Retirement in Florida
Florida’s sunny beaches and pleasant winters have long drawn retirees who spent their working years in colder climes. The low housing prices in many Florida cities make the Sunshine State an affordable place to relocate. There’s also no state income tax in Florida, which can benefit retirees with taxable income. The reasonable cost of living and proximity to the beach makes Florida a desirable place to retire, according to a U.S. News analysis of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. The study includes data about housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care. Consider these Florida cities for retirement:
Share of population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,287
Median monthly rent: $992
Median home price: $148,800
Located at the northwestern tip of Florida, Pensacola is an ideal location for an affordable beach retirement. Pensacola sits along the Pensacola Bay and near the Gulf of Mexico. Popular beaches include Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Pensacola scores high marks for desirability, according to a U.S. News survey about potential retirement spots. Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, which means those who plan to work in retirement get to keep more of their earnings.
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,419
Median monthly rent: $1,070
Median home price: $159,100
Located on the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is a city of skyscrapers and high rises. Tampa has a variety of entertainment options including a zoo, an aquarium, theme parks, several professional sports teams and a popular port for cruise ships. There are several health care providers, including Tampa General Hospital. The reasonable home prices make Tampa affordable to seniors who want to retire near the beach on a budget while still enjoying the amenities of a metro area.
Share of population age 60+: 26%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,223
Median monthly rent: $944
Median home price: $120,900
This city is aptly named for the area’s 38 scenic lakes, some of which are inhabited by swans. The humid summers are tempered by mild and sunny winters. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a quieter and more affordable alternative to Florida’s larger cities. Health care is provided by Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Lakeland is also a college town and home to Florida Polytechnic University and Florida Southern College, the latter of which has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.
Share of population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,457
Median monthly rent: $1,161
Median home price: $181,800
Orlando is a popular vacation destination, due to the area’s theme parks, convention centers and resorts. The city is also a college town, and the massive University of Central Florida has more than 69,000 students. Health care is provided by AdventHealth Orlando. The mild winter temperatures, prolific entertainment options and low cost of living are attractive to retirees. Your grandchildren will beg to visit you if you live near Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida.
9. Daytona Beach
Share of population age 60+: 32%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,258
Median monthly rent: $1,029
Median home price: $173,000
Daytona Beach is not a quiet beach retreat. This bustling city is a haven for motorsports and the headquarters for NASCAR. Fans flock to the city for the Daytona 500, Speedweeks and many other large automobile and motorcycle events each year. The moderate home prices in Daytona Beach allow even those on a budget to live near the ocean. A popular vacation destination, this coastal city also has sandy beaches, water parks and golf courses.
Share of population age 60+: 21%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,427
Median monthly rent: $1,059
Median home price: $185,700
Florida’s most populous city is one of the fastest-growing places in the U.S. This northern Florida city added 9,070 people between July 2018 and July 2019, according to Census Bureau data. Jacksonville has miles of white-sand beaches along the Atlantic coast, and the St. Johns River and Jacksonville Beach Pier provide opportunities for fishing. The area is also a popular retirement destination for golfers, and some of the most scenic courses overlook the ocean and river. Jacksonville has several high-performing hospitals, according to the U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, including Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville.
Share of population age 60+: 31%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,324
Median monthly rent: $1,018
Median home price: $172,200
This part of Florida is often referred to as the Space Coast due to the nearby Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Locals can watch rockets as they launch into space. Many streets, schools and other places are named after the space program. Melbourne has an affordable cost of living, and health care is provided by the Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center. When you’re done pondering the cosmos, earthly pleasures include relaxing on an Atlantic Ocean beach or spotting dolphins and sea turtles at the Indian River Lagoon.
Share of population age 60+: 23%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,774
Median monthly rent: $1,295
Median home price: $241,400
Miami is a tropical beach retirement spot that has the skyline and amenities of a major metro area. PortMiami boasts 22 cruise lines that travel to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. Retirees have access to multiple health care options, including Baptist Hospital of Miami and Cleveland Clinic Weston. Miami-Dade residents who are age 65 and older can ride public transit for free, which allows retirees to get around without a car. However, housing prices are higher in Miami than in other parts of Florida.
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,065
Median monthly rent: $859
Median home price: $136,100
This equestrian town is best known for breeding award-winning horses. Retirees can attend horse shows and equestrian events and enjoy regular horseback rides on local nature trails. This inland Florida city is more affordable than many other parts of the state. Ocala‘s inexpensive housing makes it easy to relocate to the area. The Ocala National Forest has hundreds of lakes, rivers and springs where you can swim, fish and canoe.
Share of population age 60+: 38%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,787
Median monthly rent: $1,228
Median home price: $364,600
Naples scores high marks for desirability. Located along the Gulf of Mexico, the white-sand beaches, golf courses and pleasant winter weather draw many retirees to the area. Naples is considerably more expensive than other parts of Florida, but locals often find the quality of life to be worth the cost. Residents of the Naples metro area, which includes Immokalee and Marco Island, report the highest sense of well-being in the country, according to a Gallup survey of 156 U.S. communities. Naples residents told Gallup that they like where they live, enjoy supportive relationships and have a comfortable economic life.
3. Port St. Lucie
Share of population age 60+: 33%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,436
Median monthly rent: $1,126
Median home price: $184,200
A third of the population is age 60 or older in this popular retirement spot. Port St. Lucie is located along the Atlantic Ocean in southern Florida. This coastal city is an affordable place to retire near the water. If you ever tire of the beach, you can check out the wetlands at Savannas Preserve State Park or the native plants at the St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. Sports fans will enjoy the New York Mets spring training at First Data Field.
2. Fort Myers
Share of population age 60+: 35%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,416
Median monthly rent: $1,093
Median home price: $217,100
Fort Myers residents report a sense of well-being that is among the highest in the U.S., according to a Gallup survey, with locals reporting they have supportive relationships and a manageable economic life. Many retirees are able to comfortably afford a home, which frees up retirement income for other essential expenses. Fort Myers is located along Florida’s Gulf Coast and the Caloosahatchee River. Seniors in Fort Myers can create a relaxing beach retirement lifestyle, even on a modest budget.
Share of population age 60+: 39%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,481
Median monthly rent: $1,152
Median home price: $225,000
Retirees are often drawn to Sarasota‘s white-sand beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key. But it’s the high quality of life that keeps people in the area. Sarasota residents report liking where they live and feeling safe in their community, according to a Gallup survey. Sarasota Memorial Hospital is a high-performing hospital for the region, according to U.S. News Best Hospitals data. The reasonable housing costs allow retirees on a budget to live near the water.
The best places to retire in Florida:
- Fort Myers.
- Port St. Lucie.
- Daytona Beach.
Thinking about retiring in Florida? Find a local financial advisor now.
Updated on Nov. 23, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.