The Safest Small Towns in Florida to Retire or Live
Here are 10 of the safest small towns in Florida according to our experiences and crime rate statistics.
We have a slightly different metric for our safest small towns in Florida. We use crime statistics only. We make no subjective analysis of politics and advertiser influences. These towns have very little crime.
With 67 counties, 21 million people and the third largest state in the continental United States, Florida is a very safe state.
– Niceville, Florida most recent crime stats show you have only a .56 in 1000 being a victim of violent crime.
How could you not include a small town in Florida with the name “Niceville”? Perhaps the population of 13,000 believes in the name and acts accordingly. The small town has had one of the lowest crime rates in the state of Florida for many years.
Nearby is the Fort Walton Beach/Destin Airport, the Northwest Florida State College, and just across the Bayou Bridge the Fred Gannon State Park.
– Satellite Beach, Florida crime rate shows less than .53 in 1000 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.
Satellite Beach is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by the Indian River. The waterfront diversity gives the town many aquatic options that other oceanfront communities don’t have.
Patrick Space Force Base borders the northern part of town. Needless to say, this Florida small town gets to observe many space flights from Cape Canaveral just 15 miles north.
-Nocatee, Florida Crime Rate is .18 per 1000 chance of violent crime. The lowest of the 10 safest small towns in Florida.
Nocatee, Florida is a planned community situated about halfway between St. Augustine and Jacksonville about 15 miles inland from the coast. The crime rate here is low enough the FBI doesn’t even carry the statistics!
This is the only area in our safest small towns in Florida that we thought we had never been in. However, upon reflection and looking at the maps, we discovered we had taken the Nocatee Parkway from south Jacksonville to I-95 several years ago.
This town of about 14,000 serves as a bedroom community for both Jacksonville and St. Augustine. At one time it was the fastest growing community in America as the development filled.
This safest small town in Florida has the lowest crime rate of all our 10-plus safest cities in Florida.
-Marco Island’s crime rate is 1 per 1000 residents.
Marco Island is admittedly one of our favorite destinations. The island is loaded with exclusive condominiums, nice homes, beautiful beachfront resorts and superb restaurants.
We never thought to look at the crime rate until the research was done here.
You have less than a 1 in 1000 chance of being a victim of violent crime. That compares to a place like Miami where it is almost 6 in 1000. We just know that on every visit to Marco Island, there was never any thought of crime in this magnificent setting.
Marco Island is a great place to relax, go fishing, sailing, kayaking or visit the above-average fine restaurants in both the hotels and the independent operators.
The only negative thing about Marco is it is expensive! Don’t leave your wallet at home! Over the years prices have skyrocketed. 10 years ago we were paying $300-400 per night at the Marriott Resort. Earlier this year room rates were over $1500 per night!
-Oviedo, Florida’s crime rate is 1.39 per 1000 residents. That is much less than the 3.92 rate average for the state of Florida.
Oviedo is the largest of our safest small towns in Florida with almost 40,000 people. We were hesitant to include this community until a visit and research showed Oviedo has all the assets of much smaller towns.
Not only does everyone seem to know everyone else, but they also seem to get together quite often. Community events include the traditional pancake breakfasts, food truck Thursdays, and many fundraisers for local causes.
Driving through Oviedo you get the feel of a small town with churches, baseball fields, parks and retail shops scattered in a several-block area. This community is a upper-middle-class community about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.
Families seem to flock to Oviedo as the population grew by 26.7% from 2010 to 2020.
North Palm Beach
– North Palm Beach, Florida crime rate shows that you have a .92 chance in 1000 residents of suffering a violent crime.
North Palm Beach, about 90 miles north of Miami is well known for its many famous residents and some exclusive surroundings. It is located along the Intracoastal waterway.
Famous residents have included Jack Nicklaus, one of the all-time greatest golfers, Larry Ellison, one of the richest men in America and founder of Oracle, Elin Nordegren the ex-wife of Tiger Woods, and actors George Hamilton and Ellen Barkin.
It is no surprise that one of Florida’s best and most notable golf courses, Seminole Golf Club is just north of the city.
The nearly 14,000 residents get to enjoy the Intracoastal waterway and the John D. MacArthur State Park on the east side of the waterway along the Atlantic Ocean.
-Naples, Florida crime rate is 1.19 violent crimes per 1000 people as compared to almost 4 per 1000 average in the state of Florida.
Naples is the gateway to the Florida Everglades and enjoys white sandy beaches along Florida’s southwest Gulf coast. Naples was, at one time, the winter home of wealthy northern businesspeople. Today the city has grown to almost 20,000 residents.
Naples has a reputation for its exclusive shopping along 5th Avenue, its system of waterways in the city, water sports of every kind, and numerous championship golf courses featuring many televised tournaments.
We enjoy the restaurants along the Gordon River in downtown Naples. Riverwalk, Pincher’s, Kelly’s Fish House and Southern Kitchen and Raw Bar. All of these are near Tin City, a collection of quirky shops.
Santa Rosa Beach
-Santa Rosa Beach, Florida has a crime rate of .85 violent crimes per 1000 people.
This unincorporated community of about 12,000 spans a section of well-known beaches along the Emerald Coast of Florida about 18 miles east of Destin, Florida. The nearby beaches include Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach and Miramar Beach – all destination beaches praised by locals and tourists.
This is north Florida and nothing should surprise you, but we have to note the names of some interesting places around Santa Rosa Beach. Names like Stink’s Fish Camp, Goatfeathers Seafood, Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar and Perfect Pig Grill and Fish House. Quite a collection of names – even for north Florida!
-Venice, Florida crime rate is a staggering low of .65 percent chance of a violent crime per 1000 residents.
Venice is a waterfront community on Florida’s southwest Gulf coast with about 26,000 people. Named after the Italian city of the same name, Venice has a series of fingers with water access similar to the canals in Italy.
Venice, Florida also considers itself the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World”. It is true, for unknown reasons, shark teeth seem to wash up along Venice beaches more frequently than others.
The history of Venice dates back to the 1870s when the Roberts family established a homestead along what is now known as Roberts Bay.
We also consider Venice one of the best small towns for shopping. The recently renovated downtown district has shops and restaurants on both sides of a park-like median on the main street.
The Villages, Florida crime rate is .89% chance of a violent crime per 1000 residents. One of the lowest in Florida.
This 55-and-over community is going to be hard to explain. The Villages have 130,000 people – but that is spread over 3 counties and 4 (soon to be 5) hubs of activities. The Villages is a Census Designated Place as opposed to an actual city.
The Villages are known for two things. One is phenomenal growth. From 2010 to 2020 The Villages was the fastest-growing community in the country. We figure that status will continue with over 4000 new homes sold in 2021.
The second thing The Villages are known for is hospitality. Most people are retirees living there to have fun after working their entire life. Nightly entertainment at four different locations starts at 5 PM. Good bands, a lively crowd and golf carts everywhere is the scene seven nights a week. Each of the four locations seems to be a small town in itself.
If you haven’t experienced The Villages, it is hard to explain. We recently took a couple of friends for a weekend at the Waterfront Inn. The husband said he had never seen anything like The Villages in his life and it was “Disneyland for Adults”. His wife was ready to look for a home there before leaving!
Don’t believe anything you hear or read about The Villages – just spend a couple days there.
As far as crime goes, in the last 15 years of visiting there, we may have seen a half dozen police officers and absolutely no crime of any kind!
Notes about our Safest Small Towns in Florida List
- Sanibel, Florida would most definitely have been on our list. With one of the lowest crime rates in the whole state of Florida at .31 per 1000 residents, this island community matches beauty with almost no crime. Hurricane Ian in September of 2022 destroyed much of the island. It will be several years before new construction can recover what once was.
- All of the crime data came from https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/
- There are many other safe places in Florida, but we considered proximity to high crime rates a negative factor for some communities.
Based on our perspective, as a resident of Florida, if we were to choose our favorite safest small town in Florida, we would choose two – one on the water and one not. Our choices would be –
The Villages for affordability and a number of things to do.
Our second choice would be Marco Island for year-round great boating weather and waterfront activities – certainly not for affordability!