Most people hope that, at some point, they’ll find that special someone to spend their lives with—their own personal sunshine. Last year, the Movoto Real Estate blog decided to play Cupid and locate which spots in the Golden State of California were best for finding love, and now we’re back to do the same on the opposite coast, in the Sunshine State of Florida. Pretty appropriate, don’t you think?
Unlike a lot of the professed love doctors out there, we’ve got the latest in cutting-edge heart medicine on our side; it’s called data, and—unlike those who’ve done us all wrong at one point or another—it never lies. So, once we’d embraced all the ones and zeroes, Xs and Os, and got down to the candy-filled heart of all this, what did we find? South Miami is the best place to find love in the state where the sawgrass meets the sky. Just like a lot of singles wish to one day be, South Miami is not alone. Here are the top 10 places for singles in Florida:
Just what makes these places so single-friendly? Why didn’t Kissimmee rank higher with a name like that? Read on, and we’ll tell you that and a whole lot more. First, though, there’s the matter of exactly how we measured all this.
How We Built A Love-Meter (And Made This Ranking)
Finding love is hard enough—but finding out how good a place is for finding love? That’s a real challenge. Fortunately, with all our experience coming up with Big Deal Lists, we were up to it. In fact, you could say we loved the idea.
To get started, we had to define the criteria we’d need to make this ranking. Basically, we tweaked what we’d used for our look at the best places for singles in California a bit to come up with the following four:
- Percent of population within the “dating age range” (18-44)
- Percent of population who take public transit (you’re not going to find love in your car)
- Number of singles per bar (the fewer the better)
- Number of singles per romantic restaurant (ditto)
With our criteria picked out, we needed a list of places to look at. We created this by finding all of the cities, towns, villages, and Census-Designated Places in Florida with populations more than 5,000 people. The resulting list contained 162 places in total.
Each place was then given a score from 1 to 162 in the four criteria, with one being the best. Finally, we averaged these scores together to get an overall Big Deal Score, the lowest of which was our winner (in this case, South Miami). You can see the top 50 places in a lovely chart at the end of this post.
Now that you know how we did it, let’s get into what exactly made each of our top 10 places for singles so conducive to romance.
1. South Miami
While the world-famous metro of Miami proper, with its countless clubs and dining spots, might be just fine for finding romance (it placed 23rd overall out of 162). If you really, really want to have the best chance at romance in the Sunshine state, though, you’re going to want to get yourself to South Miami.
This suburb of nearly 12,000 shot like Cupid’s arrow to the very top of our list thanks to its sub-rankings in dating age population (13th), public transportation (sixth), and romantic restaurants (fourth). The only place it didn’t get much love was in bars, where it placed 69th overall. South Miami is a romantic dining hotspot, with one eatery deemed “romantic” by Yelp reviewers for every 158 residents in our dating age group; places such as Trattoria Sole and Cafe Pastis. That group is made up of 4,414 people, or 42 percent of the town’s population.
If you really want to up your chances at finding someone who’s single, you’ll want to check out Palmetto, a community of close to 13,000 just north of Bradenton, FL. Of those residents, 6,965 or 54 percent are either divorced or never married and fall within our 18 to 44 prime dating age range. That’s a figure good enough to land Palmetto a third-place finish in our dating age ranking.
That’s not the only instance in which Palmetto outdid South Miami; it also ranked nine points higher (60th versus 69th) for having the most bars per single capita. For public transportation, it placed 19th with 2.39 percent of its total population able to mingle while moving about town in a motorized fashion. In terms of romantic restaurants, it placed a respectable 12th overall.
3. Key West
Out in the Straits of Florida sits one of the country’s prime getaway spots, Key West. It just so happens to be a great spot for singles, too.
Now, if you look at the numbers, you might not be thinking that 21st for dating age singles, 33rd for public transportation, 46th for bars, and 63rd for romantic restaurants isn’t so great. What you have to realize is that, much like that special someone, Key West is the sum of its parts. Or, in this case, the average. Those numbers are out of 162, so even 63rd is pretty high.
This ranking for dating aged singles came from 41 percent of the single people in Key West being between 18 and 44. As for the aforementioned restaurant rank, there are 1,068 people in our singles group for every romantic dining spot in Key West; places like Latitudes, with its breathtaking view, or Santiago’s Bodega, where the sangria is sure to help the mood.
4. Lake Worth
Like a couple that continually has to outdo each other in the game of “I love you more,” Lake Worth and Kissimmee both occupy our No. 4 spot. For its part, Lake Worth, the smaller of the two at just about 35,000 residents, did better when it comes to the percentage of its residents that use public transit: 2.07 percent, good enough for 23rd overall.
Lake Worth also one-upped Kissimmee in terms of romantic restaurants; it ranked 92nd overall, with one spot for every 2,298 folks in our singles group. Speaking of which, they comprise 42.1 percent of the Lake Worth populace, or 16,084 people.
You’re more likely to find eligible singles in our 18 to 44 age group in Kissimmee than Lake Worth by… oh, .28 percentage points. Kissimmee’s singles group comprises 42.41 percent of its 59,682 population, making it 22,576 people strong.
Kissimmee’s bars-to-singles ratio is also better, enough for it to rank 36th overall (versus Lake Worth’s 45th) with one watering hole for every 342 people in our singles age group. This city’s number of singles to romantic bar ratio (2,508 for every one) is higher enough than Lake Worth’s to earn it a 96th place finish in that category, versus 92nd.
If you’re the sort of single who most likes to mingle in bars, Sebring is for you. While away from the coast, this small town of just over 10,000 is situated next to multiple lakes—but the important sort of liquid here is the kind served at its bars, of which there is one for every 160 singles. That fact earned Sebring sixth place overall, the best finish in bars in our top 10.
As for romantic dining, Sebring placed in the top fifth of the cities we ranked, at 30th overall. The only major downside here is going to be the number of singles available to meet; Sebring ranked 121st in this category, with only about 30 percent of its population falling into our 18 to 44 single range.
The singles contingent is definitely not so tiny in our next place, which happens to be involved in another two-way tie. Crestview, population nearing 21,000, ranked 26th for singles within our dating age range, comprising 40.5 percent or 6,349 of its residents. You’re not going to meet these folks during your commute, though, as a mere .55 percent of them take public transportation.
On the bright side, the city ranked 49th for bars with one for every 454 singles and 32nd for romantic restaurants, with one place offering perfect date night ambience for every 529 unattached residents.
We were going to make a joke here about this other No. 7 city’s name in relation to the topic of this ranking, but instead we’ll focus on the fact that Longwood did best when it came to bars. You know, the places with long wood counters you just might sidle up next to an eligible single at? It has one of these favorite single meeting spots for every 231 unmarried folks within our specified age group, good for a 17th place ranking in the criterion.
Romantic restaurants are another element Longwood gets right, with one suitable spot—like the exceedingly cozy Enzo’s on the Lake—for every 482 singles, of which there are 5,304, or 35 percent of the city’s population.
9. Miami Beach
We head back to the muy caliente Miami metro area for the first of two No. 9 cities, both of which have “Beach” in their names. Miami Beach, in addition to being the most populous place in our top 10 at more than 88,000 residents, is near the top (second-best) when it comes to your chances of meeting a mate on public transportation. Some 5.6 percent of its residents commute via shared motor transport.
Miami Beach also made the top 10 for the portion of its single populace that falls within our 18 to 44 demographic. With 45 percent of its residents (40,907) in this group, it ranked seventh overall for the criterion. Its singles-to-bars and singles-to-romantic-restaurant ratios ranked significantly lower, at 97th and 81st, respectively. Nevertheless, places like Doraku Sushi and Smith & Wollensky exist to make intimate dining a reality.
9. Cocoa Beach
In this second No. 9 spot where the dating scene is just beachy, you’re looking at an even higher percentage of singles in our age range than exists in Miami Beach. We’re talking 53 percent of the population (6,969 of just over 11,000 people) who are either never married or divorced and between the ages of 18 and 44.
Romantic dining is also a step up from Miami Beach, with one softly lit spot like The Mango Tree for every 871 singles, which earned Cocoa Beach 56th place in this category. Bars are another story though, with one for every 1,394 singles, a 116th-place finish.
You’ll Fall In Love In Florida
With its myriad beaches and absolutely electric nightlife, we can’t think of many places better for someone looking to step up their dating game that the state of Florida. Still, just like that “perfect date” that never calls you back, there are some warning signs in our data if you’re looking to avoid places that might screw up your A-game.
In DeBary, FL, for example only 28 percent of single residents are in our prime dating range. Port St. Lucie, FL, Palm Coast, FL, Sebastian, FL, and Jupiter, FL round out our bottom five places—spots where your dating future looks a bit cloudier in the Sunshine State.
That said, we’ve love to hear about your dating experiences in our top spots, and do let us know if our pointers lead to any romance. We like to think we make a pretty good wingman… er… blog.