The Ultimate Guide to Retirement in Florida: Top Cities, Communities & attractions

Published on 29 September 2023 at 05:27

Florida, often referred to as the Sunshine State, is undeniably the nation's retirement hot spot. With pristine beaches, mild winters, and low taxes, it's a paradise for individuals aged 55 and over. Choosing the perfect community for your retirement can be challenging, but we're here to help. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top five cities for retirees in Florida and highlight the highest-rated retirement communities in each city. Whether you're looking for affordable living, access to healthcare, or a vibrant lifestyle, Florida has it all.

Now, let's dive into the reasons why Florida is the ultimate retirement destination and explore the top retirement communities across the state.

Why Retire to Florida?

Well, The answer to this question, we have already given in our previous blog here , Florida's allure for retirees extends beyond its beautiful landscapes and sunny weather. Here are four key reasons why Florida continues to attract retirees from across the United States:


  1. Low Taxes: Florida has a distinct advantage when it comes to taxes. It boasts no state income, estate, or inheritance taxes. Additionally, Social Security benefits, pension income, and income from IRAs are all untaxed in Florida. This tax-friendly environment can significantly benefit retirees, allowing them to maximize their savings and enjoy a higher quality of life.
  2. Large Population of Adults Aged 55+: Florida's appeal to retirees is evident in its demographics, with people aged 60 and over making up more than 25% of the total population in many of its famous cities. This substantial senior community fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie among retirees.
  3. Pleasant Year-Round Climate: Florida's climate is a major draw for active retirees. The state offers mild winters, making it an attractive destination for snowbirds looking to escape the cold. Even during the hot summer months, there are ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, from lazy days on the beach to various outdoor activities.
  4. Countless Attractions and Events: Florida truly offers something for everyone. In addition to its picturesque beaches and state parks, Florida boasts a wealth of cultural attractions and events. Museums with free admission, outdoor concerts, festivals, farmers markets, and art fairs can be found in most metro areas, ensuring retirees have a rich and engaging retirement experience.

Selecting the Top Retirement Communities


To compile our list of top retirement communities, we first considered the total population of each city on the U.S. News & World Report list and then calculated the percentage of people aged 65 and over. When evaluating these communities, we took into account several crucial factors:

  1. Location: The location of each retirement community plays a vital role in its desirability. We considered proximity to amenities, natural beauty, and the overall ambiance of the area.
  2. Access to High-Quality Healthcare: Access to healthcare is essential for retirees. We assessed the presence of top-rated healthcare facilities in the vicinity of each community.
  3. Age Restriction: Some retirees prefer age-targeted communities, which cater to retirees but welcome people of all ages, while others opt for strictly 55+ communities. We considered the type of retirement community and its suitability for active adults who need little to no daily assistance.
  4. Type of Retirement Community: Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are popular in Florida because they offer multiple housing options on the same property, including senior apartments, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. This flexibility allows residents to easily transition as their needs change.

Now, let's embark on a journey through the top five places to retire in Florida, based on affordability, access to healthcare facilities, and quality of life for seniors.

1. Naples Florida- Why it is the Top Place to retire in Florida?

Naples, located on the southwest coast of Florida, tops our list as the best place to retire. It's known for its affluence, boasting the second-highest concentration of billionaires per capita in the United States. While some real estate can be pricey, affordable condos are still available throughout the city. Naples is home to the NCH Healthcare System, a highly-rated not-for-profit institution comprising two hospitals. With over half the population aged 65 and over, Naples is a welcoming haven for retirees. The city offers high-end shopping, world-class golf courses, and picturesque sandy beaches. Although it may not be the ideal choice for budget-conscious retirees, the low tax burden ensures you get excellent value for your money.

First, Lets have a look at what is the Cost to buy or rent a property in Naples and what is the Interest rate there;

Description Naples ($) US ($)
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre  2,400.00-4,000.00  1,200.00-3,917.42
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre  1,900.00-3,200.00  900.00-2,622.55
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre  3,400.00-6,000.00  1,895.00-7,715.83
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre  2,600.00-3,800.00  1,600.00-4,879.93
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre  3,767.37-7,534.74  1,937.50-6,592.84
Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre  2,690.98-5,920.15  1,614.59-1,935.98
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)  4,157.29 $   4,691.28 $ 
Mortgage Interest Rate in (%), Yearly, 20 Years Fixed-Rate  6.34-8.90   5.10-7.00 

Source: numbeo

Top 5 Reasons Why Naples Is the Best Place to Retire

  • Stunning Scenery: Naples is home to miles of beautiful white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, offering turquoise waters and paradise just minutes from your doorstep. These immaculate, tranquil beaches are straight out of a dream and could become your daily retreat.
  • The Golf Capital of The World: Given the fantastic weather, there is so much fun to be had on Naples' many stunning golf courses. Naples is known as the Golf capital of the world, with over 90 classes and the most golf holes per capita in the United States. The variety and challenges these courses offer are what makes Naples a golfer's paradise, with courses designed by golf legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
  • Overflowing with Culture and Art: Home to one of the most significant art festivals in the world, The Naples National Art Festival, as well as many art galleries, museums, events, and performances, there's always something new and exciting to experience. Packed full of culture and flair, Naples is known as the "#1 Small Art Town in America."
  • The Perfect Place to Spend Your Golden Years: Ranked as the #1 best place to retire. Naples provides residents with one of the best resort lifestyles. With the crime rate being one of the lowest in Florida, as well as the wonderful healthcare system and state-of-the-art hospitals, Naples is a great choice for someone retired or looking to retire. Whether you wish to spend your time shopping, dining, golfing, or lounging on the beach, Naples has it all.
  • Impressive Dining Establishments: Naples is home to numerous dining establishments. It boasts several cafes, bakeries, restaurants, and quite a number of five-star dining options. In this case, Naples provides an impressive dining scene for visitors, residents, and even those coming to retire here. There are countless options when it comes to food choices. The city's culinary culture is part of life. It has gone through a tremendous evolution to meet the ever-changing demographic needs in the last few years. Apart from that, many beachside restaurants in Naples, Florida, provide enjoyable and panoramic views of the sea as you enjoy an evening dinner with your family. All these eating joints have a blend of international flavours from different parts of the world. The flavours are carefully combined with the freshly caught seafood to guarantee you satisfaction and quality. With that being said, you can be confident that your retirement life in Naples will provide you with almost everything that makes your life more exciting and fulfilling.

2. Venice Florida- Another perfect place to retire

    Venice, a serene retirement community just outside Sarasota, is another exceptional place to retire in Florida. It's renowned as the "shark tooth capital" due to the fossilized shark teeth that adorn its beaches. Venice offers retirees an array of activities, including visits to museums and landmarks in the historic district. The Venice Theatre, the largest per capita community theatre in the U.S., provides entertainment for residents. Reputable hospitals in Venice and nearby Sarasota ensure top-notch healthcare. This quirky town offers a relaxed atmosphere and affordable living, making it an ideal choice for seniors seeking a slower pace of life.


    Now , Lets have a look at what is the Cost to buy or rent a property in Venice and what is the Interest rate there;

    Description Venice ($) US ($)
    Rent Per Month
    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre  2,400.00 $   1,200.00-3,917.42 
    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,000.00-1,600.00  900.00-2,622.55 
    Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre  4,000.00 $   1,895.00-7,715.83 
    Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre  3,200.00 $   1,600.00-4,879.93 
    Buy Apartment Price
    Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre  2,852.44 $   1,614.59-11,935.98 
    Salaries And Financing
    Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)  4,583.33 $   4,691.28 $ 
    Mortgage Interest Rate in (%), Yearly, 20 Years Fixed-Rate 6.70 5.10-7.00

    Source: numbeo

    Top 5 Reasons Why Venice fl. Is the Best Place to Retire:

    • Get a Shark Bite: For the epitome of Floridian dining, Sharky's on the Pier gives all other waterfront restaurants a run for their money. Located directly on the beach with a stunning view of the Gulf and an extremely long pier, sharky's venice fl is a rare location where you can eat, chat, drink, watch fishermen, and take a mid-dining swim during the same meal. Order some grouper and a local brew, listen to the sounds of traprock music and waves crashing, and feel the salty breeze on your skin.
    • The Real 'Old Florida': Learn a little more about this unassuming, yet historic, town at the Venice Museum & Archives. Free admission gives visitors a glimpse of what made it what it is today. Fossils, artefacts, and pictures tell the tale of Venice. Frankly, I could look at old fishing pictures all day; why was everyone always dressed so elegantly and the fish so massive?
    • Check-Mark: Local, fresh seafood is the standard at Dockside Waterfront Grill on the Venice Intercoastal. Grab a boat drink and watch the boats along the marina while having a snack: grouper, shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, and bisque.
    • Go Treasure Hunting: One weekend each month, the Venice Mercato opens its doors. Inside are treasures you didn't know you needed until that magical moment when you are united. This European-style vintage market spends each month searching out and cleaning up goodies from rugs to tables, dresses to that weird breadbox like your aunt had. The hunt is half the fun, and the story that goes along with your new finds is the other half.
    • My Ferry Lady: There is a little hidden gem of a beach in Venice that no cars, bikes, hoverboards, or even feet can reach. To visit South Venice Beach, you need to venture via water, and the Venice Ferry is the ideal way to get there. A mini-tour of the Intercoastal is just a bonus to the trip. If you have your means of water travel, squeeze in a tour up nearby Alligator Creek to search for snook, herons, mullets, and crabs.

    3. The Villages Florida- Our Own Favorite

      The Villages, a planned community in Central Florida, is a haven for retirees and ranks as one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. It's divided into 17 community development districts, each controlled by a board of Supervisors. The Villages is exclusively for residents aged 55 and over. The community offers an abundance of amenities, including golf courses, tennis courts, a softball field, and more. Healthcare is easily accessible, with eight healthcare centres within the development. The Villages is perfect for seniors who seek an all-inclusive community with robust support structures and a vibrant social scene.


      First, Lets have a look at what is the Cost to buy or rent a property in the villages and what is the Interest rate there;

      Description The Villages ($) US ($)
      Rent Per Month
      Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,500.00 $  900.00-2,622.55 
      Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 3,000.00 $  1,895.00-7,715.83 
      Buy Apartment Price
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 2,583.34 $ 1,937.50-16,592.84
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,291.67 $ 1,614.59-11,935.98
      Salaries And Financing
      Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 6,500.00 $  4,691.28 $ 
      Mortgage Interest Rate in (%), Yearly, 20 Years Fixed-Rate 5.85  5.10-7.00 

      Source: numbeo

      Top 5 Reasons Why The Villages Is the Best Place to Retire:

      • Weather: If you're tired of snow, sleet, and freezing temps, then moving to The Villages has a significant advantage. The temperature in The Villages rarely drops below 47 degrees Fahrenheit. In this land of eternal sunshine and endless summer days, you can participate in outdoor activities year-round. Golfing, fishing, tennis, and swimming are all possible even in January. And, unlike other tropical regions that sit closer to the equator, it doesn't get that hot in The Villages either. You can expect it to stay below 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the majority of the year.
      • Cost of Living in The Villages, Florida: When considering a move to The Villages, many prospective residents ask, are homes in The Villages overpriced? The answer is no. In fact, one of The Villages' most significant selling points is its relatively affordable housing. At the time of this writing, the median home price inside The Villages is $359,940. That's low compared to many other states that tout warm weather and near-constant sun, like California, which currently has a median home price of $626,170. Plus, Florida offers retirees several money-saving benefits. For example, the state doesn't levy taxes on social security, IRAs, 401-Ks, or pensions. On top of that, the monthly amenity fee inside The Villages is more than reasonable. At a mere $164 per month, residents get access to most of what The Villages have to offer, including world renowned executive golf courses in the villages and miles of parks and trails.
      • Recreational Amenities: One of the top reasons to move to The Villages is almost certainly the community’s abundant recreational amenities. Numerous recreational facilities feature tennis courts, swimming pools, and fitness centres. Inside, residents can participate in multiple classes, including everything from martial arts to music theatre. Beyond that, there are hundreds of miles of trails and parks, including dog parks, paved paths, and hiking options. Whether you want to walk, jog, cycle, or take in the views, abundant green spaces await you.
      • Plenty of Shops, Restaurants, and Services: Within the community’s gates, you’ll find tons of national and locally-owned shops and restaurants. There’s a Target, Wal-Mart, Panera Bread, and Bonefish Grill, among many other well-known brands. There are also plenty of exceptional, locally-owned gems. Red Sauce, for example, features fantastic Italian cuisine that residents rave about. Or, for something a little different, there's the VKI Japanese Steakhouse, which serves up delicious sushi. If you enjoy shopping, there are several speciality stores, including a chocolatier, a gourmet olive oil shop, a tea and spice market, and several boutiques. There's no end to the treasures you'll find inside The Villages. Plus, all the services you need are within the gates, including doctors, dentists, and other medical specialists. There are dog groomers, beauty salons, and barbershops too. You won't have to leave The Villages unless you want to.
      • Developer Reputation: When moving to a 55+ community, you'll want to keep the developer's reputation in mind. Some neighbourhoods look nice but need to be regularly updated, leaving residents stuck with the same services and little variety. With The Villages, that's far from the case. The Morse family, which owns the community, is known for making constant updates. They're always looking for new and innovative ways to provide value to residents. For example, in 2019, they launched "The Villages Grown Project," which delivers farm-to-table produce throughout the community. Some of this produce goes to restaurants within The Villages. The rest is delivered via a specially equipped airstream trailer to drop-off points throughout the grounds. Residents love having access to fresh and nutritious produce. Plus, the stylish delivery fits beautifully with the community's aesthetic. It's innovations and upgrades like this that make The Villages what it is.

      4. St. Augustine Florida- Another near to perfect Retirement Destination

      St. Augustine, located in the northeastern part of Florida, is an excellent choice for retirees on a budget. It combines the best of Florida with sandy beaches, mild weather, and a low cost of living. As the oldest European-established settlement in the United States, St. Augustine offers a unique blend of history and culture. Healthcare in the area is solid, with access to top-rated hospitals in nearby Jacksonville. The city is perfect for seniors seeking affordable beachfront properties and a wealth of local attractions. Its quaint downtown area, exemplified by St. George Street, features excellent restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Plus, golf enthusiasts can enjoy the prestigious TPC Sawgrass golf course nearby

      Now , Lets have a look at what is the Cost to buy or rent a property in Venice and what is the Interest rate there;

      Description St. Augustine ($) US ($)
      Rent Per Month
      Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,800.00 $ 1,200.00-3,917.42
      Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,425.00 $ 900.00-2,622.55
      Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 3,200.00 $ 1,895.00-7,715.83
      Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 2,363.33 $ 1,600.00-4,879.93
      Buy Apartment Price
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 3,229.17 $ 1,937.50-6,592.84
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 2,690.98 $ 1,614.59-1,935.98
      Salaries And Financing
      Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 5,000.00 $  4,691.28 $ 
      Mortgage Interest Rate in (%), Yearly, 20 Years Fixed-Rate 6.49  5.10-7.00 

      Source: numbeo

      Top 5 Reasons Why St. Augustine Florida Is the Best Place to Retire:

      • It’s the oldest city in the nation: St. Augustine is rich in U.S. history; in fact, it is the nation's oldest city, founded in 1565, making it over 450 years old! Although Christopher Columbus gets credit for discovering the Americas, it was the Spanish explorer Ponce de León who first explored the coasts of Florida and called the flowering peninsula "La Florida." In 1565, Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez founded St. Augustine for the Spanish crown. Even if you're not a history buff, St. Augustine is fascinating. You'll see Castillo de San Marcos, the old fort the Spanish used to defend the city in many bloody battles. You can go inside the fort ($10 for adults, free for kids 15 and under) and see how the soldiers lived there. You can explore the perimeter of the fort and watch the dolphins swimming in the inlet.
      • Only 2 Hours from Disney World and the Coastal Weather is Amazing: Because St. Augustine rests beautifully on the east coast of Florida, the weather is absolutely ideal. It's warm with a nice coastal breeze. The average temperatures in May through October are between 75 to 80 degrees. Plus, it's only two hours out of Orlando, so you can either hit up the big attractions while you're there or take a relaxing break from Disney World with a little day trip to St. Augustine.
      • Historic Downtown and St. George Street: As far as downtowns go, St. Augustine’s Historic District is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The buildings are original Spanish Colonial dating back to when the city was first founded. There is the impressive Lightner Museum, which will transport you back to the late 1800s when it used to be the Alcazar Hotel and was often called “the castle of happy returns.” You can walk down the famous St. George Street and visit the many shops and eateries and drink in the culture of another era. If you go, make sure to visit Kilwins of St. Augustine for the best ice cream of your life. The toasted coconut is my favourite! If it’s your first time visiting St. Augustine, take a trolley tour or a walking tour of the historic district. There are even haunted tours at nighttime!
      • Drink from the Fountain of Youth: The Fountain of Youth is a natural spring that is told to restore the youth of anyone who drinks from it. Fountain of youth archaeological park tickets are as under;
        Adults. $19.95 ; Seniors (60+ Years Young). $17.95 ; Children 6-12. $9.95 ; Children 5 and Under. FREE. The Native Americans told Ponce de León that a spring in what is now the original site of St. Augustine had the power to reverse age. Ponce de León's Fountain of Youth is a huge attraction today, and you can not only visit the archaeological park but you can drink from the mythical waters. (To forewarn's a stinky little sip!)
      • Haunted Stories: Along with a rich history comes haunted tales of ghosts and unexplained mysteries. Old human bones are still being discovered in St. Augustine. The skeletons of original colonists are buried deep under buildings, and the old cemeteries in the Historic District are very cool to see. To hear some of the haunted stories, take an after-hours ghost tour!

      5. Ocala Florida- Last in list but not last in the Retirement Communities

      Ocala is a charming city located in Marion County, Florida, in the southeastern United States. Often referred to as the "Horse Capital of the World," Ocala is renowned for its equestrian culture and is a popular destination for horse enthusiasts and retirees alike. The city is nestled in the heart of Florida's lush horse country. It boasts a mild and pleasant climate that attracts visitors and new residents seeking relief from harsh winters in northern states. Ocala's picturesque landscapes are characterized by rolling hills, beautiful horse farms, and the nearby Ocala National Forest, making it an ideal location for outdoor activities such as horseback riding, golfing, hiking, and boating.

      Now , Lets have a look at what is the Cost to buy or rent a property in Venice and what is the Interest rate there;

      Description Ocala ($) US ($)
      Rent Per Month
      Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 900.00-1,500.00  1,200.00-3,917.42 
      Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 850.00-1,600.00  900.00-2,622.55 
      Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 1,800.00-2,500.00  1,895.00-7,715.83 
      Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 1,749.00-2,100.00  1,600.00-4,879.93 
      Buy Apartment Price
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 1,883.68-1,883.68  1,937.50-16,592.84 
      Price per Sq. Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,614.59-1,883.68  1,614.59-11,935.98 
      Salaries And Financing
      Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)  2,769.67 $   4,691.28 $ 
      Mortgage Interest Rate in (%), Yearly, 20 Years Fixed-Rate 6.70-7.90  5.10-7.00 

      Source: numbeo

      Top 5 Reason as Ocala may be the perfect place for you to retire

      Ocala, Florida, offers a variety of attractions and activities that are popular among the 55+ community. Here are the top five places to see and enjoy:

      1. Silver Springs State ParkSilver Springs State Park is a natural gem known for its crystal-clear springs, lush vegetation, and diverse wildlife. It's one of Florida's oldest tourist attractions and is famous for its glass-bottom boat tours, which provide a unique perspective of the underwater world. Visitors can take leisurely boat rides to view the underwater springs, where you can see fish, turtles, and other aquatic life. The park also offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and opportunities for bird-watching.The park is generally well-maintained and accessible to seniors with easy walking paths and boat tours that accommodate individuals with mobility challenges.

      2. Ocala National Forest:Ocala National Forest is a vast expanse of natural beauty covering over 600 square miles. It's known for its serene lakes, lush forests, and abundant wildlife.Seniors can explore the forest by hiking its numerous trails, go camping, or enjoy a day of picnicking by one of the picturesque lakes. The Juniper Springs Recreation Area, within the forest, features a natural spring that's perfect for swimming and relaxation.While some trails may be more challenging, there are accessible areas, and many spots are easily reachable for those who prefer a more leisurely experience.

      3. Appleton Museum of ArtThe Appleton Museum of Art is an impressive cultural institution located in Ocala. It houses a diverse collection of art and artifacts spanning various time periods and cultures. Seniors can explore the museum's extensive collection, which includes European, American, Asian, and African art. The museum often hosts special exhibitions, lectures, and events. The museum is wheelchair accessible and has amenities such as benches for resting. It provides a peaceful and educational environment for art enthusiasts.

      4. Sholom Park:Sholom Park is a peaceful and beautifully landscaped park that provides a serene escape for individuals of all ages, including seniors. It's often considered a hidden gem in Ocala, offering a tranquil oasis amidst nature.Visitors can stroll along winding pathways through lush gardens, admire colorful flowers, and relax in shaded areas with benches. The park also features ponds, bridges, and sculptures, creating a calming environment for meditation or leisurely walks. Sholom Park is designed to be accessible to everyone, with well-maintained pathways and seating areas. It's an excellent place for seniors to enjoy the outdoors in a serene setting.

      5. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing: This museum is dedicated to the history of drag racing, featuring an extensive collection of vintage drag cars, hot rods, and racing memorabilia. Visitors, including seniors, can explore the evolution of drag racing, admire the unique vehicles on display, and learn about the sport's history through informative exhibits. The museum is typically accessible to all, with ramps and pathways for ease of movement.


      Florida's appeal as a retirement destination is undeniable, with its beautiful climate, tax advantages, and diverse range of retirement communities. Each of the five cities and communities we've explored in this guide offers unique benefits to retirees, from the luxurious lifestyle of Naples to the historical charm of St. Augustine.

      Before making a decision, it's crucial to visit these communities, explore the local amenities, and assess whether they align with your retirement goals and lifestyle preferences. Additionally, consulting with a financial advisor to understand the financial implications of retiring in Florida is advisable.

      Remember that the best retirement destination is a highly personal choice, and the ultimate decision should reflect your individual needs and desires for this exciting chapter in your life.

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