Florida has been a favorite retirement spot for a long time and that will undoubtedly be true for years to come. In fact, it’s home to the largest active adult community in the world (The Villages). But, what’s so great about retiring in Florida?
The Sunshine State has been attracting newcomers almost every year since World War II due to its warm weather, world-class entertainment, beautiful beaches, and recreation areas; not to mention, its proximity to both North and South America as well as the Caribbean! Although many people think of Miami or Orlando when considering moving to Florida, there are many other communities, some smaller, that are attractive yet close to those major areas. In this article, we’ll explore the best cities in Florida for retirement.
Boca Raton, (which is Spanish for “mouse mouth”) was named for the jagged rocks, found all over the southeast coast, that used to chip away at ships entering the city. This popular Florida destination is home to several luxury gated retirement communities. Services and entertainment in the area are geared toward the vast senior population. This includes plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, as well as top-notch health care!
Bradenton is located in Manatee County in southwest Florida. The city’s population is around 53,000 – roughly 45% of which are adults ages 45 and older! Bradenton is home to Tropicana, one of the world’s largest orange juice makers, Village of Arts, ad the Pittsburgh Pirates training facility.
Named one of the “Ten Best Beaches From Maine to Hawaii,” by USA Today, Clearwater, Florida is one of the nation’s top vacation destinations. However, with a great climate and white sandy beaches, it’s also an ideal place for retirees to relocate!
Located just west of Tampa, FL, Clearwater has 28 miles of beaches and is a stereotypical, laid-back beach town with small roads, people hauling coolers, and lots of boats. With marinas, beaches, and an aquarium, Clearwater’s location means there are lots of water sports and fishing! It’s home to the biggest fishing boat fleet on the Gulf Coast of Florida, so there are many opportunities to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, and sailing.
Kissimmee, Florida is a town located in Osceola County. It has a population of around 60,000 and is part of the Orlando metro area. Kissimmee has a small-town feel, as there are no tall skyscrapers. Despite this, it’s home to the Houston Astros spring training facility. Kissimmee has excellent public transportation as well!
Palm Harbor has a population of around 60,000 and is less than one hour from Tampa, Florida. The downtown is full of historic buildings, shops, and delicious dining. Palm Harbor holds its famous, and very popular, First Friday Celebrations every month. There is also an annual Palm Harbor Festival that’s held every October. For retirees that enjoy golf, this city is home to Innisbrook Golf Club & Resort, which ranks among the top 20 golf courses in the US!
Corral Gables is located in Miami-Dade County in southern Florida. The city has a whopping 150 shops and restaurants for its population of approximately 50,000 to enjoy. Coral Gables was one of the first planned communities in the US. In the mid-1920s, the town was chosen to be home to the University of Miami. It’s also known for being a very pedestrian-friendly community.
Located in southern Florida, Key West serves as a major hub for many cruise lines. One reason this Monroe County town is so popular with seniors is that it is rarely affected by hurricanes. Old Town Key West is home to many historic buildings, restaurants, pubs, and shops. Retirees can also enjoy the water and one of many beaches in Key West, which are known for being less busy than others around the state.
Palm Coast, FL is another popular retirement area. It’s situated in the eastern portion of Flagler County, on the Atlantic Ocean, in Northeast Florida, between the cities of Jacksonville and Orlando.
Naples is a favorite retirement location for upscale retirees. Real estate prices got a little carried away but have adjusted. Naples is known for its world-class shopping, dining, and numerous, challenging golf courses.
Why would someone want to live in an area known for celebrities? With one-quarter of the population older than 65, this area is very retiree friendly as well as has beautiful beaches. With many cultural amenities like museums and parks, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities to enjoy as well. Some museums to check out include the Collier County Museum, highlighting local history through the centuries, and the Von Liebig Art Center, which showcases art after 1950 and in the local style. It also has a 2,000-foot boardwalk!
Every year thousands of new residents begin calling Marion County home, keeping it among the three fastest-growing areas in the nation. The county’s welcoming atmosphere makes transitions easy. The variety and affordability of housing ensure that there are homes to suit every taste, lifestyle, and budget.
This little community is located just north of downtown Orlando and is probably one of the first “wealthy” areas of Orlando. Home to Rollins College, Winter Park is a small community that has kept its roots as a vacation resort to the rich in times past to now becoming a bedroom community of Orlando. In many parts of this small town, you can walk by various shops with a farmers market every Sunday just west of the main park north of Rollins College.
Although a bit pricey for homes due to the highly-educated and highly-paid workforce, Winter Park makes up for it in cute brick-paved streets and low-speed limits which makes it quiet for residents. Winter Park is a great community to consider living in for seniors who want a tight-knit, classy town that has all the amenities of a small town while being a few minutes from downtown entertainment and workspace.
Thinking About Retiring In Florida?
Overall, living in Florida has its pros and cons. Even though it’s hot in the summer months, the proximity to the beach, the mild temperature outside of the summer months, and the slow pace of life make Florida a great relocation destination for retirees who want a simpler life that doesn’t involve winter weather.
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