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12 Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle

Best Places to Live in Florida Panhandle

The Florida Panhandle, which is well-known for its Southern beauty, stunning beaches, and high quality of life, provides a wide variety of living options. The distinctive qualities of each town in this area make it very attractive.

This detailed article will outline the 12 best places to live in Florida Panhandle, taking into consideration variables like population, crime rates, unemployment rate, housing options and more, to make your selection simpler.

Please note that in Florida there’s a chance you will need to pay CDD fees. You can find out more about these in this article.

12. Destin

Destin city view


First of the best places to live in Florida Panhandle is the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin, offers a unique combination of beach leisure and energetic city life.

Destin, which has a population of around 14,000, has a small-town atmosphere with big-city facilities. With a 2.8% unemployment rate, which is a lot better than the national average, this city boasts a lot of work prospects in the fishing and tourist sectors.


With a typical house value of roughly $350,000, Destin’s real estate market provides a variety of residences. Despite being somewhat costly, this cost is compensated by the city’s stunning surroundings, first-rate amenities and excellent standard of living.

Pros and Cons

The main advantages of Destin for families include its thriving economy, first-quality educational system and comparatively low crime rate. However, some people might be put off by the high living expenses in comparison to other Panhandle areas.

Additionally, Destin may get quite crowded during the high travel season, which may not be appealing to those who want a peaceful atmosphere.

11. Pensacola

Pensacola downtown


A city of contrasts, Pensacola, with a population of around 53,000, combines old-world elegance with contemporary conveniences.

Pensacola’s unemployment rate is 3.6%, somewhat higher than Destin’s but still lower than the US average. The sectors of healthcare and education, as well as the military presence in the city, serve as the economic pillars of Pensacola.


With a typical property value of about $190,000, Pensacola offers Panhandle homeowners a more inexpensive choice. Pensacola is a good value for money because of its accessibility as well as the natural beauty and vibrant cultural environment of the city. This is one of the cheapest places to live in Florida.

What are the Cheapest Places to Live in Florida?

Pensacola is the cheapest place to live in the Florida Panhandle. Outside of the Panhandle, the cheapest places to live in Florida include Cape Coral, Gainesville, Port St. Lucie, and Lakeland.

Pros and Cons

Living in Pensacola offers residents access to a wide range of outdoor activities and cultural organizations, which is one of its main benefits. The city’s noteworthy characteristics include its active arts scene, rich history, delicious cuisine culture and Pensacola beach.

The Pensacola historic district is also extremely interesting to visit. Pensacola has a little higher crime rate than some of the other cities on the list, which could worry potential residents.

10. Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach view


Panama City Beach, a coastal community with 13,000 inhabitants, combines a relaxing beach lifestyle with modern comforts. The city has a 3.2% unemployment rate, which is quite low given the strong tourism sector and the proximity of multiple military bases. There’s some stunning white sand beaches in this beach town.


Panama City Beach’s housing options provide a combination between luxury and affordability. With options ranging from beachside condos to single-family houses in suburban communities, the typical property value is roughly $240,000.

This is cheaper than the average housing costs in Florida, making Panama City Beach an affordable place to live in the Florida panhandle.

Pros and Cons

Due to the city’s beautiful beaches, a wide variety of recreational opportunities and a strong economy, Panama City Beach inhabitants enjoy a good quality of life. However, Panama City Beach may get congested during the busiest travel seasons, resulting in increased noise and traffic levels. That’s because Panama beach is so beautiful!

9. Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach Florida


With a population of about 12,000, Santa Rosa Beach is a charming community with an amazing unemployment rate of only 2.3%. This seaside community is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, white sandy shores and beaches, abundance of outdoor activities and vibrant arts culture that keeps locals entertained and active.


Santa Rosa Beach, which has a typical property value of about $470,000, reflects the Panhandle’s more affluent side. This neighborhood’s high property value indicates how desirable it is owing to its gorgeous scenery, tranquil setting and upscale facilities.

Pros and Cons

On the bright side, Santa Rosa Beach is perfect for families since it has a laid-back small-town vibe, a low crime rate and excellent schools. On the negative side, some potential residents may find the high cost of living to be a barrier, especially those with limited financial resources.

8. Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach view


8th on the list of the best places to live in Florida Panhandle is Fort Walton Beach. The city has a population of over 22,000 people and a 2.9% unemployment rate, is a city that successfully blends beach life with a family-friendly atmosphere.

The city provides a variety of work prospects due to the presence of significant businesses like the tourism and military sectors. It’s also important to note that Fort Walton Beach is one of the most conservative cities in Florida.


In Fort Walton Beach, the average house is worth about $235,000. Families and retirees alike find the city to be appealing because of its affordability and top-notch amenities.

Pros and Cons

The neighborhood is close-knit and the city has many recreational opportunities and top-notch schools. However, compared to some of the other areas on the list, the city does have a higher crime rate, which prospective residents should take into account.

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7. Niceville

Niceville aerial view


There are over 16,000 people living in Niceville, which is renowned for its friendly neighborhood and inviting atmposphere. Due in great part to the presence of adjacent military bases and a growing tourist industry, the city boasts a low unemployment rate of 2.7%.


The average home in Niceville is worth about $225,000. This, together with the city’s general high standard of living, make it an appealing option for any individual looking for a property in the Panhandle.

Pros and Cons

Niceville is the perfect place for families since it has top-notch schools and friendly residents. However, there are fewer options for dining and entertainment when compared to other cities, which can be a consideration for people who want a more cosmopolitan way of life.

6. Crestview

Crestview Florida


Crestview, which has a population of about 24,000, is a small city that is expanding quickly. With an unemployment rate of 2.9%, the city is a stable location to live financially.


The median property value in Crestview is about $180,000, making housing options reasonably priced. Crestview appeals to families seeking affordable housing alternatives and first-time homeowners because of its affordability.

Pros and Cons

Crestview is a fantastic option for families because it provides a mix between metropolis advantages and small-town charm. Although Crestview is less developed than other larger cities, the public transit system may be an issue for people without a private car.

5. Gulf Breeze

Gulf Breeze aerial view


Due to its low unemployment rate of 2.3% and good living standard, Gulf Breeze, a peaceful community with a population of around 6,000, is in great demand. This shows there are lots of job opportunities available in this great Florida panhandle town.


Gulf Breeze’s median house value is roughly $335,000, which is indicative of the city’s lovely surroundings and excellent facilities.

Pros and Cons

Top-notch schools, minimal crime and a laid-back beach town atmosphere can all be found in Gulf Breeze. However, the cost of living is greater than in other parts of gulf coast of the Panhandle, which can be a factor for some future residents.

4. Navarre

Navarre sea view


Navarre, a seaside town in Santa Rosa County that is expanding and has a population of roughly 37,000, has a low unemployment rate of 2.5% because of a strong local economy based on travel, healthcare and the military. It is home to the record breaking Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, which is the longest in the Florida Panhandle.


With a typical house value of about $235,000, Navarre provides a variety of housing alternatives for different price ranges.

Pros and Cons

Navarre is well known for its magnificent beaches, excellent schools and laid-back way of life. There’s also some great golf courses nearby! Its absence of a bustling nightlife, however, may be an obstacle to individuals looking for a more active social environment.

3. Seaside

Seaside Florida


Next on the list of the best places to live in Florida Panhandle is Seaside. Seaside offers a peaceful, neighborhood-focused way of life. It is a charming tiny town with a population of about 1,000. A low unemployment rate of 2.6% is reported in the city.


With a typical house value of roughly $1.4 million, Seaside’s real estate is undeniably affluent, reflecting its renowned location and great demand.

Pros and Cons

Seaside boasts a tight-knit community, lovely seaside views and small-town character. The Navarre Beach Marine Park is a must visit for beach lovers! There’s also a great variety of community events all year round. The high living cost however, may prohibit some potential residents from moving there.

2. Apalachicola

Apalachicola downtown


Just missing out on top spot on the list of the best places to live in Florida Panhandle is Apalachicola. The unemployment rate in Apalachicola, a historic city with a population of about 2,300, is 3.1%.

Despite its tiny size, the West Florida town of Apalachicola has a thriving local economy that is mostly supported by the tourism and fishing industry.


Apalachicola is a cost-effective option for anyone seeking a slower pace of life because the median house value there is about $185,000.

Pros and Cons

The combination of history, charm, and natural beauty that Apalachicola offers makes it particularly appealing. However, the city offers fewer possibilities for employment than other cities, which can be an obstacle for certain individuals.

1. Pace – Best Place to Live in Florida Panhandle

Pace road


The suburban community of Pace, which has a population of around 21,000, offers a laid-back, welcoming environment. Pace boasts a strong local economy that is mostly supported by the education, healthcare and retail sectors, with a remarkable unemployment rate of 2.4%. This is one of the many reasons why Pace is the best place to live in Florida Panhandle.


Given that Pace’s typical house value is close to $200,000, it is a more affordable option for individuals looking for suburban feel.

Pros and Cons

Pace provides a suburban atmosphere, top-notch schools and a secure neighborhood. It does, however, have few  entertainment and dining options, which can be a downside for people looking for a more active social environment.

Where you choose to reside in the Florida Panhandle depends primarily on your lifestyle and personal preferences. Now that you’ve read this detailed guide, you know exactly what each of beach towns in these top 12 areas has to offer. There are some great Florida panhandle towns.

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