We all know how great it is to live in the Sunshine State. Between no income tax, sunshine year-round and so many things to explore, it’s no wonder why so many are flocking down here. In fact, several Florida cities have been named the best place to live in the South by U.S. News. It should be no surprise that Tampa is one of the cities, but who else joined them on the list?

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the south as the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Which means Florida has a lot of competition. When comparing cities in this study, U.S. News compared the population, median home price, and average annual salary. We’ll spoil it and let you know the number one city to live in the South is Huntsville, Alabama. The main reason why this city made number 1 is because they have a high average annual salary and low cost of living. Click here to see the full list. 

Related: 4 Florida Experiences Make List Of Some Of The Best The Nation

We get these metrics are important to consider when making these rankings. But we think U.S. News could have included a couple other factors when making this list. For example, if they had included recreational opportunities, weather, and traffic trends. Perhaps if they included more factors in this ranking, we might see Tampa or more Florida cities as the number 1 spot.

Here are the 7 Florida cities that were named the best place to live in the South

  • Sarasota

    There’s been a lot of love for Sarasota recently, they’ve also been named the best place to retire and Siesta Key beach was named one of the prettiest white sand beaches in the country! They were the highest rated Florida city for this ranking and came in at number 3. It seems that people appear willing to exchange the higher cost of living for the warm weather, photogenic beaches and active population.

    Sarasota, Florida, USA marina and resorts skyline at dawn.


  • Naples

    This southwest Florida city has also been named one of the best Florida cities to live in by other rankings. U.S. News says this metro area has the lowest crime rates out of the 150 metro areas on the list.

    Naples, Florida, USA - September 22, 2018: Sunrise over the Third Street shopping district in Old Naples, Florida.

  • Melbourne

    Melbourne is known to be one of the more popular retirement spots in Florida. Located along the “Space Coast”, you’ll see your fair share of rocket launches at this city, which is pretty cool! Between 2020 and 2021, Melbourne’s population increased by 2.05% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Jacksonville

    We’re surprised to see Jacksonville rank above Tampa, it could be because they have a healthy tourism industry with fewer visitors than Tampa and Miami. However, Jacksonville’s population grew by 1.6% due to net migration.


  • Tampa

    Tampa was ranked number 11 on U.S. News’ list, but it’s number 1 in our hearts. No wonder it’s one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. The Tampa metro area grew by more than 1.43% between 2020 and 2021 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Downtown Tampa skyline at sunset

  • Pensacola

    This panhandle city has been getting a lot of love thanks to their soft white sand and clear blue water beaches, making it a popular destination for beach lovers and fishing enthusiasts. With many military and engineering career opportunities’, many people would call this a desirable place to live.

    Dune fence and sea oats on the dunes at Pensacola Beach, Florida on Gulf Islands National Seashore.

  • Daytona Beach

    Daytona Beach came in at number 25 on U.S. News’ list. Daytona is known to be famous for the Daytona International Speedway, among their spring-break beaches. U.S. News says it’s also the 8th-fastest growing metro area out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 14: A general view of the start of the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


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