f you live in Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, or Wellington, start bending your elbow and reaching for those shoulder blades, because it's time to pat yourself on the back: Money magazine named the cities 44th, 48th, and 72nd, respectively, on its annual "Best Places to Live" list. The three cities are the only Florida towns honored, and they all fall in Broward and Palm Beach. Double shoulder pats all around!
See what the mag said about the three after the jump:
A compilation of "America's best small cities," Money ranks contenders based on job opportunities, school quality, and crime rates as well as "charm" and "other features that make a town great for raising a family."
One of the highlights of this sprawling planned community 30 minutes northwest of Fort Lauderdale is its 182-acre Sportsplex, which offers ice rinks, skate parks, tennis courts, a dog park, and more. Many Olympic swimming hopefuls train at the facility's aquatic center. Coral Springs did not escape the negative effects of the subprime mortgage crisis, however; home prices have fallen significantly and foreclosures are up.
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Right next to Coral Springs (No. 44 on this list), Coconut Creek is also suffering real estate woes, and unemployment is on the high side. Otherwise, there's lots to like about this town northwest of Fort Lauderdale. For example, there are more than 150 butterfly gardens in Coconut Creek -- it is touted as the "Butterfly Capital of the World." Locals say the insects are symbolic of the town's dedication to environmental friendliness. This commitment is seen every Arbor Day, when the town gives away trees to residents, but only if they successfully complete a lesson in tree care.
This affluent Palm Beach County suburb may seem pretentious to some, especially when locals describe it as "half community and half polo."
is indeed home to a world-class equestrian community -- Prince Charles has played here -- but the excellent schools and low crime rate make it a place well worth considering when starting a family.
You might even be able to afford it now: Home prices have plunged here as they have throughout much of Florida.