Mar 16, 2022

The 10 Best Cities to Retire to in Florida

Manny Cominsky

As we’ve covered in another blog post, and as you probably know from everyday life, Florida is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the entire country. With warm weather, low taxes and low cost of living, and plenty of other retired folks to make long and lasting friendships with, you really can’t go wrong starting your retirement in Florida. What’s more, Florida has a host of amazing cities to retire to. From small beach towns, to energy-filled college towns, to bustling major cities like Miami and Orlando, Florida is sure to have the right place for your retirement. Check out the 10 best cities to retire to in Florida below.

Tampa

Located on the western coast of Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Sitting on Tampa Bay (or “Champa Bay” as locals like to call it, due to recent championships by the local NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the local NHL team the Tampa Bay Lightning), it’s easy to see why so many people love to retire to Tampa. First, Tampa is known for its particularly excellent weather and the fact that it is located on the water, giving residents plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. But what makes Tampa so special is not only that it has easy access to the warmth and the beach, but that because it is Florida’s third-largest city it also has access to all the amenities you will want in your retirement. This includes the amazing entertainment options like the Tampa Bay Zoo and the Tampa Bay Aquarium, but also world class dining and theme parks. Tampa also has world-class medical centers, many of which specialize in treating older adults. And finally, Tampa is an incredibly popular port for cruise ships.   

Tampa is one of the fastest growing cities in the entire country.

Sarasota

About an hour south of Tampa, and still in the greater Tampa Bay area, is Sarasota. If you love the idea of living in (or near) Tampa, but want to live in a smaller city, then you may love Sarasota. Known for its beautiful and famous white-sand beaches, like Siesta Key or Lido Key, Sarasota is a great place for those looking to spend their retirement either on the beach or in the water. But what makes Sarasota so special is not just the warm weather and easy beach access, but also the fact that the city has a wide range of world-class cultural offering like its own Ballet and Opera companies. If you want to retire to a warm, low cost area but still keep your opera or ballet tickets, then Sarasota might be one of the best (and most unique!) places in the country for you. Finally, Sarasota also has world class medical options as the Sarasota Memorial Hospital has consistently ranked as one of the best treatment facilities for older adults in the entire country!  

Naples

Another incredibly popular retirement destination along the Gulf Coast is Naples, located in south Florida roughly directly across the state from Miami. Naples is well known for its historic downtown area, which features high end boutique shopping and amazing restaurants and cafes. While Naples is generally one of the more expensive areas on this list, locals will tell you that the price is more than worth it for all the value that you get. In addition to its amazing downtown, the area around Naples also has some of the best golf courses in not only the state, but also the entire country! In addition to the factors that make a lot of cities on the Gulf Coast great for retirement - including amazing white sand beaches and world-class medical facilities - Naples also has a relatively low tax burden for the state of Florida, which is incredible given that Florida as a state already has an incredibly low tax burden. Finally, a little over 50% of the population of Naples are seniors, meaning that you will have plenty of company if you decide to relocate there!

Historic downtown Naples is known for its high-end shopping and dining.

Venice

Going back up the Gulf Coast to the Tampa Bay area is another amazing retirement destination: Venice. If you’re a fan of scuba diving or snorkeling then you’ve probably heard of Venice before as it’s known as the “shark tooth capital of the world” due to the abundance of shark teeth found both on the beaches and in the water (but don’t worry many of these teeth are fossilized remains of sharks who are no longer swimming around!). Venice is such an amazing destination for finding shark teeth, that the town hosts an annual Shark’s Tooth Festival. Venice’s claim to fame aside, the town is a laid-back, small town outside of Sarasota with plenty of fellow retirees as over half of the town’s population are seniors. With its beautiful beaches and warm weather, Venice provides the perfect option for people who want to take advantage of all the arts and culture in Sarasota but want to live a slightly more laid back and cheaper lifestyle.

Orlando

Stepping away from the Gulf Coast, indeed stepping away from any coast at all, is Orlando located in central Florida. Given both its location and its size (Orlando is the fourth biggest city in the state) Orlando provides a slightly different feel than most of the cities on this list. This is due not only to the fact of Orlando’s size and its location off of the coast, but also due to the fact that it has the most theme parks of any city in the entire country. These include some of the most famous parks in the world, like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. This makes Orlando an amazing place for visitors of all ages, meaning that you’ll be a popular host if you relocate to Orlando. 

Vero Beach

Finally making our way to the Atlantic coast of Florida is Vero Beach. As you can probably tell from the name, Vero Beach is a small, laid-back beach town with plenty of offerings for those who want to spend their retirement at the beach or in the water. First, Vero Beach is incredibly popular with those in the boating and sailing community, with many people using the town as their jumping off point to ride the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. The Gulf Stream not only makes Vero Beach an attractive sailing town, it also brings nutrient rich water to Vero Beach which makes for incredible local fishing. 

Delray Beach

Sticking with the Atlantic Coast is Delray Beach, located about an hour up the coast from Miami. Much like Venice or Sarasota, Delray Beach is another place where you can experience all the culture and sophistication of a big city while also getting to live in a relaxed Florida beach town. Downtown Delray Beach features high end art galleries and restaurants, so you’ll have plenty of entertainment and nightlife. And being only one hour from Miami, you’ll have easy access to everything Miami has to offer. This includes not only world-class entertainment and vacation options, but also top flight healthcare.

Delray Beach is just a short drive from Miami with all its exciting entertainment options, not to mention world-class dining and healthcare.

Ocala

You might not have heard of Ocala, but it is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the finest retirement destinations in the country. In fact, we wrote in another blog that Stone Creek in Ocala is one of the country’s most popular active adult communities in the country. Ocala is known known as the Horse Capital of the World due to its over 400 thoroughbred farms and training center. All these farms come together to create an incredibly picturesque town, as the rolling green hills and horse farms create a beautiful backdrop and make for lovely outdoor areas to explore. In addition, Ocala’s historic downtown provides access to great shopping and dining.

The Villages

If you know anything about the Villages, you might be a little bit surprised to find it on this list. You might be asking yourself, what is an active adult community like the Villages doing on a list of towns to retire to? Well, the Villages are so big that they are basically their own town. In fact, the Villages was the country’s fastest growing metropolitan area from 2010 to 2020, growing from 93,000 to 13,000, or about 39 percent. Alongside this factoid, the Villages are just too popular to ignore. People love being able to easily take advantage (often simply by taking their golf cart!) of all that the Villages has to offer - from endless outdoor activities like tennis, golf, or pickleball to countless social events, to all the basic necessities like groceries, shopping, or healthcare. 

Melbourne

Finishing up on the Atlantic coast, about an hour south of Orlando, is Melbourne. What we always hear about Melbourne is while the town itself is a smaller, more laid-back beach town, it still provides access to big city amenities in Orlando and plenty of excitement and attractions. Not only are you close to Orlando and all the theme parks that it has to offer - a great reason to get your family to visit year after year. Along with all the attracts that Orlando has to offer, Melbourne is also located on what’s known as Florida’s Space Coast, which is all the coastal areas surrounding both the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

The nearby Kennedy Space Center is one of the many amazing entertainment options around Melbourne.

While we only selected ten cities here, there are countless amazing options to retire to in Florida. This is because every city in Florida gets to benefit from the things that make the state such a popular retirement destination in the first place: great weather, low taxes and cost of living, and plenty of entertainment, amenities, and healthcare specifically meant for people at or near retirement age. So if you didn’t see a city you’ve been thinking about here, it’s probably still a great place to retire. If you want to learn more about the easiest ways to retire to Florida (or to anywhere else!), reach out to us at info@sunboundhomes.com or check out our services page to learn more.

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