What are the best places to live in Orlando, Florida?
There are about 400 cities in Florida. Choosing the right city for you
and your family is critical to your safety and happiness. I was in the same place as you are now. I was deciding on whether to relocate from Wisconsin to Florida. The decision took about three years to make, we relocated about fifteen years ago. Would you like to learn about our relocation to Florida?
Longwood – Getting Oriented
First we moved to a suburb called Longwood. We liked it but it was more dense and closer to down-town than we liked. We started looking for homes about a year after moving to Florida.
Lake Mary – First Home Sweet Home
We bought our first home in Lake Mary. We lived there for several years. It is a GREAT city. I miss it a lot. Our daughter went to Heathrow Elementary and had an outstanding experience.
We met a lot of great people in Lake Mary. It is a beautiful city and one I would highly recommend to anyone. I’d say it’s in the top three for best places to live in Seminole county. In my mind its one of the best in the Orlando area.
Sanford – Contributing To Urban Sprawl
Our next destination in the Orlando area was Sanford. When you head West of the city-proper you’ll find newer subdivisions. The new areas are near the Sanford mall and I4, or West of I4 and South of Highway 46 but North of Highway 46A. West Sanford is on the North East edge of Heathrow and North side of Lake Mary. This is where we live now and we love it.
If you are considering a move to Sanford then you might like an older article I wrote, here. Moving to Orlando? Forget what you heard about Sanford and decide yourself. And here. Sanford’s Transformation nothing short of amazing.
Six-Inch Mosquito’s & Six-foot Gators
Have you discussed moving to Florida with any Northerners? Well, if so then you already know about the bugs, gators and hurricanes. Seriously, I was given these same warnings before moving here and they are far from the truth.
We do not have a mosquito problem like they do up North. I suspect this is because we treat still water (ponds) for the larvae. The few we do see look just the same as the Northern variety, generally smaller. Everything is a little smaller here. The white-tail deer are smaller than up North. The people are a little smaller- but a lot more tan.
Oh, the six-foot gator? That is a tiny one we have ten, twelve or even bigger gators. Gators are the most lazy, skittish, anti-social animals around. They are nothing to fear unless you are a stupid bird.
We have tons of wildlife. I see bald-eagles, bears, deer and beautiful birds. It is green all year round, unless we get a hard-frost then it can get a little brown. There are no wood-ticks like up North. Oh, and the property taxes here are only around a third of what they are up there.
We have NO income tax. But we can talk about the financial advantages another time.
The hurricanes are overblown by the media and insurance companies. Sure they are to be taken seriously (do as I say not as I do) but by the time we had our third one in a year we were having hurricane parties or getting a nice hotel room and having the hurricane party there. A few hangovers later and you leave the hotel to sunshine unaware of the wrath that passed.
We lived through Charley– winds in excess of 115 mph near our home and it wasn’t that bad. We lost roof tiles, trees and power while we were having a hurricane party.
Great Public Schools
Seminole county is known for its’ schools. Seminole county has much better scores and graduation rates. We chose Seminole county for the schools and it is beautiful with its’ rolling hills. Actually hills is a stretch they aren’t big enough but there are some minor changes in altitude.
Seminole is the North half of Orlando, well Orlando is actually entirely in Orange county and the North suburbs are Seminole county.
Seminole County Cities
One of the largest Orlando area cities, Sanford’s population in 2010 was just over 50,000. Sanford’s average yearly income is not much compared to other Orlando area cities. The average is only about $37,000. Only 14% of Sanford’s residents over 25 years old have a Bachelor’s degree or any further education. Sanford is a relatively diverse city and is home to more African American and Hispanic residents than the state average.
Sanford’s historic district is one of the city’s main attractions. Being one of the most historic cities in Florida, Sanford’s residents take pride in the gorgeous historic district in downtown Sanford. The historic district is home to some of the oldest buildings in Florida. Small shops and restaurants are the gathering places of many of Sanford’s residents and visitors.
There are unique clothing shops, used bookstores, charming restaurants and beautiful views of Lake Monroe. City Hall is mere footsteps away from Lake Monroe, which plays host to boats of all kinds and delicious seafood restaurants.
Sanford’s historic district holds events for the community including a monthly street party called “Alive after 5.” Those with an interest in history would be wise to consider living in Sanford.
Winter Park is an urban city in Orange County. In 2010 it had a population of about 28,500. Winter Park is a pretty affluent city. Its population’s average yearly income is around $60,000 and the price of houses is generally higher than in other Orlando area cities. Over half of Winter Park’s population over 25 years old has at least Bachelor’s degree. The most common occupations are professional, scientific, and health care services. Around 82% of winter Park’s population is Caucasian.
If you’re looking for a city with a wide range of ethnicities, Winter Park may not be the place for you. However, if its art, parks or shopping you’re interested in Winter Park may be a good fit.
For one weekend every year, the anticipated Winter Park Art Festival amazes art enthusiasts. The Winter Park Art Festival is one of the most prestigious outdoor art festivals in the nation. The festival displays a wide variety of art categories and is attended by over 300,000 people.
Many Florida residents head to Winter Park for a day of shopping and dining. Winter Park features mostly upscale shops and restaurants and great places to gather with friends or meet fellow patrons. If you’re looking for a place to shop with a community, the Winter Park Farmer’s Market is the place to go. Every Saturday from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, local vendors sell their plants, bakery goods, produce and art.
- Lake Mary
Lake Mary is a small Seminole County city with a population of about 15,000. An affluent city, Lake Mary’s average yearly income in 2010 was $82,000. The median value of homes in Lake Mary is about $391,000. Lake Mary has median home values $1oo,ooo greater than Florida’s median home value. 85% of its residents are Caucasian. About 40% of residents over 25 years old have a Bachelor’s degree and Lake Mary’s most popular occupations are professional occupations.
Lake Mary is a city for those looking for a newer, mature, quiet city with upscale houses, stores and restaurants. If you’re looking for a good education for your child, Lake Mary may be the place for you. Lake Mary is ranked 60th out of 280 Florida City School ratings.
Lake Mary is a fast-growing city. Its location is a prime choice for many businesses and features beautiful residential communities. Because of its safety, sense of community and good job and education opportunities,
Lake Mary was ranked by CNN/Money Magazine as the #1 small town in which to live in Florida in 2010 and #7 in 2011.
A large Orlando area city, Longwood is home to over 60,000 people. Longwood’s average yearly income is around $61,000. The most common occupations in Longwood are in construction and health care. Longwood is not a particularly diverse city as 80% of the residents are Caucasian, however, 11% are Hispanic. Longwood boasts one of the best school districts in Florida. Out of 280
Florida cities, Longwood’s schools are ranked #49 and there are 7 private schools in Longwood. Although Longwood has 7 private schools, there are no private school for high school students.
For those interested in leisure as well as education, Longwood is the place to be. In addition to its educational excellence, Longwood has at least 10 golf courses within 15 miles of the city. There are many places for recreation including trails and parks for biking, camping and a number of other activities.
Oviedo is a reasonably sized city with a population of almost 33,000. Like Lake Mary, Oviedo has a very high average yearly income and median home value. The most popular occupations are professional occupations and educational services. Oviedo is more diverse than the other affluent cities. About 13% of residents are Hispanic and about 8% are African American.
- UCF. Oviedo Florida
Oviedo has an abundance of choices for those who are active. There are numerous golf courses and fitness centers. At the Black Hammock Adventures on Lake Jessup, visitors can take an unforgettable airboat ride at speeds up to 45 mph. Nature enthusiasts can visit the Lucas Nursery Butterfly Encounter.
Entertainment is not all that Oviedo offers its residents. Oviedo also happens to be the highest ranked Orland area city for schools. Ranked 21 out of 280 cities, Oviedo offers a great education for kids. Not only do kids have an opportunity to be educated in Oviedo, highschool graduates have the opportunity to attend the University of South Florida
Which Central Florida City is for You?
Every Orlando metro city has its benefits and its drawbacks so how can you decide?
- If you’re interested in a historic city, Sanford, Winter Park, or Downtown is the place for you.
- If you want some peace and quiet, Lake Mary or Winter Park is where you should go.
- Need the lowest cost and don’t mind the highest per-capita of massage parlors and strip-clubs than Casselberry is your place.
- Looking for ghetto, then Sanford(East) is where you’ll have the most fun.
- The upscale suburbanite would be happy in Maitland, Oviedo, Lake Mary, Sanford (West), Longwood & Altamonte Springs
- If you want the best education for your children, choose Oviedo, Lake Mary, or Longwood.
- If you are affluent and prefer that of your neighbors you should look in West Lake Mary (also known as Heathrow), Sanford(West) just North of Heathrow, and Longwood (West) along Longwood-Lake Mary Road.
Its a hard decision, but whichever Orlando area city you choose, you’ll be living in a great place.