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Coveted Communities

A glimpse into some of the top cities and towns that Central Florida has to offer. 

Central Florida has become more than just a tourist hotspot; it’s now a sought-after destination for new residents. With its beautiful beaches, parks and warm climate year-round, it’s no surprise that people are choosing to call The Sunshine State home. Orlando and its neighboring areas provide endless opportunities for fun and adventure, making it a perfect place to live. From world-renowned theme parks to a vibrant arts and culture scene, there’s always something exciting to do. Plus, with premier schools, health care, and job prospects, Central Florida truly has it all.

Each year, Orlando Family Magazine showcases some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the region. This year’s featured cities and towns offer top-notch activities, outdoor spaces, arts and culture, and a strong sense of community.

Located in East Orange County, Alafaya is a charming suburban area in close proximity to the main campus of the University of Central Florida. Alafaya was recently recognized by Livability as one of the “Best Places to Live in America.” Scheduled to open this year is the HCA Florida Alafaya Emergency facility, a state-of-the-art establishment designed to function as a comprehensive emergency room, providing care for patients of all ages, including pediatrics.

A highly sought-after destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Apopka is known for its impressive landscapes, consisting of lakes, springs and vast land areas. In addition to its natural attractions, Apopka has an abundant history that can be felt through its enchanting small-town ambiance, locally owned businesses and tree-lined neighborhoods. Despite its serene atmosphere, Apopka is conveniently located just minutes away from major shopping areas, entertainment venues, tourist attractions and airports.

Baldwin Park
Approximately 5 miles northeast of Downtown Orlando, Baldwin Park stands out as one of the few traditional neighborhoods nestled within a bustling urban center. Originally serving as a training ground for the military, this peaceful neighborhood boasts an array of parks and lakes as well as the 3.5-mile Cady Way Trail. Nearby, Blue Jacket Park offers various outdoor recreational activities and serves as a tribute to the Navy personnel known as the “Blue Jackets.”

Situated in Osceola County, Celebration was established as a meticulously planned neighborhood by The Walt Disney Company in 1994. Despite no longer being under Disney’s ownership, the area has managed to retain the inviting small-town ambiance that was initially envisioned by the company. The community showcases stunning architecture that harkens back to a bygone era and provides numerous recreational activities and distinctive community events for its residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

One of fastest-growing cities in Florida, Clermont’s population has nearly doubled in size over the past decade. Even with its significant development and growth, the allure of Clermont lies in its ravishing natural surroundings, extensive trail network and timeless small-town atmosphere. Once a premier citrus-growing city, Clermont is home to the Citrus Tower, a 226-foot-tall structure that opened in 1956 and remains a popular and beloved landmark of the city.

College Park
This charming neighborhood with bungalow-style homes, rocking chair porches, and brick, tree-lined streets, is just 3 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando. Many of the streets are named after prestigious universities, adding to its charm. Once a citrus grove area, College Park has evolved into a lively hub without losing its quaint appeal. To commemorate the neighborhood’s deep history, two new historical markers were revealed in College Park this past October.

Delaney Park
The delightful neighborhood of Delaney Park is just south of Downtown Orlando. The community is full of cobblestone streets and majestic oak trees, creating an appealing setting. The area is well known for its diverse range of architectural styles, with each home exuding its own unique character. Additionally, Delaney Park benefits from its proximity to the Amtrak train station and is within walking distance of the esteemed Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Dr. Phillips
Located in southwest Orlando, Dr. Phillips is renowned for its prestigious Bay Hill Club & Lodge and Restaurant Row. This vibrant community, named after a prominent Central Florida Citrus magnate, offers convenient access to Universal Studios and International Drive. Dr. Phillips is highly regarded for its top-rated schools and medical facilities, notably the distinguished Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, which recently received recognition from the American Heart Association for its exceptional stroke care and treatment.

Founded in 1885 by German immigrant H.A. Hempel, Gotha, named for Hempel’s hometown, has quite a horticultural history. In 1902, Dr. Henry Nehrling, a prominent botanist, transformed the area by introducing more than 300 unique plant species at Palm Cottage Gardens. Thanks to his contribution, Palm Cottage Gardens, now known as Nehrling Gardens, is an integral part of Gotha’s history and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Horizon West
Conveniently located near Southwest Orange County, Horizon West is a rapidly growing neighborhood. As one of the largest master-planned developments in Central Florida, Horizon West consists of a town center and six villages with a variety of amenities such as highly ranked schools, restaurants, shops and attractions. Currently, the Orange County Library System is in the planning stages for a 20,000-square-foot library in the community, equipped with an outdoor events area.

Hunter’s Creek
Founded in 1986, Hunter’s Creek is an attentively designed neighborhood that spans 400 acres. Only 16 miles south of Downtown Orlando, the picturesque community provides easy access to the nearby theme parks and attractions. With several local parks and lakes, residents and visitors alike can enjoy a peaceful and tranquil setting. Hunter’s Creek often hosts community-oriented events and is well known for its array of restaurants, bars, shopping and entertainment options.

Lake Nona
Lake Nona takes great pride in its future and has become a thriving hub for technology, innovation and community. The Lake Nona Medical City stands as a transformative force, fostering collaboration between research facilities, leading hospitals and educational institutions. At the heart of Lake Nona lies the popular Lake Nona Town Center, which includes a variety of restaurants, boutiques, hotels, public art and event venues, offering inspiration and delight to all who visit. 

The historic city of Maitland, in the suburbs of Orlando, has a rich cultural heritage alongside its deep-rooted history. Recently, the city received overwhelming support from voters to build a new, larger library near its current location. The expansion will see the library’s size grow from 13,000 to 20,000 square feet. Construction is expected to be finished within the next three years, at an estimated cost of $18 million.

A well-designed community noted for its exceptional landscaping, MetroWest is situated southwest of Downtown Orlando. This zestful and family-friendly neighborhood is ideally positioned for easy access to a variety of restaurants and retail establishments. The MetroWest Golf Club reopened earlier this year after undergoing a $1.5 million renovation. The artfully crafted design of the course has several unique elevation changes and is ranked among the best in the region.

A growing city in Lake County, Minneola is set to receive a significant boost in health care services. Several months ago, AdventHealth commenced construction on an 80-bed hospital that will cater to the growing population of south Lake County. The Lake County School district is also making plans to accommodate the rising student population as the district recently broke ground on a new K-8 school in Minneola, set to open in fall of 2025.

Montverde/Bella Collina
An engaging town in Lake County, Montverde features a unique blend of beautiful natural scenery, proximity to Orlando and great school options. With its breathtaking backdrop of Lake Apopka, Truskett Park for outdoor activities and the Green Mountain Scenic Byway for exploring Central Florida landscapes, Montverde is truly a gem. Bella Collina, a prestigious, gated community in Montverde, gives its residents access to a world-class spa and golf course.

A lovely town just west of Winter Garden, Oakland is nestled on the southern shore of Lake Apopka. It offers an unparalleled escape into the past, reminiscent of a foregone time in Florida. Established in 1987, Oakland has an impressive history and is home to the tranquil Oakland Nature Preserve, a haven for nature enthusiasts, featuring over 13 miles of trails and boardwalks, as well as an education center.

A booming city that was once founded by Confederate soldiers and their families after the Civil War, Ocoee has transformed itself into the third-largest city in Orange County. It is highly regarded for its family-oriented and hometown atmosphere, with numerous recreational, employment and educational opportunities. Just 12 miles west of Downtown Orlando and less than 30 minutes away from the area’s theme parks, Ocoee continues to attract many new residents each year.

Windermere, a town with a rich history dating back to 1889, features a quaint downtown district and a bustling Main Street. Situated in southwest Orange County, just 15 miles from Downtown Orlando, Windermere is well known for its upscale neighborhoods like Isleworth, where numerous celebrities and athletes reside, and the luxurious Lake Butler Sound community. The town has been recognized as a “Tree City USA” community due to its dedication to preserving the natural environment.

Winter Garden
A captivating city that has transformed from its citrus roots, Winter Garden boasts numerous museums, an art gallery, and a theater, making it a haven for culture enthusiasts. In addition to its rich cultural scene, Winter Garden encompasses a wide range of dining choices.  For those who love biking, the West Orange Trail is a must-visit. This paved trail stretches up to 22 miles and takes riders on a scenic journey through picturesque tree-lined paths.

Winter Park
Winter Park is revered for its spirited arts and cultural scene. With its European village ambiance, the city is full of enchanting cobblestone streets adorned with majestic trees, as well as an abundance of outdoor spaces and captivating museums. Lively Park Avenue entices visitors with its diverse selection of shops and dining establishments. Just a stone’s throw away, Central Park awaits, spanning 11 acres of gorgeous landscapes, complete with a glorious rose garden and grandiose fountains.