap. I advice if u can come and spend some time u can get a feel for were in Kissimmee u would like to move .hope this info helps

    • The above comment (from someone who didn’t even want to use their own name) is so typical from people trying to “sell” people on moving to Florida that are also either unaware of the facts, or are just outright lying. Please do not base your all important major life decision of moving across the country based on such ridiculousness. Here’s what I mean:

      The above commentor wrote: “I have lived in Kissimmee for 10 years now and I too worry about sink holes I’ve do everything so easy research and Kissimmee falls in the Osceola County and pretty much it hasn’t had one.”

      Really? It “pretty much it hasn’t had one.” Did you forget about this one that made national headlines when a sinkhole in Kissimmee opened up and condos near Disney World had to be evacuated? https://www.clickorlando.com/news/sinkhole-causes-evacaution-of-complex-in-kissimmee-officials-say

      Also, why didn’t your “research” show you this? http://www.insurancejournal.com/img/articles/fl-sinkhole-map.jpg

      It’s a lot better for prospective new Florida Residents if we just present the facts to help them make better decisions.

      You Also wrote: “But also commenting on what Ron there said about crime listen crime is everywhere it’s not how he makes it seem. Just like any other thing u have to deal with pedifilers,mugging, and all that crap. I advice if u can come and spend some time u can get a feel for were in Kissimmee u would like to move”

      This is another common theme from people who are trying to sell stuff (because it’s in THEIR best financial interest?) in Florida located in higher crime areas. They want you to believe that there’s crime everywhere so don’t bother trying to find out which places are safer.

      They wrote: it’s not how he makes it seem.

      I don’t try to make it seem one way or the other, the facts show where there are more muggings, shootings, etc. in the Orlando area. I use crime facts published by the FBI. And the fact is, some places have crime rates that are higher than the national average and some have crime rates lower than the national average. People aren’t stupid, they know where the safe areas are near where they now live and what areas to stay away from. What they don’t know (yet), is what areas in the Orlando area are safe, and what areas to stay away from, if you want to avoid high crime areas. Why would they spend lots of their hard earned money to move far away from family and friends just to relocate to an area that has a lot more crime than where they moved from?

      The fact is, the crime rate in Kissimmee is 50% higher than the national average and therefore is not on any of our best places lists. Doctor Phillips, another town in the Orlando area, has a crime rate 50% lower than the national average, and is a best place on this list. Add in the fact that student test scores in the Kissimmee area are far lower than the national average. So sinkholes in the Kissimmee area aren’t the only thing to think about.

      Bottom line? Some people who comment provide information that is very helpful because it’s most factual. Other “advice” (usually from people who live in cities and towns with higher crime rates) that presents info that is contrary from publicly available government facts, should not be avoided when making an such an important life change as a long distance relocation to a place you never lived before.
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      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.
  3. I used to live in Oviedo (early 00s) and I can vouch it is a very nice place, but prices have doubled since 2013! I couldn’t afford to live there today. Also, the University of Florida has expanded student housing into what used to be very nice subdivisions and PUDs, meaning the character has changed a lot — from quiet homeowners to rowdy students living 4-5 to a single family house.

    It’s very suburban, on the edge of being exurban — so that would have to be your cup of tea. There isn’t a lot of cultural stuff to do, and most restaurants are chain restaurants. Most nicer homes are in gated or open “developments” with cookie-cutter houses. Also: almost every road is a toll road to get in or out, and the traffic can be horrendous (a lot of Disney traffic flows around this area).

    Oh and St. Cloud is next door to Kissimmee and you don’t even mention the Disney crowds. Dr. Philips is near there too. Now, some grandparents want this for visiting grandkids, but there are others of us who consider the word “theme park” the same as “ebola virus”.

    • Hello Again Lola,

      You wrote: ” There isn’t a lot of cultural stuff to do, and most restaurants are chain restaurants. Most nicer homes are in gated or open “developments” with cookie-cutter houses.”
      You just described much of Florida today, it’s not just Orlando that’s like that.

      You also said: “Also: almost every road is a toll road to get in or out, and the traffic can be horrendous (a lot of Disney traffic flows around this area).” & “Oh and St. Cloud is next door to Kissimmee and you don’t even mention the Disney crowds. Dr. Philips is near there too.

      Florida is now the third most populated state with over 20,000,000 people. It also now boasts over 105,000,000 million tourists a year and growing. There isn’t anywhere left in the Orlando area or anywhere in Florida worth relocating to, where crowds and heavy traffic aren’t an issue for most people (especially during the winter) except extremely rural areas far from the nearest store.

      You also wrote: “I used to live in Oviedo (early 00s) and I can vouch it is a very nice place, but prices have doubled since 2013! I couldn’t afford to live there today. Also, the University of Florida has expanded student housing into what used to be very nice subdivisions and PUDs, meaning the character has changed a lot — from quiet homeowners to rowdy students living 4-5 to a single family house.
      Explosive growth during Florida’s boom times and equally brutal bust changes during “corrections” are what has happens in fast growth states. Thinking that any desirable place someone moves to in Florida today, will still look like that in 3-5 years, is probably just wishful thinking. Many have complained that fast growth (more crowds, homes, traffic lights, fast food and traffic jams decreased their quality of life.

      That said, these are currently the best places to live in the Orlando Metro area based on quality of life factors as crime rates, better schools & jobs, plentiful shopping and dining, etc. Thanks for your input Lola and good luck finding an inexpensive place to snowbird in Florida during the winter.
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      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.
  4. I love all these areas. I’m from St Cloud myself and highly recommend it to anyone looking to move to the Central Florida area.

  5. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.

    Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever
    before.

  6. Hello Isabel,
    The Florida Move Guide says that many people who have serious concerns about moving to Florida before they even move, are far more likely to eventually decide their relocation was a mistake. Kissimmee Florida does not qualify to be considered for any of our best places to live in Florida lists. Among other factors, it’s crime rates, both property and violent crime, are far higher than the national avereage to be named as “best” on this website. Good luck Isabel.
    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.

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