9 Amazing Places to Raise a Family in Florida

Family on summer vacation trip in Florida. People walking on pathway to the beach. Friends exploring island along the Gulf Coast. Caladesi Island State Park, USA, Florida.
© Margaret.Wiktor/Shutterstock.com

Written by Meredith Linley

Published: September 19, 2023

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Are you dreaming of sunny skies and mild winters? Florida is a popular state for couples to settle down to raise their family. We know looking for a safe and family-friendly place to live can be a daunting task but here is a hand-picked list of nine amazing places in Florida that might be perfect for your next move. Proximity to natural attractions and amenities, above-average school districts, and safety play a key factor in these decisions. Read below to see if one of these nine cities would be a great fit for you and your family.

1. Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, FL, is an amazing place to raise a family.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Located in the central Florida region is Lakeland. Equidistant to major metropolitan regions of Tampa or Orlando, this city has a lot to offer. Ranked one of the safest places in the state, this city also has a plethora of activities and amenities for children and adults.

The 38 lakes in or around the city, as it is aptly named, provide plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities for you and your family. The most popular of these is Lake Parker, which is known for fishing and boating. Cast your line and see if you can reel in a largemouth bass or bluegill.  

Lakeland is brimming with family-friendly activities. The Florida Children’s Museum is a new addition to the Lakeland area opening in 2023. Every Saturday downtown Lakeland hosts the Downtown Farmer’s Curb Market with 100+ vendors selling locally produced and handmade goods. 

2. Brandon, Florida

Drone view of the Alafia River in Riverview Florida

Residents of Brandon, FL, can enjoy nature and watersports along the Alafia River.

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On the eastern border of the Tampa metropolitan area sits Brandon. This community is a great place for families to live and has a lower cost of living than most places in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. Great schools, an abundance of parks and recreation facilities, and lower crime rates are only a few of Brandon’s impressive qualities.  

The Florida State Fairgrounds and nearby 1-800-ASK-GARY Ampitheater provide a year-long calendar of family-friendly events, festivals, concerts, and more for audiences of all ages. For budding athletes, Brandon offers recreation leagues in all sports. From football to soccer to gymnastics your children will be able to participate in many competitive and recreational leagues. 

3. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida, US

Downtown Historic St. Augustine has unique and historical architecture.

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St. Augustine, FL, is a fabulous place to raise a family. It is located in St. Johns County which is currently the #1 school district in the state of Florida. A mix of history meets new development bringing a unique flavor to the area with no absence of things to do. From the large playground in Historic Downtown St. Augustine known as Project SWING Park to the splash pad at St. Augustine Beach, you will find many local public playgrounds. 

For water lovers, St. Augustine Beach is a great spot to see the sunrise or enjoy a lovely day out. Local and chain restaurants are everywhere in and around St. Augustine making it a foodie’s dream locale.  

4. St. Cloud, Florida

East Lake Tohopekaliga

East Lake Tohopekaliga in St. Cloud, FL, is a great place to have a picnic with your family.

©Ebyabe / Creative Commons – Original / License

St. Cloud, FL, is the first of two recommendations in the Orlando metropolitan area ideal for families. Ranked one of the safest communities in Florida, its close location to Orlando makes it desirable for families. A reputable public school system as well as a variety of private school options entice residents. St. Cloud is an easy commute into Orlando for those who prefer to live in the suburbs. 

Local parks are in abundance here and St. Cloud proudly offers a Community Garden as well. For wildlife lovers, St. Cloud is a great place to check out an airboat tour. Observe alligators and birds such as herons in their natural habitat. Nearby attraction Gatorland is also a popular venue to get a close-up (but safe) encounter with the American alligators.

5. Sanford, Florida

Aerial view of Lake Monroe in Sanford Florida.

Lake Monroe in Sanford Florida is a popular place to gather with your family.

©Javier Cruz Acosta/Shutterstock.com

Sanford, FL, is also located in the metropolitan Orlando area. It lies directly north of the City of Orlando and boasts great public schools. Rated as one of the safest suburbs of the Orlando area, its proximity to hospitals and medical care makes it a popular area. Sanford is also ideal for commuters in the Orlando metro area and it is close to the Orlando (MCO) airport.  

Sanford’s downtown gives off small-town charm with its brick-lined streets and architecture—a vibrant event calendar of markets, festivals, outdoor concerts, and more appeals to all ages. Many families chose Sanford because of its close distance to the theme parks in Orlando. Living in Sanford puts you thirty minutes away from popular theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Seaworld.  

6. Satellite Beach, Florida

Night Launch on the Space Coast

Space X Launch from NASA viewed from the beaches of the Space Coast.

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Satellite Beach is situated on the Atlantic coast in Brevard County. Known for its surfing opportunities, this smaller coastal town will charm you with its welcoming shops and eateries. Despite rising costs around the state, Satellite Beach is ranked as one of the most affordable beach towns and most residents own their homes. With a strong school system and plenty of outdoor activities for children of all ages, this community would make a great place to lay down your roots.  

Satellite Beach ranks high on all aspects of public safety and most residents feel its small-town charm is what makes it unique. This Space Coast town is close to Kennedy Space Center, which makes it a wonderful viewing spot to watch NASA launches and landings.

7. Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida, USA Skylinee

The glow from the Naples skyline entices its residents nightly.

©Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

Naples is located in southwest Florida. This city consistently ranks high for safety, public education, and infrastructure. Families flock to the area for several reasons; beach and outdoor activities, high-end shopping, and the arts and culture scene. The city of Naples is known as the Gateway to the Florida Everglades. Native animal enthusiasts can observe the West Indian manatee, American crocodile, and the Florida panther in their natural habitat in the Everglades.

Year-round warm weather contributes to the reasons this is an amazing place to raise a family. The climate allows for children of all ages to play sports year-round. Public parks, recreational leagues, and private gymnasiums are abundant around this city giving you ample choices.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Riverwalk Boardwalk at Veterans Park, Port St Lucie

Riverwalk Boardwalk at Veterans Park is a popular place for families to spend the day.

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Nestled on the southern east coast of Florida in Martin County is Port St. Lucie. Rated as one of the ‘Top 20 Safest Cities to Raise a Child’, Port St. Lucie also boasts a well-rated public school system. Do not let the name fool you; the city of Port St. Lucie is not an actual port, but it is on the coast. The state park, St. Lucie Inlet, is only accessible by boat.

An array of amenities awaits your family, such as parks, playgrounds, and sports leagues. This city also has a few interesting quirks. Don’t be surprised if you encounter wild peacocks roaming around the town. These birds were escapees from private homes and ranches decades ago, and now, they have been accepted by locals.

9. Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach - Gulf Coast - Florida

Amazing sunset views await the residents of Rosemary Beach.

©Richard Jackson/iStock via Getty Images

Florida’s Panhandle, often referred to as the Emerald Coast, is an amazing place to raise your kids. The family-friendly city of Rosemary Beach lies in the heart of it. With the lowest crime rates in the region, beautiful beaches, and plenty of kid-approved activities, it is easy to see why families are flocking there. Public education ranks high in comparison to other districts across the state and there are several reputable private school options.

This walkable town will remind you of European villages with their cobblestone streets and unique architecture. In addition to a vibrant downtown, Rosemary Beach hosts numerous events and festivals year-round. From Farmer’s Markets to music festivals and art shows, there is always something to do in Rosemary Beach.

Summary of Amazing Places to Raise a Family in Florida

LakelandCentral Florida
BrandonCentral Florida
St. AugustineNorth Florida
St. CloudCentral Florida
SanfordCentral Florida
Satellite BeachAtlantic Coast
NaplesSouthwest Florida
Port St. LucieSouth Florida
Rosemary BeachPanhandle

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About the Author

Meredith Linley is a native Floridian and freelance writer. A graduate of Florida State University she is an extreme football fan. She currently is on a family gap year around the world with her two children. She can be found across all platforms as Small Town Tall Girl.

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