With its 50,000 students, the highly rated University of Florida is Gainesville's big gator. The university spins off knowledge-based small business of all types. Some cluster around the three major medical centers, while others aggregate around the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, which has launched 36 biotech companies in the past 12 years.
Despite all this intellectual firepower, Gainesville remains a rather sleepy and out-of-the-way burg. It's a great place to live if you love the outdoors and don't mind driving 90 minutes to Jacksonville - or two hours to Tampa for a flight. -Peter Galuszka