The Best Towns to Rent a Home or Apartment in Florida
In no particular order…
Update: Rental prices have increased dramatically across Florida in 2020, 2021 and that trend of is still in place in 2022.
1) The Best Beach Town for Rentals in Florida: Bonita Springs
Bonita Springs is without a doubt one of the best beach towns for renters in Florida today.
Nestled between Fort Myers and Naples on Florida’s Gulf coast, this city of over 51,000 people is a great place to live.
The crime rate is low for the state, and the towns location provides good access to employment.
Our research showed that one bedroom rentals are available in Bonita Springs for under $1,000 and 2 bedrooms for under $1,100.
This makes this coastal community a bargain when you consider the high quality of life you’ll enjoy in exchange.
Five great beaches are located in or nearby, including Lovers Key State Park.
Lovers Key is not only a relatively uncrowded quiet beach, but also it’s also great for spotting majestic bald eagles and watching manatees swimming in the usually clear warm water.
Care to see a Bonita Springs video?
2) The Best Bike Friendly & Walkable Town for Renters in Florida: Fernandina Beach
Fernandina Beach in northeast Florida is the best bikable and walkable city in the state for renters.
The city sits next to the Georgia border on Amelia Island, 35 miles northeast of Jacksonville.
The historic walkable downtown has over 400 buildings on the national register of historic places.
The downtown has a great number of small shops and cafes to visit by bike.
The city has 7 bike trails that total 42 miles of biking enjoyment. An additional bike route that includes a water-taxi to Georgia is also being planned.
Our research found 1 and 2 bedrooms from under $1,100 and 3 bedrooms around $1,500.
That’s extremely reasonable price to pay to enjoy an island lifestyle.
Fernandina Beach is close enough to Jacksonville to commute for work.
The Jacksonville airport has many convenient flights if you like to travel.
How about a video about Fernandina Beach?
3) The Best Place for Retirees to Rent in Florida: Rockledge
The best town to rent in for retirees is Rockledge on Florida’s Space Coast.
This city is located just 54 miles east of Orlando and it’s theme parks.
It’s home to 26,000 people. Rockledge’s location provides residents many interesting entertainment options.
Florida wineries, lots of beaches, Kennedy Space Center, and Port Canaveral, the cruise capital of the world, are all within a short drive.
We found 2-3 bedroom rentals starting at $850 in this nice little town.
This makes Rockledge one of the more affordable places high quality of life areas to live in the entire state.
The city’s crime rate is considerably lower than the national average and almost half of Florida’s high rate.
Rockledge is a safe place to rent with great access to all of the things that people move to Florida for and would be a ideal choice for retirees.
Please note: Rockledge offers a higher quality of life but it isn’t a tourist destination and is almost a secret except on this website. Therefore there aren’t any professionally produced videos on the town. Here’s a video of the county it’s located in…
4) The Best High End Place to Rent in Florida: Palm Beach*
*Not to be confused with “Palm Beach County” or “West Palm Beach” because both that suffer from overall high crime rates.
Palm Beach is home to just 8,600 year round residents, but the population swells to about 40,000 when all of the snowbird homeowners and visitors flock to this island paradise during the annual winter migration.
Palm Beach is located on Florida’s southern Atlantic coast on a long barrier island about 70 miles north of Miami.
The town motto is “The Best of Everything” and it really shows.
In town, there is a botanical garden, the exclusive private Mar-a-Lago Club owned by Donald Trump, the historic Breakers hotel, Flagler Museum and the Worth Avenue shopping district.
Three scenic golf courses are located on the island.
While it is expensive to own in Palm Beach, rentals are comparatively quite affordable for such an upscale island location.
Our research found 2 bedrooms rentals starting in the $1,500-1,800 range and 3 bedrooms starting at $2,500.
With one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country and the finest dinning and shopping available anywhere, Palm Beach is easily one of the best places to rent in Florida when you consider the island lifestyle that comes included.
You can get an idea of what Palm Beach looks like from this video
5) The Best Places to Rent in Florida For Families: Fernandina Beach
Wow. Fernandina Beach made our list of great walkable and bikeable towns to rent in, and it’s back as a great town for families as well.
The schools in Fernandina Beach are part of the small but very highly rated Nassau School District.
What can be better than to raise a family in a town with great schools that’s safer than most in Florida and also offers far more opportunities to bike and walk for better health?
There were 1 and 2 bedroom rentals available from under $1,100 and 3 bedrooms for around $1,500.
Keep in mind that none of these places are very far from the beach by foot or bike.
Fernandina Beach is close enough to the major city of Jacksonville to commute for work.
The Jacksonville airport is also not far away. Jacksonville’s northern Florida location also means it is easier to travel north by to visit friends or family out of state.
Yes, we have another Fernandina Beach video for you
6) The Least Expensive Best Place in Florida for Renters: Niceville
Are you looking for a small town of about 14,000 with a high quality of life that is great rental bargain for the state of Florida?
If so, then Niceville may be the best place for you. Our research showed 1 bedrooms started under $800, 2 bedrooms under $900, and 3 bedrooms around $1000. Please note, the word is out about Niceville. Rental prices have increased here, just like every other desirable place to move to in Florida, and they are no longer the bargain they once were.
Niceville has a crime rate about 50% lower than the national average making it very safe place to rent an apartment or home.
It is located in the Florida Panhandle about 50 miles east of Pensacola.
There’s plenty to do in town or within a short drive of Niceville because it’s near beaches, parks, golfing and boating and almost everything people relocate to the sunshine state for.
Niceville is also home to Northwest Florida State College with an enrollment close to 15,000 students (college towns can be great places to live or retire).
The city holds the annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival featuring music and fried mullet and other food.
If you are looking to move to Florida with a small rental budget, Niceville just may be your best place.
Niceville is a great place to live but since it’s small and not a major tourist destination, there aren’t many videos to chose from. Here’s a video of a popular annual festival held in town.
How We Identified the Best Places to Rent in Florida
When we use the phrase rent a home, we are referring to any property that someone could rent and consider it to be their home. This includes single family homes, townhouses, condos and apartments. In order to identify the best places to rent in Florida today, we first assembled all of the cities and towns in Florida that offer it’s residents a higher quality of life, than is found in most of Florida.
The Criteria We Used to Chose Towns with a Higher Quality of Life for Renters
- The town had to offer it’s residents a safer place to live. Overall, Florida has one of the highest crime rates in the U.S. according to FBI reporting. To be considered as a best place on this list or any list on this website, the town’s property and violent crime rate must be lower than the national average. This one requirement alone eliminates many cities and towns in Florida. It eliminates all of Florida’s major cities including Orlando, where the murder rate more than doubled in 2015 from the previous year. Crime even eliminates many small and medium size Florida towns. In the small town of St Augustine, where the population is only around 14,000 people, the crime rate for both property and violent crime is roughly double the national average. In famous Daytona Beach the property crime rate is more than double the national average and the violent crime rate is 400% higher. However, if you rent in one of the towns on the list below you’ll enjoy the comfort of knowing you’re living in a town where the crime rate is lower than the national average, often much lower.
- The town had to have a decent amount of rentals available. This was not as easy as it sounds. Many of the towns in Florida that offer a safe, higher quality of life are geared toward homeowners. Many more retirees who move to Florida buy their home than rent. Many people in areas where most people own their property often fight any plan to build rentals such as an apartment complex. So we’ve identified places that have more rental options but they still may be more limited than where you are moving from.
- The town must have better rated schools and more job options than the average for Florida. We do this because a portion of the money people pay to their landlord for rent goes to pay for real estate taxes which pays for schools. So even as a renter, you are helping to fund the schools in your new town. Better schools can lead to jobs and help keep the crime rate lower. More people working means less people in that town may have to turn to crime for their cash.
- The town must have more shops, restaurants and recreation options per resident than can be found in most of Florida. Renting in a Florida town that is safe is desirable but having plenty of stuff to do and see in your new town is part of what really makes the place one of the best.
A Warning About the Cost of Rentals in Florida
Due in part to the “great recession” of 2008, many Americans still suffer from credit issues. Lending requirements are still more stringent than before the housing crisis. The result is that many Americans that would like to buy a home, still can’t qualify for a mortgage so they are forced to rent. This means that the demand for rental homes and apartments is near an all time high. Because supply and demand determine prices, rental rates across the country have increased considerably.
The increase in rental rates has been particularly steep in much of Florida. Florida’s gross median rental rate is substantially higher than that of the US, so chances are the rentals you will be looking at in Florida will cost more than where you are moving from.
Because Florida has a boom and bust housing market (fully explained in the Florida Move Guide), the rental rates in the future may be higher or lower. Actually, rental and sale prices have risen so fast that another bubble has been created that will eventually burst. In a few years, rental rates could be substantially lower. One great thing about renting (as opposed to buying) is that when housing prices drop in Florida, you can take advantage of those less expensive rental rates or home prices just as soon as your 1 year lease is up!
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.