The Best Places to Retire in Florida

The Best Places to Retire in Florida

Florida’s weather, easy beach access, overall relaxed daily life, and no state income tax make it one of the best states to retire. But with the entire state to choose from, how do you pick?

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 2022 rankings, as usual, feature a large amount of Florida cities.

If you’re thinking about moving to the beach or anywhere in the Sunshine State after retirement, you’re in the right spot. Here are the best places to retire in Florida.


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:

  1. Quality of Life – how content residents are with their life;
  2. Housing Affordability – the cost of buying or renting property;
  3. Health Care Quality – the availability of high-quality medical care;
  4. Retiree Taxes – the tax rates for both sales and income taxes;
  5. Desirability – how interested residents are in retiring in a city;
  6. Job Market – how strong the job market is.

If seeing “Job Market” is surprising 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

Whether you prefer a state park or the theme parks, a small town or a gated community, there are plenty of options available! Here are the best places to retire in Florida, according to U.S. News.


historic Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola

1. Pensacola

With more than 1/5 of the population over age 60, Pensacola is the perfect city to kick off your retirement! Close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico (combined with affordable housing) means you’ll have your toes in those white sand beaches in no time.

Pensacola is the happy medium between “big city” and “small town,” with a walkable downtown area that hosts a weekly farmer’s market. Another perk of this laidback beach town? The cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. According to Market Watch, you can live comfortably in Pensacola with only $40k/year.

Tampa Bay

2. Tampa

Near the beach? Check. Plenty of world class 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.

Waterfront cityscape in Naples, Florida

3. Naples

This beach town is one of the best places to live in Florida for retirees—and they know it! A whopping 40% of the residents are age 60+, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people.

The cost of living might be a bit higher than the national average, but Naples more than makes up for it! Not only is the weather mild year-round, it’s one of the safest cities in Florida, with a crime rate that’s 90% lower than the rest of the state. Throw in a vibrant shopping scene and plenty of golf courses and you’ve got the makings of the perfect retirement community!

Daytona Beach welcome sign

4. Daytona Beach

The World’s Most Famous Beach was listed #7 on the list for best places to retire in the country, so you certainly won’t be alone in retiring here.

Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, Daytona is far from a quiet beach town. Biketoberfest and the Daytona Beach Speedway are only a small part of the thriving tourism industry, ensuring you’ll always have something to do on the weekends.

siesta key

5. Sarasota

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!


6. Melbourne

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!


7. Lakeland

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).

sunset in Ocala

8. Ocala

As one of the biggest equestrian communities in Florida, Ocala may not offer quick access to the beach, but it makes up for it with some truly spectacular scenery.

Between the Ocala National Forest and a plethora of state parks, you can explore the untamed Florida wilderness that’s right in your backyard. Not to mention, the University of Florida is just a short drive away, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to visit your college-age grandkids!

These are the best places to retire in florida!

9. Port St. Lucie

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Port St. Lucie is one of the most popular retirement destinations in Florida.

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.


10. Orlando

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!


11. Jacksonville

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.

Ft. Myers has been ranked the best place to retire in florida

12. Ft. Myers

Fort Myers 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.


Honorable Mentions

If moving to Florida will take you a little too far from friends and family, here are some other cities that made the list:



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 10+ 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!


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