Best counties to live in Florida

Written by:
June 17, 2021
Canva

Best counties to live in Florida

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Florida using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

1 / 25
Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Lafayette County

- Population: 8,637
- Median home value: $104,700 (84% own)
- Median rent: $532 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $50,165
- Top public schools: Lafayette Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Lighthouse Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mayo (B)
2 / 25
Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Walton County

- Population: 68,262
- Median home value: $229,500 (75% own)
- Median rent: $979 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $58,093
- Top public schools: Seaside Neighborhood School (A), Van R. Butler Elementary School (A), Freeport Senior High School (A)
- Top private schools: Ohana Institute (B+), Gateway Academy (unavailable), First Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Miramar Beach (A), DeFuniak Springs (B), Freeport (B)
3 / 25
Canva

#23. Santa Rosa County

- Population: 174,755
- Median home value: $199,200 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,129 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $67,949
- Top public schools: Gulf Breeze High School (A), Oriole Beach Elementary School (A), Gulf Breeze Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Lighthouse Private Christian Academy (B+), Santa Rosa Christian School (B), West Florida Baptist Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Gulf Breeze (A+), Oriole Beach (A), Tiger Point (A)
4 / 25
Excel23 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Clay County

- Population: 211,405
- Median home value: $185,400 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,148 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $65,740
- Top public schools: Fleming Island High School (A), Orange Park Elementary School (A), Thunderbolt Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Johns Country Day School (A+), Christian Home Academy (A), HighPoint Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Fleming Island (A+), Oakleaf Plantation (A), Orange Park (A)
5 / 25
Canva

#21. Nassau County

- Population: 83,098
- Median home value: $230,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,046 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $69,943
- Top public schools: Callahan Intermediate School (A), Hilliard Elementary School (A), Emma Love Hardee Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Michael Academy (unavailable), Sonshine Christian Academy (unavailable), Amelia Island Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Fernandina Beach (A), Yulee (B+), Callahan (B)
6 / 25
Canva

#20. Monroe County

- Population: 75,798
- Median home value: $494,100 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,627 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $70,033
- Top public schools: Big Pine Academy (A), Coral Shores High School (A), Key West High School (A)
- Top private schools: The Basilica School of Saint Mary Star of the Sea (unavailable), Montessori Children's School of Key West (unavailable), Grace Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Key West (A), Islamorada, Village of Islands (A), Marathon (A)
7 / 25
Swarm // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Collier County

- Population: 371,453
- Median home value: $360,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,317 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $69,653
- Top public schools: Gulf Coast High School (A), Naples High School (A), Tommie Barfield Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Community School of Naples (A+), Seacrest Country Day School (A), St. John Neumann Catholic High School (A)
- Top places to live: Pelican Bay (A), Naples (A), Vineyards (A)
8 / 25
Nadezda Murmakova // Shutterstock

#18. Lee County

- Population: 737,468
- Median home value: $224,800 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,154 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $57,832
- Top public schools: Fort Myers High School (A+), Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School - Lee Campus (A+), North Fort Myers High School (A)
- Top private schools: Canterbury School (A+), Bishop Verot Catholic High School (A), Southwest Florida Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Whiskey Creek (A), Gateway (A), Sanibel (A)
9 / 25
Canva

#17. Escambia County

- Population: 313,491
- Median home value: $146,200 (62% own)
- Median rent: $983 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $50,915
- Top public schools: West Florida High School of Advanced Technology (A), Pensacola Beach Charter School (B+), Pensacola High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Trinitas Christian School (A), Pensacola Catholic High School (A), East Hill Christian School (A)
- Top places to live: Ferry Pass (A), Pensacola (A), Gonzalez (A)
10 / 25
Roman Eugeniusz // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Manatee County

- Population: 384,213
- Median home value: $238,500 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,144 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $59,009
- Top public schools: State College of Florida Collegiate School (A), Lakewood Ranch High School (A), Palmetto Charter School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Stephen's Episcopal School (A+), IMG Academy (A+), Bradenton Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Whitfield (A), South Bradenton (B+), West Bradenton (B+)
11 / 25
Canva

#15. Broward County

- Population: 1,926,205
- Median home value: $265,000 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,392 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $59,547
- Top public schools: Cypress Bay High School (A+), College Academy at Broward College (A+), Pompano Beach Institute of International Studies (A+)
- Top private schools: Pine Crest School - Fort Lauderdale Campus (A+), American Heritage Schools, Broward Campus (A+), NSU University School (A+)
- Top places to live: Weston (A+), Downtown (A), Cooper City (A)
12 / 25
Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Okaloosa County

- Population: 203,794
- Median home value: $219,100 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,127 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $63,412
- Top public schools: Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College (A+), Niceville Senior High School (A), Fort Walton Beach High School (A)
- Top private schools: Rocky Bayou Christian School - Niceville Campus (A), Calvary Christian Academy & Preschool (B), St. Mary Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mary Esther (A), Niceville (A), Lake Lorraine (A)
13 / 25
Canva

#13. Duval County

- Population: 936,186
- Median home value: $180,700 (57% own)
- Median rent: $1,074 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $55,807
- Top public schools: Stanton College Preparatory (A+), Paxon School for Advanced Studies (A+), Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (A)
- Top private schools: Episcopal School of Jacksonville (A+), The Bolles School (A+), Bishop John J. Snyder High School (A)
- Top places to live: Secret Cove (A+), Deerwood (A+), Bayard (A)
14 / 25
Canva

#12. Indian River County

- Population: 153,989
- Median home value: $202,300 (79% own)
- Median rent: $959 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $54,740
- Top public schools: Osceola Magnet School (A), Liberty Magnet School (A), St. Peter's Academy (A)
- Top private schools: St. Edward's School (A+), Master's Academy of Vero Beach (B+), St. Helen Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Indian River Shores (A), South Beach (A), Wabasso Beach (A)
15 / 25
Michael Kagdis // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Palm Beach County

- Population: 1,465,027
- Median home value: $283,600 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,398 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $63,299
- Top public schools: A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School (A+), Suncoast Community High School (A+), Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts (A+)
- Top private schools: American Heritage Schools, Palm Beach Campus (A+), Saint Andrew's School (A+), The Benjamin School (A+)
- Top places to live: Grandview Heights (A+), Highland Beach (A), Boca Raton (A)
16 / 25
Canva

#10. Pinellas County

- Population: 964,666
- Median home value: $201,200 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,112 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $54,090
- Top public schools: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School (A+), Palm Harbor University High School (A), St. Petersburg High School (A)
- Top private schools: Shorecrest Preparatory School (A+), The Canterbury School of Florida (A+), Clearwater Central Catholic High School (A)
- Top places to live: Euclid-St. Paul (A+), Crescent Heights (A+), North Shore (A+)
17 / 25
Canva

#9. Martin County

- Population: 159,065
- Median home value: $273,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,111 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $61,133
- Top public schools: Clark Advanced Learning Center (A), Jensen Beach High School (A), Hidden Oaks Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: The Pine School (A+), Hobe Sound Christian Academy (A), Community Christian Academy (B)
- Top places to live: North River Shores (A), Jensen Beach (A), Sewall's Point (A)
18 / 25
Songquan Deng // Shutterstock

#8. Orange County

- Population: 1,349,746
- Median home value: $235,800 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,215 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $58,254
- Top public schools: Orlando Science Middle/High Charter School (A+), Winter Park High School (A+), Timber Creek High School (A)
- Top private schools: Lake Highland Preparatory School (A+), Windermere Preparatory School (A+), The First Academy (A+)
- Top places to live: Park Lake/Highland (A+), Thornton Park (A+), Downtown (A+)
19 / 25
Zhukova Valentyna // Shutterstock

#7. Brevard County

- Population: 585,507
- Median home value: $196,400 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,068 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $56,775
- Top public schools: West Shore Junior/Senior High School (A+), Edgewood Junior/Senior High School (A+), Freedom 7 Elementary School of International Studies (A)
- Top private schools: Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (A+), Melbourne Central Catholic High School (A), Florida Prep (A)
- Top places to live: Satellite Beach (A+), South Patrick Shores (A+), Indian Harbour Beach (A+)
20 / 25
Clément Bardot // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Hillsborough County

- Population: 1,422,278
- Median home value: $216,300 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,142 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $58,884
- Top public schools: Strawberry Crest High School (A+), Plant High School (A+), Steinbrenner High School (A)
- Top private schools: Berkeley Preparatory School (A+), Tampa Preparatory School (A+), Jesuit High School (A+)
- Top places to live: Hyde Park - Spanishtown Creek (A+), Harbour Island (A+), Historic Hyde Park (A+)
21 / 25
Creative Couple Media // Shutterstock

#5. Sarasota County

- Population: 419,496
- Median home value: $251,600 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,277 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $62,236
- Top public schools: Pine View School (A+), Riverview High School (A), Ashton Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Out-of-Door Academy (A+), NewGate School (A+), Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School (A)
- Top places to live: South Sarasota (A+), Osprey (A), Siesta Key (A)
22 / 25
DouglasGreen // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Alachua County

- Population: 265,443
- Median home value: $186,700 (55% own)
- Median rent: $983 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $49,689
- Top public schools: Eastside High School (A), F.W. Buchholz High School (A), P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School (A)
- Top private schools: Oak Hall School (A+), Saint Francis Catholic Academy (A), Cornerstone Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Gainesville (A), High Springs (A), Alachua (A)
23 / 25
Canva

#3. Leon County

- Population: 289,770
- Median home value: $203,100 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,024 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $53,106
- Top public schools: Florida State University School (A+), Leon High School (A), Lawton Chiles High School (A)
- Top private schools: Maclay School (A+), John Paul II Catholic High School (A), North Florida Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Tallahassee (A)
24 / 25
Canva

#2. St. Johns County

- Population: 244,674
- Median home value: $304,700 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,312 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $82,252
- Top public schools: Ponte Vedra High School (A+), Bartram Trail High School (A), Patriot Oaks Academy (A)
- Top private schools: St. Joseph Academy (A), St. Gerard Campus (A), St. John's Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Nocatee (A+), Palm Valley (A+), Fruit Cove (A+)
25 / 25
Xavier6984 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Seminole County

- Population: 461,402
- Median home value: $242,600 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,242 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $66,768
- Top public schools: Oviedo High School (A), Choices in Learning Charter School (A), Hagerty High School (A)
- Top private schools: Trinity Preparatory School (A+), Lake Mary Preparatory School (A+), The Geneva School (A+)
- Top places to live: Heathrow (A+), Lake Mary (A+), Oviedo (A+)

Trending Now