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discover the joys of living in Melrose, FL.

Here’s What You’ll Love About Living in Melrose 🌞 | Complete Moving to Melrose FL Guide

Last Updated on: 27th May 2024, 08:54 am

The joys of living in Melrose are abundant! Melrose is an unincorporated community in Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam counties. It’s tranquil and far from the hustle and bustle, yet close enough to urban conveniences. Melrose is a good place to live thanks to its proximity to Gainesville, waterfront properties, and countless beautiful parks. While it spans four counties (Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam, Melrose FL), has one zip code: 32666.

Melrose, FL, is best known for its access to Santa Fe Lake and prominent history in the Orange Grove industry. The unincorporated community of Melrose was established in 1877 and has since evolved from a railroad town into a thriving community known for its natural beauty and heritage.

Where Is Melrose?

What county is Melrose, Florida, in? Melrose is located in  Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam counties; it’s 18.4 miles from Melrose, FL, to Gainesville, FL. Other cities near Melrose are Orange Heights, Campville, Putnam Hall, and Whiteville. No matter where you’re relocating, 2 College Brothers have trusted Gainesville movers to serve you!

Due to Melroses’ rural nature, public transportation is limited.

Melrose Population & Demographics

The population of Melrose (or zip code 3266) is 6,019, with a population density of 114 people per square mile and a median household income of $51,439.

51.5% of people living in Melrose are married, 14.9% are divorced, 30.9% are married with children, and 9.4% are unmarried with children. The racial and ethnic makeup in Melrose is not diverse:

  • White: 83.9%
  • Black or African American: 14.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 1.2%
  • Two or more races: 0.6%

The female population in Melrose, Florida, is 49.3%, and the male population is 50.7%. The median age is 57.2; many older people are living in Melrose. The average household size is 2.48, which is smaller than the US average household size of 2.6.

Is Melrose Safe?

Melrose is a rural town that likely boasts a low crime rate. The FBI does not provide crime rate statistics for Melrose, so we will use nearby Gainseville as a reference.

  • Gainesville crime rate per 100k people: 3,953
  • Florida crime rate per 100k people: 2,153
  • US crime rate per 100k people: 2,346
  • Gainesville violent crime rate per 100k people:771
  • Florida violent crime rate per 100k people: 384
  • US violent crime rate per 100k people: 388
  • Gainesville property crime rate per 100k people: 3,181
  • Florida property crime rate per 100k people: 1,769
  • US property crime rate per 100k people: 1,958

Although Gainesville does have higher crime rates than the state and nation, Melrose likely has a lower crime rate as it’s far less populated. Gainesville is a populous college town, which likely contributes to its high crime rate. You’re four times more likely to become a victim of motor vehicle theft in an urban city than in rural areas.

In an article by CrimeRates.org, the violent crime rate in Melrose is believed to be 3.379 per 100k people, which is less than Gainesville’s 3,953. People living in Melrose prefer the southeast side of town as it’s considered the safest!

Putnam County Sheriff’s Department keeps a close eye on Melrose residents; if you ever have an issue, their dedicated officers are just a phone call away!

Cost of Living in Melrose

Melrose, Florida, is an affordable place to live! Melrose’s Cost of Living Index (COLI) is 81.9, making it 18.1% more affordable than the average US state. The Economic Policy Institute says a Putnam County family of four can live comfortably on a household income of $80,297.

Typical *Melrose living expenses:

  • Inexpensive restaurant meal: $16.50
  • Gallon of milk: $3.98
  • Dozen eggs: $4.00
  • Loaf of white bread: $2.83
  • Pound of white rice: $3.00
  • Pound of local cheese: $6.43
  • Average *Melrose utilities per month: $281 (per Doxo)

Source: Numbeo

*The above figures are for Gainesville, which has a COLI of 102, meaning prices in Melrose will likely be lower.

Melrose Real Estate

Melrose, FL, real estate is affordable; according to RedFin, the entire county Melrose resides in is more affordable than most US counties. Putnam County has a median home price of $225,000, well below the US median of $417,700. Most Melrose homes for sale sit on the market for over two months, meaning the market isn’t incredibly competitive. Homes in the community limits range from the mid-$200,000s to high $600,000s; waterfront residences or large pieces of property will cost you more. Homes in the downtown area tend to cost more.

Renting in Melrose is uncommon; there are no apartment complexes and few homes for rent. According to Zillow, the median Melrose rent is $1,300.

Melrose Weather & Climate

The weather in Melrose is enjoyable most of the year, but like most of central Florida, the summers can get quite hot and humid. Areas in and around Melrose have a Koppen climate classification of Cfa, best characterized by hot, humid summers and cool, mild winters. Melrose, FL, USA, experiences the most rain in the summer, whereas the fall and winter tend to be more dry.

Throughout the year, temperatures in nearby Gainesville range from 40 to 90 degrees, meaning Melrose likely has similar temperatures. The best time to visit Melrose is late March to mid-May and from early October to mid-November. The rain is minimal during these months, and the temperatures aren’t as aggressive.

Things to Do in Melrose

There are many things to do in Melrose, FL, especially for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Although Melrose doesn’t host any major shopping centers or malls, Newberry Square and Millhopper Shopping Center are 20 miles away. People living in Melrose run their everyday errands at the local Winn Dixie and Williamson’s Food Store.

Melrose Heritage Park

Melrose Heritage Park is one of the best parks in Melrose. It’s dog-friendly, making it perfect for the whole family. The Melrose Community Farmers’ Market is held every Friday from 4-7 PM at Melrose Heritage Park.

201 FL-26, Melrose, FL 32666, (386) 937-3330

Melrose Bay Park

Melrose Bay Park is a beautiful swimming area Melrose residents adore. It’s popular for its cleanliness, playground area, and accessible boat ramp. It’s pet-friendly and offers wonderful views of the Melrose Bay. This park is one of the best things to do in Melrose!

25500 Devonia St, Melrose, FL 32666

Additional Attractions in & Near Melrose

Melrose has plenty of options within the community limits, but thanks to its proximity to Gainesville, almost anything you need is a quick 30-minute drive. Putnam County Parks and Recreation maintains Melrose Parks; community events are on the county’s special events calendar!

Melrose Restaurants

Despite its small size, Melrose, FL, has countless tasty eateries. You will find mom-and-pop joints, chain restaurants, and even sports bars when a night out is calling your name.

Fryer’s Chicken

Fryer’s is one of the most well-known restaurants in Melrose. Their moist and crispy fried chicken has made their dishes a weekly staple in many Melrose households. Customers also praise their gizzards, fried mushrooms, and sweet tea!

321 FL-26, Melrose, FL 32666, (352) 475-5970

Blue Water Bay

Blue Water Bay in Melrose is a great spot for the whole family! Its full liquor bar, fresh seafood dishes, and great atmosphere have earned it the reputation as one of the best restaurants in Melrose!

319 FL-26, Melrose, FL 32666, (352) 475-1928

Gator Bait Family Sports Grill

Gator Bait is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Popular menu items include frog legs, gator bites, and fried pickles. This is a great spot to cool off after a long day on the boat or sightseeing.

304 FL-26, Melrose, FL 32666, (352) 475-1360

Melrose Jobs

Despite its unemployment rate being 0.3% higher than the US average and a 3% job market decrease since last year, Living in Melrose can still provide the job opportunities you need. Thanks to the CDPs’ proximity to Gainesville and other prominent economies, you will likely find your dream job nearby, even if it’s not in the city limits. There are only 50 jobs in Melrose hiring right now, but if you’re willing to travel 35 miles, you will find over 8,500 Melrose jobs hiring.

Historically, Melrose’s leading industry was citrus, but today, you will find ample manufacturing, construction, and healthcare opportunities. Major employers in Putnam County are Georgia-Pacific, Seminole Electric Cooperative, and St. Johns Ship Building. US government jobs provide wonderful benefits, making City of Melrose jobs a great option.

Melrose Schools

Putnam County School District (PCSD) serves public school students living in Melrose. 98.8%

of teachers working for this district are certified, and 87.2% boast three or more years of experience. The student-to-teacher ratio is 17:1, and the graduation rate is 86.3%. PCSD contains 20 schools and 10,227 students, 68% of whom are economically disadvantaged.

Of the ten schools, there is only one in the community limits: Melrose Elementary School is located in the heart of Melrose, FL, and is the elementary school most younger people living in Melrose attend. Older students attend nearby middle and high schools. Thanks to Melrose’s proximity to larger cities like Gainesville, you’ll always have access to top-tier educational options.

The University of Florida is 20 miles from Melrose, and the University of North Florida is 64. Melrose Public Library is another great place for educational resources. Here, you can access thousands of books, E-books, computers, Wifi, and more!

Melrose Statistics & Information

  • Melrose, FL, county: Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam counties
  • Melrose, FL area: 54.58 square miles
  • Melrose zip code: 32666
  • Melrose area code(s): 352, 386
  • Melrose elevation: 161 feet
  • Melrose time zone: Eastern Time Zone (UTC -4 and-5)
  • Closest airport to Melrose: Gainesville Regional Airport is 16.6 miles from Melrose

Map of Melrose FL

Explore more things to do with this Melrose, Florida map!


Living in Melrose is wonderful! You’re located near a notable city (Gainesville), you have access to the beautiful Santa Fe Lake, and the community is tight-knit and safe! If moving to Melrose is in your future, you’ll want 2 College Brothers on your side during this transition. Contact us today at (352) 448-9095 for a free estimate!

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