Many people who are considering moving to Florida strive to find a balance between quality of life and cost of living. You know what they say; location, location, location! But most of us also have to keep in mind our budget.
Let’s face it, most of the ideally located places in Florida can be pretty expensive. While some of the cheapest places to live in Florida might be out in the middle of nowhere! Most people don’t want to break the bank and be house-poor, but they also don’t want to have to drive an hour to the store, grab a bite to eat…or find something fun to do!
In fact, being able to do the fun stuff is one of the top reasons people want to move to Florida!
Strike a Balance Between Price & Proximity
At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. Being able to find the right place to live in Florida that is affordable for your budget, but also doesn’t sacrifice convenient access to basic necessities and all the awesome stuff you want to do!
So where are these “perfect places in Florida” you ask?
Well, we gathered a list of the cheapest places to live in Florida, and then we scrutinized the location and all the fun stuff to do nearby to come up with this list of 9 places, which we believe offer a good balance of affordability and fun! These are our picks for the cheapest places to live in Florida that also offer a lot of fun and a great lifestyle!
1. North Port, Florida
Median Home Value: $188,700**
North Port is actually one of the top places to move in Florida right now. Its low population and close proximity to towns such as Sarasota, Venice and Port Charlotte means that you have quick access to entertainment, shopping, dining, nature, and beaches. In fact, depending on which part of town you live you might only be 15-20 minutes away from some of the nicest beaches on Florida’s southwest gulf coast. Plus, North Port is actually one of the cheapest places to live in Florida – which has made it a hot market for families, retirees, and others who are moving here from elsewhere in Florida or from out of state.
North Port offers residents more of a suburban feel. Due to the low cost of living, most residents own their homes. That’s why statistics indicate that only 20% of residents living here rent properties while almost 80% are homeowners.
Residents enjoy not only the beaches but the Myakka River that flows near town where you can go boating, kayaking or fishing. There are also many nature trails as well as trails and parks all around town. The newly built Cool Today Park is home to the Atlanta Braves Spring training facility and also hosts a variety of events as well as weekly Farmers Markets.
The town is growing like crazy and there is a lot of development around North Port. Wellen Park is actually one of the hottest developments in all of Florida. Currently, under construction is a whole new “downtown area” for Wellen Park that will boast all sorts of dining, shopping, entertainment, and even a lake for kayaking and admiring the wildlife. We heard someone compare it to “Disney Springs” (formerly known as Downtown Disney in Orlando). Hmmm, don’t know about that but it does get our hopes up since we live nearby in Venice!
2. Englewood, Florida
Median Home Value: $169,300**
Not far from North Port is the town of Englewood, which is along the coast of southwest Florida. The town spans both the mainland as well as out on a barrier island where you can find Englewood Beach. Englewood very much feels like a beach town with an old fishing village kind of feel to it. You can head downtown to historic Dearborn Street where you will find boutique shops and restaurants or easily go across the bridge to the island and beach areas.
The quality of life in Englewood is top-rated even though the cost of living is lower than Florida’s average. This is especially true if you are wanting to live on the water to enjoy boat life from your backyard, or if you want easy access to beaches. The outskirts of town are a bit more rural, and you can get larger properties, but there are also suburban neighborhoods as well as plenty of options for waterfront properties here.
Just south of Englewood Beach is Stump Pass State Park. An awesome place for swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet-skiing…you name it! And keep your eyes peeled because you will often spot dolphins and manatees playing in the water within you! In the evening, head out to Snook’s Bayside Restaurant and Tiki Bar for some food and drink along with an amazing sunset view out over the water!
** READ MORE => Moving to Florida Checklist (free download!)
3. Dunedin, Florida
Median Home Value: $158,000**
One of our favorite towns just north of Clearwater on the Gulf coast, Dunedin is a charming and affordable town to live in Florida. Pronounced “DONE-EE-DIN” the town’s Scottish heritage is all around and during different festivals throughout the year. It’s amazing to think that you can find affordable real estate here with such a high quality of life and so many things to do. Downtown is full of great shops and high quality restaurants, as well as a number of great breweries. There’s also a lovely marina downtown and Edgewater park where you can put in your kayaks or just relax and enjoy the views out over the water.
While many people think about Clearwater when they think of beaches in this part of Florida near Tampa, Dunedin causeway takes you out to Honeymoon Island State Park – the #1 state park in Florida with amazing beaches. Dunedin is also home to the Toronto Blue Jays spring training, so you can head out to the ballpark for a game of baseball.
4. Cape Coral, Florida
Median Home Value: $174,100**
Just over the bridge to the north of Fort Myers on Florida’s southwest Gulf coast, is Cape Coral. This town might be known for its many canals but it also one of the cheapest places to live in Florida. We like it because it’s a nice city where you can get a good house without spending a ton of money, plus the cost of living here is relatively low.
The town is on a peninsula nearly surrounded by water and barrier islands, and the canals all through the town make for an abundance of waterfront property. Cape Coral is a great area to live if you want to be close to beaches or be out on the water fishing and enjoying boat life. Within a few minutes, you can be in Fort Myers or you can drive over the bridges to visit the gorgeous Sanibel and Captiva Islands!
5. Fort Walton Beach and Nearby Towns
Median Home Value: $164,100**
Not only is Fort Walton Beach one of the most affordable towns in Florida but it is also idyllic if you love powder white sandy beaches and crystal blue ocean water! It’s crazy to think that this town offers beach living for a surprisingly low cost. Located between Panama City and Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach also has a funky vibe to its downtown area with all the shops and restaurants – which we really love!
Right over the bridge from Fort Walton Beach is Okaloosa Island, where you will find many of the most amazing beaches in the area as well as a number of resorts and touristy activities. Destin is also nearby, an extremely popular town for vacationing and fishing! The bays and other waterways in and around Fort Walton also make for an abundance of waterfront property and the chance to live the “boat life” with docks in your backyard.
Fort Walton Beach as well as the surrounding towns, including Niceville, gives residents plenty of affordable housing options. Housing in this area is lower compared to the national average and the cost of living is, on average, lower as well.
6. Palm Bay, Florida
Median Home Value: $175,600**
Even though Palm Bay and the surrounding area of Sebastian features a small population, residing here is definitely worth it if you are looking for a slower-pace yet good quality of life. Located just south of Melbourne, there are many beaches off the barrier islands here as well as an abundance of water activities along the Indian River which separates the mainland from the barrier islands. Almost any day you will see dolphins, manatees and more along this waterway.
A short drive to the north and you will be in Cocoa Beach, the famous surf town, or even to Port Canaveral where you can visit NASA (honestly, you can probably spot the rocket launches at night from your house in Palm Bay!). And a short drive to the south you will arrive at the beautiful Vero Beach area too which is full of fun beach-loving touristy things to do!
Compared to other coastal cities, moving to Palm Bay means that you can easily access a good home but at a cheaper price compared to so many other Atlantic coast cities in Florida. Plus, the cost of living in Palm Bay is cheaper overall to the US average and even the Florida average.
7. Palm Coast, Florida
Median Home Value: $214,500**
Palm Coast is another top vacation destination for those coming to Florida who enjoy nature reserves, parks, and beaches. But it’s also an affordable place to live for both retirees and families. Median home prices hover around $200,000, which is a relatively good price considering how close you are to the beach and other fun things to do.
Located just north of Daytona and south of St. Augustine, there are plenty of activities in either direction within just a short driving distance. Whether you enjoy car racing, surfing, or exploring the history of old Florida. As with much of Florida, you will also find a number of superb golf courses in the area as well.
8. Kissimmee, Florida
Median Home Value: $220,000**
Kissimmee is a popular town that’s right near Walt Disney World southwest of Orlando. Living so close to Disney is a major draw for many people who chose to move to the area, either for entertainment or for jobs. While the areas of town closest to the theme parks tend to be more commercialized and full of hotels and vacation rentals, there are still some quiet pockets of town and nice subdivisions with affordable houses.
Moving to Kissimmee is great for those who want to be really close to all the theme parks and Orlando “vacation” action. It’s really just a few miles to theme parks, mini-golf, water parks, and so much more.
Just beyond Kissimmee there are a few other affordable towns that are still quite close to all the action, but also offer a little less “touristy” lifestyle. Towns such as Davenport, Winter Haven and even Clermont are also well known for being cheap places to live in the area. Even though this part of Florida is a top vacation destination, for around $200,000 you can still find yourself a great home – no matter if you are retired or moving to Florida with your family.
9. Lakeland, Florida
Median Home Value: $110,000**
Lakeland is perfectly nestled between Tampa and Orlando, and it offers a combination of suburban living in town with rural options just outside of town, and the charm of a smaller town. Homes in Lakeland are quite affordable here, so most residents do own their homes. Being near the main interstate of I-4, you can easily get from Lakeland to cities such as Tampa or Orlando, and you can get to any of the Gulf or Atlantic beaches within an hour or so.
Even though it is a smaller town, Lakeland is home to some larger companies – including Publix supermarket chain (which dominates Florida). The combination of small-town living, affordable housing options, and jobs is a great draw for families moving to Lakeland. Plus Lakeland is perfectly situated if you enjoy getting out in nature, or even if you wish to drive over to Disney for a day!
Which of These Cheap Places to Live in Florida Is Best For You?
Even though Florida is a touristy state with some of the most luxury real estate in the country, there are many surprisingly affordable areas to live in Florida. However, if you don’t want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere just to find a cheap home, then definitely consider looking into some of these cheap places to live that we have mentioned here in this post.
All of these towns have something special to offer and are close to many fun things to do. Whether you enjoy going to the theme parks, exploring nature, relaxing at the beach, shopping, dining, fishing or just living that boat life. It’s definitely possible for most people to be able to find a balance between price and proximity so they can live a high quality of life in Florida.
** Home prices as of December 2020 but can fluctuate regularly so we cannot make any guarantee to current prices.