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Last updated: March 17, 2022 • Traveling Around the World

Most Sought-after Destinations on Florida’s West Coast

If you’re looking for the longest coastline of any state in the contiguous US, the Sunshine State is leading the country by far. On Florida’s east coast, we have the Atlantic Ocean with its sugary white beaches that go for hundreds of miles. On the other hand, the west coast faces the Gulf of Mexico with its countless barrier islands that give incredibly unique habitats for both flora and fauna. 

There are unique locations to visit or places where you can relocate to on both coasts. Whether you’re looking to wake up with the sunrise or fall asleep with the sunset right outside your waterfront-facing window, you can find that place somewhere across the Sunshine State.

This article will focus, as can be seen from the title, on the west coast of Florida. So if you’re interested in finding out more about the most sought-after destinations on Florida’s west coast, you’ve come to the right place.

We put together a list for you of the most amazing places to live and visit on the Gulf Coast of Florida. While we made up this list, we kept a few highly important things in mind. Our master plan is to give you all the information necessary to choose the best beach city on Florida’s west coast. Being able to enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf Coast is the dream for all western Floridians. The legendary beaches of the following cities attract visitors from all over the world.

For this list, we focused on everything from the city’s livability, the cost of living, and even crime rates, just so you can make an informed decision about your family’s future, in case you decide to move to either of them.

Sarasota, Florida

sarasota florida usa downtown

Located in the central part of Florida’s western coast, the city of Sarasota, Florida, takes first place on our list. It managed to outsmart Tampa just this year as the best place to live on Florida’s west coast. With a population of over 59,000 after a population growth of over 14% since the last census. One of the main attractions this city can boast about is its lively arts and culture scene with an incredible appeal for the younger generations. Still, people of all ages can enjoy it as the city’s median age is 49.

Another excellent appeal for Sarasota comes from its gateway role towards some incredible beaches in all of Florida. As a bonus, the cities of Tampa (last year’s number one) and St. Petersburg (a worthy honorable mention for this list) are barely an hour away from Sarasota. Some of the best things about Sarasota, FL are its cozy feel that does not take away from the large city amenities available; The bustling arts and culture scene we already mentioned; Those fabulous beaches you just won’t forget. A few cons that we can mention about Sarasota are its relatively high cost of living and the amount of tourism traffic.  You can contact the local real estate agents in Sarasota FL, to get information about the city’s housing market.

Tampa, Florida (and St. Petersburg)

tampa skyline usa downtown

When we look at the city of Tampa, Florida, with its 404,000 residents, it’s not difficult to squeeze the city of St. Petersburg with its around 267,000 residents in it, seeing as it belongs to the same metropolitan area. This duo managed to climb numerous lists of top cities over the years. Last year, Tampa was named the ninth fastest-growing city in the US, but St. Petersburg also experienced tremendous population growth. Both cities grew as much as they did because of the increase of new jobs in the area. 

These two cities are separated only by bridges that cross Tampa Bay, so many choose to work in one and live in the other. Young professionals might choose Tampa for its nightlife, while families might cross the bay into St. Petersburg for the suburban feel. Real estate agents in Tampa FL will be able to find you a great co-op close to the city’s downtown area. Young families can cross the bridges and find a single-family home with the help of realtors in St. Petersburg FL. Both have easy access to beaches, world-class golf courses, affordable housing, and cost of living. However, given their location and amount of natural attractions, the number of tourists can be, at times, overwhelming.

Pensacola, Florida

pensacola beach aerial view

Figuring out how the city of Pensacola, Florida, managed to get in on this list won’t be difficult despite its relatively few residents (54,000), especially if you compare it with the other cities on this list. Just by looking at its incredible school system, the growing job opportunities and affordable cost of living give plenty of people enough reasons to check out Pensacola. For us, it came in third place and is a proud representative of Florida’s Panhandle. Going back to the city’s cost of living, the housing prices of Pensacola are approximately 30% more affordable than the average prices for the US. You can receive more information about the city’s housing market by contacting the local real estate agents in Pensacola FL.

Still, we can not talk about Pensacola without mentioning the proximity this city has to so many top beaches. For example, only 20 minutes away from downtown Pensacola, you will find Pensacola Beach. You can find white sandy beaches in Destin as well, and there you can stumble upon Florida’s number one beach. We have to mention about Pensacola that pocket crime is relatively frequent, so be careful where you keep your valuables when you go to the beach.

Fort Myers, Florida

florida fort myers beach port

Browsing through the best cities on Florida’s west coast, let’s make a pit stop in the city of Fort Myers, Florida. The city has been reinventing itself recently, with an intense focus on the downtown area. On top of that, over the past few years, Fort Myers constantly ranked as one of the best emerging cities in the Sunshine State. We couldn’t overlook it and not mention it on this list. By combining the city’s incredible affordability with the vibrant rejuvenated downtown scene and proximity to astounding beaches and islands, we get the fourth most sought-after destination on Florida’s west coast, at least on our list. The past two decades led to a population growth that took the city to almost 97,000 residents.

As we already mentioned, the city’s downtown area went through a revitalization process. A part of this revitalization process resulted in numerous restaurants, shops, and bars in the city’s historic downtown. The whole area became the most sought-after area for singles and families alike due to the incredibly cozy atmosphere. Retirees will also enjoy every minute spent in Fort Myers, especially as it was recently named the second-best place to retire throughout the whole country. Another second-best thing about Fort Myers, Florida, is Sanibel Island, a fantastic beach in Florida. Just contact the top skilled realtors in Fort Myers FL, and get all the necessary facts about this city.

Naples, Florida

naples usa downton skyline

If you want a specific kind of lifestyle where you can lavish in the best things in life, the city of Naples, Florida, is trying to get your attention. Acknowledged as the fifth best place to live on Florida’s west coast, Naples residents enjoy the benefits of being located on the Gulf of Mexico. Based on the quality of its education system, safety ratings, and standards in health care, Naples was ranked number one best place for families by Wallethub.

Those living in Naples, Florida, get to experience an upscale standard of living. It’s easy to see why when you take a walk on one of the city’s world-class beaches or go to one of the golf courses available. However, getting back to those beaches, the Gulf Coast was ranked as the fourth-best destination in Florida for the Naples beaches. Missing out on the opportunity to enjoy that level of quality and comfort shouldn’t happen. 

There is a downside to all of this world-class level of amenities and attractions. Unfortunately, it comes with a relatively steep price tag. But, the over 22,000 residents and the continuously growing population show that that price tag is worth it. Those that want to experience that level of luxury and pampering should contact the local realtors in Naples FL, to get the proper walk through the city’s best areas. Don’t be fooled by the crowds, those that live there and aren’t only visiting get to swim in the peaceful lifestyle of Naples, Florida. Give it a try and see if you enjoy it as well.

Cape Coral, Florida

cape coral usa december

We already mentioned Fort Myers, so we have a general idea of where it is located. The city of Cape Coral, Florida sits right across the bay from Fort Myers, Florida, so the location gives it all the benefits that Fort Myers also enjoys. Comparing the two, however, isn’t exactly fair as Cape Coral’s population exceeds 204,000 residents. A few more thousands of people live here than in Fort Myers. Choosing one over the other is only based on what kind of a life you want to live. 

As the twelfth best place to retire in the US, Cape Coral isn’t only a lovely retirement community. The same Wallethub we mentioned above ranks Cape Coral as Florida’s best big city for the quality of life available. It is also in the top three best family cities in Florida. 

As a coastal city, many water-based activities and amenities are top attractions for those relocating here. Just looking at the variety of beaches and islands nearby that residents can enjoy or live on. Sanibel Island is a key location that many people visit annually. Real estate agents in Cape Coral FL can explain why their city is among the best places to live on the Gulf Coast.


As you can tell, picking the right cities to introduce across the west coast of Florida isn’t the most uncomplicated feat because there are so many. We could have added many other cities on Florida’s west coast to this list which is why a few honorable mentions are in order. Bonita Springs is a charming city with an abundance of natural beauty around it at a reasonable cost of living. Siesta Key is a stone’s throw away from Sarasota and gets to enjoy the job market available in the larger cities around it. Venice is a lovely small town for people who enjoy the outdoors and waterfront living.

Still, you can explore all you want and learn more about other Floridian cities through our blog. If you have your eyes set on one, in particular, check to see if we covered it in one of our articles. Let us know in the comments below if you can’t find one you’re interested in, and we’ll see what we can do. Like & Share this article with friends and family that might want to discover more about Florida’s best west coast destinations.


One Response to " Most Sought-after Destinations on Florida’s West Coast "

  1. Kram says:

    Florida West Coast is one of the best places to live. No doubt, Real Estate in this area is evolving with price.

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