Florida’s weather, easy beach access, overall relaxed daily life, and no state income tax make it a popular spot for people from all over the country. Who would ever want to leave?
Now that you’re retiring, however, you might want a change. Lucky for you, you have the whole state to choose from. But how do you choose which city to move to? Where are the best places to retire in Florida?
Every year, U.S. News & World Report looks at major metropolitan areas throughout the country to compile their list of “Best Places to Retire.” And their 2020 rankings, as usual, feature a large amount of Florida cities.
If you’re hoping to move to (or stay in) the Sunshine State after retirement, you’re in the right spot.
How Are They Ranked?
U.S. News surveyed retirees as well as those nearing retirement to find out what things were most important to them. They came up with six factors that weighed most heavily in their decision:
- Happiness – how content residents are with their life;
- Housing Affordability – the cost of buying or renting property;
- Health Care Quality – the availability of high-quality medical care;
- Retiree Taxes – the tax rates for both sales and income taxes;
- Desirability – how interested residents are in retiring in a city;
- Job Market – how strong the job market is.
If seeing “Job Market” on a list of things retirees feel is important, consider that retirement may not necessarily mean the same things to everyone. It could mean exiting the field you spent most of your life and taking a less-demanding job in a quieter town. Or it could mean working part-time instead of full-time.
Best Places to Retire in Florida
Whatever “retirement” looks like to you, here are the nine best places to retire in Florida, according to U.S. News.
1. Ft. Myers
At #1 on the list, Ft. Myers isn’t just the best place to retire in Florida, but in the country. Residents expressed high levels of happiness with their current lifestyle and non-residents gave it a high desirability score.
A charming downtown area, lush golf courses, a thriving arts community (lots of theaters), and the beach mean that there is literally something for everyone. More than a third of all residents are 60 and older and the median home price—just $200k—makes it an affordable place to put down roots.
A thriving cultural scene, white sand beaches, mild weather, wildlife, affordable housing…is there anything Sarasota doesn’t have?
If you’re on a budget but can’t quite shake the call of beach life, Sarasota could be the perfect place to spend your Golden Years. There are 13 public beaches with powdery white sand, crystal clear water, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. If you haven’t yet tried fishing, snorkeling, or boating, this is your chance!
3. Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie ranked #5 on the U.S. News List, and it’s easy to see why.
The city ranked highly in happiness, affordability, and desirability. All these traits are only enhanced by the city’s coastal location and relaxed atmosphere. And with almost a third of all residents in the 60+ age bracket, you’ll be in perfect company.
Jacksonville is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. And when you take a closer look at “The Bold New City of the South,” it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best places to retire in Florida.
Weather, politics, lifestyle, cost of living…just about everything about Jacksonville is about finding a happy middle ground. The city encompasses the entirety of Duval County, so a wide variety of people, places, and activities thrives within its borders.
Miami is perfect if you’re looking for more: you’ll have more nightlife, more entertainment, more people…and need more money. But for some, the cost of living in Miami is well worth what they get out of it.
There are plenty of museums, theme parks, and other attractions, and the city is steeped in Latin American heritage, so you can enjoy the amazing food, lively music, and brush up on your high school Spanish!
But don’t be intimidated about driving in a city with nearly half a million people. Residents 65 and older can ride public transport free of charge.
The area is aptly named, as there are no less than 38 named lakes here. Which means plenty of waterfront property!
And don’t worry about spending your entire nest egg, either. Property values here are significantly lower than they are in either Tampa or Orlando (which are both within an hour’s drive, by the way).
Lifestyles here are much quieter (you won’t find any high-rises here), but that just might put Lakeland at the top of your list. LEGOland is the only theme park within 30 miles and it receives less than a third the amount of visitors as Disney World (15.6 million visitors/year vs. 52 million).
Near the beach? Check. Plenty of entertainment options? Yup. City life? Say no more!
No matter what you’re looking for in your Golden Years, it’s no surprise that Tampa is one of the best places to retire in Florida. You and your grandkids can enjoy theme parks (Busch Gardens), live sports (Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers), the zoo (ZooTampa at Lowry Park), and aquarium (Florida Aquarium) and still hop over to the beach to catch some sun.
It has nearly as much to do as Orlando but a slightly lower cost of living.
Part of Florida’s appeal is getting to spend so much time at the beach. Who doesn’t wouldn’t want to live on the beach? But that’s just the problem: everybody wants to go to the beach!
If you’re yearning for coastal living without all the hustle and bustle of Daytona, Melbourne is one city that might be perfect for you. Although it might be smack dab in the middle of the Space Coast, housing costs are relatively low and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature (both on Earth and in space).
And when you’re ready to see more of the world, just hop on a cruise ship! Port Canaveral is practically in your backyard!
No mention of Florida would be complete without Orlando!
The city is tops when it comes to tourism and is nestled right in the middle of the Sunshine State, so you’re perfectly positioned to visit either coast when you need a beach getaway. Winters are mild and being this far inland provides pretty good protection against hurricanes.
And, as if you needed any more incentive, being this close to Disney and the rest of the attractions will be the perfect reason for the grandkids to come visit!
If moving to Florida will take you a little too far from friends and family, here are some other cities that made the list:
- Harrisburg, PA
- El Paso, TX
- Allentown, PA
- Chattanooga, TN
- Portland, OR
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Ft. Wayne, IN
- Knoxville, TN
- Manchester, NH
- Austin, TX
- Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
- Grand Rapids, MI
- Nashville, TN
- Winston-Salem, NC
- Asheville, NC
- Lancaster, PA
The Sunshine State might be large but you don’t have to research all 100 cities to find the best places to retire in Florida. These nine cities are unique in their own way and each one would be the perfect place to kick off your retirement in style!
And when you’ve made your decision to retire, downsize, and move to the tropics, make sure your first call is to Cento Family Moving. Our attentive movers will make sure that you arrive in your new home quickly, safely, and affordably.
We offer a full range of moving services so that you don’t have to stress about a thing. Call today for a free quote!