13 Florida Cities Least Affected by Hurricanes: What City is Safest?

Florida is a beautiful state known for its warm, sunny weather, refreshing beaches, and tropical scenery. If you have felt trapped in the cold in another state and wish to enjoy the sun year-round, you may have considered moving to Florida. As the Sunshine State becomes more accessible and affordable, you can escape the winter blues forever.

The subtropical climate provides around 240 sunny days each year, but it also brings hurricanes and tropical storms. If you feel concerned about getting hit by a hurricane while relaxing on the beach, don’t fear! There are plenty of cities in Florida that experience minimal hurricanes during the lengthy season.

You can keep your family safe by informing yourself of some hurricane statistics in Florida cities. Furthermore, you can equip yourself with some hurricane safety tools to protect your loved ones in the event of a natural disaster.

Keep reading to learn about the Florida cities least affected by hurricanes and why they are worth looking into for places to live. They have been ranked by livability score.

An image of Miami Beach in Florida. It shows a wide beach that curves along the light blue Atlantic ocean. On the left of the frame are dozens of white high rise buildings

Key Takeaways

  • North Central Florida has the fewest hurricanes because it is away from the water and has a higher elevation.
  • If your primary concern is hurricane safety, then Lake City, FL, has the fewest hurricanes. However, it has the lowest livability score on the list.
  • If you have a substantial budget, then Winter Springs, FL, provides safety from hurricanes and crime while offering a comfortable lifestyle.
  • The Greater Orlando region (Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, and Doctor Phillips) have the highest number of expats.

1. Winter Springs

Winter Springs has a low hurricane risk, with 77 hurricanes being recorded since 1930. Its largest hurricane was an unnamed storm in 1944, while the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. This city has a population of 36,000, with 11.8% of the people being expats.

The cost of living is 0.9% less than the United States average, but it does cost more than most Florida cities. Groceries cost slightly more than the standard, with housing and transportation showing significant increases. Health and utilities prices are a bit below the national averages. The median home value is $214,800, which is 16% higher than most areas.

While not the most affordable city, Winter Springs has tons of amenities and a low crime rate of 779 per 100,000 people. Residents have a 1 in 129 chance of becoming victims. The median household income is a solid $62,372. The city has a 91% high school graduation rate, with test scores 34% higher than the standards. Overall, Winter Springs has an exceptional livability score that is higher than 98% of regions.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, not very bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 0.779%
  • Number of Expats: about 4,250

2. Doctor Phillips

Doctor Phillips, FL, has a low hurricane risk as it has only seen 76 hurricanes since 1930. Its largest storm was an unnamed hurricane in 1944, while the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. Doctor Phillips is a small town in North Central Florida with a population of 11,000 people, with 27.8% of them being expats.

The cost of living in Doctor Phillips is several points above the national and state average. Grocery and utilities costs are slightly above average, while housing costs dramatically more. The transportation costs are significantly more expensive, but health is a little below average. The median home value is $294,700.

The crime rate in Doctor Phillips is 962 per 100,000 people, with 1 in 105 people becoming victims. The median household income is $78,900, and the high school graduation rate is 92%. The school test scores are 39% higher than the national average. Despite the bloated living costs, Doctor Phillips has an exceptional livability score that outranks 98% of cities.

  • Walkability: very walkable, minimal transit
  • Crime Rate: 0.962%
  • Number of Expats: about 3,060

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

3. St. Cloud

A photo of the habor at Lake Tohopekaliga Osceola County, St Cloud Florida taken in the morning. It shows a large harbor with several boats, a pier and a cloudy blue sky

St. Cloud, FL, has a low hurricane risk due to it only experiencing 77 hurricanes between 1930 and today. The biggest hurricane in this Central Floridian city was Hurricane Gerda in 1969, with the most recent being Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. It has a population of 49,000 people, of which 10.9% are foreign-born.

The cost of living in St. Cloud is 2.7% beneath the national average. The grocery costs are about the same as the national average while health is slightly cheaper. Housing and utilities cost a bit more, but the transportation sector shows the biggest increase above average. The median home value is $132,900.

St. Cloud’s crime rate is 1,312 per 100,000 people, with a 1 in 77 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is $50,646. While the high school graduation rate is below average at 81%, school test scores are 17% higher than the standard. Overall, St. Cloud has an exceptional livability score that ranks higher than 97% of cities.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, somewhat bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 1.312%
  • Number of Expats: about 5,350

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Cape Coral, Florida

4. Wekiwa Springs

Wekiwa Springs, FL, is another expensive small town with a low hurricane risk. It has had 77 hurricanes since 1930, with the largest being an unnamed one in 1945. The most recent storm was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. It has a population of 23,000 with foreigners making up 11.7% of it.

The high cost of living comes from the grocery and utility prices being slightly above average, transportation having a significantly higher cost, and housing costing drastically more. The median home value is $240,000. Health does cost slightly less than the national standard.

Wekiwa Springs has 1,580 crimes per 100,000 people, and you have a 1 in 64 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is a substantial $77,105. High school graduation rates are 94%, with test scores being 54% higher than the US standard. Overall, Wekiwa Springs has an exceptional livability score that exceeds 96% of places.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, minimal biking infrastructure
  • Crime Rate: 1.580%
  • Number of Expats: about 2,700

5. Minneola

Minneola, FL, has only had 72 hurricanes since 1930, giving it a low hurricane risk. Its largest hurricane was in 1964 with Hurricane Dora, and the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. This small town in North Central Florida has a population of 11,000 residents, 10.4% being foreign-born.

The cost of living in Minneola is 1.3% lower than the US average, with health being slightly lower, housing and groceries costing about the same, and utilities and transportation costing a bit more. The median home value is $145,300, and there are plenty of reasonably-priced amenities around.

Minneola has a crime rate of 984 per 100,000 people, and residents have a 1 in 102 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is $56,787, which is slightly higher than the national average. The high school graduation rate is 86%, with test scores 19% higher than the US average. Overall, Minneola has an exceptional livability score higher than 95% of places.

  • Walkability: somewhat walkable but primarily car-dependent, moderately bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 0.984%
  • Number of Expats: about 1,150

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Fort Myers, Florida

6. Sanford

Sanford, FL, experienced only 78 hurricanes since 1930, making it safe in terms of the number of hurricanes. Hurricane Irene caused the most damage in 1999, and the most recent storm was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. This Central Floridian city has a population of 59,000 and an expat percentage of 12.5%.

The cost of living in Sanford is 1.1% below the national average. Groceries are on par, but health and utilities cost a bit less than standard. Housing is significantly lower while transportation is substantially higher than the US average. The median home value is an accessible $105,100.

Sanford has plenty of amenities nearby. Its crime rate is 4,313 per 100,000 people, with a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is $39,989, which is lower than the national average. Test scores are 5% higher than the standard, and the graduation rates are 83%. Overall, Sanford has an excellent livability score that exceeds 65% of cities.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, somewhat bikeable, minimal public transit
  • Crime Rate: 4.313%
  • Number of Expats: about 7,400

7. Orlando

A photograph of Orlando, Florida at dusk. The sun is setting and has made the sky orange. There is a large body of water in the foreground, surrounded by several modern high rises

Orlando, FL, has a low hurricane risk as only 77 hurricanes were recorded since 1930. The largest was Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, while the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. The home of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Central Florida is hours from the sea, so most storms weaken by the time they reach the city. The population is around 287,000 with 22% being foreign-born.

The cost of living in Orlando is only 0.8% lower than the United States average, but it is more costly than most Florida cities. Groceries, housing, and utilities all cost a bit more than the national and state average. On the other hand, you will save a little on health costs and spend much more on transportation. The median home value is $172,100, which is lower than the US average, but higher than the Florida one.

Total crime in Orlando is about 5,565 per 100,000 people, with residents having a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is $44,007, which is 20% lower than the national average despite the living costs being only slightly smaller. Orlando has an 86% high school graduation rate, with test scores 1% higher than the national average. Overall, it has a slightly above average livability score stronger than 53% of places.

  • Walkability: somewhat walkable, moderately bikeable, some public transit
  • Crime Rate: 5.565%
  • Number of Expats: about 63,000

8. Kissimmee

Kissimmee, FL, is safe in terms of its low hurricane risk. Only 76 hurricanes have been reported since 1930, with the largest being 2004’s Hurricane Francis. The most recent tropical storm was Debby in 2012. This city is fairly close to Orlando with a population of 70,000 residents of which 24.3% are expats.

Kissimmee’s cost of living is 1.1% lower than the United States average. You will save a bit on groceries, health, and housing, but you will spend more on utilities and transportation. The median home value is $136,300.

This city has plenty of amenities and a reasonable living cost. Its crime rate is 3,001 per 100,000 people with a 1 in 34 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is only $38,262. Kissimmee has a low graduation rate of 79%, and its test scores are 13% lower than the national average. Overall, Kissimmee’s livability score is on par with the national average as it ranks higher than 49% of cities.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, moderately bikeable, some public transit
  • Crime Rate: 3.001%
  • Number of Expats: about 17,000

9. Gainesville

A photo of a Gainsville, Florida street at dusk. It shows a wide street lines with trees and 3 story buildings. The building are very colorful and have shops on the ground floor

Gainesville, FL, has a low hurricane risk with only 79 hurricanes being recorded since 1930. The largest hurricane it experienced was Hurricane Frances in 2004, with the most recent being Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013. Most hurricanes stay in the tropical storm status due to Gainesville being in North Central Florida.

The cost of living in Gainesville is 6.6% lower than the US average. Grocery costs are slightly below average, while housing and transportation costs show a substantial decrease. The health and utilities costs are higher than the Florida and national averages. The median home value is an affordable $143,900. Gainesville has around 131,000 residents, of which 11.1% are expats.

Gainesville experiences 4,175 crimes per 100,000 people, and residents have a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is a low $32,716. The high school graduation rate is 88%, and the test scores are 1% higher than the US average. It also has plenty of amenities. Overall, Gainesville has a livability score that is slightly below the national one, and it ranks higher than 41% of areas.

  • Walkability: some walkable neighborhoods, moderately bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 4.175%
  • Number of Expats: about 14,500

10. Ocala

Ocala, FL, has a low hurricane risk, with only 73 being recorded since 1930. This Central Florida city steers clear of the ocean, so most hurricanes dwindle to a tropical storm status by the time they reach it. The 1964 Hurricane Dora was the largest to hit Ocala, and the most recent was Andrea in 2013.

The cost of living in Ocala, FL, is 7.2% lower than the United States average. It has a slightly lower grocery and health cost than the national average, and a substantially lower housing and transportation cost. The utilities are slightly above average, with a median home value of $120,700. Ocala has around 360,000 residents with around 7.18% being expats.

While Ocala is affordable, safe from hurricanes, and provides plenty of amenities, it has a high crime rate of 4,991 per 100,000 people. Residents have a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is $37,792. The high school graduation rate is 82%, which is only 1% lower than the national average, but the test scores are 11% under average. Overall, Ocala has a slightly lower livability score than the US average that exceeds 39% of areas.

  • Walkability: car-dependent city, somewhat bikeable, minimal transit
  • Crime Rate: 4.991%
  • Number of Expats: about 26,000

11. Leesburg

Leesburg, FL, is a safe place to live in terms of the number of hurricanes it experiences. The storms are rare and typically do not exceed a tropical storm status. It has experienced 77 hurricanes and tropical storms since 1930, with the largest being Hurricane David in 1979. Leesburg has not seen a storm since Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013.

This city in Central Florida has a cost of living that is 1.4% lower than the United States average. Grocery and health costs are slightly cheaper, while housing and transportation cost significantly less than the national average. The median home value is $119,100. However, the utility cost is slightly above average for the state of Florida and the country. Leesburg has around 22,000 residents, with 7.76% being expats.

While affordable and safe from hurricanes, the total crime rate is 5,806 per 100,000 people, and residents have a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim. Residents experience a low median household income of $35,021, which is significantly under the US average. The high school graduation rate is 78%, but the test scores are 29% lower than the national average. Overall, Leesburg has a below-average livability score that is better than 27% of cities.

  • Walkability: car-dependent, somewhat bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 5.806%
  • Number of Expats: about 1,700

12. Palatka

Palatka, FL, has a low hurricane risk seeing as 77 hurricanes were reported between 1930 and now. Its largest storm was Hurricane Dora in 1964, with the most recent being Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013. Palatka is in North Central Florida, but it is closer to the coast than most of the Florida cities least affected by hurricanes on this list.

The cost of living in Palatka is 7.4% below the national average. This affordable city has grocery and health costs that are slightly below the standard value. Its housing costs are drastically lower than the US average at a median home value of $75,900, with utilities on par and transportation significantly below. Palatka’s population is around 73,000 with only 3.77% being expats.

Palatka has plenty of amenities and a low living cost. It experiences about 5,282 crimes per 100,000 people, with a 1 in 19 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is a mere $21,988, but housing costs are low as well. The high school graduation rate is 70%, and test scores are 26% lower than the American average. Overall, Palatka’s livability score is below average, but it ranks higher than 22% of cities.

  • Walkability: somewhat walkable, very bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 5.282%
  • Number of Expats: about 2,700

13. Lake City

Lake City, FL, has a low hurricane risk since researchers have recorded only 64 hurricanes since 1930. The most damaging hurricane occurred in 1933, and its last storm was Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013. This city lies in North Central Florida, and most of its natural disasters do not exceed tropical storm status.

The cost of living in Lake City is 7.2% less than the US average. The grocery costs are slightly below the national average, but housing and transportation show a significant decrease. However, health and utility costs are above the state’s and country’s averages. The median home value is $100,700. Lake City’s population is about 12,000 with 5.55% being foreign-born.

While Lake City has lots of amenities and is affordable, it experiences 7,759 crimes per 100,000 people. Residents have a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim. The median household income is a low $35,385. The high school graduation rate equals the US and state average at 83%. However, test scores are 22% lower than average. Overall, Lake City has a poor livability score that ranks better than 16% of cities.

  • Walkability: moderately walkable and bikeable
  • Crime Rate: 7.759%
  • Number of Expats: about 670

Related: Affordable Places to Live in Florida

Conclusion

Just because a city is safe from hurricanes does not mean it is safe from crime. Almost all cities in Central Florida have low hurricane risks due to their elevation and distance from the ocean. More expensive towns often have higher livability scores and lower crime rates, but few people can afford them. Make sure to compare your budget to the livability scores to determine the best place for you to move.

Florida is a wonderful state with plenty to offer. You can explore the nation’s most admired amusement parks, take a swim in the ocean, enjoy a beautiful forest, or just relax in a comfortable town. For whatever reason you wish to move to Florida, you will not regret it.

See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Related: Cheapest Areas to Live in Florida