11 Best Places to Live in Florida for Families With Kids

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Last Updated November 1, 2023

Florida has always been a popular state to relocate to over the years. In fact, throughout Florida’s history it’s been marketed as a great place to escape the cold winters and a wonderful place to retire. But Florida isn’t only for the wealthy or retirees. The state offers many affordable and thriving areas that make them some of the best places to live in Florida. For families, however, there are many different criteria to consider when choosing your hometown and  not all parts of Florida are the same! 

If you are thinking of moving to Florida with your family then you are going to be looking for things like affordable homes, a strong job market, good quality schools, low crime, and healthcare. Plus, you’ll want to have easy access to fun things to do such as proximity to beaches, nature, parks and other entertainment.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to live in Florida for families that meet the criteria you might be looking for.

saasota ringling bridge - one of the best places to live in florida for families


Even though Sarasota is frequently named as one of the top cities to retire in all of Florida (and the country), it’s not only retirees who live here. Known as a cultural hub in Florida, the city has plenty of families who enjoy a great quality of life along the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida. The city is small enough that it doesn’t feel too big, but it’s big enough to have many of the amenities that families want. Arlington Park, Southside Village, and even Gulf Gate are just a few of the many attractive neighborhoods in Sarasota for families.  

As the core city in the Sarasota Metropolitan Area, it has 53,786 residents. The median age is 47.2 years and the median income is $87,493 per household. It’s fairly diverse for this part of Florida but still has some catching up to do to get on par with other major cities. Admittedly, the area is growing much faster than the national average as more and more people discover the benefits of living in Sarasota

The Sarasota County School district is one of the top ten in Florida. In fact, schools in this county have an average ranking of 10/10, which is amongst the top 5% in the whole state! Undoubtedly, Sarasota is the best place to live in Florida with good schools. Prominent, safe educational institutions in the area include Lakewood Ranch schools, as well as Pine View School which is one of the top in the country!

When your kids are not in school, there will be no shortage of things for them to do including the popular Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Tourists flock to Sarasota each year for its beaches (including the famous Siesta Key) and rich cultural attractions.  And, when you live in Sarasota, you’ll have all of that at your fingertips. 

The real estate market is good and houses are relatively affordable, with residents getting a lot more in terms of world-class amenities than they would in other, more expensive cities. As a plus, you won’t have to pay a state income tax. and the cost of living index is 102.7, so it’s a good place to call home.

Read More >>>  Check out our Sarasota Relocation Guide here for more information

Mural on a wall reading "Venice" in downtown Vencie, Floida - one of the best places to live in florida for families


Just south of Sarasota along the Gulf Coast is Venice. Once a  retirement town, the area has seen significant interest from families who prefer the quiet life. It’s no surprise really, since the area also boasts fantastic schools just minutes from a handful of incredible beaches! In fact, Venice boasts some of the best natural coastline in Florida that your family can enjoy every day – without the crowds. There are also several great parks around town as well as the Legacy Trail for walking, rollerblading, and biking that goes all the way to Sarasota.

Schools in Venice are part of Sarasota County’s school system, which is one of the top in the State.  Venice High School is extremely popular in the area, with many students choosing to attend from other areas because of its strong academics as well as top-rated sports programs. In fact, the school is state champions in many sports (including football) and has even had some of their games broadcast on ESPN!

Charter schools that are nearby include SKY Academy Venice and Imagine School North Port, while private schools include Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School and Venice Christian School. Additionally, many children attend the top-rated Pine View School just north of Venice in Osprey due to its outstanding awards and close proximity. 

Aside from the schools, another great thing about Venice is that it’s quite close to Sarasota for larger city amenities, but also only about an hour from St. Petersburg or Tampa by car, making it quick and easy to access all sorts of resources and activities for your kids. 

The public libraries provide programs for children during the week and Venice has a thriving local theater community, so you can frequently enjoy acting camps for younger kids, right on your doorstep. Not to mention that it’s home to Caspersen Beach, world famous for sharktooth hunting – providing unlimited fun for the whole family! 

With lots of fantastic neighborhoods to choose from, Venice is one of the best places for families to live in Florida. 

Read More: Check out our full Venice Relocation Guide here

**VIDEO – Check out the top family neighborhoods in Venice with us!**

Click the video below to join us on a virtual tour of what we think are the top family neighborhoods in Venice.

trees by a lake on a sunny day in North Port, Florida - one of the best places to live in florida for families


Formerly part of Port Charlotte, North Port is now  its own town, situated just north of Fort Myers. While North Port is not on the coast, it is only about 20-30 minutes from many fantastic Gulf of Mexico beaches. 

The schools that your children will attend are also a part of the Sarasota School district, which as mentioned is highly rated. Professionals who live in North Port may commute to jobs in either Sarasota to the north or even Fort Myers to the south, but keep in mind that the average commuting time for North Port residents is around 30 minutes, which is generally a little higher than other areas of Florida. There are plenty of employment opportunities in the area, especially in healthcare and construction. 

If you’re looking to purchase your home in the area, you’ll have plenty of choice. North Port is a fast growing community with a booming economy. The median home price is around $375,000, with rentals coming in around $2k per month, making this one of the best affordable places to live in Florida that’s great for families while still being close to beaches. 

For families with reservations about new build communities, you’ll be pleased to know that as well as affordable house prices, and a below national average cost of living, North Port also boasts a safety rating of 44, according to Neighbour Hood Scout’s Crime Index, meaning this flourishing community is safer than 44% of US neighborhoods. 

A final note for those who love to get outside, is just how close North Port is to recreational spaces for your active kids. The Atwater Community Park, Myakka State Forest, and Deer Prairie Creek Nature Preserve are all within easy reach, as well as over 50 golf courses for the adults (or kiddos!) to enjoy.

Read More: Check out our full North Port Relocation Guide here. 

sunset at Naples harbor with boats at the jetty all lit up


Naples has previously made it onto our list of best places in Florida to live, so it’s no surprise that we’re also including it as one of the best places in Florida for families. This beach-side city has been named the healthiest city in America on more than one occasion and happiness levels are really high. Perhaps that’s because it has also been ranked number 1 for financial well-being, social well-being and community well-being (Gallup Report 2019).  

With a relatively small population of just over 18,000 people, Naples has an impressively low crime rate, 90% below the Florida average. Coupled with an excellent education system and wide catchment areas, it’s no shock that the home value is ever on the rise in this sought after location. You can snap up family homes in the Artesia neighborhood for around $500,000 while a place in the Old Naples neighborhood will cost you around $1.5Million, and the Aqualene Shores district can easily stretch you to $10Million. 

In addition, salaries are typically higher than the national average, utilities are lower than other areas, and there is a low 6% sales tax applied in Naples, which balances the overall cost of living. Furthermore, there are plenty of free and low-cost things to do with your youngsters that make this city a fairly balanced option. 

The town is bike friendly and packed with great restaurants, the beaches are incredible and easily accessible, it’s home to the world famous Everglades National Park, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. All in all, this sophisticated and cheerful city is definitely one of the best places to raise a family in Florida. 

happy family of four standing outside their new home in winter springs - one of the best places to live in florida for families


Winter Springs has a population of 35,000 people. It’s located in Central Florida and has a sparse suburban feel which offers residents more open space to enjoy.   

You can be lucky enough to grab a family home here for just $426,000, on average, or $1700 monthly rent. There are good prospects for higher-paying jobs, especially if you don’t mind commuting to Orlando. The overall cost of living here is higher than the national average and the average in Florida, and you’ll spend almost the same amount on groceries and utilities as you would elsewhere in Florida. However, the cost of health is lower than the rest of the country, amenities are generally affordable, and the average household income is significantly higher than the national average.

Winter Springs has access to good schools with low pupil-to-teacher ratios. Although, in full transparency there is also a lower budget per student in the area. 

This is a fine place to live in terms of dining and other entertainment options. One of the main perks of living in this area of Central Florida is that you have quick access to the Orlando attractions for family entertainment and fun. If you’re hoping for a quieter day out, there is no shortage of green space, parks, and wildlife to explore. 

family with their dog holding a cardboard "roof" over their heads to celebrate their new house


Davenport has a population of 9,049. The average age of residents is 36.8, making it the ideal place to live for a family with young children or teenagers. This is one of the best places to live, in Florida, for families looking to build networks and friendships for both kids and parents. Public schools in this area spend $9,657 per student and the student-teacher ratio is low, with 15.1 students per teacher. These small class sizes allow your children to get the attention that they deserve and thrive with. You can choose between  nine public schoolsand one private school within Davenport.

The unemployment rate is fairly low at 5.6%, which is lower than the national average. Additionally, the job market has been on a steady increase and job growth is predicted to rise to 43.7% over the next ten years. While you might find it relatively easy to find employment in this area, it’s worth noting that the average household income is around $15K per year below the US average. 

In light of this, you can secure a home in this area for around $369,000, which is a steal for a family home and makes this one of the best affordable places to live in florida. For families on a budget, there are a lot of things to do and the cost of living is fairly low. Plus, you’ll find even more options close by in Tampa Bay. The setting is attractive but there is a low level of educational attainment and the summer months can be humid. This is also a good destination for parents whose children may be heading off to college soon, since it provides everything that you’ll need to have fun after your kids fly the nest. 

aerial view of gulf breeze florida


Gulf Breeze has a small population (circa 6000!) and if you’re looking for a laid-back town to raise a family in Florida, this is it. You can enjoy fishing, boating and a lot of other water sports along the Emerald Coast with its crystal clear blue-green waters. And best of all, you can enjoy all this without the bustle of tourists as this suburban city is still a hidden gem in Florida’s Panhandle.  

While the location is truly gorgeous, this area of Florida is one of the most at risk of severe wind reports and hurricanes. There has only been one category 5 storm throughout history in this part of the State but if you opt to move here, be prepared for regular warnings and safety actions. For more information and tips on how to deal with hurricane season  you can check out this post.  

 With advance preparation, residents in this area get through the hurricane season easily and in fact they thrive in this steadily growing community. The crime rate is lower than much of the state, which is understandably enticing, and Santa Rosa School District is very well regarded.

The median home price is $450,000 and the overall cost of living is higher than both the national US and Floridian average. However, property taxes are lower than the rest of Florida and there is no income tax in Gulf Breeze so overall, it could be an affordable area for families looking to live by the beach.  

Since the town is located at the end of a peninsula, near Pensacola, you’ll spend most of your days surrounded by water and tranquility which, in our opinion, makes this one of the best places to live in Florida for families who love the coast.

family home in niceville florida


Niceville has a population of just over 15,000, which makes it pretty close-knit and allows you to get to know your neighbors. This small town is located along the Florida Panhandle, in Okaloosa County, affectionately known as the Emerald Coast. The turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and peaceful atmosphere are popular with retirees, but also make it one of the best places to live in Florida for families who like to take it slow.  

The median home price is around $400,000 while the median income is $62,538.As is typical in the Panhandle region, cost of living is higher than both Florida and US averages. There’s been slow and steady growth in the job market over the last few years but it hasn’t seen quite the rise as neighboring communities along this coastline.  The level of educational attainment in Niceville is good, with 2% having doctoral degrees and over 37% having a Master’s, Professional or Bachelor’s degree. There are a lot of schools in the area including Bluewater Elementary, with opportunities to participate in scholarship programs.

After school there is plenty to do. There’s easy access to Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, Turkey Creek Nature Trail, and Mattie Kelly Arts Theater. If you head to the Civic Center Complex you’ll find a great children’s play park open all year round. The area also has a fun splash pad and even a skate park for your kids to blow off steam!

Crime is about 45% lower than the national average and Niceville was ranked as the safest city to live in Florida in 2022 by Safewise, using the most up-to-date FBI crime data, making this one of the best places to live in Florida for families looking for safe neighborhoods, reliable housing, and plenty of open space. 

aerial view of tampa, florida. City skyline with the bay.


Tampa is the largest city in the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, with a population of almost 400,000 and an annual increase of almost 5%. It’s no surprise since the city offers a high quality of life with all the perks of a metropolitan area in a subtropical vacation setting! 

Local amenities include Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, Zoo Tampa, Amalie Arena, regional parks, museums, theaters, and first class eateries. You can enjoy beach trips to popular destinations like Clearwater or tour Fort Lauderdale’s famous biking trails.Your kids will never be bored as there’s year round activities for every age range.  

Tampa’s cost of living is on par with the rest of Florida, and both renters and homeowners can enjoy competitive prices here, along with a growing job market.The schools are in the popular Hillsborough District, the eighth largest school district in the US. Unfortunately, there are quite a few schools in the district ranking below average, but plenty of high performing options too so be sure to check out your catchment areas and schools of choice.

We really love this vibrant and diverse city, so it had to make it on the list as one of the best places for families to live in Florida.  If you’re thinking about making the move, we’ve got you covered…

Read More>> Check out our full Tampa Relocation Guide here

road in clearwater, florida with an avenue of trees and blue sky


Clearwater is the smallest city in Tampa Bay with a population of approx 116,000. It’s most well known for its cultural diversity, climate, and abundant employment opportunities. An economic boom in the 80’s saw the area implement fantastic infrastructure with well maintained roads, reliable public transport, and a robust healthcare system, making it one of the best places to live in Florida for families. 

The Pinellas County School District, which includes Clearwater, boasts commendable school performance and has a reputation for high academic standards. Further, several schools in the district have received accolades for their excellence in education. 

House prices average around $340,000 which is below the Florida average, as is the overall cost of living. The average household is living on around $55,000 per year, making this quite an affordable option. Sadly, the crime rates are a bit higher than some other options we’ve noted, with a crime rate of 22 which makes it safer than just 19% of US neighborhoods. 

The beachfront city offers pristine coasts to enjoy, along with one of the best fishing piers in Florida. You’ll be wowed by the sunset beach parties, Marine Aquarium, and the majestic birds of prey at Moccasin Lake Nature Park. 

ariel view of weston, florida, rooftops, trees, and lakes


Last but not least on our list of best places for families to live in Florida, is Weston.  Nestled in Broward County, bordering the renowned Florida Everglades, Weston has a population of just over 70,000. 

Situated 25 minutes inland from Fort Lauderdale and 45 minutes from downtown Miami, this inland suburban oasis offers prime real estate at high end prices. The median home price in this affluent area will set you back a princely $860,000. In addition, you can expect your living costs to be higher than the Florida average and up to 31% higher than the national US average. 

With the high end prices, comes a high end lifestyle and you do get what you pay for. Weston offers an unemployment rate of just 3%, a crime rate of just 4 per 1000, (making it safer than 77% of US neighborhoods!) and a School District with cross-the-board above average performance. 

There’s no shortage of things to do either. From restaurants and spas to museums, theaters, golf clubs, beaches, and even Library Park (which is exactly what it sounds like!) there’s a relaxing day for everyone. If you’re looking for more fun and adventure you can find it at the Everglades, Airboat Adventure, Reptile Exhibits, animal sanctuaries, water parks, Emerald Estates and more.Coffee shops and parks abound in this dense suburban-style area, which has heavy Latin American influences.

Finally, if your family is into sports then Weston is the place for you. With one of the best soccer academies in the Village and a range of fully equipped equestrian centers Weston caters to a thriving sports community. Horseriding seems to be a really popular activity in this area with boarding, riding, trailing, ranching, and showjumping easily accessible for fund days out or regular hobbies.  

Where will you choose as the best place to live in Florida for your family? 

There are so many amazing places to live in Florida and with such a variety there really is a perfect place for everyone. Hopefully this list of the best places to live in Florida, for families, has given you some inspiration to seek out which spot of paradise will suit your family best. 

If you feel the call to your next family home, check out our listings here or reach out for some one-to-one help from Josh to find your perfect place. 

Leighanne Payton

Leighanne is an artist, writer, and travel lover. She is currently based in Scotland, UK where she teaches traditional crafts, storytelling and land based alchemy. She loves to explore off the beaten track, finding people, places, and stories that inspire her work. A good beach, a woolly cardigan, and a cuppa tea can make her feel at home anywhere!

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