Best Places to Live in the Panhandle of Florida 2023, in spite of the fact that the majority of people consider the panhandle of Florida to be a vacation destination, many people actually make their permanent homes there.
The panhandle of Florida, which begins east of Tallahassee and extends all the way to Pensacola, is home to a number of charming small cities and coastal towns that are steeped in history and provide an abundance of exciting opportunities.
Ready, set, surf! A large number of people choose to make their home in the Panhandle of Florida because of its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, its sandy beaches, and the spaciousness of the residential communities there.
The Panhandle is a well-liked destination not only among tourists but also among potential residents who are interested in leading coastal lifestyles. The climate, with its mild winters and warm summers, is perfect for taking advantage of everything this area has to offer.
There is something for everyone to do in this area, whether it be paddling a kayak through the rivers or taking a stroll along some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Not only does the region provide convenient access to stunning beaches, but it also provides easy access to national forests such as the Apalachicola National Forest and the Ocala National Forest.
Where in the Florida Panhandle can one find the most desirable real estate options? When weighing your choices, it is important to take into account a number of important factors, including the rate of crime, the cost of living, and the availability of jobs and educational opportunities.
This list of the 10 best places to live in the Florida Panhandle, based on these criteria and more, has been compiled in order to assist you in finding the best places to live in the region. Have fun while you read!
10 Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle 2023
Cost of Living Index: 118.6
Median Home Value: $490,400
Crime Rate: 35% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4%
Destin, Florida, is a classic example of a coastal community, and it is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It is well-known for the stunning white beaches and emerald waters that surround them.
Because it is one of the most popular places to go on vacation along the Florida Panhandle, Destin is frequented throughout the entire year, but especially during the warmer months of the year.
Additionally, Destin is a wonderful place to call home. Destin may be the best place for you to live in Florida if you want a beachfront lifestyle or a laid-back Florida living experience that is different from Orlando or Miami.
Destin is an incredible place to live, work, and play thanks to the many attractions it offers, its gorgeous beaches, and its picture-perfect surroundings.
The average cost of rent in Destin is higher than the statewide average in Florida, but the cost of housing in Destin is still lower than the average cost across the country. You will also have access to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, including universities such as the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College, which are located in close proximity.
Destin is the place to go if you adore the atmosphere of a small town but long for the conveniences that come with living in a large city.
2. Lynn Haven (Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle)
Cost of Living Index: 95.7
Median Home Value: $339,800
Crime Rate: 49% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
The small city of Lynn Haven, which is located in the panhandle of Florida, has been ranked highly among the top places to live in the state of Florida. It is a relatively small town, with approximately 17,303 people living there.
Because the city experiences relatively mild winters and hot summers, it is considered to be one of the best places to live for elderly people. It has housing that is not only affordable but also has good schools and a thriving economy.
Lynn Haven is located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and features many beaches that locals and visitors alike can enjoy. Additionally, the city is in close proximity to Panama City Beach, which features a wide variety of attractions that are suitable for both visitors and permanent residents.
Because the crime rate in Lynn Haven is significantly lower than the average for the state, this makes it one of the safest cities in Florida. Parents and students alike have very positive things to say about the city’s educational institutions.
Cost of Living Index: 144.0
Median Home Value: $460,000
Crime Rate: 29% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4%
Seaside is a wonderful place to live if you enjoy spending time at the beach due to its location on the Gulf of Mexico. The city is famous for its beaches with white sand, their water that is a striking blue, and their lush greenery.
This picturesque town is well-known for its array of brightly colored cottages that line the beachfront and its easygoing way of life. One can get a sense of the creative and cultural spirit of the neighborhood by visiting any one of the town’s numerous dance studios or art galleries.
The city of Seaside was designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind, and it features an abundance of bike paths, boardwalks, and parks. The local shops and restaurants are so convenient that residents never have to get in their cars to enjoy them.
Seaside is well-known for its high-end dining and shopping opportunities, in addition to the many opportunities for engaging in outdoor activities that are available there.
When you live in Seaside, not only will you find plenty to do within the city limits themselves, but it will also be simple for you to travel to other cities in the Florida panhandle for the day.
This encompasses the cities of Destin, Panama City Beach, and Pensacola, all of which can be found within a radius of fifty miles from one another.
4. Panama City Beach (Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle)
Cost of Living Index: 101.3
Median Home Value: $449,000
Crime Rate: 3% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Panama City Beach, located in one of the most populous cities in the Panhandle region of Florida, is a resort community known for its sugar-white sand and crystal clear waters, both of which draw large crowds.
It provides a healthy mix of reasonably priced housing options, a large number of job opportunities, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Panama City Beach is the place to be if you want to avoid noise pollution, have a low risk of being a victim of crime, and surround yourself with friendly people.
It is difficult for those who want to be closer to their families or friends because it is not as close to the beach as some other cities in the panhandle such as Pensacola or Tallahassee. This is the only disadvantage of the location.
Panama City Marina and St. Andrews Bay are just two of the wonderful communities that are located in the vicinity of Panama City Beach. These communities provide reasonably priced housing options, in addition to a low overall crime rate and high quality educational opportunities.
In addition, there are a great deal of dining establishments, drinking establishments, retail centers, and entertainment venues within walking distance of these neighborhoods.
Cost of Living Index:87.3
Median Home Value: $280,000
Crime Rate: 9% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
Pensacola, Florida is considered one of the best places to live in the Panhandle of Florida due to the serene environment that prevails there. To sate your shopping and dining needs, the city is densely populated with commercial districts and dining establishments.
It is possible that it is not as large as Panama City or Destin, but it does have a few retail establishments, dining establishments, and recreational facilities. The city is also well-known for the pleasant weather that it enjoys throughout the entire year. It has a low cost of living, and housing is quite affordable in comparison to other costs.
Because there is such a wide variety of housing available at reasonable prices, Pensacola is a great place to call home. When compared to the majority of beach towns in Florida, the cost of living in this part of the country is significantly lower than average.
Pensacola has developed into a significant military town as a result of both its location and its history. This location has been utilized by the Navy for a significant number of years, and this practice is still ongoing.
Pensacola may be the ideal location for you if you have an interest in history due to the large number of excellent museums that are located here. Historic Pensacola Village, the National Naval Aviation Museum, and the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum are just a few examples of these attractions.
6. Tallahassee (Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle)
Cost of Living Index: 93.8
Median Home Value: $239,783
Crime Rate: 7% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 5%
Tallahassee, located in the panhandle of Florida, is yet another wonderful location to call home. Tallahassee is a large city that has the atmosphere of a small town, and it provides all of the conveniences associated with a large city without the associated high cost of living.
Museums in Tallahassee, such as the Museum of Florida History and the Tallahassee Museum, provide plenty of opportunities for art and entertainment in the city.
Tallahassee is home to a sizable number of restaurants, nightclubs, and venues that feature live music. The climate is pleasant throughout the year, making it possible to participate in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits.
Tallahassee is one of the cities in the Florida Panhandle that offers some of the lowest home prices due to its median home value of $239,783. However, in recent years, a significant number of residents have had hurricanes cause damage to their homes, which has caused some people to question whether or not it is safe to live there.
Despite this, Tallahassee has a lot to offer people who want to live near the beach. There are plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment, in addition to a large number of parks and other types of outdoor attractions.
Cost of Living Index: 87.9
Median Home Value: $399,900
Crime Rate: 15% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Carrabelle is a small coastal city located in Franklin County, Florida, and is considered to be one of the top places to live in the entire panhandle of the state of Florida. There are fewer than 3,880 people living in Carrabelle, which is a town that can be found on the Gulf Coast. This small town is a wonderful place to live for those with families as well as young professionals.
Residents of Carrabelle have access to a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation thanks to the city’s location on the coast, which features a number of aesthetically pleasing beaches and parks. At the Gulf Specimen Aquarium in Carrabelle, visitors have the opportunity to get very close to rehabilitated sea turtles, making it one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
In comparison to the prices of living in other Florida cities, Carrabelle has a more reasonable cost of living. The median cost of a home in Carrabelle is currently listed at $399,900, while the median monthly rent for an apartment with two bedrooms is $1,000.
Because the average household income in Carrabelle is only $38,194, which is lower than the average household income in the United States, the cost of living in this city is much more manageable for families with lower incomes.
Carrabelle also has a robust economy, as evidenced by the presence of a number of significant employers located within the city limits of Carrabelle or in neighboring towns such as Panama City Beach and Southport (Panama City).
8. Mexico Beach (Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle)
Cost of Living Index: 107.6
Median Home Value: $320,100
Crime Rate: 19% lower than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 2%
This will give you the impression that you are on a tropical island in the Caribbean. Mexico Beach is the true jewel that nobody knows about in the panhandle of Florida.
It is the location where you can get close to Panama City while still having access to beaches with white sand and water the color of emerald, and it is only about an hour away.
The St. Joe Peninsula State Park, which is located in Mexico Beach, is consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the United States.
The tiny community of 1,386 people is a little quieter than the majority of the other places on this list; however, it is still close enough to the large city if you want to get a taste of that small-town charm without giving up your modern conveniences.
9. Cedar Key
Cedar Key is a tiny island community located in Levy County off the coast of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Cedar Key has a population of approximately 800 people, and it is considered to be one of the best places to live in the state of Florida due to the fact that it is peaceful, there are many things to do outside, and the cost of living is relatively low.
Cedar Key is the ideal location for anyone who values peace and quiet, enjoys pleasant year-round weather, and wants to be close to the ocean. The population is just the right size to ensure that everyone knows each other, but it is still large enough to ensure that all of the necessary amenities can be found.
It is possible to have a sense of security if you choose to make your home in Cedar Key due to its size and relative lack of noise pollution.
Fishing, hiking, and going on expeditions through nature preserves are just some of the outdoor activities that are available in Cedar Key. At times when the tide is low, it is possible to walk out onto sand bars that are home to a variety of marine life.
You can also rent a boat or a kayak to explore the creeks and islands that are located in the area of Cedar Key.
Because of its diminutive size and secluded location, Cedar Key has a considerably more affordable cost of living than the majority of towns. When compared to the rest of Florida, the prices of housing are significantly lower here.
Cedar Key has a median home value of approximately $150,000, which is approximately half of the average home value in the state of Florida.
10. Navarre (Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle)
Cost of Living Index: 105.7
Median Home Value: $370,000
Crime Rate: 64% higher than the national average
Unemployment Rate: 4%
The beachfront community of Navarre can be found on a barrier island that stretches between the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound. The beach is famous not only for its white sand and its emerald waters, but also for its fishing pier, which is more than 1,500 feet long.
This location in Florida is ideal for those in search of a calm and serene atmosphere in which to unwind and take in the sights and sounds of their natural surroundings.
The beach is a popular place to relax during the warm summer months, but there are many other activities that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. There are opportunities for golfing, horseback riding, canoeing, and fishing in the area.
Those who are interested in culture can attend a live performance at one of the city’s theaters or a concert given by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. Due to the frequent train service that runs through Navarre, it is possible for residents of this town of 18,000 people to take a day trip on Amtrak to either New Orleans or Atlanta.
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