The Sunshine State is home to four of the top 25 best places to live in the U.S.

by | Jul 13, 2021

The Sunshine State is feeling the love from U.S. News & World Report. It ties with Colorado for the most places to be listed in the top 25 Best Places to Live in The U.S in 2021 to 2022, according to a July 13 U.S. News & World Report annual ranking.

Rankings are based on five categories: net migration, job market, housing affordability, quality of life and desirability. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life.

Naples was ranked the highest of all the Florida cities at number seven. Patrick Riley described his hometown for U.S. News & World Report as, “Long known as a preferred retirement spot for the rich, powerful and cold-averse, the greater Naples and Marco Island area supplies pristine beaches, sprawling golf courses, and fine dining and shopping.”

Naples has topped many of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best” list. It’s been ranked the top place to live in Florida, second for Safest Places to Live, third for Best Places for Quality of Life and fourth for Best Places to Retire and Fastest-Growing Places.

Sarasota was ranked ninth for Best Places to Live. Local Elizabeth Djinis said, “People who choose Sarasota as their home are generally called by its unique charm. This metro area of just over 800,000 people has a renowned opera house, a number of rooftop bars and the popular beach of Siesta Key. What makes the region special is its duality – downtown Sarasota boasts resorts and fine dining, but strolling Siesta Key Village or St. Armands Circle offers a more intimate, seaside ambience. There was once a time when Sarasota was dismissed as a playground for retirees, but that reputation is slowly changing as more young professionals begin to make it their own.”

Melbourne came in 18th. Its connection to the space industry makes Melbourne unique, but “it’s not all about outer space; the region has down-to-earth attractions too. Melbourne’s Eau Gallie Arts District features a blend of museums and galleries, while the historic downtown area features a mixture of restaurants, bars and shops. Meanwhile, the population has access to water-centric activities on the 155-mile long estuary, Indian River Lagoon, which separates the Space Coast from the Atlantic Ocean. Surfing, watching manatees, kayaking, boating and fishing are all regular pastimes,” according to Melbourne resident Vivian Vuong.

Jacksonville just sneaks into the Top 25 Best Places, coming in 23rd.

According to local expert Eugene Holley, “Jacksonville is the largest metro area by land mass in the continental U.S., and it offers a range of culturally and aesthetically diverse neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Sitting near the Atlantic shore in northeast Florida, Jacksonville is tied together by bridges, crossing rivers to unite residents in the downtown area with nearby beaches. Restaurants, shops and entertainment options fill all of Greater Jacksonville’s neighborhoods. There are nature trails to hike and marshes to kayak. There is history to see, and there is business to develop. In fact, the region witnessed an ignition of its art and music scene, stimulating business development that has led to demand for a higher standard of living.”

Boulder, Colo. was named as the very top place to live in the United States.


  1. Anonymous

    We like Gainesville Fl

  2. Calhoun

    Interesting. I would definitely agree with Naples and Sarasota. Melbourne is nice too. I am surprised about Jacksonville. I don’t know that St. Augustine is much for living, but the city is certainly rich with history and lots to do. There are some other gems we have in the state as well. Indian Rocks Beach has some really great areas on the beach that are almost always vacant, ie, there are no locals or tourists and one can go at anytime, day or night, and enjoy the ocean, sun, or stars. It is one of my favorite beaches. In terms of major metropolitan areas, I absolutely adore Fort Lauderdale. The beaches speak for themselves and I think it is one of the best citifies to retire. The diversity of cuisine and dining, the shopping, the local businesses and dining one can support, it really is amazing. Miami, Miami Beach, and South Beach are just such a mess. I do not even bother with them anymore. In a lot of ways, Fort Lauderdale, in my opinion, is the new Miami. So much to do. The City of Fort Lauderdale is really going through this beautiful renaissance right now.

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