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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Florida

If retiring in Florida is on your bucket list, the state has a myriad of beautiful and luxurious retirement destinations to offer. Here are the top ten places to settle in when you’re ready to say goodbye to tension and hello to pension.

Naples

More than just a popular vacation destination, Naples is a sought-after retirement destination as well. The city boasts luxurious homes, gated communities, and high-end retirement communities on the Gulf Coast as well as a wide variety of amenities and entertainment, including museums, restaurants, golf, shopping, and family-friendly events. Things that set Naples apart from other retirement communities include:

  • Half of its residents are senior citizens or retirees, which means you’re in good company and likely to find like-minded friends in the area, and
  • CNBC.com ranked Naples number one out of the top ten southern cities for retirement.

Sanibel Island

Aside from being an island (and whose retirement dreams don’t include island living?), Sanibel Island offers a range of benefits for retirees. Most properties in the island are positioned either seaside or along a golf course, providing serene views and peaceful living. Although Sanibel Island isn’t for everyone (median home price of $730,000 and no local hospital might be deal-breakers for some retirees), those who choose it gain access to these unique benefits you can only find on the island:

  • The J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 5,200 acres of the island, and
  • Crime rates well below the national average, making it a safe place to retire.

Gainesville (University of FL)

Perhaps best known as the home of the University of Florida, Gainesville is as great a place to retire in as it is to attend school in. Gainesville is nestled in central Florida and offers affordable retirement living, with low housing and healthcare costs and low sales tax. Most notable benefits of settling into Gainesville in retirement include:

  • Nearby North Florida Regional Medical Center and UF Shands Health Hospital, both of which have received a number of distinctions in areas like stroke, orthopedics, geriatrics, gastroenterology, chest pain, and gynecology
  • Access to independent living, luxury retirement communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing if needed

Siesta Key

The Sarasota area, where Siesta Key is located, was ranked number out of Topretirements.com’s top ten list of places to retire in the United States. Warm winters, reasonable cost of living, and a variety of things to do in your spare time characterize Siesta Key, with these benefits setting it apart from other retirement destinations on your list:

  • A number of high-end, luxurious retirement communities offering an upscale retirement experience for you to choose from with options to rent or buy, and
  • The unique opportunity to be oceanfront in this oceanside community.

Anna Maria Island

Located off the coast of Bradenton, Anna Maria Island offers all of the amenities you need along with seven miles of white sand beaches for your enjoyment in retirement. Anna Maria Island’s culture differs from some of the other retirement destinations we’ve explored in that it’s a slow paced, toes-in-the-sand setting, where shorts and flip flops will get you into any venue (and anything more formal than that would leave you overdressed). A couple of things that set Anna Maria Island apart from other retirement communities on your list include:

  • Two free island festivals are hosted every year, giving locals something to do and making it a great time to host guests, and
  • Free trolley services seven days a week.

Amelia Island

Amelia Island’s rich history and favorable climate make it a top choice for many retirees seek a beachfront lifestyle in retirement. Those who settle in on Amelia Island, off the coast near Jacksonville, enjoy birding, hiking, cycling, kayaking, boating, beaches, horseback riding, and golfing, among other activities like dining and shopping. Unique to Amelia Island are:

  • It’s rich Native American and pirate history, reflected in many local attractions, and
  • Baptist Medical Center located right on the island, providing access to many healthcare services without having to head to Jacksonville.

Key West

With winter temperatures that rarely drop below 60 degrees and summer temperatures that tend to linger in the 80s, Key West is the epitome of the ideal climate for retirees. Many choose Key West for this reason as other parts of Florida get much cooler in the winter and much hotter in the summer, increasing utilities costs and making the climate a little less ideal for outdoor activities in some months. Interesting facts about the Keys include:

  • Key West houses Florida’s only presidential library, called the Little White House.
  • The Keys are littered with state parks including the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve state park, which provide ample opportunity for outdoor activities.

Vero Beach

Retirement and adventure go hand in hand in Vero Beach, Florida. First settled in 1893, the town name was changed from Vero to Vero Beach in 1925. Today, the area is home to retirees who enjoy shopping, dining, the arts, and most of all, fishing and watersports. What makes Vero Beach unique as a retirement destination is:

  • It’s home to Valencia Grove at Riverland, a luxury-style retirement community for those 55 and up looking for a laid-back lifestyle with ample opportunity for socialization, and
  • Vero Beach was ranked as the Best Small Town in Florida by America’s Guide to Small Towns.

West Palm Beach

Offering a myriad of resort-style retirement living options for nearly every budget, West Palm Beach is not only the ideal vacation destination but a great place to set your sights as you plan for life after the nine-to-five. Because over 30% of those who live in West Palm Beach are over 55, making friends or even finding a partner is a little easier than it may be in younger communities. Reasons you might choose West Palm Beach over other communities include:

  • Access to several major medical centers, ensuring both primary care and specialties are within close proximity
  • Great variation in both home and retirement living costs, ensuring that both the wealthy and those on a budget can find something that meets their needs.

Jacksonville

With a cost of living below the national average, a local NFL team, and the 300-mile St. John’s River running alongside the town, Jacksonville is a highly desirable retirement destination. A few of the things that you won’t find anywhere else include:

  • The city boasts over 400 parks within city limits, which means you can always find a great place for a walk, a picnic, or birdwatching
  • Jacksonville is the largest US city by area although it’s population is reasonable at 850,000, which means you have more room to spread out and better access to greenspaces

The benefits to settling in Florida for retirement are many: no state income tax, no inheritance or estate tax, a plethora of resort-style retirement communities, ideal weather in all seasons, and great dining, shopping, & entertainment. If sunshine & seaside are on your bucket list, retirement in Florida might be for you!

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