Discover the 12 Least Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida

Written by Mandy Trotti
Updated: September 12, 2023
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Florida is known for its beautiful sunny weather and colorful native flora. Despite the nickname “Sunshine State,” Florida also experiences the highest number of hurricanes in the U.S. No matter where you are in Florida, there is always a risk of being affected by a hurricane. But are any of the cities safe from hurricanes? Keep reading below to find out where 12 of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida are located. 

An overview of the 12 Least Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida.

How Common Are Hurricanes in Florida?

Hurricane Ian heading towards the coast of Florida in September 2022 - Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Hurricane Ian, pictured here off the coast of Florida in September 2022, did significant damage even to places that rarely experience hurricanes.

©lavizzara/Shutterstock.com

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 in Florida. And while every season is different, peak season goes from August through October. Although 125 hurricanes have hit Florida from 1851-2022, not all of them have been catastrophic, and some cities were spared because of their location. If you are planning to move to Florida or take a trip during hurricane season, the cities below are the safest to visit.  

The Least Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida

Leesburg

LEESBURG, US -Jul 23, 2022: An aerial shot of the water tower in Leesburg, Florida under the clouds.  One of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida

Leesburg is a popular retirement hub in Florida.

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Leesburg is considered one of the safest and least hurricane-prone places in Florida. The city is 45 miles northwest of Orlando and a popular retirement hub. As a result, the small and quiet Leesburg has amassed over 20,000 residents. In addition to being one of the safest and most affordable cities in the state, the 24-square-mile lakefront city is also thriving with museums and nature parks. 

Storms that come through Leesburg rarely reach tropical storm level. Therefore, only 77 hurricanes and tropical storms combined have been through the city since 1930. The worst storm Leesburg has seen was deadly Hurricane David in the summer of 1979. But the most recent storm in Leesburg was Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013. 

Lake City

Lake City map. Lake City pin map. Close up of Lake City map with red pin. Map with red pin point of Lake City in USA, Florida.

Lake City has only experienced 64 hurricane storms since 1930.

©PredragLasica/Shutterstock.com

The second smallest city on the list is Lake City, with a population of around 12,500. The 12 square miles of the city are located in Putnam County, where residents can enjoy living in one of the cheapest and least hurricane-prone places in Florida. 

Lake City is in a very low-risk hurricane zone, having experienced only 64 storms since 1930. The largest hurricane, which remained unnamed, to come through the city was in 1933. However, the most recent storm to have Lake City in its path was Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013.

Minneola 

City of Minneola, Florida

If you’re looking to avoid the ferocity of hurricanes, Minneola has only had 72 pass through since 1930.

©Michael Rivera / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Minneola is a small city in Lake County, with a population of just under 13,000. The city used to be predominantly a citrus farming community until freezing weather slowly ruined the groves. What keeps Minneola safe is its elevation. The city sits at over 312 feet above sea level, covering over 10 square miles. 

Only 72 hurricanes have been recorded in the city’s history since 1930. The largest hurricane to come through the town was Hurricane Dora in 1964, and the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, which caused extensive damage to North Florida and Central Florida. Two areas of the state that are often safer than those in the south and either coast.  

Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee is one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida

Kissimmee is one of the least hurricane-prone cities in Florida.

©iStock.com/Juliana Vilas Boas

Another Florida city with a low score for hurricanes and tropical storms is Kissimmee in Osceola County. The 17-square-mile city is home to about 65,000 residents and abundant native wildlife. 

To help keep Florida residents safe during hurricane season, Osceola County hosts the annual Before the Storm hurricane preparation expo in May. However, Kissimmee has only experienced 76 documented storms since 1930. The most powerful to hit the city was Hurricane Francis in 2004, and the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. 

Orlando

Gorgeous sunset aerial panoramic view of the Orlando, Florida

Orlando is the largest city on the list of least hurricane-prone cities.

©RAW-films/Shutterstock.com

With over 250,000 residents, Orlando is the largest city on the list of least hurricane-prone places in Florida. It’s also home to the famous Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios. Despite flooding from Hurricane Ian in 2022, Orlando has a low flood and tropical storm risk. 

Only 77 hurricanes have come through Orlando since 1930. The strongest storm was Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, but the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. Fortunately for Orlando residents and visitors, most storms lose traction before reaching Central Florida. However, rain damage from passing Hurricane Ian was extensive and costly.   

Palatka 

St. John’s River, Palatka, Florida

Palatka is in a low-risk hurricane zone but Hurricane Ian caused major flooding in 2022.

©Wayfaring Angel/Shutterstock.com

The small town of Palatka in Putnam County has a modest population of about 10,000. It’s inland from St. Augustine, approximately 60 miles south of Jacksonville on the St. Johns River. Despite its small size, Palatka hosts various annual cultural events and festivals, including the Florida Azalea Festival and the Blue Crab Festival

Palatka is in a low-risk hurricane zone, with 77 hurricanes recorded since 1930. The most significant storm to hit Palatka was Hurricane Georges in 1998, but the most recent storm was Hurricane Ian in 2022. Streets were flooded, and many residents of Putnam County sought refuge in local schools to remain safe from the wind and rain.   

Sanford 

Aerial view of Lake Monroe in Sanford Florida.

Sanford is one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida and one of the most family-friendly areas.

©Javier Cruz Acosta/Shutterstock.com

Also located in Central Florida is Sanford. This historic city has a population of over 60,500 residents and is only 20 miles north of Orlando. It’s most known for its brick-lined streets and 19th-century architecture. Not only is Sanford one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida, but it’s also one of the most family-friendly areas in the state. 

Sanford has experienced 78 recorded hurricanes since 1930. Hurricane Irene caused the most damage to the city in 1999, but like several cities on the list, Tropical Storm Debby was the most recent storm to affect the peaceful city. 

Ocala

Aerial Ocala National Forest St Johns River Florida Marina Boats Sunset

Ocala was hurricane-free until 2017.

©Catherine Cornish/Shutterstock.com

Ocala is another large city that is one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida. The North Florida city has over 64,000 residents throughout 35 square miles of Marion County. It’s also home to the Ocala National Forest, the second-largest forest in the state. 

Until 2017, Ocala was hurricane-free. But Hurricane Irma broke that streak. Thankfully the storm weakened by the time it reached Marion County. Otherwise, the original strength of the storm would have caused more damage. Overall, Ocala is a low-risk hurricane zone with 74 recorded hurricanes. The largest hurricane to hit Ocala was Unnamed in 1944, but the most recent was Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Winter Springs 

Winter Springs, Florida

Winter Springs, nestled in Seminole County, is a good area to avoid hurricanes in Florida.

©Ebyabe / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Winter Springs is a city in Seminole County with a population of slightly over 38,000 and is included in the Greater Orlando area. When the city was incorporated in 1959, it was originally named “North Orlando.” 

Winter Springs is a low-risk area with only 77 documented hurricanes since 1930. The largest hurricane to affect the area was Unnamed in 1944, while the most recent was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. 

Wekiwa Springs

Canoes in lake surrounded by tropical trees at sunset in Wekiwa Springs State Park, Florida

Wekiwa Springs is another low-hurricane risk area outside of Orlando.

©Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock.com

Another small town with a low hurricane risk is Wekiwa Springs. It’s located outside of Orlando in Seminole County, with a population of around 24,000. Young professionals and retirees make up most of the population in Wekiwa Springs. 

Only 77 hurricanes are documented in Wekiwa Springs since 1930. The largest hurricane in the area was Unnamed in 1944, and the most recent storm to hit the area was Tropical Storm Debby in 2012.

Gainesville

Gainesville, Florida, USA downtown cityscape at dusk. One of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida

Most hurricanes are downgraded to a tropical storm before reaching Gainesville.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Located in northern Florida and known for the University of Florida, the city of Gainesville has over 140,000 residents and spans over 60 square miles of Alachua County. It’s a busy college town with an active nightlife and family-friendly activities like visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Gainesville is one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida because most hurricanes lose steam and are downgraded to tropical storm status by the time they reach this far into the state. A total of 79 hurricanes have been recorded in Gainesville’s history. However, in 1993 an unnamed storm dubbed “The Storm of the Century” made its way from the Gulf of Mexico through North Central Florida before hurricane season. The most recent storm to side sweep Gainesville was Hurricane Ian in 2022, leaving the city primarily unscathed.     

Fernandina Beach

Amelia Island Lighthouse. Fernandina Beach, Florida, USA. A coastal city that is one of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida

The coastal city of Fernandina Beach has a rich shrimping history.

©Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock.com

Located in Nassau County of northeastern Florida is Fernandina Beach. The city is the northernmost city on the Atlantic coast in Florida and is home to over 13,000 people. The city is best known for its annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, held every spring to commemorate its rich shrimping history.

Fernandina Beach is on the list of the least hurricane-prone places in Florida for its low risk of storms, hurricanes, and flooding. Nevertheless, 85 hurricanes have been recorded in Fernandina Beach since 1930. The largest hurricane to hit the city was Hurricane Georges in 1985, while the most recent was Hurricane Andrea in 2013. However, storm surges from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 caused damage to the city. 

Summary of the 12 Least Hurricane-Prone Cities in Florida

CityLocationPopulationPast Hurricanes & Tropical Storms
1LeesburgLake County20,00077 since 1930
2Lake CityPutnam County12,50064 since 1930
3MinneolaLake County13,00072 since 1930
4KissimmeeOsceola County65,00076 since 1930
5OrlandoOrange County250,00077 since 1930
6PalatkaPutnam County10,00077 since 1930
7SanfordSeminole County60,50078 since 1930
8OcalaMarion County64,00074 since 1930
9Winter SpringsSeminole County38,00077 since 1930
10Wekiwa SpringsSeminole County24,00077 since 1930
11GainsvilleAlachua County140,00079 since 1930
12Fernandina BeachNassau Count13,00085 since 1930

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ingo70/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Mandy Trotti is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets and travel. Mandy has been writing professionally for three years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from the University of South Florida, which she earned in 2022. A resident of Florida, Mandy enjoys going on walks with her rescue beagle, visiting botanical gardens, and watching the sunset on the beach.

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