8 Best Places to Live in Central Florida – 2022 Latest Update

We’ve updated our list of the best places to live in Central Florida to account for where people have moved to and how these cities have changed in 2022.

The best cities to live in Central Florida all offer a well-rounded way of life that make them easy to settle in if you decide to move to the Sunshine State anytime soon.

Central Florida is often the forgotten region in the state, but we think it is one of its best-kept secrets that offers an ideal blend of affordability, amenities, and great weather.

Best Places to Live in Central Florida – Methodology 

To determine the best cities to live in Central Florida, we looked through all the data and filtered through every the towns and cities in the area based on several criteria, which include:

  • Livability
  • Affordability
  • Education quality
  • Crime rates
  • Things to do
  • Proximity to big cities

We also narrowed our search to the real core of Central Florida. We focused on the true middle part of the state, which means we excluded cities like Tampa and Gainesville that we think should be considered parts of other regions of Florida.

To determine the cost of living, we relied on the data from Bestplaces.net, while our median home prices come right from Zillow.

Alright, enough background on our research. Let’s take a look at the latest results of the best places to live in Central Florida.

The 8 Best Places to Live in Central Florida in 2022

8. St. Cloud, Florida

Population: 58,964
Cost of Living Index: 7% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $347,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

St. Cloud starts off our list of the best places to live in Central Florida. It is located about 35 minutes south of Orlando and sits right on the clear waters of East Lake Tohopekaliga.

One of St. Cloud’s major pros is its safety. Its crime rate is over 40% lower than the state average.

Meanwhile, it offers a very livable and friendly community that features a small historic main street district and the beautiful Lakefront Park that provides walking trails and beach areas around the lake.

7. Lakeland, Florida

best-places-to-live-in-central-florida-Lakeland

Population: 112,641
Cost of Living Index: 9% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $254,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Lakeland gets its name from the large number of lakes within its city limits. This green city sits about halfway between Tampa and Orlando and is just an hour and 15 minutes from the nearest beach.

Meanwhile, it is an affordable city that features several charming commercial districts, especially around its lakes.

There are many attractions around Lakeland as well, including the Explorations V Children’s Museum, Hollis Garden botanical garden, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center museum.

6. Winter Haven, Florida

Population: 49,219
Cost of Living Index: 12% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $252,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Winter Haven is Lakeland’s neighbor to the east. It is located just 30 minutes away and is also situated in the middle of many lakes.

What makes Winter Haven slightly more attractive is its lower cost of living and bigger potential for growth. We named it one of the fastest growing areas in Florida for 2022.

It is a great place for nature lovers who can spend their time around its 50+ lakes. It is also ideal for people looking for a small town vibe.

Be sure to check out our full review of the pros and cons of Winter Haven for more details.

5. Mount Dora, Florida

Best-Places-to-Live-in-central-Florida-Mount-Dora

Population: 16,341
Cost of Living Index: 1% Above Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $333,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Mount Dora is a quaint and charming “Old Florida” type of city that is one of the best cities to live in Central Florida for families and retirees to settle in.

It is located just 40 minutes north of Orlando, yet offers a quieter way of life. That may not be so great for young professionals, but families have been flocking to Mount Dora recently.

Additionally, its historic downtown area is known for having some of the best dining options in the whole region.

4. Celebration, Florida

Population: 11,178
Cost of Living Index: 30% Above Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $498,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Celebration, Florida may be the smallest city on this list of the best places to live in Central Florida, but it still offers many amenities and things to do.

That may be due to the fact that Walt Disney designed this planned community to provide the best quality of life for its residents.

Celebration, Florida has the feeling of a small town with its walkable districts that feature mixed-use zones that blend living with retail stores and restaurants.

3. Orlando, Florida

Best-Places-to-Live-in-central-Florida-Orlando

Population: 307,573
Cost of Living Index: 2% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $332,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Of course, we had to include Orlando on this list of the best cities to live in Central Florida. It is the major city in Central Florida, where you can find it all.

We even included Orlando on our list of the best Florida cities in 2022.

It is the largest city on this list and also offers the most number of attractions and entertainment for its residents.

Of course, there are the theme parks, but Orlando also offers a vibrant downtown district and tons of outdoor activities as well.

Additionally, the city has been a hotbed for jobs recently. Employers here offer good wages compared to other cities in the area and the job market is expected to continue to boom.

Orlando also offers many different types of neighborhoods and housing options, so there is really something for everyone.

2. Melbourne, Florida

best-places-to-live-in-central-florida-Melbourne

Population: 84,678
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $326,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

We think that Melbourne, Florida is one of the best places to live in Central Florida. It is located right on the waterfront and represents the ideal Florida beach city.

It is a great place to enjoy nature as it offers parks, a golf course, and, of course, the beach.

You can also spend time in Historic Downtown Melbourne, where you will find a revitalized district filled with exciting restaurants, independent boutiques, and friendly bars and cafes.

Residents rave about the tight-knit community that has developed in Melbourne, Florida over the years and highly recommend the city, especially for families.

While it is true that it doesn’t have the liveliest nightlife scene, Orlando is just an hour away.

1. Winter Park, Florida

Population: 29,795
Cost of Living Index: 17% Below Florida Average
Median Home Prices: $401,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

The city of Winter Park, Florida is an upscale community that is fun and offers a lot of attractions for its residents, making our top choice for the best place to live in Central Florida.

While it may be one of the pricier areas in Central Florida, Winter Park features many things to do that makes it worthwhile.

For example, you can take a stroll along the brick-line streets in its downtown district, which is filled with local boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and laid-back cafes.

Or, you could relax at one of the many lakes and parks that are scattered across the city.

You can enjoy one of the many museums and art galleries around Winter Park as well.

But, be ready to pay for these privileges since the average price of homes in the area has steadily climbed to over $400,000 in 2022.