Why This Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida List is Different
This list is different because it’s not just a simple list of the best school districts. Many websites simply list ratings and rankings of the best school districts in Florida. What makes our list different is that we look at much more than just how the schools are rated. We research the towns within the highest rated school districts in Florida to determine which ones are actually also among the best places to live in Florida.
How We Chose the Best Towns to Raise a Family in Florida
We Started with School District Ratings
School Districts were ranked by taking the scores of all schools in the district to create an overall rank. All of the towns on our list are located in the top 10 school districts out of Florida’s 69, using this formula. We then looked at cities and towns within the districts.
Then We Looked at the Crime Rate
If you’ve looked around this site, you know that Florida has one of the highest crime rates in the country according to FBI statistics. Florida’s overall crime rate is higher than the rate in 44 other US states. So chances are you’ll be moving from a state with less crime to one with more, when you move to Florida.
Here’s why we place such an importance on crime rate in Florida when it comes to our children:
The places named below are also among the safest cities in Florida to raise a family
I look at news and crime reports for all areas of Florida for many years, almost daily. I have been shocked at the brutality some young children in Florida have been the victim of. Rapes, beatings, shootings. Kids setting another student on fire. You may know the high crime areas where you live now, but you probably don’t know the area you’re moving to in Florida that well.
That’s why to make it onto our Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida list, the entire city or town must have a much lower crime rate than Florida. That way you don’t have to worry as much about which are the bad parts of town. Looking at all the cities and towns in highly rated school districts, you would think there are lots of places to choose from. Unfortunately, checking crime rate statistics eliminates most towns from making our lists, especially this one.
Housing Cost, Shops, Restaurants, Parks, Jobs and More
If a town is 1) in a top Florida school district and 2) has a low crime rate, then we look to see if the town is one of the best places in Florida to live. It must be a place that most families would enjoy living in.
A high number of people move to Florida eventually discover they really don’t like it and move out. That’s why we feel it’s critically important to chose the best place possible to live in Florida right from the start, to improve your odds of an improvement in life you’re relocating to find. The last thing you want to do is separate your children from relatives, friends and schools they’re comfortable with now, move to Florida, only to separate them again to move back.
We feel relocating to the best possible place in Florida will give your family a better chance of not joining the millions who have moved to Florida only to discover it was a mistake.
Where in Florida is the best place to raise a family?
Here They Are, the 5 Best Places to Raise Kids in Florida
In no special order…
1) North Port Florida
North Port is located in SW Florida, south of Sarasota and north of Fort Myers. It’s not located directly on the coast but it’s only a short drive to some of the best beaches in Florida. The violent crime rate in North Port is about 50% lower than Florida overall. The schools are part of the highly rated Sarasota County School District.
If you can’t find a job in North Port, commuting to Venice, Sarasota or even south to Cape Coral and Fort Myers is possible. One of the big advantages of North Port is that home prices are about 20% lower than Florida’s median price. The median home price in North Port is about $135,000, which means half the homes sold there, sell for less than that. Unfortunately for renters, the median rental cost of nearly $1000 a month which is about the same as Florida’s. North Port is the best bet for families looking for affordable home prices.
Here’s a Video of North Port Florida
2) Venice Florida
Venice Florida is just a short ride north from North Port. It’s located right on the coast and has many different and
unique beach areas. It’s also part of the highly ranked Sarasota County School District. The violent crime rate here is over 50% lower than Florida’s overall average. Venice has a beautiful historic downtown area that is within walking and biking distance to the beach.
Venice is also on at least one of our other best places lists for 2015 and has been a top pick of ours for years. Between North Port and Venice, this area of Florida offers families who want to own their own home, the most affordable options. The Median home price in Venice is about the same as Florida’s, around $185,000. Venice’s median rental cost is about $1000 a month. Venice is an excellent overall choice for families that want to be near beaches but want a place that’s still affordable.
See a video about Venice Florida.
3) Winter Springs Florida
Winter Springs Florida is located north of Orlando in central Florida with a population of about 35,000 people. The schools here are part of the well ranked Seminole School District. It’s located far enough away from Orlando to enjoy a violent crime rate over 50% lower than Florida as a whole. Yet it’s close enough to commute to the Orlando area, so job prospects, especially for higher paying jobs if you have the skills.
Living close to Orlando to be able enjoy it’s shopping, dining and entertainment options is an obvious advantage, but it comes at a price. The median home price in Winter Springs is about $215,000. The median rental rate is nearly $1200. It must be noted that wages for many jobs in Florida is lower than you may earn at the same job in many other states, unless you are skilled in an in-demand occupation. Winter Springs could be a families most affordable choice if they want to live near Orlando in a safe environment with good schools.
See a video of a Festival in Winter Springs Florida
4) Gulf Breeze Florida
Gulf Breeze is unlike most of our other picks. It’s a small laid back town of only 6,000 people. The town is at the end
of a peninsula surrounded by water in Florida’s panhandle near Pensacola. If your family is moving to Florida to enjoy fishing, boating, going to the beach or other water related activities, this may be the place for you. The crime rate is far lower than Florida’s rate. Schools are part of the well regarded Santa Rosa School District.
Almost everyone wants to live near the water when they move to Florida. Because of supply and demand, water dominated areas cost more. Gulf Breeze is no exception, but it’s probably one of the least expensive ways to enjoy a “keys-like” Florida lifestyle. The median home price here is a little over $250,000 and the rental median is a little under $1200. If you’re moving your family to Florida to enjoy the water and want a great safe small town, Gulf Breeze should be on your list.
See a video of Gulf Breeze Florida.
5) Fernandina Beach Florida
I really like this pick. It may be the best bet for families who are thinking of moving to Florida and will be renting rather than buying, at least at first. Fernandina Beach is a small town of about 11,000 people. It’s located just off of
I-95, just south of the Georgia Florida state line right on the Atlantic Ocean. Living here means shorter rides when going home to visit and for people to visit you. It’s about 5 hours less to reach Fernandina than Venice or North Port.
Fernandina Beach has a great historical downtown that made our most walkable town list for 2015. The schools are part of the small but very highly rated Nassau School District. The violent crime rate is not as low as the other picks on this list, but at 30% lower that Florida’s rate it just made our tough cut. This pick offers the best bet for families who enjoy shops and restaurants because there are plenty of independent family run businesses in Fernandina Beach’s large historic downtown.
This is one the best affordable island lifestyle options available in Florida today. The Median home price here is around $270,000 which is considerably high than Florida’s median, but the median rent is only a little over $900 which is lower than Florida’s median rent. Fernandina Beach may be the least expensive and best place for families to enjoy the island lifestyle in Florida.
See a video of Fernandina Beach Florida.
Is Florida One of the Worst States to Raise Children?
While the Florida towns listed above are among the best places to raise a family in Florida, Florida may be one of the worst states to move your children. That’s according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. This new report says the worst states to raise kids are almost all located in the south, including the state of Florida. While the report is a quite a comprehensive study and comparison of the well-being of children in different states, the map found here will allow you to quickly compare how the state you now live in compares to the state of Florida, as far as your children’s overall well-being is concerned.
Please keep in mind that while it’s a good idea to be aware of a state’ overall rating, what’s most important is how well children are been educated in the city or town you want to relocate to. Higher student test scores, graduation rates and percentage of kids going on to college, are all common factors of schools located in the best places to raise a family in Florida.
Where are the Best School Districts in Florida?
It’s more important than ever to do all the research you can before moving to Florida, if you truly want your children to be in a good school district. Gallup did a national poll of how parents rated the public schools their children attended. Just as in many other national polls, studies and reports from both government and nonprofit agencies on a host of other quality of life factors, Florida parents ranked their kids schools poorly compared to parents in most other states.
In the national poll, only 55% of Florida parents rated their child’s school as excellent, or even good. There were only 11 states where parents rated the schools worse than Florida families. In comparison, 89% of parents in North Dakota rated the schools their children attended as excellent or good. There were 6 states where parents gave a favorable rating of 80% or higher. Rounding out the top 6 spots were Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The News Gets Worse for Prospective New Florida Families in Regards to Schools
In the same national poll, parents were also asked if they felt their state’s public school system prepared their children for success in the workplace. Only 56% of Florida parents felt it did. Only 6 other states scored worse than Florida. The top state again was North Dakota at 89%. Nebraska and South Dakota rounded out the top 3 states, where in both states, 81% of parents said the schools prepared their kids for success.
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.