Social Security

15 Best Cities to Retire in Florida in 2021

When you think of retirement states, Florida probably naturally comes to mind.

Stephanie Faris
Published February 23rd, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • When you think of retirement states, Florida probably naturally comes to mind.
  • Attractions and amenities can vary dramatically from one Florida town to the next.
  • It’s important to look at the 65-plus population while also considering basics like access to restaurants, shopping, and healthcare

When you think of retirement states, Florida probably naturally comes to mind. The mild winters and miles of beaches make Florida popular with retirees eager to enjoy life. But the best places to live in Florida aren’t necessarily the best places to retire in Florida.

What makes a great retirement city? Great weather is important, but access to healthcare, amenities, and affordable living are three top features. Here are the top 15 cities to consider for your retirement years.

Sarasota

CITY POPULATION: 58,285 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 27.3% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 3% above the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $40,470 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you’ve always dreamed of retiring to a beachfront community, Sarasota should top your list of the best cities to live in Florida. Miles of award-winning beaches combine with retail, restaurants, and culture to make it an all-around great place to live.

Orlando

CITY POPULATION: 287,442 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.2% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 2% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $32,085 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Orlando is best known for being home to Disney World, but there are other reasons it’s one of the best places in Florida. There are plenty of restaurants and attractions, and you can even enjoy senior discounts in the off season. If you like the amenities of a retirement community, Orlando is packed with plenty of those, as well.

Jacksonville

CITY POPULATION: 957,755 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14.5% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $31,327 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Jacksonville is one of the best cities in Florida overall because it has a little of everything. Sports, beaches, retail, restaurants, and more. The weather is also a little milder than you’ll get in other areas of the state. But one of the biggest benefits of Jacksonville living is access to top-quality healthcare, which is a priority for many retirees.

Daytona Beach

CITY POPULATION: 69,186 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.8% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 6% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $24,360 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Another option for your beachfront Florida retirement living is Daytona Beach. The area definitely has a tourist population, but if you don’t mind the crowds, you can carve out a nice life. Daytona Beach is especially appealing to car and motorcycle enthusiasts, thanks to the many automotive events held there.

The Villages

CITY POPULATION: 79,372 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 81.6% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 1.4% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $45,307 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Located just a half an hour north of Orlando, The Villages is not only one of the best retirement communities in Florida. It’s often named as one of the top retirement communities in the world. With more than 3,000 social clubs, three town squares with nightly entertainment, and numerous recreational centers and golf courses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar large-scale community dedicated to retirees.

Port St. Lucie

CITY POPULATION: 201,846 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.5% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 2% above the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $27,546 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you love golf, one of the best places in Florida is Port St. Lucie. The city is packed with golf communities, and you’ll find more than 20 courses located throughout the city. You’ll also have access to miles of beautiful beaches and plenty of restaurants and shops.

St. Petersburg

CITY POPULATION: 265,351 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 18.6% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 7% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $36,266 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Between the beaches of St. Petersburg and nearby Clearwater, you’ll never be without a beach day. But what makes St. Petersburg one of the best cities in Florida for retirees are its theaters and museum. There’s also plenty of shopping and dining options, as well as multiple 55-plus communities.

Tampa

CITY POPULATION: 399,700 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 12.3% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $36,169 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Tampa has a little bit of something for every age group. But for retirees, it’s one of the best cities to retire in Florida because of its large size. The warm climate and close proximity to multiple beaches make it ideal for long walks, or just enjoying a nice dinner with a great view. If you’re hoping to be surrounded by other retirees, you can opt for one of the many active adult communities in the area.

Naples

CITY POPULATION: 22,088 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 52.5% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 74% above the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $110,423 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Naples is one of the best small towns in Florida due to its beautiful beaches and high-end shopping. There’s a high cost of living, but the city itself is geared toward the needs of the predominant 55-plus community. You’ll have access to some of the best healthcare in the country, both in Naples and throughout Collier county.

Melbourne

CITY POPULATION: 83,029 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 21.2% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 4% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $28,776 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you’re looking for a beach town with a mild climate, Melbourne is one of the best places to retire. Located midway down the east coast, Melbourne has plenty of golf courses and a year-round warm climate. It’s also only an hour from Orlando, so you can take the grandkids to Disney World when they visit.

Ft. Myers

CITY POPULATION: 87,103 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 22% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 4% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $29,991 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Those who love the great outdoors often name Ft. Myers one of the best retirement communities in the country. The daytime temperature rarely dips below 60 degrees, allowing you to enjoy the beaches, golf courses, and other outdoor amenities. You’ll also find plenty of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues to keep you busy.

Florida Keys

CITY POPULATION: 13,046 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 23.7% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 24% above the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $65,864 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you have the money to swing the high cost of living, consider the Florida Keys. It’s one of the best areas to live in Florida due to its breathtaking waterfront views and year-round warm climate. The many museums, shops, and cultural attractions make it a great place to live either part- or full-time.

Ocala

CITY POPULATION: 60,786 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 18.1% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 8% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $27,340 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Ocala is often lumped in with The Villages due to its proximity, but it has plenty to offer on its own. Often cited as one of the places to live in Florida for its large horse farms, you’ll find plenty of horseback-riding opportunities. The charming downtown square has plenty of unique shops, and you’ll find a wide range of dining options throughout the city.

St. Augustine

CITY POPULATION: 15,415 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 22.7% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 3% above the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $34,086 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

History buffs may find St. Augustine a great option for retirement. Known as the oldest European-established town in the U.S., the city is rich with culture. Tourists come to the city each year, so you’ll find plenty of attractions, retail shops, and restaurants. Travel a little outside of the charming downtown area to get to miles of beaches.

Clearwater

CITY POPULATION: 116,946 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 22.5% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 7% below the national average PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $31,949 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Among Florida gulf coast cities, Clearwater has several 55-plus communities, each packed with plenty of amenities. The city is home to golf courses and beautiful beaches, as well as a popular marine aquarium. You’ll also find great seafood restaurants and entertainment, making it a great option if you’re looking for that “year-round vacation” experience.

Bottom Line

Any list of best towns to live in Florida should serve to get you started on your search. In the end, only you can determine which community is the best to fit your lifestyle. Whatever you decide, Retirable can help you set up a plan to start saving so that you can enjoy your retirement when the time comes.

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Author
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a writer for a credit card processing service and has written about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on Money Under 30, The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, E-commerce Insiders, and GoBankingRates.

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