Live close to everything the City Beautiful has to offer on a budget.
Who wouldn’t want to live in Orlando, FL? From some of the best theme parks on the planet to great dining and entertainment, the entire city revolves around having a good time. You can spend your days pretending as a wizard at Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter or hang out with iconic characters like Mickey Mouse at Disney World. On top of all that, the Atlantic coast is only an hour away. Who wouldn’t want to call this fun-filled city home?
There are some drawbacks to living in a major tourism destination, though. Rent gets high and the cost of living can get expensive. The crowds and traffic are also unpleasant to deal with as a local. Luckily, nearby cities are a great alternative. Many offer more affordable rent and cost of living. You can also live close to the action without the constant crowds and issues that come from living in the heart of the tourism hub. These cheap cities near Orlando have all that, as well as their own special charms and unique attractions.
The top cheap cities near Orlando to live in
These affordable cities close to Orlando let you live close to the magic but without the drawbacks. Renters in these cities enjoy benefits like lower rents and less crowding from tourists.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $2,138
- Rent Change Since 2021: N/A
The Orange County city of Ocoee is just a 20-minute drive northwest of Orlando. Next to the bustle of O-Town, Ocoee is much more laidback and residential. It has all the comforts and conveniences of a suburban area, from shopping malls to sunny parks. West Oak Mall, in particular, is a regional shopping destination, with tons of name-brand stores and restaurants.
Ocoee residents love to spend time outdoors, and there are plenty of ways to do so. Golfing is a favorite pastime, with hundreds of public courses in and around the city. Numerous lakes and ponds around town and lakeshore parks like Bill Breeze and Prairie Lake Park offer scenic paths, trails and recreation areas. The Jim Beech Recreation Center is the sports and activities hub of the community. Here, residents can splash around at the aquatic park, work out in the fitness room and play various sports.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $2,102
- Rent Change Since 2021: +26.5%
Surprise, surprise! Orlando itself is one of the top cheap cities near…well, itself. It’s even more affordable than nearby Ocoee, which is a popular suburb for families. Living close to Orlando gives renters some separation and peace and quiet. But city lovers and urbanites who thrive in fast-paced cities will want to live right in the heart of it all in Orlando.
Obviously, theme parks and entertainment are a big part of life here. But Orlando has much more to offer residents. It has top-tier higher education institutions like the University of Central Florida. Manicured parks and lakes break up the urban sprawl, bringing lush greenery right into the heart of the city. Arts and culture thrive here, as well, thanks to places like the Orlando Museum of Art. Downtown offers unparalleled shopping and dining. Sports fans can cheer on both professional and collegiate teams like the Orlando Magic pro basketball team.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,981
- Rent Change Since 2021: +32.6%
From bargain hunting at the Kissimmee Manufacturers Outlet to kayaking on Shingle Creek, Kissimmee has plenty to keep locals occupied. This Osceola County town is roughly 45 minutes south of Orlando. Located on the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga, it’s one of the best-placed towns in the area in terms of access and things to do. Lake Toho, Shingle Creek and local parks and conservation areas offer access to outdoor sports and recreation like boating, fishing and hiking.
And when it comes to enjoying the attractions of Orlando, Kissimmee is actually the better option. It’s even closer to Disney World than Orlando itself and is just half an hour from the Orlando International Airport. With two-bedroom apartments averaging less than $2,000, it’s no wonder Kissimmee is a popular Orlando alternative.
On top of all this, Kissimmee is a haven for shoppers thanks to the Osceola Mall. Downtown Kissimmee is a charming area to hang out, with historic buildings, quaint storefronts, restaurants and farmers’ markets.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,841
- Rent Change Since 2021: +24.5%
Located on Florida’s eastern Atlantic coast, Melbourne is one of the best cheap cities near Orlando for renters who want to live by the ocean. Orlando is roughly an hour away, with roads heading there passing through scenic wetland and nature areas. These parks and wilderness areas, like the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands and River Lakes Conservation Areas, are home to diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Some are open to various outdoorsy activities like hiking or wildlife watching.
Thanks to the affordable rent and cost of living, good weather and abundant activities, Melbourne is popular among retirees and families. Apart from enjoying the sun and surf at local beaches, it’s a hotbed for art, culture and science. It’s close to the famous Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Center. The Eau Gallie Arts District is a thriving artistic community full of galleries, art museums and independent shops. The city also hosts an annual arts festival.
Source: Rent.com/Integra Station
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,811
- Rent Change Since 2021: +13.3%
Sitting right next door to Melbourne, West Melbourne residents have access to all the same amenities and attractions as its neighboring city. But locals, many of which are elderly retirees, enjoy slightly cheaper rents.
Set inland from Melbourne, it’s close to parks and wilderness areas like Three Forks Conservation Area and Erna Nixon Park. As such, locals can easily access walking paths and hiking trails close to home. Apart from that, West Melbourne is a cozy suburban city full of restaurants, shopping and friendly residents.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,710
- Rent Change Since 2021: +30%
Located directly north of Orlando, Altamonte Springs is a prosperous suburban community. It’s best known for its golf courses, shopping districts and picturesque parks. The Altamonte Mall is one of the best places to go to escape the Florida heat and shop til you drop, with a wide variety of desirable stores from Apple to H&M.
Parks like Lake Lotus Park and Crane’s Roost offer a range of outdoor activities, from swimming areas to wildlife and landscape lookouts. At Wekiwa Springs State Park, you can even see alligators. History, art and science are also accessible thanks to museums like the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Families with curious kids can take their children to the nearby Orlando Science Center for a day of learning and fun.
Orlando is just 15 minutes south, making it easy for citizens of both cities to go back and forth. But living in Altamonte Springs, renters will save nearly $400 on rent.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,490
- Rent Change Since 2021: +13.4%
Full of parks and museums, Winter Park is just a 15-minute drive from Orlando. It’s considered one of the best places to live in Florida. With over 70 parks, residents have ample opportunities to spend time outside. Forming a network, canals connect the many local lakes.
Winter Park is also a prime place for cultural immersion. The city has numerous art museums covering multiple mediums and periods of history. You can view the exquisite Art Nouveau collection at Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art or see both antiquities and modern art at the Rollins Museum of Art.
When not enjoying the leafy parks or world-class museums, locals can head to Park Avenue. This trendy street is Winter Park’s social hub, with shopping, dining and entertainment. Winter Park is a popular suburb for families thanks to the safe, quiet neighborhoods and well-ranked schools. Finding two-bedroom apartments for less than $1,500 is a big plus, as well.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,485
- Rent Change Since 2021: +8.1%
If you want to live close to Orlando but on the coast, Daytona Beach is another great option. Along with Melbourne, it’s roughly an hour’s drive away from Orlando, heading northeast. But it’s also the more affordable option for coastal living. Rent here for a two-bedroom apartment is $356 cheaper than in Melbourne. So, not only will you be living the Florida dream of living next to 23 miles of beautiful beaches and ocean views, but you’ll be saving money at the same time.
If the name Daytona Beach rings a bell, it’s likely thanks to the Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR fans flock here for famous races like the Daytona 500. Daytona Beach is also known for its beach of the same name. Outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, boating, hiking and more is found along the coast and nearby wilderness areas like Tiger Bay State Forest. Along with sports and outdoor fun, Daytona is also overflowing with shopping and dining.
- Average 2-BR Rent: $1,128
- Rent Change Since 2021: -13.8%
Topping the list for the most affordable cheap city near Orlando is Ocala. This city of 59,267 residents is just over an hour northwest of Orlando. Locals value its affordability, connection to nature and scenic environs. It’s close to the expansive Ocala National Forest with its canoe runs, lakes, ponds and hiking trails. Silver Springs State Park and Silver River are other outdoorsy areas to explore, home to manatee-and-alligator-filled rivers that you can navigate on glass-bottomed boats and kayaks. You can also visit the Appleton Museum of Art or learn about local history at the Fort King National Historic Landmark.
Ocala’s main claim to fame is contending with Lexington, KY, for the title of Horse Capital of the World. The city and surrounding Marion County have over 600 thoroughbred horse farms. With thousands of horses and ponies, horse racing and horse-rearing culture are deeply ingrained here.
Find an apartment near Orlando
Ready to live close or even in the entertainment and family fun hub of Florida? Find apartments for rent in these cheap cities near Orlando and get ready to start soaking up that Florida sun.
The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Rent.com as of February 2022. Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.