Orlando is the name you know, but Central Florida’s communities have personalities all their own. It’s urband and rural, wealthy and middle class, bustling and laid back, traditional and edgy, conservative and liberal, sophisticated and naive.
But for all their contradictions, the Central Florida communities known collectively as Orlando are unmistakably family-friendly and unabashedly welcoming to newcomers.
Despite its outsized international profile, Orlando proper is, in fact, a medium-sized municipality of fewer than 200,000 people.
The Orlando metropolitan statistical area, however, encompasses 1.7 million people throughout Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties. Like the region’s best-known city, the dozens of communities encompassing the metro area boast charms all their own.
In Central Florida you’ll find picture-postcard villages where tree-shaded streets are lined with antique shops and Victorian homes, farm towns where citrus packing plants still crate and ship delicious oranges, and modern mixed-use developments built around resort-style amenities.
And everywhere you’ll see beautiful lakes. These thousands of shimmering bodies of water - some huge, some tiny and many interconnected by man-made canals or natural tributaries - provide some of the choicest real estate in all of Florida. Indeed, many cities and towns have made their placid shores community focal points. In Orlando, for instance, Lake Eola Park, a 20-acre urban escape, is arguably the heart of the city.
Given the region’s charms, it’s no surprise that rapid growth continues. In fact, areas once considered to be on the periphery are increasingly being drawn into Orlando’s orbit. To the northeast, Volusia County, home to world-famous Daytona Beach, is a hot spot for growth. And to the southwest, once-sleepy Polk County is rapidly sprouting subdivisions where orange groves formerly thrived.
And that pace is expected to continue for decades. While the United States is expected to grow 47 percent through 2050, Central Florida is expected to grow 136 percent, adding another 4 million residents and making the region larger than all but four other metropolitan areas.
But with so much going on in so many places, where should a newcomer look for a home?
We can help. We’re building a county-by-county primer where you’ll find everything from new master-planned developments to funky historic districts.
Undoubtedly there’s a neighborhood, and an Orlando home, perfect for you and your family.