Thousands of Americans make the move to Florida each year to retire in peace. With no state income tax, low property values, and a high standard of living, Florida is a great place to spend the best year of your life living in comfort. Although you’ll find retirees in most Florida cities, some offer better accommodations for seniors than others. All of the cities on this list are included based on affordability, access to healthcare institutions, and general quality of life for seniors. Here is a look at the best cities to retire in Florida.
Naples is a quiet retirement community on the southwest coast of the state. It’s one of the US’s wealthiest districts and features the second-highest concentration of billionaires in the country per capita. It has some pricey real estate; however, you can still find affordable condos throughout the city. Naples is served by the NCH Healthcare System, a highly rated not-for-profit consisting of two hospitals – the Baker Hospital in downtown and the North Naples campus.
Over half the population is over 65, meaning you won’t feel out of place in the slightest if you retire there. Naples also has excellent high-end shopping, golf courses, and sandy beaches. It may not be the best place to move if you’re looking to retire on a budget. But the tax burden is low, and you get a lot of value for your money. So those with a decent nest egg saved for retirement will love Naples.
Venice is another great place to retire in Florida. It’s a small coastal city right outside of Sarasota. It’s a quiet retirement community with a lot of fascinating local culture. It’s known as the shark tooth capital for the signature fossilized shark’s teeth that line many of the beaches. There are several museums and landmarks in the city’s historic district, and the Venice Theatre is the largest per capita community theatre in the US. There are several reputable hospitals in Venice and even more nearby in Sarasota. It’s a great area for seniors who want a slower pace of life with various entertainment options. It’s a fun, quirky town that offers a relaxed atmosphere and affordable living.
Gainesville is one of the largest cities on this list, but it’s still been ranked as one of the best places in Florida for retirees. Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville is both a college town and a retirement community. There is a little something for everyone in Gainesville. It has a great local music scene, college sports and hosts a variety of annual cultural events. For seniors, it offers a low cost of living and some of the best healthcare in the state. It was named the healthiest community in America by the Wellness Council of America in 2003. UF Health – the medical network associated with the University of Florida – is the second-largest employer in the city. The University of Florida offers a variety of educational opportunities for seniors looking to keep themselves busy and productive. Ultimately, Gainesville is a fantastic city for those looking for a bit more hustle and bustle than some of the other communities on this list. It’s still a midsized city and isn’t a major tourist destination like Miami or Orlando. However, it’s perfect for seniors who want more access to entertainment and opportunity.
The Villages is a planned community in Central Florida that is a haven for retirees. A popular retirement spot for baby boomers, the Villages was ranked as the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US between 2010 and 2018. The city is subdivided into 17 different community development districts that are controlled by a board of Supervisors. Permanent residents of The Villages must be over the age of 55. No one over the age of 19 is permitted to live in the community long term, but visitors may stay up to 30 days.
The Villages was designed to be an oasis for seniors. There are several golf courses in the development that residents are permitted to use for free (although the costs of maintaining the course are built into your monthly maintenance bills). In addition to golf, there are tennis courts, a softball field, a polo stadium, a woodworking shop, a lifetime learning center, and a performing arts venue. Not to mention the 2700 social clubs that are available for residents to join. Plus, the healthcare system is top-notch, and they have eight different healthcare centers throughout the development. Overall, the Villages is the perfect community for seniors who want an all-inclusive community where all their needs are met. They also have a strong community structure supporting them at all times.
Saint Augustine is the oldest European-established settlement in the US that has been continuously inhabited. The Spanish founded it in 1565, and many remnants of the cities long history are still evident. It’s a small, coastal city in the North East of the state that has a lot to offer retirees. It’s rife with unique cultural attractions, laid back restaurants, and beach activities. It has a quaint downtown area that has maintained the aesthetic of its colonial ancestry. St. George Street is a pedestrian-only walkway in the heart of downtown that is lined with amazing restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Plus, TPC Sawgrass – a prestigious golf course that is home to the PGA Tour Headquarters – is only a short drive away in Ponte Verda Beach.
St. Augustine has everything for which Florida is known – sandy beaches, mild weather, and a low cost of living – with an added cultural flair. Healthcare in the area is solid. Plus, Jacksonville is only about an hour away and contains some of the state’s best hospitals. St. Augustine is perfect for seniors who want an affordable beach property and plenty of local attractions.
Clermont is a small city in Central Florida, just West of Orlando. It’s been ranked as one of the best places to retire for its affordability and relaxed atmosphere. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida – it’s population increased by 207% between 2000 and 2010 and another 40% since the most recent census. It offers residents easy access to Orlando’s bustling metropolis, without all the hassles that come with living in a major tourist center. Much of the local economy is centered around tourism and hospitality, but the crowds and cost of living aren’t quite as intense.
It is a landlocked city, and therefore you won’t find the sandy white beaches that most people associate with Florida. But you will find picturesque hills and lakes that are great for hiking and camping. Plus, there are a variety of world-class golf courses nearby, and the beach is only about an hour away in both directions. There are plans to develop a $35 million Advent Health Facility in Clermont currently underway, and other highly rated hospitals can be found in Orlando. Clermont is a great place for retirees who are willing to sacrifice the sand and surf for quiet, affordable living and easy access to amenities.
Vero Beach is a small beach town in Southeast Florida, sandwiched in between Melbourne and Port St. Lucie. It’s a quaint coastal city with a lot going on. It’s a haven for beach activity – like surfing, swimming, fishing, boating, and snorkeling. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort attracts a lot of tourism and is a major employer in the area. But the tourist traffic is primarily contained by the resort, so seniors don’t have to worry about a bothersome influx of traffic.
Pipe Aircraft is an aviation manufacturer based in Vero Beach and is another major contributor to the local economy. It’s a great place for those who want peace, quiet, and sunshine. It has a small historic section downtown that was a former US Naval Station During WWII. There are two shopping malls and two local hospitals. Overall, it’s a quiet town with a slow pace of life. Those who want excitement and entertainment options may be better of looking elsewhere. But those who just want to relax and enjoy the ocean will love Vero Beach.
Ocala is a city in the central part of Northern Florida. It’s a landlocked city that features gorgeous freshwater streams and lush grassy hills, rather than beaches. It’s known for its significant number of horse stables and was once known as the horse capital for being the site of the first thoroughbred farm in Florida in 1934. Those looking to retire to Florida to sip margaritas on the beach probably won’t consider Ocala. But those who like mild weather, fresh air, and a small-town vibe will love the city. It has over 55 retirement communities that feature everything you need – from golf to indoor swimming pools. Horseback riding is a favorite past time of many Ocala residents, as is hiking and canoeing. It’s a community of people who like the outdoors and don’t what to be bothered by sandy feet or tourists. Ocala has grown substantially over the few decades and has increased in popularity as a retirement community for those seeking an alternative to more overcrowded areas.
Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie is a quiet residential community in Southeast Florida. It’s roughly halfway between Miami and Orlando, giving residents easy access to either city if they want it, but isolating them from the tourist traffic. Port St. Lucie is a gorgeous city with amazing beaches and golf courses. It’s a great place for those who want the real Florida experience. It’s a haven for golfers, boaters, and fishermen. It has a relaxed, small-town feel with access to all the necessary amenities.
There are dozens of retirement communities in Port St. Lucie that feature in-house amities like dining options, pools, recreational facilities, and more. The Tradition Center for Innovation is in Port St. Lucie. It’s a development park dedicated to medical research and healthcare. Port St. Lucie is exactly what most people picture when they think about retiring to Florida – warm weather, golf, and affordable living. It offers the best of both worlds, easy access to major tourist attractions without sacrificing the cleanliness and quiet.
Jupiter is a small town in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the southeastern part of the state. It’s a quiet community with plenty of charm. Roger Dean Stadium is in Jupiter, the home of spring training camp for both the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. But like most coastal Florida towns, it’s entertainment options center around the beach and marinas. Residents can enjoy a calm atmosphere, high-end shopping, and perfect weather. The Jupiter Lighthouse is a popular attraction, which is also seen as a symbol of the city. There are plenty of great restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Plus, it features a plethora of highly-rated retirement communities, and it’s consistently been rated one of the best places to live in Florida. Jupiter is another community that is emblematic of Florida living. It has sandy beaches, amazing seafood, and top-notch golf courses. It’s a bit pricier than some of the other communities on this list. But those who want to spend their retirement in the lap of luxury will love Jupiter.
So many choose to spend their retirement in the great state of Florida because there are so many options. Anywhere you go you will find amazing golf courses, beaches, low taxes, and a great healthcare infrastructure – all the things that make for a great retirement community. Many small towns in the state have exploded in population over the past few decades because of all the benefits it offers. Whether you’re trying to spend your retirement in luxury or on a budget, you can find something for you.