Florida boasts some of the country’s most sought-after vacation destinations, but it’s also full of hidden gems tucked away under roping canopies of Spanish Moss and small towns with odd, charming claims to fame.
The Sunshine State is often simultaneously romanticized for its pristine beaches and vilified for its high rent prices in those areas. But the reality is that Florida has plenty of cheap places to live throughout the state.
With one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies, all of Florida, from the panhandle to the Keys, is worth exploring and offers affordable housing to any soon-to-be Floridian.
Florida average rent prices
With Florida playing the role of seasonal getaway for the rich and famous, it isn’t hard to find astronomically high rent prices. But between some of the state’s more inaccessibly glitzy area codes are far more modest, affordable communities which help to balance the average rent profile.
A one-bedroom apartment will cost an average of $1,609, down about half a percent from last year.
The cheapest cities in Florida for renters
While many Floridians prefer central locations in relation to the action, it’s not for everyone. With a little due diligence, a wise renter would be able to find some of the state’s most affordable housing just outside those areas.
Here are the 10 cheapest places to live in Florida.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $939
- Average rent price change: 8.66%
Representing the heart of state government and a growing center of intellectual exploration, Tallahassee is a welcome, if unexpected, addition to this list. For young renters, there’s nothing not to like about affordable rent prices in “Tally.”
It boasts access to the state’s power brokers, as well as some of the most storied parties in the country. With all that happening in this relatively small Florida city, a triple-digit rent price is a veritable steal.
9. Winter Haven
- One-bedroom average rent price: $938
- Average rent price change: -0.26%
Winter Haven, aptly named for its year-round recreational climate, is a small but bustling community nestled between Tampa and Orlando. Known as the “Chain of Lakes,” it looks like a series of potholes from the air due to the 50 lakes within its limits, all of which are connected by a series of renovated canals.
With 22 boat ramps, 14 public docks and 30 waterfront parks, Winter Haven is the perfect destination for any frugal, warm-weather renter or enthusiast of Legoland, which recently made its home here.
8. Tarpon Springs
- One-bedroom average rent price: $929
- Average rent price change: 2.98%
Tarpon Springs, the historic seaside town nestled along 51 miles of Gulf Coast, is perfect for the renter who loves sunshine, history and humor. Known as the “Sponge Capital of the World,” Tarpon Springs is particularly proud of its heritage as having been home to a sea-sponge industry that, for a time, overshadowed citrus as Florida’s main export.
Even if sponges aren’t quite your speed, the downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places and provides brick-clad access to timeless antique shops and a more relaxed pace of life.
7. Lynn Haven
Source: Rent.com / Arbor Trace
- One-bedroom average rent price: $904
- Average rent price change: -0.83%
Lynn Haven is a former union settlement and tight-knit community on the Panhandle. Since it’s just outside of Panama City, it’s a wonderfully affordable opportunity for renters to take advantage of the crystal-clear Gulf Coast water.
Actively recovering from the impact of Hurricane Michael, Lynn Haven offers much room for renters to put down sprawling roots at a bargain price and with access to a multitude of public parks and highly-rated schools.
6. Plant City
- One-bedroom average rent price: $894
- Average rent price change: 5.33%
Plant City is located just due west of Winter Haven. This area offers convenient access to the Tampa Bay area and connections to Florida’s deep-seated identity as an agricultural and transportation hub.
Named for a prominent railroad developer and home to the State Railroad Museum, Plant City becomes positively bustling each winter when the city dons its mantle as the “Strawberry Capital of the World” and hosts the nationally renowned Florida Strawberry Festival. With a sub-$900 rental average, Plant City is perfect for anyone seeking an authentic Central Florida experience.
5. Panama City
- One-bedroom average rent price: $882
- Average rent price change: -0.76%
Panama City, the largest city between Tallahassee and Pensacola, is home to some of the state’s most celebrated Gulf Coast beaches and one of the U.S. military’s most active airbases.
Since the area was critically damaged during Hurricane Michael, the area is now in the process of actively seeking new residents eager to help revitalize the region. With access to Alabama, Georgia and Florida’s Gulf Coast, Panama City is a deeply convenient locale for any budget renter.
4. Green Cove Springs
Source: Rent.com / St. John’s Landing
- One-bedroom average rent price: $800
- Average rent price change: 4.21%
Green Cove Springs is something of a local marvel sitting just south of Jacksonville along the St. John River. Where the river bends and the still waters are protected from inclement weather, you can find Green Cove Springs. Home to the “Original Fountain of Youth,” a hydrological spring that has attracted visitors since the turn of the century, Green Cove is perfect for budget renters seeking a pace of life as languid as the river on which the city sits.
With local life revolving around the industries of Jacksonville, this area is a bargain at its $800 average rental cost.
- One-bedroom average rent price: $758
- Average rent price change: -2.52%
Titusville is one of the standout attractions on this list. Just south of Daytona, just north of Cocoa Beach, just east of Orlando and immediately adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville is one of the cities in Florida most central to bustling urban life and fun at the same time.
With convenient access to Disney World and SpaceX launches, Titusville is perfect for renters of all ages. Theme parks and space ships not quite your style? Prefer a slower pace and more historic attractions? Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Florida’s Space Coast and the Windover Archeological Site, a National Historic Landmark dedicated to the preservation of artifacts from the Early Archaic period.
2. Haines City
- One-bedroom average rent price: $748
- Average rent price change: 1.48%
Haines City is about as central and Central Florida gets. Buried smack dab in the heart of the state, Haines City is just east of the lake-marked landscape of Winter Haven and just off the banks of Lake Marion to the east. Benefitting from the tourism generated by nearby Legoland Florida, Haines City is very up-and-coming and takes great pride in attractions of its own like Fantasy of Flight, the city’s very own vintage aircraft museum and experience.
With convenient access to the I-4 Corridor between Tampa and Orlando, Haines City is far more connected than its geography would suggest. With affordable apartments, it’s perfect for new renters.
1. Lake City
Source: Rent.com / Windsong
- One-bedroom average rent price: $601
- Average rent price change: -3.07%
Lake City, formerly known as “Alligator, FL,” sits at the crossroads of I-75 and I-10. This makes it the unofficial gateway to the state of Florida. You would be hard-pressed to plan a long-distance road trip in Florida without crossing through Lake City at least once.
With convenient access to Jacksonville, Gainesville and Tallahassee, Lake City is a great destination for renters who want access to some of the youngest and most vibrant towns in North Florida without dealing with the crowds.
The 25 cheapest places to live in Florida
If you’re still in search of a perfect Floridian destination, check out a more complete list of options here.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in December 2020, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.