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Coveted Communities

From its world-class beaches, parks, lakes and year-round warm weather, it’s easy to love living in the Sunshine State. Orlando and its surrounding areas offer easy access to a plethora of activities. Known as the theme park capital of the world, it’s no wonder why so many flock to Orlando to enjoy all of the area attractions. With an abundance of events, arts, sports and culture, as well as diverse dining and shopping, it’s nearly impossible to ever feel bored here.

Locals can also attest to the many wonderful school districts, health care facilities and employment opportunities. However, the best part of Central Florida is undoubtedly its residents. As Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says, “The city of Orlando is a community full of diversity and compassion, and is committed to inclusion. The love we have for our neighbors, small businesses and entire community is truly special and something we can all be proud of.”

Each year, Orlando Family Magazine spotlights some of the most desirable neighborhoods of the area. This year’s standouts feature cities and towns that represent the best in activities, outdoor spaces, arts and culture and sense of community.



Situated in East Orlando, Alafaya is home to the ever-popular Alafaya Trail and the highly sought-after neighborhoods of Waterford Lakes and Avalon Park. The area’s newly opened Avalon Arts & Culture Center features 5,000 square feet and over 15 rooms with a mission to “showcase local art and serve as an arts and culture hub for all of East Orlando.”

Baldwin Park

Located about five miles northeast of Downtown Orlando, Baldwin Park was once a training ground for soldiers serving in various branches of the military. The picturesque neighborhood offers a multitude of parks, as well as two large lakes, Baldwin and Susannah. Walkers and cyclists enjoy its easy access to Cady Way Trail, which traverses over three miles through Orlando and Winter Park.

College Park

Just outside of Downtown, College Park is one of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods. Originally consisting of citrus groves, the affluent area has grown into a bustling hot spot while still maintaining its small-town charm. With its close proximity to both the Downtown nightlife and the serene and scenic views of Lake Ivanhoe, College Park offers the best of everything.

Delaney Park

The charming neighborhood of Delaney Park is located just south of Downtown. With its cobblestone streets and large shady oak trees, this quaint community features distinctive homes in a variety of different architectural styles. It is conveniently situated near the Amtrak train station and is walking distance to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Dr. Phillips

Located in southwest Orlando, Dr. Phillips is within close proximity to attractions such as Universal Studios and International Drive. One of the newest and biggest additions is O-Town West. The project continues to grow with an overall master plan spanning nearly 350 acres and consisting of four commercial centers, over 850 luxury multifamily units and a state-of-the-art entertainment center.

Hunter’s Creek

Established in 1986, Hunter’s Creek is a 6.5-square-mile community located in the southwest section of Orange County. The area provides a tranquil setting with its six local parks and numerous lakes. Hunter’s Creek often hosts community-oriented events and in 2011, it was named one of the “Best Place to Live in America” by CNN Money magazine.

Lake Nona

Dubbed “a smart city with soul,” Lake Nona recently saw the opening of the Lake Nona Wave Hotel, offering the latest in cutting-edge hotel technology. In addition, the all-new SIMCOM Aviation and Training Global Headquarters is currently being built in the heart of town center. When it opens in early 2023, an estimated 10,000 pilots will travel to Lake Nona every year for training.


One of the oldest incorporated municipalities in Central Florida, Maitland is known for its rich history and culture. It is home to five museums including the Maitland Art Center, which is the only National Historic Landmark in the Central Florida area. In the heart of Maitland sits Lake Lily Park, featuring 10 acres of peaceful paths and serene sights.


Known for its family-oriented and hometown atmosphere, Ocoee continues to flourish. The new City Hall is a central part of the city’s historic downtown redevelopment master plan. The three-story, 46,552-square-foot structure will provide an efficient, modern space for people to engage in business with the city and bring city services under one roof with extra space to accommodate future growth.


Established in 1889, the historic town of Windermere has a quaint downtown area and a lively Main Street. Located in southwest Orange County, 15 miles outside of Downtown Orlando, Windermere boasts several prestigious neighborhoods such as Isleworth, home to many high-profile celebrities and athletes, and the exclusive community of Lake Butler Sound, which rests along the shores of Lake Butler.

Winter Garden/Oakland

With its rich citrus history, Winter Garden is often referred to as “a charming little city with a juicy past.” Located in west Orange County, Winter Garden is an idyllic city with a thriving downtown. The nearby town of Oakland is known for its laid-back lifestyle and majestic oak trees. Both areas connect to the well-trodden West Orange Trail, a 22-mile paved tranquil trail.

Winter Park

In and around Kraft Gardens in Winter Park, Florida.

Winter Park is a city known for its upscale shopping and fine dining as well as its galleries and museums. The Winter Park Library and Events Center opened this past December. The impeccably designed library, which cost $42 million and took about five years to build, includes a business center and auditorium and can accommodate large-scale events like weddings and reunions.