Florida, widely known as the Sunshine State, has much to offer its residents, attracting numerous newcomers to its bustling cities like Orlando and Boca Raton.

Although these popular locales can sometimes get quite expensive, potential residents need not worry, as other places provide safety, amenities, and affordability without compromising their lifestyle.

This article will explore the top ten most budget-friendly cities in Florida, each providing a unique combination of affordability, safety, and quality of life.

Keep reading to find out where to enjoy the Sunshine State’s allure without breaking the bank.

10 Cheapest Places to Live in Florida in 2023

  • Jacksonville
  • Cape Coral
  • Gainesville
  • Dade City
  • Dunedin
  • Kissimmee
  • Bartow
  • Homosassa Springs
  • Melbourne
  • Edgewater

1. Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Florida stands out as an affordable living option while still offering the benefits of a large city. Positioned near the Florida-Georgia border, it presents a variety of housing options with a median home price around $260,000, significantly lower than the national average.

The affordability extends to rental properties, where a one-bedroom apartment averages $975 per month, allowing a comfortable lifestyle on approximately $1,900 monthly. Jacksonville’s low unemployment rates and thriving job market make it an attractive choice for those seeking career opportunities.

Beyond its cost of living, Jacksonville offers numerous recreational and entertainment options. With beautiful beaches and a variety of attractions, there is no shortage of activities for residents to enjoy. Among the options are family-friendly venues such as a local zoo, renowned museums, and state parks.

Regarding dining experiences, Jacksonville boasts various restaurants catering to diverse tastes, yielding culinary delights for food lovers. Furthermore, the city’s extensive geographical area and proximity to other urban centers suit those seeking work and leisure opportunities.

In summary, Jacksonville, Florida stands out as a cost-effective option for individuals and families seeking affordable living in a vibrant, well-connected city with various recreational, entertainment, and dining options.

2. Cape Coral

Cape Coral, situated in southwest Florida, ranks as the second most affordable city in the state and takes pride in its reputation of being one of the safest. The city has a lower crime rate compared to other areas in Florida.

Housing costs in Cape Coral are relatively low, with the average home price around $290,700. A one-bedroom apartment can be rented for approximately $1,300. Additionally, the area has fewer taxes, allowing residents to retain more of their income. This makes Cape Coral an ideal choice for retirees.

While transportation and groceries account for the majority of residents’ expenses, they are still lower than in most Florida cities. The city’s prime location offers residents easy access to the waterfront, earning it the nickname “Waterfront Wonderland” due to its extensive canal system.

Besides its affordability and safety, Cape Coral boasts various leisure options within the city and provides proximity to attractions like Disney. Residents can enjoy an unparalleled quality of life with many eateries and scenic spots for a leisurely stroll. Fishing enthusiasts will also find Cape Coral to be an ideal location to indulge in their hobby.

3. Gainesville

Gainesville is a budget-friendly city in northern central Florida. It houses two educational institutions, the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, making it one of the larger cities in the region. By living in Gainesville, residents can experience the advantages of a larger city while enjoying lower living costs.

With a median home price of approximately $210,000, Gainesville offers affordable housing options, below both Florida and national averages. Renting a one-bedroom apartment typically costs around $1,100 per month. However, it is essential to note that utilities tend to be more expensive than in other locations.

Gainesville’s thriving job market, particularly within the college system, makes it attractive for job seekers. The city’s exponential growth in this sector presents ample employment opportunities for residents.

Recreational activities abound in Gainesville, with various hiking trails, public parks, and lakes available for leisure. Additionally, the city is home to a fascinating museum, providing yet another option for entertainment and education.

4. Dade City

Dade City, located near Tampa, is known for its affordability and convenient access to nearby amenities and employment opportunities. With a median home price of approximately $179,500, this city offers excellent value compared to the Florida and national averages.

One-bedroom apartments typically cost around $1,372 per month, providing an affordable and comfortable living environment.

Being in close proximity to large universities, Dade City presents accessible options for both education and career opportunities. Furthermore, the city boasts a wide range of recreational activities for residents to enjoy.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of nearby national parks and trails, while those interested in art and culture can visit the city’s numerous museums and dining establishments. Additionally, commuting to Orlando is feasible for even more attractions and entertainment.

5. Dunedin

Dunedin, a charming and unique Florida town, offers residents an affordable and laid-back lifestyle. Families can thrive in this friendly community with excellent schools and low crime rates.

The median home price currently hovers around $340,000; however, many homes sell for approximately $245,000. Rent for a one-bedroom residence typically averages at $1,100.

Notably, Dunedin boasts cost-effective transportation and utility options, making it one of the most budget-friendly places in Florida. Furthermore, the town provides a variety of leisure activities for all ages.

Residents never run out of enjoyable options, from pristine white-sand beaches to numerous golf clubs. One highlight of Dunedin’s social calendar is the annual Scottish Highland Games, an event that offers excitement and entertainment for thrill-seekers and children alike.

With a rich history and a beautiful historic district, Dunedin is an alluring choice for a comfortable and affordable life in Florida.

6. Kissimmee

Kissimmee boasts affordability while being conveniently located close to Florida’s renowned theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyworld. This allows residents to enjoy the excitement of nearby Orlando without experiencing its daily traffic congestion.

With a median home price of approximately $265,000 and a one-bedroom apartment renting for around $1,050, Kissimmee offers a reasonable cost of living. This makes it an excellent choice for those who work in the city and seek value in their living arrangements.

In addition to its proximity to Orlando attractions, Kissimmee itself offers various recreational activities. Being near the beach allows for enjoyable seaside experiences, and an array of delightful dining options and vibrant nightlife await residents within the town.

Overall, Kissimmee provides an appealing balance between affordability, location, and entertainment opportunities.

7. Bartow

Bartow, a tranquil town in Polk County, is ideally positioned in central Florida, approximately 50 miles from both Orlando and Tampa. This attractive location allows for easy commutes to surrounding areas, offering a broad job market for residents.

Most residents own their homes, with the median home price around $240,000. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here is affordable, averaging around $900, well below the national and Florida averages.

The town’s proximity to airports further enhances the convenience and accessibility for residents and visitors alike. Bartow features numerous historical sites that showcase stunning architecture and charm.

Its closeness to state parks, theme parks, and museums provides families ample entertainment and recreational opportunities. The blend of affordable living, job opportunities, beautiful sites, and a variety of activities makes Bartow an appealing place to reside.

8. Homosassa Springs

Located just north of Tampa Bay, Homosassa Springs offers a serene and affordable lifestyle for residents who appreciate tranquility. With median home prices around $265,000 and one-bedroom apartments averaging $975, the cost of living in Homosassa Springs is lower than both the US and national averages.

Despite its peaceful atmosphere, Homosassa Springs is conveniently close to neighboring towns, making it an ideal affordable destination in Florida. The area features a range of outdoor and recreational activities for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Opportunities for snorkeling with manatees are abundant, while the nearby Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to the famous mermaid show, reflecting the town’s thriving tourism industry.

In addition, parks, fishing spots, and other outdoor pursuits are available, enhancing the appeal of Homosassa Springs as an attractively affordable place to live.

9. Melbourne

Located along the Atlantic coast near Cape Canaveral, Melbourne attracts both tourists and year-round residents. This city is the bottom of Florida boasts a diverse mix of older and younger residents, making it a versatile destination for various age groups.

In Melbourne, the median home price is approximately $335,000, while the average rent sits around $1,300— a reasonable figure for Florida. Thanks to its growing popularity, the city’s thriving real estate market offers a range of opportunities.

Melbourne is also known for its varied recreational activities. From visiting the local zoo and exploring theme parks to taking kayak tours on the water, residents have no shortage of options for entertainment. With something for everyone in this flourishing city, life in Melbourne offers countless reasons to call it home.

10. Edgewater

Edgewater is situated on Florida’s eastern coast and offers an affordable and appealing coastal living experience. Notably, housing costs in this city are among the lowest in Florida, with a median house price of around $310,000, and many properties selling for about $270,000.

Renters can expect to pay around $820 per month – one of the cheapest rental rates in the state and the country.

In addition to its affordability, Edgewater boasts a convenient location for commuters, as well as a low violent crime rate. The city provides ample job opportunities and excellent public transportation options, ensuring ease of access to various destinations.

Edgewater’s location makes it a great base for exploring nearby attractions, with Orlando just an hour’s drive away and the beach within close proximity. Outdoor enthusiasts will also find some of Florida’s best campsites nearby, making Edgewater an ideal choice for singles and families alike.

The city’s combination of affordability, safety, and access to leisure and recreational opportunities make Edgewater a top choice for those seeking coastal living on a budget.

Cheapest Places to Live in Florida Methodology

In determining the most affordable places to live in Florida, various factors were considered such as the median home prices and rents from January 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023.

Other essential living expenses like groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare contributed to the evaluation. This comprehensive approach ensures that readers receive well-rounded information, highlighting the desired locations with low cost of living and reasonable housing options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which coastal towns in Florida offer affordable living?

Affordable coastal towns in Florida include Jacksonville, Cape Coral, and parts of Miami. These towns have beautiful beaches and provide budget-friendly living options compared to more expensive coastal towns.

What are the cheapest housing options in Florida?

The cheapest housing options in Florida can be found in cities like Bartow and Cape Coral, where median home prices and rental costs are comparatively lower than other cities in the state.

Which counties in Florida have the lowest cost of living?

Some counties with low costs of living in Florida include Polk County (where Bartow is located), Hillsborough County (where Tampa is located), and Duval County (where Jacksonville is located). These counties offer affordable housing and lower overall living expenses.

What are the most affordable cities in South and Central Florida?

The most affordable cities in South and Central Florida include Bartow, Cape Coral, and parts of Miami. These cities have lower living and housing costs than other cities in the region.

Where can I find inexpensive living in the Florida Panhandle?

In the Florida Panhandle, affordable living options can be found in towns like Crestview and Milton. These towns have lower housing costs and overall expenses than other Panhandle areas.

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