The 10 Best Rural Places to Live in Florida – 2022 Update

We looked through all the data and evaluated every single city in Florida to find the best rural places to live in Florida that offer cozy, rustic living.

The Sunshine State may be known for its big cities and sunny beaches, but there are many great places to live in rural Florida for those who prefer a quieter life surrounded by scenic beauty and native wildlife.

We made sure to identify places that offer a strong balance of life that is affordable and provides many amenities for its residents.

We also looked for rural areas that are isolated enough to offer quiet country living, but are close enough to major cities where you have access to more things to do.

The rest of this article will highlight some of the major features of each of these rural Florida towns and illustrate what makes them the best places to live in rural Florida.

If you are looking to understand how these rural places compare to bigger cities in Florida, don’t miss our article about the best places to live in the Sunshine State in 2022.

The 10 Best Rural Places to Live in Florida in 2022

10. Glencoe

best-rural-places-to-live-in-florida-Glencoe

Population: 2,624
Location: Check on Google Maps

Starting out our list of the best rural cities to live in Florida is the small coastal town of Glencoe. Located along the eastern part of the state, Glencoe is 53 miles northeast of Orlando and 90 miles south of Jacksonville.

The town lies just minutes from the beach, making it a great place for water recreation, and one of the best places to live in rural Florida for those who also want easy access to the beachfront. 

Meanwhile, Glencoe’s crime rates are 71% lower than the national average, while its unemployment rates are just 5.1%, which is below the national average of 6%. 

9. Fellsmere

Population: 5,424
Location: Check on Google Maps

Fellsmere is the largest town on our list of the best rural towns to live in Florida. It is located along the eastern coast of the state just minutes from the beach. It lies 27 miles northwest of Vero Beach and is situated just on the edge of the Blue Cypress Conservation Area. 

Fellsmere is very affordable, with a cost of living that is 13% lower than the national average and housing prices that are 46% below the national average.

With a crime rate of 56% below the national average, Fellsmere is also a very safe city.

Additionally, Fellsmere has a proud history. In 1915, it was the first town in the South to provide women with the right to vote, five years before the official US constitution granted the same right across the country.

8. Christmas

Population: 1,891
Location: Check on Google Maps

This festively-named Florida town is located near the center of the state in Orange County. About an hour’s drive south of Fellsmere, Christmas’ total crime rate of 59% below the national average also makes it one of the best rural places to live in Florida for those who want to prioritize safety and security.

While Christmas isn’t as close to the beach as Glencoe or Fellsmere, there are many fun things to do in Christmas, Florida, including the Tosohatchee Nature Reserve and the Fort Christmas Historical Park.

Airboat rides are available to take visitors and locals alike through the swamps to spot local wildlife.

7. Chuluota

best-rural-places-to-live-in-florida-Chuluota

Population: 2,392
Location: Check on Google Maps

Located near the center of the state in Seminole County, Chuluota is well-known to be a great rural community, especially for families looking for a safe area with a strong school system.

The town is hailed for its quality of education, with students’ test scores that are 61% above the national average and the number of high school graduates 10% above the national average.

Meanwhile, crime rates are an impressive 65% below the national average.

Locals report a strong sense of community within Chuluota and describe the town as very family-friendly. The beautiful town is also surrounded by lots of wildlife and rustic charm. 

6. Interlachen

best-rural-places-to-live-in-florida-Interlachen

Population: 1,686
Location: Check on Google Maps

This small town in Putnam County is located about 30 minutes east of the major city of Gainesville, Florida, making it an ideal location for commuters.

Interlachen is also hailed for its low crime rates, which are 51% below the national average. It’s no wonder why Interlachen is one of the best rural places to live in Florida.

Additionally, it offers great affordability, with a cost of living that is 16% lower than the Florida state average.

Things to do in Interlachen include a petting zoo for the kids, a blueberry plantation, horse stables, and many places for fishing and camping.

5. Keystone Heights

Population: 1,530
Location: Check on Google Maps

Keystone Heights is another small community close to Gainesville. It is situated about 30 minutes northeast of the city and lies among many lakes, including Lake Geneva and Lake Santa Fe, making this small town a great place for water recreation such as fishing, swimming, and boating.

Keystone Heights offers a secure place to live, with crime rates that are 62% below the national average. It is also an affordable place to live with housing prices about 22% below the national average.

They are also great regarding public education, with students’ test scores that are about 33% above the national average.

4. Bristol

best-rural-places-to-live-in-florida-bristol

Population: 1,071
Location: Check on Google Maps

Located along the large Apalachicola River about an hour west of Tallahassee on the Florida Panhandle, Bristol is nestled among several state parks and nature reserves, making it an ideal place to live for outdoor enthusiasts.

These state and nature reserves contribute to what makes Bristol one of the best rural places to live in Florida.

For instance, Torreya State Park provides both history and scenic beauty while Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve provides both locals and visitors alike with memorable camping, fishing, and swimming spots.

Bristol’s crime and cost of living are its best attributes, with crime rates that are 56% below the national average and cost of living expenses that are 15% below the rest of the US.

Housing prices are also very affordable in Bristol, at 46% below the national average.

3. Sorrento

Population: 665
Location: Check on Google Maps

Sorrento is the smallest town on our list with a population of only three digits. It is located just a 30 minute drive from Orlando and a little more than an hour from the beach.

So, what makes Sorrento one of the best rural towns to live in Florida?

It is a quiet town bordering Rock Springs Run State Reserve and Seminole State Forest and is an ideal place for those who prefer peace and quiet while surrounded by natural beauty.

Florida State Road 46 also runs right through Sorrento, making commuting from this small town quite easy.

This relaxed community also features a pretty affordable way of life, with a cost of living that is 4% below the US average and housing prices that are also 15% lower than the rest of the US.

2. Blountstown

Population: 2,504
Location: Check on Google Maps

Blountstown is located in the Florida Panhandle, just a few miles from Bristol. With a rich history and diverse community, Blountstown is a safe place to live with an overall crime rate that is 25% below the national average.

Meanwhile, cost of living expenses are 17% below the national average and home prices are less than half the US average, making it an affordable town to live in. 

Additionally, Blountstown is home to the Veterans Memorial Railroad and the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement, both of which are interesting attractions for locals and visitors of all ages.

1. Hilliard

best-rural-places-to-live-in-florida-Hilliard

Population: 3,131
Location: Check on Google Maps

Hilliard captures the top spot as the best place to live in rural Florida.

This quaint community is located about 40 minutes northwest of Jacksonville.

Hilliard offers the best of both worlds, as residents can live in the quiet, safe small town with the convenience of a quick and easy commute to Jacksonville for work and things to do.

In addition, Hilliard is a safe place to live, with an overall crime rate 43% below the national average and quality education, with students’ test scores 64% above the national average.

The town also offers a few locally-owned restaurants and a Winn-Dixie supermarket, making it an easy place to live with a high standard of living.

Best Rural Places to Live in Florida – Summary

Overall, our top 10 picks for the best rural places to live in Florida are: 

  1. Hilliard
  2. Blountstown
  3. Sorrento
  4. Bristol
  5. Keystone Heights
  6. Interlachen
  7. Chuluota
  8. Christmas
  9. Fellsmere
  10. Glencoe

They all offer a slower pace of life with wide-open spaces and the chance to own tons of land for a cheap price. Each of these rural cities also provide enough amenities to keep you happy, yet are also close enough to bigger areas where you can find everything you would need.

We think that you should visit some of these rural cities to see if their vibe matches your expectations before you decide to relocate to one of them.

Either way, we are confident that you will be satisfied with at least one of the places on this list of the best rural cities to live in Florida.