Carla Conti | Miami Real Estate, Key Biscayne Real Estate, Sunny Isles Beach Real Estate

Whether you already live in Florida or are considering relocating, there are dozens of communities worth including on your "short list." Based on data compiled by the website Niche, some of the most desirable areas to raise a family are in and around cities like Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami.

Top-ranked Tampa-area communities for raising a family include Easton Park, Virginia Park, Parkland Estates, Arbor Greene, Grand Hampton, Culbreath, and Palma Ceia. Quite a few other neighborhoods are also on the list, such as West Meadows, Westchase, Hyde Park, Sunset Park, and Fish Hawk.

One of the many unique aspects of buying real estate in Florida is that there's a wide range of median housing prices to choose from -- ranging from around $225,000 to $673,000 and up. Interestingly, the #2 neighborhood ranked on the list is called "New Suburb Beautiful." With a population of about 2,200, many of the homes in that growing area appear to live up to the name. Predictably, it's not one of the less expensive communities in which to own property, but you don't need to be wealthy to live there. If you do happen to be in the luxury housing market, however, there's certainly no shortage of mansions, waterfront homes, and other lavish properties in Florida.

If the idea of living near Disney World and other Florida attractions appeals to you, then neighborhoods like Horizon West, Rowena Gardens, and the City of Orlando may be desirable. Other well-ranked suburbs and neighborhoods in the area include Gotha, Oviedo, Audubon Park, Lake Weldona, Lake Como, Lake Butler, Celebration, Park Lake/Highland, Windermere, Lake David/Greenwood, Lavina, East Park, Storey Park, Bal Bay, Lake Mary, Randal Park, and several neighborhoods in and around Lake Nona: Lake Nona South, Northlake Park at Lake Nona, Lake Nona Central, and Lake Nona Estates.

In addition to looking at rankings from reputable websites and publications, one of the most effective strategies for finding a suitable Florida community in which to live is to consult with an experienced real estate agent. To find one who's service oriented, knowledgeable about specific Florida neighborhoods, and responsive to your needs, it's a good idea to interview two or three. By doing that, you'll have some points of comparison and be in a good position to choose the agent who seems to be the best match for your objectives, timeline, and personality.

This list of desirable places to raise a family in Florida is by no means exhaustive or all-inclusive; it's only the tip of the iceberg! There are many more communities with good school districts, low crime rates, and a high standard of living, including neighborhoods like Nocatee (near Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra), World Golf Village in St. Augustine, and Parkland (a suburb of Coral Springs and Miami). If you like beaches, playing golf, world-class amusement parks, and balmy weather, there's nothing else that compares to living in Florida!