7 Safest Beach Towns in Florida: What is the Safest?

Florida has been a top destination for vacations and retirees for decades. Its warm climate all year round is perfect for snowbirds of all ages. Plus, it’s got beaches galore for that perfect vacation vibe. 

If you’re planning on moving to Florida, settling in a beach town seems like the equivalent of a year-long vacation, right? But how do you know if you’re moving to somewhere right for you? Lately, there’s been a lot of hubbub over the question: are Florida beach towns safe? 

If you’re looking to move to a nice little beach town, safety is a number one concern. To help you decide where you’d like to settle, our top 7 safest beach towns in Florida will give you an answer. 

1. Marco Island

A photo of Marco Island bridge in Florida. It shows a large concrete bridge crossing deep blue water

Often referred to as the safest city in Florida, period, Marco Island offers one of the most stable communities in the state. Like many choices on this list, Marco Island is predominantly a retiree town, which influences many of its statistics. 

In terms of affordability, Marco Island housing prices are amongst the most expensive in Florida. They are some of the most expensive in all of the United States. This lack of affordability makes Marco Island more suitable for someone with a high income or large pension. There are not a lot of new families in Marco Island due to this reason.

Marco Island has a crime rate lower than 84% of all other American cities. In other words, it is in the top 26 percent of the safest places to live in the USA. It also has the lowest crime rate for its size, meaning comparable-sized communities are generally much more dangerous. 

Both Marco Island’s violent crime rate and property crime rate are lower than average for an American city. Together they make a low overall annual crime rate of 5.13%.

There are roughly thirteen percent of expats living in the Marco Island community. Considering that half of Marco Island’s population are people over the age of sixty-five, it’s safe to assume that many of these exports retired in Florida and chose Marco Island as their new home.

Marco Island is very car-dependent, with residents needing a car to run errands or travel. It is not particularly walkable and there are only some bike lanes and trails, making it difficult to use a bicycle. With this in mind, it seems Marco Island is very liveable so long as you have a large income and a car.

Because of these statistics, Marco Island is easily the top candidate for the 7 safest beach towns in Florida.

Walkability

  • Score: 23/100
  • Car-dependent town
  • Somewhat bikeable

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 5.13 %
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 2243 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: one per 214 residents
  • Safer than 84% of all other American cities

Number of Expats

  • 13.4%

2. North Palm Beach

A photo of the Palm Beach skyline at dusk, showing a large bridge and several mid level high rises in the distance. The lights on the bridge are reflecting against the blue of the ocean

While slightly less expensive than Marco Island, North Palm Beach is also not the most affordable place to live. North Palm Beach’s housing rates are some of the most expensive in America, although they’re not among the highest rates in Florida. 

Housing rates in Florida are generally higher than the rest of the United States, so it makes sense that more affordable housing in the state would rank high in the rest of the country.

The crime rate in North Palm Beach is lower than 62% of all other American cities. In comparison with similar-sized cities across the country, North Palm Beach is decidedly safer. Violent crime is unlikely to occur and the property crime rate is average for comparative American communities. These statistics result in an overall crime rate of 9.6% for North Palm Beach residents.

There are slightly fewer expats in North Palm Beach than in Marco Island, with the former percentage occurring at 12.5%. The majority of people who live in North Palm Beach are over sixty-five, lending to the belief that this is a retirement town. 

However, there are also a fair number of people between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-four, and fifty-five and sixty-four. These ages suggest that North Palm Beach is a welcome home for expat families who then stay as they age.

North Palm Beach is much more walkable than Marco Island and not car-dependent. They have a better biking system in place to allow for more exercise and easy transport. There is no need to rely on a car to get your everyday chores done.

Due to the lower housing costs, the low crime, and easy walkability, North Palm Beach looks to be a fine place for retirees or families looking for a new home.

Walkability

  • Score: 43/100
  • Somewhat bikeable

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 9.6%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 1094 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: nine per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 62% of all American cities

Number of Expats

  • 12.5%

3. Safety Harbor

An image of Sunshine Skyway Bridge Silhouette on Tampa Bay, Florida. It i located near Safety Harbour

Similar to North Palm Beach above, Safety Harbor has more expensive housing prices than the national average. This high average is likely due to the high number of vacant housing units in the community. The more vacant houses there are, the less affordable housing is. Therefore, Safety Harbor’s high expenses are based on a lack of new residents.

Safety Harbor is safer than 59% of communities in America. However, it is also safer than 83% of all Florida communities, making it one of the top 7 safest beach towns in Florida. 

The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime is low in Safety Harbor. The rate of property crime matches the national average, meaning Safety Harbor is not more dangerous than most comparable towns. The overall crime rate for Safety Harbor annually is 10.1%.

Safety Harbor has a lower number of expats than other towns, with only 9.5% of the population born outside of the United States. Considering the majority of inhabitants are in the thirty-five to fifty-four age group, there is not an outstanding number of retirees coming to Safety Harbor. It is easy to assume that most Safety Harbor residents are lifelong or have moved there from other parts of the state.

This town is incredibly car-dependent, with a very low walkability rate. There is a low number of bike lanes, although the presence of some makes for slightly easier transportation. For the majority of daily errands, residents must own a car to get what they need.

Walkability

  • Score: 22/100
  • Car-dependent
  • Not many bike lanes

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 10.1%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 1060 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: nine per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 59% of all American cities
  • Safer than 83% of all Florida cities

Number of Expats

  • 9.5%

4. Sebastian

An image of a map focussed on Sebastian, Florida

Just like Safety Harbor above, Sebastian has a problem with vacant housing. This issue increases the housing prices so that the average Sebastian house costs more than average national costs. However, Sebastian’s prices are not amongst the highest in Florida, so housing is more affordable than in other Florida cities. 

Sebastian is safer than 51% of all American towns. Experiencing a violent crime in Sebastian is very unlikely. Becoming a victim of a property crime is much more likely to happen, with property crime rates being close to the national average. The overall annual crime rate for Sebastian is 12.1%.

One of the poorer communities, Sebastian consists of mainly senior citizen-aged American-born Caucasians. Though most of the population seems to be made up of retirees, this is not a typical retiring town, as there is a low percentage of expats at 5.2%. 

There is also a high rate of residents who live under the poverty line, which suggests that many people with low income have stayed in Sebastian their whole lives.

Sebastian is a car-dependent town with low walking ability. It is somewhat bike-friendly with some bike lanes available, but most errands must be done via car.

Walkability

  • Score: 28/100
  • Car-dependent
  • Somewhat bikeable

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 12.10%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 1375 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: 11 per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 51% of all other American cities

Number of Expats

  • 5.2%

Related: Which Cities Are Least Impacted by Hurricanes in Florida?

5. Venice

Venice is not the most affordable place to live, as its housing prices are well above the national average. Most residents own small homes with less than three bedrooms, and one-room apartments are common. Vacant lots in Venice, like many Florida towns, have inflated the market prices.

Venice is safer than 48% of all American cities, and in fact, safer than 70% of all Florida cities. The violent crime rate is low and the property crime rate is around the national average. These statistics make up the annual overall crime rate of 12.88%.

More than half the population of Venice is made up of senior citizens. The percentage of expats, 9.4, suggests that Venice is a retiree community. However, according to demographics, it is likely that the majority of Venice’s retirees have lived there their entire lives or have moved from other Florida of United States cities.

Venice provides a somewhat bikeable, car-dependent community. Though it is easier to employ walking than in other cities in Florida, most of a resident’s everyday tasks must be undertaken with the help of a car.

The safety statistics of Venice, Florida are likely due to the high number of senior citizen residents. Whether or not it is a town well-suited to someone interested in living in a Florida beach town can be determined with further, independent research.

Walkability

  • Score: 33/100
  • Car-dependent
  • Somewhat bikeable

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 12.88%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 1000 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: 12 per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 48% of all American cities
  • Safer than 70% of all Florida cities

Number of Expats

  • 9.4%

6. Key Biscayne

A photo of the famous lighthouse at Key Biscayne, Miami. It shows a white lighthouse on the left of the image, with an aqua colored ocean on the right. There is vegatation surrounding the lighthouse

One of the less affordable towns on this list, Key Biscayne has some of the most expensive housing prices in both Florida and the entirety of the United States. Many of the homes in Key Biscayne are seasonal, meaning they are only occupied for a portion of the year, such as summer vacation. 

Communities with many seasonal homes tend to be less affordable because the location is highly desirable, which drives up housing prices. Vacationing in Key Biscayne is a popular ideal for many snowbirds and high-income families. 

Key Biscayne is safer than 44% of all American cities and 64% of all Florida cities. It is very unlikely that you will be the victim of a violent crime in Key Biscayne. However, the property crime rate is roughly the national average, which brings the overall crime rate to 14.09%. 

The community has a high rate of foreign-born residents, with about fifty percent of the population being expats. This makes perfect sense in a high seasonal-home area, as most of the residents don’t stay all year round, but instead, only reside months at a time before returning home. 

Key Biscayne is one of the most walkable cities in Florida. It’s not car-dependent at all, and you can very easily get by without any kind of vehicle. Though not the best city for biking, Key Biscayne is more bikeable than comparative towns. So, if you have any kind of quick errand to run, it will be easily done on foot or with a bike. 

Walkability

  • Score: 80/100
  • Very walkable 
  • More biking ability than other cities

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 14.09%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 2141 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: 14 per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 44% of all American cities
  • Safer than 64% of all Florida cities

Number of Expats

  • 50.6%

7. Niceville

Less affordable than other communities across America, Niceville housing costs are well above the national average. However, there is no issue with vacancies or seasonal residents, so Niceville prices are not inflated past the Florida pricing average.

Niceville is safer than 44% of all American cities, with a lower violent crime rate and an average national property rate. The overall crime rate for the Niceville area is 14.09%, on par with Key Biscayne.

A low number of expats dwell in Niceville, with the expat percentage at 3.8. The majority of residents are aged thirty-five to fifty-four, indicating that this is not a retirement town. Most residents are at the very least American-born, and the majority of those are likely from Florida originally.

Niceville is more walkable than other cities on this list, but it’s still very car-dependent for a town. It is somewhat bikeable with occasional bike lanes and trails available, but overall, it’s much easier to get around with a vehicle than without.

Walkability

  • Score: 44/100
  • Car-dependent
  • Somewhat bikeable

Crime Rate

  • Overall Annual Crime Rate: 14.09%
  • Violent Crime Rate: one per 1452 residents
  • Property Crime Rate: 13 per 1000 residents
  • Safer than 44% of all American cities

Number of Expats

  •  3.8%

Key Takeaways 

  • All of these communities have above-average housing prices common to the Florida area
  • Some of the high housing prices are caused by seasonal residences or a high number of vacancies
  • An average housing price in Florida is still higher than the national average housing prices for the rest of the United States
  • All the communities on this list are safer than at least 44% of all of America
  • Marco Island has been listed as the safest Florida beach city for two years in a row and is safer than 84% of the rest of America
  • Much of the low crime rate comes from cities with populations mostly made up of retirees
  • In all the above cities, violent crime is much less likely to happen than property crime, and the property crime rate does not exceed the average national property crime rate
  • Many of the above cities that have a more average crime rate are, in fact, safer than the majority of Florida cities
  • The number of expats fluctuates for each city
  • Expats in Florida cities are mostly retirees who want to settle in a warmer climate
  • The highest number of expats reside in Key Biscayne, where they make up 50% of the population
  • Key Biscayne’s high expat percent comes from it being a popular spot for vacation homes with seasonal occupancy 
  • Most of these Florida cities are car-dependent, where residents must rely on a vehicle to go about their day-to-day activities
  • The most walkable city is Key Biscayne, which is designed to be more welcoming for foreigners without their own transportation

Related: Benefits of Living in West Palm Beach, FL

Conclusion

The safest beach towns in Florida are home to many retirees, which lowers the crime rate exponentially. Marco Island is by far one of the safest towns in America, though it has some of the most expensive housing prices in both Florida and all of the United States. 

All seven of these cities have a low crime rate, especially in comparison to the rest of the state. The risk of becoming a victim in these towns is low at best and average at worst. Property crime is the most likely of any crime to take place, but the chances of being targeted will shrink depending on your chosen destination.

Related: California or Florida? Which is a Better Place to Live