5 Best Florida Cities for Veterans to Live

Posted: April 19, 2024 | Categories: Communities | News
By Highland Homes

Top 5 Florida cities for veterans to call home

Not all cities are created equal. There are many factors to consider when relocating to a new city, and if you are a military veteran, you might have a few extras on your list such as military skill-related jobs, access to VA healthcare, and a community that honors your service and benefits your quality of life.

Fortunately, there are resources available to help you evaluate your options. WalletHub, a personal finance company, recently evaluated the 100 largest cities in the U.S. based on factors specific to veterans including employment, economy, quality of life, and health, and published a list ranking the best and worst places for veterans to live.

If Florida sunshine and sandy beaches are on your list, we have great news – five of the top 25 best cities in the U.S. for veterans to live in are in Florida! So, pack those boxes and don’t forget the shades, because here are the top 5 Florida cities for veterans to call home.

1. Orlando

Orlando is the #1 city in Florida for veterans to live

Not only is Orlando the top Florida city for veterans, but it’s also No. 3 in the entire United States! This vibrant metropolis is often associated with theme parks – and there are certainly plenty of those – but Orlando offers so much more.

Orlando is full of cultural attractions such as theaters, music venues, museums, galleries, and professional sports teams. Sunny weather allows year-round enjoyment of the city’s many parks, gardens, and recreation activities.

Orlando boasts a strong economy and job opportunities for veterans. Orlando is the No. 2 city in the country for job growth and leads the nation in industries such as aerospace, defense, advanced manufacturing, and biotechnology.

And, veterans in Orlando appreciate world-class healthcare at the state-of-the-art Orlando VA Medical Center. Located in Lake Nona’s Medical City, a hub for health and life sciences, this is the fourth largest VA medical center in the country and, along with outpatient clinics, serves an estimated 200,000 veterans living in Central Florida.

Orlando is one of our favorite cities to live and play - Explore our new construction homes in Orlando's metropolitan area.

2. Tampa


Tampa is the #2 city in Florida for Veterans

Right behind Orlando, Tampa is the fourth-best place for veterans to live in the entire U.S. and the No. 2 best city in Florida! Home to MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa’s strong military community ensures the area has a deep understanding of veterans’ needs.

As a major commercial center, Tampa offers one of the best job markets in the country, with competitive salaries, low veteran unemployment rates, and a high concentration of opportunities related to veterans’ skills and experience. Tampa continually tops the state in job creation, particularly in fast-growing industries like cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and health care.

On the healthcare front, Tampa is home to the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, which currently boasts a 98% satisfaction rating for primary care, and numerous VA clinics in different areas of the metro.

With a booming cultural scene, top pro sports teams, and world-class restaurants all within easy reach of the sugar-white sands of the Gulf Coast beaches, Tampa is one of our favorite Florida cities, and we are proud to build new homes in Tampa for military veterans.

3. Jacksonville

Jacksonville in the #3 city in Florida for veterans to live

Located on the east coast of Florida, Jacksonville offers a unique blend of urban conveniences and a laid-back coastal lifestyle. Veterans will find a strong military presence throughout the city thanks to Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Jacksonville Naval Hospital. This translates to a wealth of veteran-focused resources and a supportive community.

Jacksonville boasts a surprisingly low cost of living compared to other major Florida cities. This makes it easier for veterans (and all homeowners) to stretch their dollars further and enjoy a comfortable life.

Plus, with its extensive coastline and beautiful weather, Jacksonville is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Waterfront living is a reality here, and veterans can enjoy kayaking, fishing, boating, or simply relaxing on the beach year-round. The city also boasts an energetic nightlife scene and a rich cultural heritage, offering something for everyone.

4. St. Petersburg


St. Pete is the #4 city in Florida for veterans to call home

Nestled across the bay from Tampa, St. Pete offers quintessential Florida living. When you call St. Pete home, you can unwind on pristine white sand beaches, explore a thriving arts scene, and enjoy world-class restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts appreciate boating, paddleboarding, or strolling through waterside parks or the Sunken Gardens. And, art enthusiasts will love exploring this city of the arts, from the Salvador Dali Museum to monthly art walks and an abundance of galleries and studios in St. Pete.

St. Petersburg ranks highly for economic benefits for veterans, with a high percentage of veteran-owned businesses, an extremely low veteran unemployment rate, and a high percentage of military skill-related jobs.

Also adding to its rating as a top city for veterans, St. Petersburg boasts a healthy number of veteran service organizations dedicated to supporting veterans’ needs and is home to the St. Petersburg VA Clinic.

5. Miami

Miami is the #5 city for veterans to live in Florida

Miami pulsates with a vibrant energy fueled by its international character and cultural diversity. Beyond the glitz and glamour, Miami offers a strong job market for veterans, with a focus on aviation, healthcare, and logistics. Veterans will also find a supportive community through organizations like the Miami-Dade County Veterans Service Coalition and the Miami Veterans Association.

Miami is home to the world's largest concentration of Art Deco architecture. And its cultural and entertainment options don’t stop there! The city is a melting pot of cultures that includes an impressive list of international cuisines, a nightlife scene that never ends, and one of the world's top annual art shows. Plus, the city’s balmy weather and year-round sunshine allows for an active outdoor lifestyle centered on the water!

All of this comes at a price, though - while Miami has a lot to offer for veterans, it also costs about 15% more to live here than the Florida average and has the highest cost of living of the five Florida cities on our list.

Make Your Move to Florida

A Florida new home by Highland Homes

Veterans, we salute you! As a Florida home builder founded in 1996 by a military veteran, we are proud to support our nation's heroes and committed to creating communities where you feel supported, connected, and empowered to succeed.

We've helped more than 900 military veterans build their dream homes over the past five years alone, and are here to learn more about your specific needs and help you start your next chapter in life. Call or email our New Home Specialists today to learn more about building your dream home in Florida.

Tags: Tampa Bay Metro Orlando VA Home Loan Veterans Relocating to Florida Real estate market