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Best Places To Retire in Florida


Millions of baby boomers are on the threshold of retiring and many of them will end up somewhere other than where they currently live. In fact, a survey done recently by the Del Webb company found that 59% of those retiring will retire to someplace outside their home state. And while the phrase, "retire to Florida," may seem like a bit of a cliche Florida remains the number one destination state for retirees.

This raises the question what are the best places to retire in Florida? While there are literally hundreds of different places you could move to, here are the best places to retire in Florida


One of the best places to retire in Florida is this small town on the Gulf Coast. It's about an hour away from Tallahassee and has a population of several thousand. Apalachicola is a wealthy, old fishing town with a long history due it to its proximity to the rich oyster and fishing areas of the Gulf Coast. Downtown Apalachicola as an interesting array of restored buildings with a lovely, working waterfront with fishing boats tied up next to tasty seafood restaurants. Many believe that the town's oysters are the finest in the entire world.

Apalachicola also sports one of the most beautiful stretches of beaches and coasts in all of Florida. If you want to live on the beach, nearby Sand Island, St. George's Island and St. Vincent Island offer relaxed, tropical settings. The town also has a large number of historic restored homes and bed and breakfasts. The median price of a home there was $110,000 in late 2010


Sarasota has a population of around 52,000 and is on Florida's central west coast--on the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.

Sarasota plays home to dozens of historically significant buildings and institutions. It is a very popular retirement community and many consider it to be Florida's cultural capital. It has one of the best downtowns in Florida.

Sarasota is the winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers circus. The philanthropic legacy of John and Mabel Ringling has made Sarasota something of a cultural powerhouse. The Ringling Museum of Art is one of the most impressive museums in Florida.

One option for living in Sarasota is an apartment in the downtown area. Alternately, there is a wide variety of housing options available in various neighborhoods. The median sales price of a home in the Sarasota/Brighton/Venice area was $185,000 in 2010.


South of Sarasota is the city of Venice, a very nice community of 21,000 people on the Gulf of Mexico. It was originally developed in 1925 by, believe it or not, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. They saw it as a planned retirement community. Like its namesake, Venice has many canals and rivers running through it. It is a top-rated community for adults over the age of 55.

Venice is similar to Naples in many ways except it has less traffic and its prices are far lower. For example, the real estate market in Venice is very soft right now as it attempts to recover from overbuilding, the hurricanes of 2005 and speculation. Prices soared to an average selling price of $300,000 in 2006 but as of 2010, the median home price was $140,000.

Winter Park

This town is an historic retirement and resort town in the Orlando and Kissimmee area of central Florida. It is actually a planned community that has been built along a group of lakes. The city claims that it has the most parks per capita of any in Florida. Winter Park is relatively prosperous and has a very high cultural base. Winter Park is also something of a college town as it is the home of the Full Sail University, Valencia Community College and Rollins College.

In 2010, the median price of a home in Winter Park was $300,000. However, it has many neighborhoods where the median prices are more in the neighborhood of 100,000.


You would not necessarily think of Jacksonville as a great retirement community because it is the most populous city in Florida with 880,000 residents. In fact it is the 12th largest city in the US. Most people who live in Jacksonville are younger but as a retirement area for active adults age 55+, it has much to offer in recreation, culture and things to do. If you want to work, there is an abundance of jobs for retirees-both paid and volunteer. The city has a mild climate in the winter and is home to several universities and colleges including the University of North Florida.

As you might imagine, given its size, the Jacksonville community is very diverse in terms of its types of housing-with everything from downtown high-rises to beachfront apartments and active adult communities. In 2010, the median sales price of a home in Jacksonville was $139,000, down 9% from a year earlier. Prices of homes closer to the downtown area tend to be lower than those of the beach communities of Jacksonville Beach and Orlando beach. There are many apartments for rent.

Key West

If you have read the works of Ernest Hemingway, you'll already know something about Key West. It is the most southeastern city in the United States. It offers sub-tropical warmth, a rich cross-section of people and is a very charming city. You could describe Key West as a cross between a Caribbean island and a US tourist destination. It did try do succeed from the US at one point and named itself the Conch Republic.

Key West's old town is famous for gracious colonial homes. Its Duval Street is a more charming version of Bourbon Street. Hemingway's mansion near the Key West Lighthouse is where he wrote almost half of his major works. The lower and newer parts of town were hit hard by hurricane Wilma in 2005. One of the more interesting things about Key West is that you don't need a car. Almost everyone scoots around town on a 1950s style cruiser bike-big, fat-tired bikes that can go over curbs and cart groceries.

If you retire to Key West you can choose to live in a condo or private home. There is a luxurious community called the Truman Annex that formerly was a US naval base. The median price was $300,000 in 2010.

Now you have a better idea of what are some of the best places to retire in Florida. Airline tickets are not too expensive since it is a popular retirement and tourist destination. You can plan a trip to visit and see how well you may enjoy spending your retirement years in the Sunshine State.

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Best Places in the US:

St. George, Utah

Bellingham, Washington

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Savannah, Georgia

Largo, Florida

Franklin, Tennessee

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Fort Collins, Colorado

Portland, Oregonbr>
McCormick, South Carolina

Seneca, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

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