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25 Best Places to Live in Central Florida

The 25 Best Places to Live in Central Florida

When searching for the best places to live in Central Florida, most of us think of Orlando. Also there are different definitions for Central Florida, most would describe it as the Greater Orlando Area including Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford.

Living in Central Florida has many advantages: compared to the coastal areas, jobs are not as seasonal. “While some people are busy thinking Orlando is just a tourist town, Orlando is busy leading the nation in job growth and higher education. Because as home to the nation’s largest university and one of the fastest-growing economies, there’s probably a lot more you don’t know about Orlando. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021 Central Florida was the second in the country for job growth.

We certainly don’t know what brings you to this beautiful part of the sunshine state. Or what kind of lifestyle you are looking for. But we hope our guide will help you find your dream life in one of the 25 best places to live in Central Florida. 

Suburban Communities – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

#1 Rose Isle

Rose Isle is located in the North East of Orlando. It is close to Highway 4, the Orlando Science Center and Mead Botanical Gardens. Three small lakes surround this beautiful neighborhood. With a median home price of more than $2,5 million it is one of the most expensive and thought after neighborhoods in the city. Public schools in Rose Isle tend to be above average and restaurants, bars, stores and every day needs are close!

#2 Lake Mary – Best Places to Live in Central Florida Suburban

Lake Mary is a suburban city just North of Orlando. For everyone who likes a quiet lifestyle, this is a great option. It is a fast growing community of over 17.000 residents.

It “boasts an upscale residential community and a healthy commercial, office and industrial base. Lake Mary is a sought-after location for young families and professionals due to its:

  • Well-planned residential neighborhoods
  • Excellent schools
  • Prominent businesses (like headquarter of AAA in Heathrow)
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Outstanding restaurants
  • Countless shopping opportunities

At healthylifestyleflorida.com we have chosen this community as the number one for everyone who loves the suburban lifestyle due to its amazingly well planned communities, great schools, safe lifestyle and quietness. Very nice for families and everyone who loves golf!

#3 Wildwood

Wildwood is a community North West of Orlando. It has a suburban vibe. Its many parks make Wildwood a green oasis. Many residents are retirees. It is close to one of the most famous senior living communities in Florida, called The Villages. If you are looking for a lifestyle targeted to 55 plus residents, please check this unique community.

#4 Altamonte Springs – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Altamonte Springs is a suburban city North of Orlando. It has a population of nearly 50,000 residents. The city is known for its wide variety of public and private schools and colleges. The city has a very nice shopping center called Altamonte Mall. The city’s unemployment rate is very low and below the national average. Very nice middle class city.

#5 Maitland

Maitland is a suburb in Orange County North of Orlando and South of Altamonte Springs. The population is around 20,000 residents. The city is home to some big corporations like Fidelity or Charles Schwab.

There are five private schools in the city and two universities. Maitland is famous for its Historical Museum and its Holocaust Educational Center.

#6 Winter Park

Winter Park is a city located NorthEast of Orlando, east of Interstate 4. It is a historic place that was founded as a resort community in the late 19th-century. Many of the historic buildings give the city a unique vibe.

The population is around 30,000 residents. It is a very affluent  community that is popular for families. The city offers a diversity of schools and six colleges. Winter Park is home to several annual art festivals like the “Bach Festival, the nationally ranked Sidewalk Art Festival, and the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance.”

#7 Heathrow – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Heathrow is located 19 miles northeast of Orlando. The town is a master-planned, private gated residential community of approximately 2,200 homes. In addition, there is a big business park which is home to the national headquarters of the American Automobile Association (AAA). There are under 5,000 residents living in this very safe and pretty community. About 65 percent of the population is married and 25% of the households have children. It is a very wealth community with excellent school opportunities in the area.

#8 Sanford

Sanford is located NorthEast of Orlando and sits on the southern shore of Lake Monroe. Lake Monroe is one of the lakes that make up the St. Johns River system. It has a population of over 60,000 residents and a small international airport. Sanford is home to Seminole State College of Florida and the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Its historic downtown offers many shops, restaurants, a marina, and a lakefront walking trail. Sanford stands out for its grea transportation infrastructure. The city “is the southern terminus of Amtrak’s Auto Train which conveys Eastern Seaboard travelers and their vehicles to Lorton, Virginia, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Washington, D.C.” In addition, SunRail, the Central Florida commuter rail system, serves the city out of a new station off State Road 46. A new trolleybus (route and schedule) provides service between Sunrail and the historic downtown. 

#9 Oviedo

Oviedo is a city North East of Orlando and South of Lake Monroe. The city has over 35.000 residents. “Oviedo is known for its historic houses and buildings, as well as its population of chickens that roam the downtown area. Although the city has historically been rural, in recent years it has had an influx of new developments to support its rapid growth, due to its proximity to the University of Central Florida and the Central Florida Research Park. Several national publications have placed Oviedo on their nationally ranked lists as one of the best places to live in the US. The city of Oviedo has received multiple accolades in various media outlets and national publications:

  • Oviedo was ranked #43 on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” for 2020. It was the only city in Florida on the list.
  • Oviedo was ranked the “best suburb to raise a family in the Orlando area” by Niche.com for 2020.
  • Oviedo was ranked as one of the “Safest Smallest Cities in Florida” by MoneyGeek Magazine in 2020.
  • Oviedo was voted one of the “Best Places to Raise Kids” in Businessweek for 2013.[16]
  • Oviedo was listed as one of the “Top 10 Towns for Families” in Family Circle’s August 2011 issue.
  • Oviedo was ranked #100 on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” for 2009.

#10 Windermere

Windermere is a little city SouthWest of Orlando with over 3,000 residents. Windermere was established as a residential development in 1889 and chartered in 1925. Today Windermere is home for many families and married couples. The city is a very affluent community surrounded by three beautiful little lakes: Lake Butler, Lake Down and Lake Bessie. The city has great public schools and a private High School called Windermere Preparatory School.

#11 Winter Springs – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Winter Springs is located northeast of Orlando. It has around 40,000 residents and has the character of a family community. There are highly rated schools and parks, several churches and a couple synagogues. The City of Winter Springs was ranked by the August 2011 issue of Money Magazine as the 97th best place to live in the United States. Lake Jesup, Spring Hammock Preserve and several trails nearby offer sports and interesting outdoor opportunities. 

#12 Union Park

Union Park is a city East of Orlando with over 10,000 residents. The community is southwest of the University of Central Florida. Downtown Orlando is only nine miles away. This community attracts families and younger people. Houses are relatively affordable and much cheaper than in communities like Oviedo for example. It is a safe city. Schools and shopping are close and traffic is light. This is a big luxury as the Orlando traffic is usually heavy and stressful.

#13 Celebration

Celebration is a community SouthWest of Orlando. It is located near Walt Disney World Resort and originally developed by The Walt Disney Company. The city has a population of around 12,000 residents. “Several Disney business units continue to occupy the town’s office buildings. Walt Disney World operates two utility companies, Smart City Telecom and Reedy Creek Energy Services, that provide services to the town. The town itself is connected to the Walt Disney World resorts via one of its primary streets, World Drive, which begins near the Magic Kingdom.” As a result, Celebration’ character is closely connected to World Disney until today. It is one of the wealthier areas in Central Florida. 

Celebration is well known for its town center, luxury houses, and walkability, which includes the Celebration Nature Trails. The city has over 23 miles of nature trails connecting the entire neighborhood. The nature trails give residents and visitors the chance to take in some of Central Florida’s finest scenery and wildlife. The trails can be enjoyed either on foot or by bike. Beside nature, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, good schools and a university in town. As a result, the Celebration is a younger city.

#14 Wekiwa Springs – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Wekiwa Springs is located northwest of Orlando. The population is around 25,000. Families love the outdoors lifestyle around the famous Wekiwa Springs. The community is one of the wealthier ones in Central Florida. It has above average schools. Residents can enjoy some nice restaurants. Shopping opportunities require a drive to Altamonte Springs Mall.

#15 Gotha

Gotha is a community west of Orlando. It was founded in 1883 by a German immigrant from Gotha in Thuringia Germany. The population is around 2,000. Nearly 75 percent of all residents are married. Half of the population are families with children. Families can enjoy a variety of restaurants and local shopping. The town has a rural vibe, is very safe and has highly rated public schools.

Urban Communities – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

#16 Rose Isle 

Rose Isle is located in the North East of Orlando. It is close to Highway 4, the Orlando Science Center and Mead Botanical Gardens. Three small lakes surround this beautiful neighborhood. With a median home price of more than $2,5 million it is one of the most expensive and thought after neighborhoods in the city. Public schools in Rose Isle tend to be above average and restaurants, bars, stores and every day needs are close!

#17 Dr. Phillips

Dr Phillips is an affluent suburb South West of Orlando. It is named to honor the citrus magnate Dr. Phillip Phillips, who was responsible for several key innovations in the processing and packaging of orange juice. 

The area has nearly 15,000 residents and properties have a median real estate price of $600,000. It is a popular neighborhood for families. One of the reasons is the fact that Dr Phillips is close to the theme parks of Universal Orlando Resort or Mall at Millenia. The nearby 

Sand Lake Road has luxury spas, fitness studios and shops. Residents find a wide range of cuisines, including Hawaiian-Japanese fusion, traditional Turkish and upscale Italian at the so-called Restaurant Row.

#18 Horizon West

Horizon West is located in the South West of Orlando. It has around 25,000 residents and is the fastest growing community in Orange County.  It is a master planned community which is divided  into 6 unique villages. The villages of Horizon West are Lakeside Village, Village of Bridgewater, Town Center, Village F, Hickorynut Village and Village I. It is a very modern, diverse and vibrant community. Lots of restaurants, businesses, green spaces and entertainment make Horizon West a desirable community in Central Florida. If you are seriously interested in the 25 best places to live in Central Florida, you need to check out Horizon West!

#19 College Park – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Orlando’s College Park neighborhood is only 10 minutes from downtown Orlando. It is well known for its hometown feel. You can find plenty of great restaurants, nightlife, arts and culture, shopping and spas. Most of these popular spots are centered around historic College Main Street.

No surprise that most people are under 50 and have no families. College Park is considered an affluent neighborhood and famous for its “20th-century cottages, abundant green spaces and lakes. Lake Ivanhoe, in particular, is popular for waterskiing, wakeboarding and its views of the downtown skyline. The neighborhood is also home to the Dubsdread Golf Course, which dates back to the 1920s.”

#20 Rowena Gardens

Rowena Gardens is located North East of Orlando. It is a very small and safe community. The area is popular for families due to its great location close to Interstate 4 and downtown. It has an outstanding nature vibe as it borders Lake Rowena and Arid and Harry P Leu Gardens.

The highly-rated schools in the area make this neighborhood attractive to families.

#21 Thornton Park

Thornton Park is a popular neighborhood in Downtown Orlando. It is located along the eastern side of Lake Eola Park. Thornton Park is the trendy and friendly and has upscale restaurants, 

Bars and shops.The Thornton Park neighborhood is also part of one of Orlando’s Main Street Districts. This means that there is plenty of nightlife and events going on, for example the Art & Wine Walk, which takes place every second Thursday of the month. Most residents are younger professionals.

#22 Audubon Park – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Audubon Park is located NorthEast of Orlando. The charming Audubon Park Garden District, aka Audubon Park, is one of many hidden gems scattered throughout Orlando. It has some of the best shopping, dining, services and activities in Central Florida. 

“Hip, diverse and independent are the norms of the Audubon Park Garden District. Known for its vintage shops, cafes, bakeries, music, books, craft beer, boutiques, urban farmlettes, plus superlative professional services, the APGD is a fiercely independent shopping and dining district on Corrine Drive in Orlando, Florida.”

There are 20,771 residents in Audubon Park, with a median age of 37.5 which is comparable with Celebration. Please note that Audubon Park School was voted one of the Top 3 Public Schools in The Orlando Area.

#23 Lake Como

Lake Como is located East of downtown Orlando and East of Greenwood Cemetery.  There are around 3,000 residents in this neighborhood. Families like the central location and good public schools. Younger professionals enjoy the reasonable cost of lying and the lifestyle opportunities of this area.

#24 Lake Copeland

Lake Copeland is a small community SouthEast of Orlando. It is located around Lake Copeland and about half of the residents are families. It is considered a very safe area and living costs are slightly above the local average. There are plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and bars in the neighborhood. Due to its central location Lake Copeland’s residents have great lifestyle options. 

#25 Lake Eola Heights – Best Places to Live in Central Florida

Lake Eola Heights is a vibrant neighborhood in eastern Orlando. It is known for its historic downtown district. It is one of Orlando’s oldest and most architecturally diverse areas. You can find brick-paved streets with 1800s farmhouses, cottages and neoclassical churches.  Lake Eola Heights is mainly a residential neighborhood. The focal point of Lake Eola Heights is Lake Eola Park, which features walking and cycling paths, and hosts concerts and plays at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. The area has a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. This is why many young professionals live in Lake Eola Heights.

A Word from healthylifestylelforida.com

We hope that our guide of the 25 best places to live in Central Florida gave you a great overview. Central Florida has a lot to offer and is also protected from the severe storms in Florida that tend to hit the coastal regions. Central Florida has also many natural springs that keep you cool during the hot summer months.

If you are interested in other areas of Florida and want to know: Where is the most prestigious place to live in Florida? It is Naples! Read our post: Best Communities in Naples Florida In 2023.

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Antje Diana Baumgarten

Antje Diana Baumgarten

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