The sweet peach state of Georgia welcomes you! Whether you prefer bustling cities or quiet, rural towns, you’ll be greeted with southern hospitality, good eats, and rich culture. The land is as diverse as its people, with trees on rolling landscapes, beaches, and swamplands scattered across the state. If you’re interested in moving to Georgia or building a house in Georgia but don’t know where to get started, NewHomeSource has got you covered. Check out the list of the top 10 best places to live in Georgia.
10 Best Places to Live
Housing cost to income ratio: 1.84%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.33%
Violent crime index: 53.2
Nonviolent crime index: 75
Cost of living index: 76.2
Located in the heart of southwest Georgia, Albany is best known for being the birthplace of Ray Charles, who is memorialized at downtown’s Ray Charles Memorial. In addition to honoring the music legend, Albany has a host of cool activities and attractions, ranging from museums dedicated to art and civil rights, a zoo, an aquarium, and a planetarium. With 224 sunny days and an average of 50 inches of rainfall per year, it’s warm, muggy living in Albany. Cool down at a local brewery like Pretoria Fields, which is also dog friendly! The city’s political climate is strongly liberal, and popular suburbs include Radium Springs, Leesburg, and Stocks. Albany is home to three hospitals and 22 schools, providing families with choices for their medical care and children’s education.
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.76%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.13%
Violent crime index: 60.1
Nonviolent crime index: 76.3
Cost of living index: 80.7
Augusta is located along the Savannah River and Georgia-South Carolina border. Outdoors enthusiasts will love the ample hiking opportunities, including the northern Augusta Canal Trail (which is dog friendly!) and the northcentral Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. With 223 sunny days per year, chances are the weather will be perfect for stretching your legs and admiring local wildlife. If you’re rained out (Augusta sees 51 inches of rain annually), try the Augusta Museum of History. Augusta is politically liberal and dog friendly, with over 30 dog-friendly restaurants in the vicinity. No need to worry about medical either, as six hospitals are ready to assist you with any medical issue you may have. If living in a city with nearly 200,000 residents sounds too crowded for you, check out popular Augusta suburbs like Evans, Martinez, and North Augusta.
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.39
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.25%
Violent crime index: 40.6
Nonviolent crime index: 95.1
Cost of living index: 74.7
Marvelous Macon is full of character, culture, and history. Expand your knowledge at the Tubman Museum and Museum of Arts and Sciences; if you’re an Allman Brothers Band fan, be sure to check out the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House! Enjoy the city’s typically sunny days by exploring parks along the Ocmulgee River, including the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, which features Native American earth mounds and a museum. Macon’s political atmosphere is moderately liberal, and the city has 13 hospitals and 37 schools. From cafes to breweries, Mason’s dining scene is open for dogs; 33 restaurants welcome your furry friend with open paws. If you prefer suburban life, consider moving to suburbs like Warner Robins, Perry, and Gray.
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.51
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.95%
Violent crime index: 21
Nonviolent crime index: 79.6
Cost of living index: 84.1
Valdosta is a city in southern Georgia. With 231 days of sunshine per year, Valdosta ranks as the sunniest city on our list! Make the most of the beautiful weather by taking a stroll in one of the local parks or driving just south of the city to Wild Adventures, a 170-acre theme park that has fun for the whole family. Valdosta is home to one school district encompassing eight different schools, so families can expect consistent education for their children. You’ll find 14 hospitals in the vicinity, so you never have to worry about where to go for medical care. Dog owners will be pleased to learn that not only does Valdosta have a few dog-friendly restaurants, but stores like Lowe’s Home Improvement and Tractor Supply Company also welcome your four-legged friend! For a suburban lifestyle, check out Mineola, Kinderlou, and Cypress.
Housing cost to income ratio: 4.74
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.21%
Violent crime index: 22.2
Nonviolent crime index: 51.5
Cost of living index: 83.2
Savannah is a beautiful, moderately liberal city along the Georgia-South Carolina border and a great place to call home. On the 216 days of sunshine per year, you can visit attractions like the Savannah Botanical Gardens and Oatland Island Wildlife Center. With 150 dog-friendly restaurants and dozens more activities permitting your pooch to tag along, your furry friend won’t feel left out on any adventure! Looking for something special to do with your dog? Check out Oliver Bentleys Historic Dog Walk, a city tour where you and your dog can check out historic Savannah sites. You’ll find 11 hospitals and 57 schools throughout Savannah, offering you and your family choices in medical care and education. If you’d like to move to the suburbs, check out Dutch Island, Hilton Head Island, and the Isle of Hope.
Housing cost to income ratio: 4.76
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.44%
Violent crime index: 36.8
Nonviolent crime index: 75.5
Cost of living index: 74.4
Located on the Alabama-Georgia border, Columbus is a moderately liberal city of nearly 200,000 residents. If you’re a museum fanatic, you’ll love the city’s diverse collection, ranging from the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Lunchbox Museum, and the National Civil War Naval Museum. Other fun attractions include golf courses, performance theaters, and riverside parks. Like the rest of Georgia, Columbus runs warm and wet, with an average of 51 inches of rain and 223 sunny days per year. You can always visit the Chattahoochee River and its marinas to cool down. Feel free to bring your dog to parks like the Chattahoochee River or one of the 50 restaurants that welcome dogs! Columbus encompasses 24 hospitals and 52 schools, and popular suburbs include City Center, Dinglewood, and Weracoba Heights.
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.69
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.17%
Violent crime index: 41.7
Nonviolent crime index: 62
Cost of living index: 86.2
Athens is a bustling, strongly liberal city worth your time, and it’s only 70 miles northeast of Georgia’s capital. The presence of the University of Georgia gives Athens a college town vibe, with plenty of accompanying activities and sights to discover. Downtown Athens is known for its cool shops tucked inside impressive architecture, including plenty of cafes and canine-friendly restaurants. Visit the animals at Bear Hollow Zoo and admire the greenery of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. You’ll find plenty of urban amenities here too, including 24 hospitals, a myriad of parks with hiking trails, and no shortage of retail opportunities. Athens sees 216 sunny days annually and receives an average of 48 inches of rain, so prepare for warm and humid weather! If you prefer not to live in the college town, check out suburbs like Watkinsville, Bogart, and Jefferson.
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.20
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.37%
Violent crime index: 55.3
Nonviolent crime index: 75.4
Cost of living index: 107.5
Atlanta rounds out our list of best places to live in Georgia. The capital city is known for its civil rights contributions, including being the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. You will find an abundance of attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, and Coca-Cola Museum. The presence of the state capitol allows residents in this strongly liberal city to get involved in politics and have their voices heard. With 22 hospitals and 87 schools, you can feel secure knowing you have options for your medical care and children’s education. A fan of the heat? Atlanta runs warm and wet, with approximately 52 inches of rainfall and 217 sunny days occurring each year. With no shortage of dog parks and a whopping 370 dog-friendly restaurants, Fido can join in on the fun. If Atlanta feels too crowded, try a suburb like Sandy Springs, Roswell, or Decatur.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.