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20 Best Places to Retire in Florida

This article will look at the 20 best places to retire in Florida. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you may go directly to the 10 Best Places to Retire in Florida.

The Sunny State of Florida

The U.S. population growth has nearly flatlined. 2021 saw a growth of less than a million people, while a tepid 0.38% increase followed between 2021 and 2022. The population is not only living longer at 79 years on average, but it's also reproducing below the replacement rate at 1.9 births per woman. As the population ages, fewer working people will be left behind to support a growing number of retirees.

The state that has been an outlier in terms of population growth, however, is Florida. This sunny state has continued witnessing an increase in population since the 1940s. Warmer temperatures, beaches, and lack of an income tax are increasingly drawing both the working population and retirees to the state. Today, the population in the southeastern state tops 22 million people.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 21% of the population comprises seniors aged 60 and older. While seniors and retirees contribute the same per capita revenue to their states — their per capita expenses are comparatively smaller. According to Good Life Home Loans, the average monthly retirement income in the state is $6,100 monthly or $73,000 annually. This amount is slightly less than the average household income of Floridians, which stands at $88,267 annually.

Smaller incomes translate to slightly smaller spending on taxable goods. However, this cohort is the most to buy valuable homes. Therefore, while the retiree population may be contributing lesser to sales and gross receipts and sales taxes, they end up paying more in property taxes.

Moreover, they tend to have no children in the house, so there's no pressure on the education budget either. Medical expenses are more needed for this age group, but their lesser demand for other services offsets it. All in all, the retiree population brings good wherever it goes, and Florida is the one state it still loves more than anything else. However, the continuous surge in population in the state may not be a pretty sight in the future.

Florida: Losing the Middle-Class Boomer Status

Fortune reports that wealthy Americans are moving to Florida at 4 times the rate compared to other states. The surge in population has driven up housing costs by a massive 73.5% over the past few years. Median home prices in Florida as of April 2023 have been hovering around $410,000. These figures show a massive turn of events, considering that in 2019, the real estate prices in Florida were less than the U.S. average. Inflation rates haven’t been showing mercy on the sunny state either. While the rest of the nation witnessed a 6.4% hike from December 2021-22, Boward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade metro areas saw as high rates as 9.9%. Tampa's inflation rates have been particularly high, too, at 8.9%.

Other factors accounting for the cost of living, such as food and energy, have been showing similar trends. For the 12 months ending December 2022, the food index for South Florida rose by 8.8%, while energy saw an increase of 5.2% for the same period. All in all, the sunshine state may be losing out on its middle-class boomer status as the wealthier take over.

Retirement accounts and 401(k) plans can help potential retirees materialize their plans for retiring in the sunshine state. Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), and Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:IBKR) are a few examples of companies offering Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to individuals. Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) allows individuals to open savings IRAs in both traditional and Roth.

Moreover, individuals can also open investment IRAs through Merrill Edge, a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC). Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), and Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:IBKR) also offer different retirement accounts depending on user needs. You can also seek financial advice from Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), and Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:IBKR) for the same.

20 Best Places to Retire in Florida
20 Best Places to Retire in Florida

Image by coombesy from Pixabay


In order to compile the list of 20 best places to retire in Florida, we have used a total of 7 (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) sources. After gathering the best places to retire in Florida, we scored each place based on the number of times different sources recommended them. The cost of living scores discussed are mainly taken from Sperlings’ Best Places while real estate prices originate from Redfin.

Finally, the best places were ranked in ascending order from lowest to highest scores.

20. St. Cloud

Insider Monkey Score: 2

St. Cloud is the perfect mix of sunny and quiet for the retirees who wish to enjoy a slow-paced life. Not only does the town bear a historical significance, it is in close proximity to Orlando and various beaches as well. St. Cloud is located in Osceola County along the banks of East Lake Tohopekaliga. Average home prices in the city hover around $385,000, significantly lower than the average home prices in the state. The city has many attractive lakes for fishing and other water sports too. The cost of living is 4% higher than the state average.

19. Clermont

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Just a short drive from Orlando is a city full of lakes, golf clubs, and natural preserves. This city is called Clermont, and retirees love to settle here for its outdoor recreational opportunities. Historic downtown, small-town feel, and many restaurants are certainly this suburban oasis's highlight. Average home prices are high, around $478,000, while the average rent for an apartment can cost around $1,932 and above. The cost of living is 6-7% higher than the average.

18. Orlando

Insider Monkey Score: 2

The sunny city of Orlando draws more than 75 million visitors annually. Retirees love it for the active lifestyle it offers, such as year-round golf, boating, and hiking, among the many things to do. The cost of living is comparatively cheaper than other places in Florida, at 103.3. This still makes it 3% higher than the U.S. average. Average housing prices in the city hover around $360,000, while average rents are $1,933 and above. North of Orlando is another retirement destination to explore called Winter Park, which is full of abundant outdoor spaces.

17. Melbourne

Insider Monkey Score: 2

The mid-sized beach community is a popular destination for retirees on the eastern coast of Florida. Various cuisines, arts, and cultures amalgamate here, which makes it an exciting place to live. The bustling, historic downtown offers various shops, restaurants, and bars that await exploration. 25% of the population comprises seniors and retirees, and the city is home to numerous parks, nature preserves, and activities. Median listing home prices for this city are around $415,000.

16. Daytona Beach

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Daytona Beach offers retirees the perfect oceanfront destination while respecting the need for a small-town lifestyle. Located northeast of Orlando, Daytona beach offers retirees many activities such as fishing, theatre, museums, markets, restaurants, and malls. Many popular retirement communities, such as the Daytona Beach Home, can be found here. Housing is affordable as compared to other places in Florida at $300,000, and the cost of living is pretty reasonable, too, at 86.7.

15. St. Petersburg

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Warm weather, great beaches, and plentiful recreational activities make St. Petersburg another top retirement spot for those looking. Writers and other artists especially love it here, thanks to the abundant museums, galleries, and studios available here. Many boating, beaching, and other water-based activities are also available for beach lovers. The city is also home to many active adult communities. Average home prices are $418,000, while rents cost around $1,989 and above.

14. Pensacola

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Beautiful gulf coast beaches, perfect weather, and housing affordability are the top reasons retirees wish to relocate here. Military retirees are particularly drawn to the city due to the Naval Air Station Pensacola. Residents can enjoy kayaking or canoeing at Blackwater River State Park, visit the gorgeous white-sand beaches, or even explore the many nature preserves and parks in the area. Average home prices in Pensacola are around $299,000, which is much less than the state average. Meanwhile, the cost of living in the city is 13% lower than the U.S. average.

13. Lakeland

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Lakeland is another fast-growing retirement haven with a laid-back lifestyle. The moderate climate and plentiful activities make the city a good option. The city also lies conveniently close to both Tampa and Orlando, a major plus considering they are home to various beaches. The city itself has 38 named lakes with lots of water-based activities such as fishing and boating. Average home prices in the city are around $300,000, while rents are $1,489. The cost of living is reasonable, too, as it is 12% lower than the national average.

12. Gainesville

Insider Monkey Score: 3

Small-town southern charm and a bustling arts and culture scene are two factors that define Gainesville best. This college town is also home to abundant activities and attractions for retirees to enjoy. From the University of Florida Bat House to Butterfly Forest and Paynes Praire, there are lots of places to explore. Restaurants, parks, shops, and other entertainment are abundant throughout the city too. Median home prices in the city are $280,000, while living costs are 10% lower than the state average.

11. Fort Meyers

Insider Monkey Score: 3

Resorts, restaurants, and top-notch beaches are only some of the many things to explore in Fort Meyers. Retirees love it, especially for its great healthcare, year-round golf, and affordable living. Median home prices in Fort Meyers are around $395,000, while the average rent for an apartment costs $1,696. The cost of living stands at 96.9, making it 3% cheaper than the national average.

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Disclosure: none. 20 Best Places to Retire in Florida is originally published on Insider Monkey.