If a list of most lovable states was drawn, you can wager your house that Georgia will be among the top 10 states.
There is just something about the Peach State that endears it to many.
Maybe it’s its deeply rich history. Or the breathtaking natural sights spanning mountains, farmland, dense forests and coastal beaches. Some love it for its true southern hospitality (and accents). And an equally hospitable people.
Others love Georgia for being the cradle of the world’s favourite syrupy drink. And Brunswick soup. And being the biggest producer of peaches. And peanuts. And pecans. And for the fried fish, and fried everything, including vegetables.
The Augusta Masters tournament. The football. The famous BBQs. We could go on.
With a population of 10.3 million, this Deep South state remains highly affordable for budget-conscious residents. It guarantees more bang for your buck for everything ranging from housing, to the fresh farmers markets produce.
Georgia generally boasts a high cost of living, with 18 Fortune 500 companies among the biggest employers (and 33 Fortune 1000 companies). The generous tax incentives are attracting all sorts of businesses, including the film and TV industry which has grown in spades.
Majority of cities in Georgia are considered safe, with an incredibly diverse population everywhere you go.
The Peach State has a widely varying topography that promises a unique lifestyle, and the blend of city and country atmosphere appeals to many. The endless supply of attractions also means there is always something to do for everyone, young and old.
If locating to Georgia is on the cards any time soon, these are the 15 best places to live in Georgia, all factors considered – education, healthcare, cost of living, quality of life, crime rate, attractions and amenities.
1. John’s Creek
Starting us off is John’s Creek, a suburb located 30 miles northeast of Atlanta in Fulton County. It is home to 82,200 people who enjoy an extremely high quality of life.
The schools in this area are some of the best in the state, with a close to 100% high school graduation rate that trounces the state’s rate and that of the nation in general.
John’s Creek enjoys low crime rate. The property crime rate is 75% lower than the national average, while the rate of violent crime is a welcomed 90% lower.
As far as amenities go, the residents have a wide selection, including entertainment, dining, shopping and recreation options. The suburb’s proximity to the big city only serves to enhance its appeal in terms of leisure activities.
For all the benefits, you will have to fork out a little more living in John’s Creek, at least compared to the rest of Georgia. The median home value in this area is at $333,300.
Alpharetta is a town near Atlanta also located in Fulton County, a region that boasts several places often considered the best to live in the Empire State of the South.
This one has a population of 62,000 who enjoy a high quality of life. This is not just due to the area’s livability, but also because each household takes home a high income amounting to $92,839 on average each year.
Crime rate is lower compared to the rest of the state, ditto the unemployment rate.
If you are a young family, the education system in Alpharetta will work wonders for your kids as the schools here are the best you can access in the entire state.
A home will set you back more than most other places in Georgia. Still, you get good value since a nice three-bedroom two-bath single-family home will cost you $327,000 on average.
Then again, most of the residents enjoy pretty nice salaries, coming to about $92,839 per household.
The Athens version of Georgia is a proud place to call home, although not much for families.
If you are looking for great schools or a mature environment, Athens is not your kind of town. Because this is a college town most ideal for the young at heart.
We say young at heart because you don’t necessarily have to be a young student to reap the benefits that come with living in Athens, as pretty much most college towns worth their salt.
The beauty of college towns is that by and large, housing tends to be affordable. That is exactly what the close to 120,000 residents of this town in Clarke County get. Median home value is $150,000, with rents averaging $789.
More than that, college towns also tend to be bike-friendly and walkable, with fantastic public transportation as is clearly apparent in Athens.
As well, there is never a dull moment what with an abundance of entertainment, dining and shopping options, all of which you can enjoy at a fraction of the price in this great town.
Roswell is another town in Fulton County which is home to almost 94,000 residents.
It makes it to our list of best places to live in Georgia for several reasons.
Roswell has great schools and boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Peach State.
Crime is also lower than the state average, and another perk is that the cost of living in this area is a tad lower than some other areas in Fulton County.
A single-family home averages $297,000, but the folks here also take home a fat salary that swings around the $82,150 mark.
What’s more, with 18 parks in Roswell, children have acres of space to live and grow.
Decatur is a small community of close to 21,000 people that was ranked by Niche as the best place to live in Georgia in 2017.
Snuggled in DeKalb County, the city’s motto is “Everything is Greater in Decatur”, and it seems to live up to its hype in every respect.
The schools here are ranked as some of the best in Georgia, with students spending the second-highest amounts in the state, although this comes with the added bonus of getting lots of personal attention.
Home prices in Decatur are greater, as the motto intimates, averaging $365,900, although anyone looking for rentals would be relieved to hear the going rate of $887 a month is lower than the national average.
Crime is also low in this beautiful suburb, making it a great area for families, more so considering the wealth of dining, shopping and recreation options available.
Whether it’s fine dining, soul food, BBQ or fusion restaurants you’re after, Decatur has you covered.
Next up on our list of best places to live in Georgia is a little city of a little more than 17,000 residents that has found its name in many a publication, including Kiplinger, Money Magazine and Family Circle.
Yes, for all the right reasons.
Suwanee is an all-round great place to live, that much is not in doubt, be it for families, single professionals or retirees.
Public schools are right up there with the very best, and the low cost of living is low for a neighbourhood of its standards. $239,400 can get you a pretty decent four-bedroom two-bath single family home!
The residents have great jobs that see them pocket a combined $82,440 per household each year, with a fairly low crime rate to contend with.
Marrieta is a town near Atlanta that you will find in Cobb County.
It has many notable schools with a strong rating of 9/10 on GreatSchools.org, with Lassiter High School being ranked the seventh-best in the state by U.S. News & World Report.
Cost of living in Marietta is affordable, with monthly rent averaging $900, below national average. If you are looking to purchase property, $211,500 is enough to snap up a nice two-bed one-bath single-family house.
Marietta has more than enough attractions to accommodate its 58,900 residents. Theatres, museums and 18 parks.
History lovers will appreciate the Civil War museum and war reenactments in the area, while outdoor lovers will fancy the 18 miles worth of trails in the nearby Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
Speaking of Kennesaw…
Kennesaw is a fast growing town in Cobb County that is currently home to 32,200 residents.
The livability of Georgia is causing mass migrations to the Peach State, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2016, and Kennesaw seems to be garnering quite the attention.
Why, you may ask?
For starters, the area has an extremely low cost of living.
With houses going for $151,800 on average, you can scour the entire state but you won’t find a better deal than this when you gauge cost versus benefits.
Kennesaw is also desirable to families due to its high performing schools, and this little diverse community is known for its low crime rate; there are multiple incidences each year but there is a reason the area scores “A+” on the “desirability for families” category on Niche.com.
There is also a historic town here, walkable at that, where you will find brick walkways, museums, parks, specialty shops, restaurants and a nice infusion of that unmistakable southern charm.
The presence of the Kennesaw State University gives the town a college feel and some vibrancy to it, but not so much as to override the overall vibe in the area.
9. Mountain Park
The name itself is a dead giveaway as to what you can expect in this suburb of Gwinnett County that is home to 12,700 residents.
Indeed, it is here that the vast stone monolith is located that serves as a gateway to the Stone Mountain Park which is one of the biggest tourist draws in Georgia.
The distance between Mountain Park and Atlanta would not be ideal for anyone working in the city. But the affordability of homes in this stunning area is low enough to appeal especially to growing families just starting out.
The median home value in Mountain Park stands at an attractive $168,500, and if nature, a serene environment and close community appeal to you, you need to move to Mountain Park before properties rise any further.
With the nearby Stone Mountain Park that also features a theme park among a slew of other attractions, the kids are sure to love this place and have it etched in their memory well into old age.
10. Peachtree City
With a population of 34,900, Peachtree City is regarded as one of the best places to live in America by many notable entities, including CNN and TIME Magazine.
The verdant suburb of Atlanta, Georgia is tucked somewhere in Fayette County where you will find people of all ages zipping through neighbourhoods in golf carts, be it teens or seniors.
There are 10,000 golf carts in this scenic town that also includes 90 miles of trails, beautifully weaving through lakes, a BMX park, baseball fields, and an amphitheatre.
Homes in Peachtree City are worth $274,600 on average, with high rent prices (by Georgia standards) that play around the $2,000 mark.
But the high-salaried households whose residents work for the likes of Panasonic and TDK are well cushioned from the high cost of living, with their annual salaries standing at $85,420.
Evans is another town that has received notable plaudits over the years. You will find the town in Columbia County where 33,730 residents are happy to call home.
Evans may give off the feeling of a rural town, which it is, but a 10-mile commute will get you to downtown Augusta where the likes of Fort Gordon – the U.S. Army Center, and Georgia Regents University are based.
Evans is ideal for anyone who doesn’t mind a small-town mindset, although this is not your ordinary small town.
The nightlife is absolutely buzzing, made the merrier by the many different cultures living here.
The quality of life is extremely high as evidenced by the soaring house prices (median home value is $227,600), with rent alone sitting at $1,544.
But equally high are the income levels enjoyed by the residents, averaging $92,507 a year.
Crime in Evans is virtually non-existent, with outstanding public schools to boot.
12. Sandy Springs
Just north of Atlanta in Fulton County is a large city that goes by the name Sandy Springs.
It has a population of just over 100,000 whose only downside to living in this area has to be the hot real estate market. The average cost of homes is $415,600 which, if you have already finished paying up, can only be good news.
Other than that, Sandy Springs is a perfect place for families, with beautiful well-defined neighbourhoods everywhere you look.
Residents are well-catered for in terms of healthcare. The area they have christened “Pill Hill” has a concentration of three large hospitals – St. Joseph’s, Northside Hospital and All Children’s Hospital.
There is also a lot going on here in terms of nightlife, and each year the community makes sure to put on multiple events and festivals.
Locals have an affectionate name for Virginia-Highland.
They call it Va-Hi, and this is a neighborhood best suited for the city slicker who fancies living in the vicinity of Downtown or Midtown Atlanta.
It is a neighbourhood particularly famous with young professionals. But it does double up as a good place for families who will particularly love its convenience when it comes to commute time and attractions.
Life in the city is bound to be costly, and the 10,300 residents have to put up with upwards of $1,000 in monthly rent, and homes in this area fetch at just below half a million dollars at $496,195.
They are beautiful, though, bearing semblance with cottage-style houses.
There are tons of local businesses in Va-Hi, including boutiques, home décor shops, and restaurants and cafes.
14. Druid Hills
Next up on our list of best places to live in Georgia is an Atlanta suburb that is home to 14,000 people.
Druid Hills is an interesting place in the sense that it is a mishmash of neighbourhood/suburb/census designated place, although it’s popularly referred to as Atlanta’s “second suburb”.
What Druid Hills may lack in a clear identity it makes up for in its sumptuous offering.
The place is drop-dead gorgeous, but you would have to pay through your nose to live in this affluent neck of the woods.
Homes are valued at $477,800 on average, but the residents are well remunerated with each household earning an average $87,912 per annum.
Druid Hills is beautifully diverse, with an almost zero crime rate. The nightlife too is amazing, and this is because the peaceful neighbourhood peppered with giant houses is within proximity to Va-Hi and Emory University.
Milton rounds off our 15 best places to live in Georgia list.
It is good to note that this is a new neighbourhood that was established as recently as 2006.
However, it has been growing at a phenomenal rate. Today, the population stands at 35,800, a number that has seen the area even surpass many Atlanta suburbs that have been in existence since way back when.
Milton is the kind of place that oozes a small-town feel, albeit just a stone’s throw to the amenities in nearby cities.
It has been recognised as one of the places in Georgia with the highest quality of life, so much so that it was ranked ninth-highest in the southern U.S.
Milton has an excellent education system, with more than enough to see and do – swimming, parks, golf, baseball, tennis, horseback riding, festivals and more.
The serene community is surrounded by rolling hills and a breathtaking rural landscape, but living here is costly, with homes valued at $459,500 on average.
However, the salaries are correspondingly high, with each household amassing $111,778 a year on average.