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20 Best Places to Retire in Florida For Your Golden Years

Looking for the best places to retire in Florida?

There are many reasons why you might consider retiring in Florida. The weather is fantastic, it is affordable, and has many programs for retirees. For instance, there is no state income tax or taxes on retirement income or social security benefits. There are active senior living communities all throughout the state, so you will get to choose which one works best for you and your partner.      

Since it is such a popular place for retirees, you will be able to find some of the best geriatric care in the whole country. Combine that with easy access to airports for your family to visit and plenty of culture, and you have a recipe for success.

The median home price in Florida in 2021 was $382,000, which is $3,000 less than the national average, which means there are lots of cheap places to live in Florida. The average cost of assisted living in 2020 was $3,500 per month. The national average comes in at a whopping $4,300 per month – so you can see why Florida is worth considering when it comes to retirement.

Over 19% of all seniors in the country currently live in Florida. Of the 25 cities in the country with the highest percentage of seniors, 12 are located in Florida. We have put together our list of our favorite places to retire in Florida, updated with 2022 information.

The list of the best places to live in Florida for retirees is organized in alphabetical order. Each city will include the percentage of the population over 65 years of age and the median home cost for a single family home.

20 Best Places to Retire in Florida

1. Cape Coral

Population over 65: 26.97%
Median Home Cost: $425,000

Cape Coral is known for its canals and beaches. It is located on the Gulf side of Florida, close to Fort Myers and south of Tampa. Cape Coral was recently voted the number 10 city to retire in the United States.

If you would like to spend your retirement on the water, you are in luck. Purchase a waterfront home and get a boat and spend your days cruising through the waters and watching gorgeous sunsets.

You can find delicious seafood here as well. Nature is at the forefront of life in Cape Coral. Look out for manatees, visit the mangroves, or check out the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve to find different species of birds.

Cape Coral

Cape Coral/ Flickr

2. Daytona Beach

Population over 65: 24.34%
Median Home Cost: $229,000

Daytona Beach was recently ranked number seven in a ranking of the best cities in America to retire. Housing in Daytona Beach is surprisingly affordable, you can find a number of excellent hospitals and healthcare providers, and the overall happiness of residents here is high. It is one of the best places to retire in Florida on. budget.

Weather in Daytona is fantastic all year long. Daytona is probably best known for the iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race that happens every February.

You can also find world class beaches, a boardwalk, summer concerts, and water parks for the grandchildren. There are over 26 miles of beaches in Daytona, so you will never run out of sand to visit.

daytona-beach

3. The Florida Keys

Population over 65: 19.98%
Median Home Cost: $995,000

On the more expensive end of the list, we have the Florida Keys. Housing in Key West is at a premium, but it is certainly worth it. The Florida Keys are the southernmost parts of the United States and truly feels like a Caribbean Island. If you want to check it out before you move down, we would suggest a Miami to Key West road trip.

Only 90 miles north of Cuba, Key West has a lot to offer. If you like to snorkel or scuba dive, Key West has incredible coral reefs that are worth exploring.

Key West is generally very safe and has low rates of crime, which makes it appealing to retirees. You will not want to miss the famous Ernest Hemingway House located in Key West. One of the best cities to retire in Florida for sure, provided you don’t mind a few tourists.

miami-to-key-west-drive

4. Fort Pierce

Population over 65: 17.50%
Median Home Cost: $275,000

Fort Pierce is also known as the Sunrise City and is located on the East Coast of Florida. You can find great shopping and dining in the downtown area, and it is becoming increasingly popular amongst retirees.

Although, this is a relatively little known area. You can affordably live oceanfront or on the intercoastal, or in a gated community on a golf course.

There is moderate crime here, which is something to be aware of. However, you can find plenty of white sandy beaches. Fort Pierce is in the middle of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, making it an easy drive to both. If you are looking for a simple community that is not flashy, then Fort Pierce is the perfect place to retire.

fort-pierce

5. Gainesville

Population over 65: 9.80%
Median Home Cost: $257,000

While many people think of Gainesville as a college town, we think it is also a great place to retire. Healthcare is a top priority in Gainesville, which is certainly something to consider for retirees.

You get both an urban feel and amenities combined with suburban prices and traffic. There are a lot of things to do in Gainesville, including taking courses at the University of Florida.

You do not have to be in college to learn a new skill or subject, which makes it enticing for those that want to learn during retirement. You can also find some great parks and its location makes it easy to get to other major cities throughout Florida, like Orlando.

Depot park

Lea Gampel / Shutterstock

6. Homosassa

Population over 65: 35.50%
Median Home Cost: $273,000

70 miles north of Tampa, you will find Homosassa. With one of the highest percentages of people over 65 on this list, you are sure to find a lot of retirement friendly events and facilities.

Check out the Wildlife State Park or the Bluebird Springs Park to connect with nature. You get the unique opportunity to look at Manatees in an underwater observatory at the Wildlife State Park.

If you are someone that enjoys small communities so you can enjoy the peace and quiet, this place is for you. In the 2010 Census, Homosassa had only 2,578 residents. Known to be serene and relaxing, we think Homosassa is a great place to spend retirement.

Homosassa State Park

7. Lauderdale Lakes

Population over 65: 16.60%
Median Home Cost: $120,000

Cost of living in Lauderdale Lakes is significantly lower than the state of Florida or the national average. If the national average is 100 for cost of living, the state of Florida is 102.8, and Lauderdale Lakes is 86.5. This makes it a great option for those on a limited budget that want to take full advantage of the Florida weather and tax opportunities.

Lauderdale Lakes is conveniently located in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami area, which means you are just a short drive away from unique cultural opportunities and year round events.

People describe this area as a quiet and safe refuge from the hustle and bustle of the nearby metropolitan area, so you get the best of both worlds wrapped into one.

lauderdale-lakes

8. Naples

Population over 65: 30.16%
Median Home Cost: $561,000

Naples is consistently ranked as one of the best places to retire in the country. The cost of living in Naples is considerably higher than many other parts of Florida, and it is known for being an affluent area.

That said, if your budget allows it, you should add Naples to your short list of cities to retire in. The median age of residents is actually 61 years old, which means you will have no shortage of opportunities to meet people.

You will not need to worry about noise keeping you up throughout the night, but you will also find plenty of things to do within the city limits.

Besides world class beaches, there are some fantastic restaurants and cultural activities. You will enjoy living in any gated community or golf course and find the best of the best resort style living. There are events all throughout the year, which means you will likely host the rest of the family while enjoying your retirement.

naples-pier

9. North Port

Population over 65: 24.20%
Median Home Cost: $331,000

Nestled between Fort Myers and Tampa, North Port is an up and coming city with a lot to offer. In 2019, eight in ten people rated their quality of life in North Port as good or excellent.

Healthcare is one of the largest industries in North Port, so you are sure to find great local health options. North Port is known for its outdoor activities, like hiking, horseback riding, and bird watching.

We recommend getting in North Port as it’s growing because we think the home cost will definitely be rising in the coming years. There are a number of “healing waters” that people travel from all over the world to visit.

rui-serra-maia

10. Ocala

Population over 65: 28.03%
Median Home Cost: $260,000

Ocala was ranked number six in the country for retirees due to its affordability and access to healthcare. It is a much cheaper place to live compared to places like Miami.

In Ocala, you can find the Fort King National Historic Park, the Appleton Museum of Art, and the Ocala National Forest. John Travolta actually lives in Ocala, so you might see him on your next trip to the supermarket.

Ocala is about halfway between Orlando and Gainesville, so you have two other great retirement destinations within an easy drive. Ocala is known for its thoroughbred horse farms, and is considered the horse capital of the world.

juniper-springs

11. Orlando

Population over 65: 10.20%
Median Home Cost: $338,000

Another great place to retire is Orlando, famous for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. We love Orlando because there is always something to do.

As a Florida resident, you get steep discounts on annual passes to all the theme parks, which provide entertainment all year long. Although traffic can be a pain throughout the year, Orlando more than makes up for it with its vibrant personality and great restaurants.

Orlando has 16 hospitals and emergency departments, so you do not have to worry about traveling far from home if you need to have a procedure done. Orlando has an international airport right there in the city, so it is easy for your family to come visit.

orlando-at-night

12. Palm Beach

Population over 65: 24.40%
Median Home Cost: $1,700,000

If you love the water, Palm Beach is for you. In 2017, almost half of the population was 50 or older, which means there is no shortage of retirement opportunities here in Palm Beach.

On average, you can expect 221 days of sunshine throughout the year, so make sure to take full advantage of all of the water sports you can find. There are 19 miles of beaches here, many of which are pet friendly. Housing in Palm Beach has reached an all time high in recent years, which might cross it off the list for some people.

However, we think it has plenty to offer and should be considered if your budget can allow it. If the home prices are too much, you can certainly rent an apartment. Average rents in Palm Beach are around $2,000 a month, which is much more affordable than the oceanfront homes.

Palm Beach, Florida

13. Port St. Lucie

Population over 65: 25.16%
Median Home Cost: $351,000

Port St. Lucie came in at number 3 of the best places to retire in the US in 2020. Housing is relatively affordable – you can easily find a two or three bedroom home in the mid-$300’s. That means there will be plenty of space for the family to come visit.

If you like to golf, St. Lucie offers not only the PGA Village, but 12 other private and public golf courses within an easy driving distance. This amazing city is about halfway between Orlando and Miami, which means you can get to either in around two hours, which is fantastic for weekend trips to experience theme parks and culture.

Spruce-Bluff-Preserve

14. Punta Gorda

Population over 65: 38.30%
Median Home Cost: $431,000

Punta Gorda is pretty small, but full of retirees. It is close to the Sarasota and Fort Myers area, so world class beaches will be right in your backyard.

Punta Gorda is known for its fishing and boating scene, so if you love to fish, you might want to consider settling down here. You can find plenty of local restaurants with delicious food and friendly people.

If you have a boat, there is no shortage of marinas to dock your boat throughout the year. You can also find shuffleboard courts and golf to keep yourself entertained day in and day out.

Punta-Gorda-Nature-Park

15. St. Petersburg

Population over 65: 18.60%
Median Home Cost: $315,000

You will find a whopping 361 days of sunshine every year. That means only 4 days of rain throughout the whole year. If you hate cloudy weather, St. Petersburg is absolutely where you need to retire.

You can find a variety of homes in a variety of price points here, which makes it exciting for anyone of any budget. You will find golf clubs, yacht clubs, boating and sailing, any and every water sport, fish, and the number 1 beach in the whole United States here.

This has long been a vacation destination, but is quickly becoming home to many full time residents because of everything it has to offer.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg/ Flickr

16. Sarasota

Population over 65: 30.63%
Median Home Cost: $430,000

Sarasota has ranked the number 1 place to retire in the United States for two years in a row. We think we know why: cost of living, tax breaks for retirees, access to healthcare, happiness, and world class beaches.

Sarasota is perfect for those who want to stay active throughout retirement. Cultural events like the Sarasota Film Festival draw plenty of crowds. Check out the Ringling Museum of Art or spend the summer at Siesta Key Beach.

Homes in Sarasota are reasonable for the quality of life you get in the city. There is a reason so many people choose to retire here, and the consistent high ranking speaks for itself.

sarasota-beaches-Lido-Key-Beach

17. Sebring

Population over 65: 34.46%
Median Home Cost: $224,000

Many people bring children for the fantastic education system and stay for the amazing retirement opportunities in Sebring.

You can visit the Highlands Hammock State Park or go see a race at the Sebring International Raceway. There are lots of murals worth seeing in the downtown historic district.

Everyone notes how friendly and helpful the community in Sebring is. If you’re looking to join a vibrant little community and maybe volunteer at the local school or local theater, Sebring is a great place to call home.

Highlands-Hammock-State-Park

18. Tampa

Population over 65: 12.30%
Median Home Cost: $365,000

Tampa has a number of 55+ communities, from single family homes to condos and apartments. There is plenty to do in Tampa, and since you’re on the Gulf side of Florida, you have easy access to crystal clear waters.

Take the grandchildren to Busch Gardens for a day of fun, or hang out with fellow retirees in the Ybor City neighborhood, famous for its dining and nightlife. The majority of Tampa is quiet and safe, especially for a large city.

In fact, its crime rate is about 20% lower than other major cities of its size. We love all of the vegetation throughout the city that makes it feel like a lush oasis.

Tampa

Tampa/ Flickr

19. Vero Beach

Population over 65: 30.81%
Median Home Cost: $350,000

Vero Beach has the second highest number of recreation centers in all of Florida. If you are looking for somewhere to continue your active lifestyle in retirement, Vero Beach is certainly the place to do so. It is consitently rated one of the best places to retire in Florida on the water.

You can find all sorts of water activities, like boating, fishing, canoeing, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. In addition to no state income taxes, Vero Beach offers low property taxes, fantastic medical facilities, and a booming housing market.

Check out the Mcknee Botanical Garden or one of the many parks in the area on one of the many sunshiny days.

vero-beach-fl-best places to retire in florida

20. The Villages

Population over 65: 54.18%
Median Home Cost: $372,000

The most famous retirement community in Florida is none other than The Villages. More than 100,000 people live in this 55 and up community, filled with golf courses, restaurants, and amenities.

The primary mode of transportation here is actually a golf cart. The main reason The Villages is so enticing is because of the sense of community.

It is easy to make friends, connect with people, join clubs, and fill your retirement with lots of things to do. The Villages is entirely self-contained, which means you can stay within the city to do everything from grocery shopping to doctor’s visits. Its location in the center of Florida is also beneficial during hurricane season, as hurricanes typically weaken by the time they come inland.

One of the best retirement communities in Florida, don’t miss the chance to check this place out if you love the idea of a great community around you.

best places to retire in florida

Summary – Best Places to Retire in Florida

We think Florida is a fantastic place to retire, and the numbers support this. Florida has one of the highest retirement percentages in the whole country. The tax breaks, healthcare, cost of living, and weather makes it enticing for just about anyone. Many cities throughout the state have percentages of seniors that exceed a quarter, which means it will be easier to meet fellow retirees.

If you do decide to retire in Florida, compare the cost of living to different cities to your budget. Decide what is most important to you: things to do, weather, proximity to beaches or big cities, and ratings of local hospital/healthcare needs. We know you can find your dream retirement city in Florida, and we hope this article has been helpful in narrowing down your list.

Are you thinking about retiring in Florida? If so, where is on your radar? We would love to hear from you! Comment below or message us and let us know your ideal place to retire.

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Botanical gardens in Florida