Tampa named best place to live in Florida by Forbes

There are a lot of reasons to call Florida home — miles of beaches and coastline, cruise ports, theme parks, mild winters, no state income tax, and an abundance of sunshine.

But then there's the question of where in the Sunshine State to live: a small town or a big city? Inland or along the coast? North Florida, Central Florida, or South Florida?

Forbes.com recently published its ranking of the Best Places To Live in Florida in 2022, with Tampa taking the top spot on the list.

"We analyzed cities by pulling recent data on key lifestyle factors such as the area’s median home price, personal income per capita, and the unemployment and crime rate," Forbes wrote in its report.

Here are the best places to live in Florida

  • 1: Tampa
  • 2: Jacksonville
  • 3: Gainesville
  • 4: Cape Coral
  • 5: Orlando
  • 6: Miami
  • 7: Melbourne
  • 8: Sarasota
  • 9: Tallahassee
  • 10: Pensacola

Joining Tampa on the list, Sarasota also made the rankings, coming in at #8 — the only other city from the Bay Area to make the top 10. 

While the list only singled out Tampa in its ranking, the more detailed breakdown gave a shout-out to the entire Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, saying the region has "many positive aspects for young adults and families." Along with our "pristine beaches," major sports teams, museums, and "impressive public transportation options," Forbes editors also focused on the influx of various employers to the area. The area's strong tourism appeal and MacDill Air Force Base also played a "pivotal role" in Tampa's top ranking.

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Our centralized location in the state also helps.

"While Tampa offers everything you need for daily life, Orlando is also a two our drive and Miami is only four hours away," they noted.

Aerial drone view of Tampa, Florida skyline.

Aerial drone view of Tampa, Florida skyline. (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Forbes recommended living in Sarasota to those wanting to live in a beach town that's "family-friendly" while also having a sizable local working population. They noted that job opportunities in the area include healthcare, manufacturing and insurance, while also pointing out the appeal of Siesta Beach and Lido Key for those wanting proximity to the Gulf.

Forbes called Sarasota the "center of Florida's Cultural Coast" due to its two art museums along with ballet and opera performances.

"When you need to visit a big city, the bustling Tampa metro area is only 60 miles to the north," editors wrote. They noted the Sarasota area is home to about 750,000 residents, compared to the greater Tampa region's approximately 3 million.

Forbes said it considered city size, crime rate, diversity, the unemployment rate, and cost of living when making its list, as well as "outdoor activities, public transit and healthcare access."

Visit Forbes.com to see a complete breakdown of its list.

Fox 35 Orlando contributed to this report.