Florida Beach

7 Cheapest and Safest Beach Towns to Live in Florida’s Gulf Coast

Are you planning to move to Florida and hoping to settle in a beach town that is both affordable and safe? If so, you might want to consider the Gulf Coast of Florida, which is renowned for its pristine, powdery beaches and tranquil waters. We have compiled a list of the best beach towns to live in, based on data from Neighborhood Scout, Best Places, and Zillow, which factors in crime rate, cost of living, and median rent. Our list is comprised of only the safest beach towns on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the crime rate is low, and the cost of living is affordable. Below are some of the cheapest and safest beach towns to live in on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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Cheapest and Safest Beach Towns to Live in Florida’s Gulf Coast

1. Port St. Joe

If you’re in search of a safe and budget-friendly beach town along Florida’s Gulf Coast, then Port St. Joe could be just what you’re looking for. Nestled on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Port St. Joe is a charming small town with stunning beaches and a quaint downtown area.

It’s an affordable place to call home, with a cost of living that’s 11.3% lower than the state average. The median monthly rent is $2,600.

This Florida beach town is also one of the safest, with a low violent crime rate of 1.94 and a very low property crime rate of 4.15. Some of the safest neighborhoods to settle down in include Indian Pass/Oak Grove and Beacon Hill/Highland View.

  • Median Rent: $2600
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.94
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 4.15
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Indian Pass/Oak Grove and Beacon Hill/Highland View

2. Apalachicola

Apalachicola, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a charming little beach town with an impressively low crime rate. Life is relaxed and laidback with no rush hour traffic to contend with.

It is famous for its oysters and hosts the annual Florida Seafood Festival, a popular event. Visitors can enjoy the quaint downtown area, with cafes, shops, and waterfront restaurants. Fishing and boating enthusiasts will also appreciate the area’s coastal lifestyle. 

The community’s low crime rate is another added bonus, with violent crime rates at an impressively low 1.67 and property crime rates at a respectable 5.85.

However, the median monthly rent is somewhat high at $3400 a month. Nevertheless, the overall cost of living is low, hovering at 5.5% below the state average.

Bay City/Eleven Mile and St. George Island are two of the safest neighborhoods in Apalachicola.

  • Median Rent: $3400
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.67
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 5.85
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Bay City/Eleven Mile and St. George Island

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3. Carrabelle

Carrabelle is an affordable beach town located on the Gulf Coast of Florida with a low crime rate. It is home to the world’s tiniest police station, which doubles as a local landmark and is no larger than a phone booth. Impressively, it has a non-existent violent crime rate and only 8.03 per 1000 occurrences of property crime in the area. 

Fishing and boating are integral parts of the coastal lifestyle here, and the beautiful beach and laid-back pace of life make it a popular Florida beach town to live in. The cost of living in Carrabelle is low, 5.5% lower than the state’s average. The median monthly rent is $2550. City Center and Lanark Village are the safest parts of town.

  • Median Rent: $2550
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 0
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 8.03
  • Safest Neighborhoods: City Center and Lanark Village
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Photo: Igor Oliyarnik/ Unsplash

4. Port Charlotte

Port Charlotte is one of the most affordable and safest beach towns to live in Florida’s Gulf Coast. This town offers an ideal coastal lifestyle with some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Despite being a small town, it is conveniently located near larger cities such as Tampa, only an hour and a half away.

Port Charlotte is a budget-friendly beach town with a cost of living 9.1% lower than Florida’s average. The median rent here is $2100, which is quite reasonable compared to other beach towns.

When it comes to safety, Port Charlotte is one of the safest places to live. With a violent crime rate of 1.02 and a property crime rate of 7.27, you can rest easy knowing that you and your property are safe.

In fact, the safest neighborhoods here are Gulf Cove West, South Gulf Cove, Port Charlotte South, Quesada Ave/Harbor Blvd, Port Charlotte North, Port Charlotte Northeast, OHara, El Jobean, Port Charlotte West, and Gulf Cove.

  • Median Rent: $2100
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.02
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 7.27
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Gulf Cove West, South Gulf Cove, Port Charlotte South, Quesada Ave/Harbor Blvd, Port Charlotte North, Port Charlotte Northeast, OHara, El Jobean, Port Charlotte West, and Gulf Cove

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5. Dunedin

Dunedin is one of the most affordable and safest beach towns in Florida’s West Coast. It’s home to beautiful beaches. Conveniently located near big cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg.

It’s an affordable beach town with a cost of living 0.3% lower than the state’s average. It has a median rent of $2400.

Crime rate is low is Dunedin with violent crime rate of 1.03 and property crime rate of 9.32, The safest neighborhoods in Dunedin is Dunedin West, Dunedin Northeast, Dunedin East, City Center, Dunedin Isles, Dunedin South, Dunedin North, Dunedin Southwest, Bass Blvd/Grove Ct, Overcash Dr/Copper Kettle Lane.

  • Median Rent: $2400
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.03
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 9.32
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Dunedin West, Dunedin Northeast, Dunedin East, City Center, Dunedin Isles, Dunedin South, Dunedin North, Dunedin Southwest, Bass Blvd/Grove Ct, Overcash Dr/Copper Kettle Lane

6. Crystal River

Crystal River is a good option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly and safe place to live on Florida’s West Coast. One of the main attractions is the natural springs that are home to manatees all year round. You can even swim with these gentle creatures in the clear waters of Three Sisters Springs.

Boating and fishing in King’s Bay are also popular pastimes. The downtown area is bustling with shops and restaurants. Being in proximity to Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville makes it even more convenient.

Another advantage of Crystal River is affordability. The median home price is $269,996, and the average rent is $2100 per month. Crystal River has a lower crime rate compared to the state average. Its violent crime rate is 2.01, while the property crime rate is 10.90, which is significantly lower than Florida’s state average of 15.66.

The safest neighborhoods in Crystal River are Crystal River West, Paradise Point, Cutlers, Crystal Oaks, City Center/Red level, and Crystal River East.

  • Median Rent: $2100
  • Median Home Price: $269,996
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.01
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 10.90
  • Safest Neighborhoods:  Crystal River West, Paradise Point, Cutlers, Crystal Oaks, City Center/Red level, Crystal River East.

7. Cedar Key

If you’re looking for a small, affordable Florida beach town that’s a bit off the beaten path, you might just fall in love with Cedar Key. This coastal town boasts a slow pace, idyllic lifestyle, and plenty of natural beauty to explore.

Nature enthusiasts will be especially drawn to Cedar Key’s wild marshes and islands, while fishing and boating aficionados will find plenty to love about the area. 

Perhaps one of the best things about Cedar Key is how affordable it is. With a cost of living that’s 18.7% lower than the state’s average, you’ll be able to stretch your budget further here. It has a median rent of $2760 per month. Cedar Key also has an impressively low crime rate.

  • Median Rent: $2760
  • Median Home Price: n/a

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