17 Cheapest Places to Live in Florida

Florida is an ideal spot for a getaway because you can balance your time relaxing on the beach and enjoying the nightlife. The Sunshine State isn’t just a vacation destination—it’s an affordable place to establish roots. If you’re considering a move, you’ll want to find the cheapest place to live in Florida.

There are many benefits to living in Florida. It has many fun attractions to visit, and as a resident, you’ll get discounted admission to many. You’ll never be too far from a beach. The state doesn’t collect income tax, giving a nice financial perk to your move.

The median house price for every city on this list is less than $215,000, with most coming in well below that cost. While rents will fluctuate, the prices are often lower than they are in other cities and states.

These cities are ranked from highest to lowest cost of living, so you’re bound to find something as you make your way down the list. There is plenty to see and do in this wide array of Florida cities.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida is a gorgeous state with plenty of natural sights to enjoy.
  • Though it has a reputation as an expensive tourist destination, it’s possible to live cheaply in Florida.
  • Some of the cheapest places to live in Florida are also some of the most beautiful, with recreation centered around beaches, state parks, lakes, and more.
  • That being said, Florida residents benefit from discounted admission to most of the state’s theme parks and tourist attractions.
  • There is no income tax in Florida, so you get to keep more of the money you earn.
  • 17 cities in Florida have monthly rents less than $1,300 and house prices below $215,000.

Affordable Places to Live in Florida

1. Palm Coast

An image of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It shows a wide sandy beach, several palm trees, a vivid sunset, and a winding footpath. To the left of the image is a number of shops

Palm Coast is in northeastern Florida. As the name would make you believe, it’s right on the beautiful coast. Because it’s the largest city in its county, the cost of living is the highest on this list. Despite the city’s size, the government posts jobs and fun events on their website to create a close-knit community.

The Flagler Beaches of Palm Coast are a huge draw because they’re beautiful and there’s a lot to do nearby. The Sea Turtle Hospital and Marineland Dolphin Adventure are must-sees if you love wildlife adventures. There are also unique small businesses, hiking trails, and kayak rentals.

Speaking of nature, you’ll want to take advantage of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park after you settle into your new home in Palm Coast. These gardens feature exotic plants, reflection ponds, and fishing spots. This city has an ideal mix of the big city and small-town vibes.

  • Population: about 86,000
  • Average Rent: $1,300/month
  • Average Home Price: $214,000

2. Vero Beach

Vero Beach is a city on the east coast of Florida, about two hours southeast of Orlando. It’s known as the citrus capital of North America and provides a lot of jobs in agriculture. Tourism jobs are also plentiful since it is the home of the Indian River Citrus Museum.

The museum delves into the history of Vero Beach and explains how citrus seeds first came to the area. Another sight you’ll enjoy visiting is the Vero Beach Museum of Art. The museum features permanent and traveling exhibits and also hosts classes and events for the community.

Vero Beach’s community includes many local businesses, including an old-school butcher shop. However, Vero Beach truly combines a small-town spirit with the amenities of a big city. There is a regional airport, so you can easily travel for work or pleasure directly from your new hometown.

  • Population: about 21,000
  • Average Rent: $800/month
  • Average Home Price: $211,000

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Vero Beach, Florida

3. Edgewater

Edgewater is a unique city that encompasses a strip of waterfront property as well as a landlocked area that surrounds I-95. You can easily take day trips or commute to Daytona Beach and Orlando, both less than an hour’s drive away.

The different landscapes Edgewater provides naturally lend themselves to outdoor recreation. George R. Kennedy Memorial Park is known for its fishing, and the area boasts some of the top-rated campgrounds in the entire state. Boating is also a popular activity, as well as a source of employment.

Veterans Park is a recreational space where you can enjoy picnics and fish from the pier. If you’re looking for a little something more, Whistle Stop Park has everything you could want. It has fields for Little League and adult baseball, and racquetball, basketball, and tennis courts. There’s even a skatepark, picnic area, and concession stand so you can stay busy the whole day.

If you’re looking for more natural attractions, Edgewater has you covered. There are plenty of prehistoric sites where you can see archaeological sites of Native American ceremonial grounds. There is a lot to explore if you move to Edgewater.

  • Population: about 18,000
  • Average Rent: $950/month
  • Average Home Price: $194,000

4. Palm Bay

An image showing a luxury waterside home in Florida. The home has dark orange walls and a Mexican influenced design. A boat is docked at a dock in front of the home

Palm Bay is known for its plentiful sabal palmettos, which is Florida’s state tree. The city is located on the east coast of Florida so you’ll be close to the beach no matter where you settle. Most of the residents in this town own their homes. This city is suburban, with highly-rated public schools and plenty of parks for neighborhood children to play. 

Palm Bay is the most populated city in Brevard County, but that hasn’t inflated its cost of living. It’s affordable to own a home in Palm Bay, but rent has increased as more people move to the city.

In addition to a nice community, Palm Bay also has two strong natural attractions. Castaways Point Park is a public park with beautiful walking trails, kayak and canoe launches, and beach access. There’s also a fishing pier and fish cleaning station.

Turkey Creek Sanctuary is an endangered land that will take your breath away. It stretches for 130 acres and includes a section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. You can tour the boardwalk, which travels through different ecological systems and enjoy the butterfly garden.

  • Population: about 118,000
  • Average Rent: $1,100/month
  • Average Home Price: $190,000

5. Gainesville

Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, but it’s nicknamed “Tree City” because of the various trees that grow in its gorgeous forests. If you like the fast pace of a big city paired with the closer-knit community of a small town, a college town is the place for you.

Because of the influx of college graduates, the job market in this city is booming. Some of the biggest employers are in the healthcare field, such as the University of Florida Health and the North Florida Regional Medical Center. Also on the list is Shands HealthCare, which is ranked as one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation.

The cost of living in Gainesville is 2% lower than the United States’ average. This means your income will stretch even farther than your current city. You’ll benefit by saving money on healthcare, groceries, and housing. Utilities, however, are slightly higher than the national average.

After settling into Gainesville, you’ll love visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History, which is located on the University of Florida campus. You’ll also enjoy Ichetucknee Springs, which is a natural lazy river. You can rent an inner tube, kayak, or paddle boat and spend the day on the water and observe the surrounding wildlife.

  • Population: about 112,000
  • Average Rent: $900/month
  • Average Home Price: $185,000

6. High Springs

This small town seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s about 30 minutes northwest of college town Gainesville. If you’re looking for more of a big city feel, High Springs is an hour and a half southwest of Jacksonville. 

If you like getting close to nature, you can camp at several state parks within and near High Springs. These include Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, which not only has beautiful scenery but also features natural springs that produce about 44 million gallons of water a day! The city’s park department is a big employer in the area.

Though you’ll be content settling into present-day High Springs after your move, you can visit the High Springs Museum to step back in time. This museum has preserved the way local citizens lived, worked, and learned in the 1800s and 1900s.

  • Population: about 6,000
  • Average Rent: $750/month
  • Average Home Price: $168,000

7. Fort Walton Beach

An aerial photograph of Fort Walton Beach, florida, taken using a fish eye lens. It shows a beautiful orange sky, white beaches, deep blue ocean and dozens of condominiums and shops

Fort Walton Beach is located on the Florida panhandle, about an hour east of Pensacola. It’s a small town but has plenty of tourist attractions and upscale restaurants that give it a big-city vibe. 

Business districts in the city provide the bulk of the jobs for people who live here. There’s even a nearby airport, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, that is convenient if you frequently travel for work or pleasure.

Some of the top attractions in Fort Walton Beach include the Emerald Coast Science Center, which is a hands-on science museum that’s fun for all ages. The whole family will also love parks like Ferry Park and Okaloosa Island Pier that offer hikes, outdoor recreation, and fishing.

Though it seems like a tourist attraction, you can’t consider yourself a Fort Walton Beach resident until you visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. There are exhibits, animal shows, and opportunities to have an animal encounter with various water-dwelling creatures.

  • Population: about 21,000
  • Average Rent: $900/month
  • Average Home Price: $164,000

8. Dunedin

Dunedin is a beach town on the west coast of Florida, just north of Clearwater. It’s the home of some of the most affordable waterfront properties in the state. The white sand beaches are a major draw, as are the breathtaking sunsets.

The city itself is very walkable, so you’ll lower your transportation costs if you settle here. It’s close enough to Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Petersburg, so you can settle in Dunedin for the beauty but still commute to large cities for work and entertainment.

Whether you’re in it for the history or the beer, you’ll be interested in visiting Dunedin Brewery. It’s the oldest microbrewery in Florida and hosts events to encourage community in the city. If nature is more your thing, you’ll love Honeymoon Island State Park. It’s great for bird watching, swimming, fishing, and of course, relaxing.

  • Population: over 35,000
  • Average Rent: $800/month
  • Average Home Price: $157,000

9. Okeechobee

Right on the edge of Lake Okeechobee is the city of Okeechobee, a nice hybrid of a small town with a big city. Rent has been stable for the past few years, but since Okeechobee is such a small town, there aren’t too many apartments available.

Though it has a small population, the job market is booming, especially in healthcare, manufacturing, and agriculture. The city’s Chamber of Commerce actively recruits new businesses to keep their industrial parks populated, which in turn helps the job market and citizens alike. 

The city is known as the world’s “Speckled Perch Capital” and they have an annual event to celebrate. You’ll also want to spend time on Lake Okeechobee, which is known for fishing, boating, and amazing surrounding trails.

  • Population: about 6,000
  • Average Rent: $800/month
  • Average Home Price: $147,000

10. Macclenny

Macclenny is a beautiful town close to the Florida-Georgia border. The residents are on the younger end of the spectrum, with the average age being 38. More people own homes than rent, possibly because it’s hard to find an available apartment in such a small town. 

Just 20 minutes away is Osceola National Forest, which provides entertainment in the form of hiking trails, shooting ranges, and wildlife tours. You can get up close and personal with the land or walk on an elevated boardwalk that provides prime photo locations.

If you like historical sites, you’ll want to learn all about your new town by visiting Heritage Park Village. This is a collection of miniature museums that each have a specific focus regarding the community’s history. The location also hosts outdoor movies and festivals.

  • Population: over 7,000
  • Average Rent: $900/month
  • Average Home Price: $123,000

11. Defuniak Springs

A photo of scenic bonita springs in Florida. It shows a small building surrounded by palm trees which is adjacent to natural springs

Defuniak Springs is a city on the Florida panhandle, about halfway between the Florida-Georgia line and the Gulf of Mexico. It was founded as a resort town for railroad officers and was named after the vice president of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

You can learn more about the town’s railroad history at the Walton County Heritage Museum. The museum is located in the old railroad depot, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city features one of only two spring-fed lakes in the whole world that is almost perfectly round. Defuniak Springs decorates the area around the lake for winter holidays and refers to the celebration as “Christmas Reflections” because of how the water mirrors what surrounds it.

This town has the lowest “high point” in the United States: Britton Hill, which is 345 feet tall. However, the town is growing by 10% every year, in terms of population, property value, and income, so Defuniak Springs might soon reach a new high.

  • Population: over 6,000
  • Average Rent: $750/month
  • Average Home Price: $122,000

12. Bartow

Bartow is a city halfway between Orlando and Tampa. This location, along with a public transportation system that connects it to many other major cities, makes it an affordable location to live, even if you commute to work. If you have a family, you’ll love the school system.

The cost of living is lower than the state average, and employment is steady. The local city and county governments are big employers. Bartow has annexed land they are in the process of developing, and the city’s population is expected to double by 2030. 

One of the city’s major draws is its Bloomin’ Arts Festival, which has been held annually since 1959. Local artists share their talent and car collectors compete for attention at the classic car show. 

While that event bonds the community, the Historical and Genealogical Library helps citizens learn about their heritage. This is one of the largest genealogical facilities, with over 40,000 historical materials available for research. Even if you’re new to town, you might appreciate learning about the land’s past.

  • Population: over 19,000
  • Average Rent: $800/month
  • Average Home Price: $122,000

Related: Better Place to Live, California or Florida?

13. Clewiston

A photo of St. Augustine Lighthouse, in Florida. It shows a vibrant lighthouse which is covered in white and black stripes, with a red center, It is surrounded by green palm trees

Even though this list compiles the cheapest places to live in Florida, rent can still get pretty high. In Clewiston, however, the rent is less than half of the state’s average. The money you save in rent can go towards a downpayment for a house.

As you familiarize yourself with your new city, you’ll want to visit Billie Swamp Safari. You can take buggy tours of the swamp, airboat rides of the Everglades, and see animal exhibits. 

Learn more about the town at the Clewiston Museum. It has information about the local industries, including sugar, cattle, and commercial fishing. These are still big industries in the area that provide a lot of jobs.

  • Population: almost 8,000
  • Average Rent: $750/month
  • Average Home Price: $113,000

14. Lakeland

Slightly northwest of Bartow is Lakeland, Florida, known for having more than 38 lakes! It’s located on I-4 so you can easily get to Orlando and Tampa for day trips. Each city is about an hour away, so it’s not even a bad commute if you work in one of those bigger cities.

Florida Southern College is located in Lakeland. The university is known for its nursing and business programs, as well as its athletic teams. Many jobs are provided by the university, and there’s also a lively job industry because of the graduates produced.

When you’re spending time in your new town, you’ll want to make sure you visit the Polk Museum of Art, located near the Florida Southern College campus. The historic downtown area has it all, from nice outdoor walking trails to antique stores to upscale restaurants.

  • Population: over 23,000
  • Average Rent: $900/month
  • Average Home Price: $109,000

15. Quincy

This trendy town in northern Florida is known for its diversity and arts center. Quincy is an affordable town where you can find a nice home for less than $100,000. Most of the locals own a house in the city limits instead of rent.

The North Florida Research and Education Center is located in Quincy. This branch of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences provides a lot of jobs in the area.

Quincy used to be a tobacco manufacturing town, and the Shade Tobacco Museum proudly shares this heritage. You can also enjoy a lot of natural attractions in and around Quincy. You can visit the Apalachicola River Blueway National Recreation Trail and Lake Talquin State Forest.

  • Population: about 8,000
  • Average Rent: $800/month
  • Average Home Price: $92,000

16. Live Oak

Live Oak is located in northern Florida. It’s a small city that’s typically a place people pass by, with 10 major highways running through the city. However, it has up-and-coming industries like agriculture and timber. 

Technology is a field that is also increasing in Live Oak, employing much of the population and bringing in new citizens. The population has been growing slowly but steadily over the past 10 years.

Recreation in Live Oak includes a lot of nature, like Suwannee River State Park, which includes the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Outdoor music festivals held here always draw a huge crowd. Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park has one of the longest underwater caves visitors can explore. 

Since it’s such a small town, the crime rate is lower than in many larger cities. If you want to get to know your neighbors and be part of a community, Live Oak is a great place to plant roots. 

  • Population: about 7,000
  • Average Rent: $750/month
  • Average Home Price: $88,000

17. Fort Meade

Fort Meade is a small lake town in Central Florida that’s known for water activities like kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. The entire city has a low cost of living and a steady job market so you’ll live comfortably here. 

This city is almost halfway between the coasts. Though it’s part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven metropolis, Fort Meade has a small-town vibe. It’s less than an hour away from Tampa, so you’re able to get the benefits of a big city when you want it.

When you want to explore your new city, be sure to check out the historical buildings downtown. The city was established in 1849, and the Historical Society of Fort Meade has a museum dedicated to all the town has been through, including four major fires in the business district. Thankfully now the city is well-established and an affordable place to raise a family.

  • Population: about 10,000
  • Average Rent: $650/month
  • Average Home Price: $75,000

Conclusion

When you’re looking for the cheapest places to live in Florida, make sure you’re considering how much money you make and how much you’re willing to spend. Seeing the price of homes and rent will give you an idea about the city’s cost of living.

Florida is a gorgeous, natural state with a lot to offer. Whether you want to spend your days at the beach, enjoy the various tourist attractions, or spend time in unique cities, you’ll find plenty to do in this state. 

These cities have something for everyone, so you’re sure to find something good if you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Florida. No matter where you end up living, you’ll enjoy beautiful weather and a hospitable community. See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in West Palm Beach, Florida