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5 Best Places To Live In Northern Florida

best places to live in northern florida

Let’s discuss the best places to live in Northern Florida. Whether you are just getting started in life, building a family, facing retirement, or simply need a fresh start in life, Northern Florida can be a great place to seek residence in. It offers a ginormous list of towns and cities you can pitch your tent, rent a condo, or buy a home.

Moreover, the region is preferred by many because of its seemingly shorter hot and humid summers compared to other areas down south. Whether you’re fascinated by beach life or looking for a home in a relaxed and quiet environment, you can never go wrong by choosing Northern Florida.

Just like with any other state, it is not unusual to get confused when deciding where exactly to settle on the northern side of Florida. In this piece, we shall highlight some of the best places to live while seeking residence in the northern side of the sunshine state. Let’s get the party started… shall we!

Choosing The Best Place To Live In Northern Florida 

Picking a residence can be an arduous task. For a good reason, many people get chills when choosing a location to start a life or continue from where they left off. Before we jump right into some of the best places you could call home in Northern Florida, let’s look at some of the elements to consider when reviewing these places.

  • Affordability the cost of living varies from place to place. The difference comes due to the difference in development and economic growth. When looking at the best place one can call home, you need to make sure it’s a place whose cost of living you can meet. Areas way beyond your regular cost of living can prove to be very challenging. We will be looking at this element when comparing some of northern Florida’s best places to call home.
  • The job marketpeople want to make sure that they can quickly get a job wherever they move to. You want to make sure that you can quickly get a job and maintain your livelihood as you pick a place to live. This is one of the aspects used to look at some of the best places one can live in.
  • Economic growth: you want to make sure that the place you intend to move to won’t stay stagnant in terms of infrastructure and economic development. You can quickly tell if an area is developing by looking at its growth rate in the last couple of years. The growth rate could be in terms of the population of infrastructural development. All the same, your place should grow as you progress as an individual.
  • Crime rates: Finally, it is always crucial to consider your safety when deciding where to buy or rent a home. Whether you are a retiree, raising a family in your middle-age, or looking to start one soon, everyone wants to live in a place they feel safe. This is why you will come across the phrase “crime rates” occasionally in the remaining bits of this article.

With this out of the way, let’s count together, the five best places you can call home in Northern Florida.

5. St. Augustine 

St. Augustine is one of the places you could call home in northern Florida. Right from the moment you get to the city, you will notice its beauty. A charming historic block downtown has been converted into a chain of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.

These amenities make it an excellent residential area, especially for retirees. The city isn’t as huge as Miami; hence the cost of living is still quite favorable, and the housing is affordable.

St. Augustine is also home to various cultures, including art and live music festivals from different genres. The city is just next to the Atlantic Ocean, which means you always have access to the beach just nearby.

The job market is good enough as most of the residents are retirees. It is estimated that in a few years, St. Augustine’s job market will grow by over 50%, which is slightly higher than the average U.S. growth rate, which is at 33%.


  • Rich culture
  • Lots of awesome beaches
  • Immense beauty
  • Multiple public amenities


  • Costs of living are high
  • Congested tourism

4. Daytona Beach

If you are looking for a city that combines affordability, lower living costs, and strong job prospects all into one place, then Daytona Beach is the place to look. Its proximity to Jacksonville and Orlando makes the site just perfect for all age groups.

For a long time, the area has been eyed mainly by the seniors in retirement. Today, however, it is slowly being occupied by the middle-aged working class as well as the vibrant youths just starting their lives.

If recent statistics are anything to go by, there is the expectation that the job market in Daytona Beach will have grown by 43% in the next ten years, which means we can only expect good things from the city.

Like most other cities in Florida and as the name suggests, Daytona Beach is right next to the Atlantic Ocean, which means you get to enjoy a long stretch of sandy beach. It would be a perfect place for a young family as well.


  • Stunning beachfront
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Tons of activities to indulge in


  • High tourist influx
  • Crime reports in certain areas

3. Jacksonville 

Jacksonville is the commercial and financial center of Florida. The title makes it quite established and promising in terms of development and economic growth. The city has several parks, massive forest land, and claims a considerable share of the Florida coastline.

The cost of living is quite fair when you look at how developed the area is. The housing is also very affordable, which is one of the reasons the city has been developing quite fast in the last few years.

Also, there are plenty of amazing neighborhoods, despite some of them having considerable crime rates. Generally, the city is a spectacle, and setting up residence in the area can be a great move even when on a budget.


  • Affordable living, including housing
  • Attractive job market 
  • Plenty of outdoor activities 


  • Moderate crime rates
  • Traffic commutes can be problematic

2. Pensacola 

This is the last major city in Florida as you approach Alabama. It may not be as big as some of the popular cities in the state, but it’s a self-sufficient city, favorable for people with families and even retirees.

The cost of living here is also quite manageable, and job prospects are promising. Moreover, housing rates in Pensacola are incredibly lower than in most other cities in the U.S.

There is also the Pensacola beach, just 15 minutes away from the city. The city’s growth rate is at a promising 42% which means Pensacola will be more desirable in the next few years. If you are looking for a place where you can live a comfortable and cheap life, you should consider living in Pensacola.


  • Affordable living costs
  • Promising job market
  • Great school system
  • Attractive housing rates


  • Vulnerability to harsh weather 
  • Crime in some neighborhoods

1. Gainesville 

Sometimes we want to live in a place away from all the noise associated with major cities, yet not so far from them. If that’s the case, then Gainesville could be the best place for you to move to. The town is situated strategically between some of Florida’s major cities, including Jacksonville and Orlando, as well as multiple pristine beaches.

Gainesville is perfect for young people since it is the home to the University of Florida, so it’s surrounded by the charming buzz and activities of the youth.

The university’s presence has opened up the place, increasing the number of investors coming in. This has also skyrocketed the growth of the job market. It’s a good place to reside as a young person who has just finished school and looking to build a life. 


  • Centrally located in Northern FL
  • Numerous activities to indulge in
  • A blossoming economy
  • Attractive job market
  • Suitable for the young and the old


  • Housing is mostly student-centered
  • Heat and humidity can be challenging

Other Notable Mentions 

  • Palm Valley: Just 30 minutes from southeast of downtown Jacksonville, Palm Valley is among the best small towns you can inhabit in Florida. It boasts above-average employment opportunities, low crime rates, and lots of things to do or see.
  • Neptune Beach: With a total human population of slightly over 7,000 this is another great town to think about when considering Northern Florida as your new home. It boasts plenty of shopping opportunities, restaurants, boutiques, and bars. Furthermore, it is only half an hour away from Florida’s most populous city – Jacksonville.
  • Fleming Island: Despite the name, Fleming Island is more of an inland town than it is an island. Here, residents enjoy lots of attractions and activities, including fishing and boating. The crime rates are significantly low, and the school system is great, making it an awesome city to live in.

Here are the 5 Best Places to Live in Northern Florida:

  • St. Augustine
  • Daytona Beach
  • Jacksonville
  • Pensacola
  • Gainesville
  • Other Notable Mentions (Palm Valley, Neptune Beach, Fleming Island)


If you have had the thought of moving to Florida’s northern area this article will hopefully help ease your burden of deciding where to live. We have briefly covered a decent overview of some of the best places to live in northern Florida. Don’t forget to consider what suits your lifestyle and quality of life best before making the final decision.

Please consult a licensed real estate agent or appropriate professional
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