For generations, Florida has been one of the most popular retirement hotspots in the U.S. Many workers spend years — or decades — dreaming of whiling away their golden years on a beach or basking in the Sunshine State’s glorious weather from the deck of their condominium unit.
Times have changed, and so have the dreams of future retirees. Arizona beckons for some, while the more adventurous dream of post-work life overseas. Some people even prefer simply remaining in the same place where they have lived during their working years.
But Florida remains America’s undisputed retirement Shangri-La for many. Recently, Florida for Boomers unveiled its list of the best places to retire in the state. Following is the website’s top 10.
The favorite wintertime haunt of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in the early 20th century, Fort Myers remains a go-to destination for retirees. It attracts those who want to live in a city but are put off by the size and relatively fast pace of Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Fort Myers also is attractive to retirees who spend only part of their year down south, as we recently detailed in “The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Snowbirds in 2021.”
Ponte Vedra Beach
Located between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach is a great place to retire if you love golf. Known as the home of the PGA Tour and the Players Championship, it is part of St. Johns County, the wealthiest in Florida.
Like Ponte Vedra Beach, Naples is known for its upscale atmosphere. But it is located on the more laid-back west coast of Florida and is renowned for quiet nature retreats such as nearby Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Everyone thinks of auto racing — and the Daytona 500 — when they hear the words “Daytona Beach.” But those seeking life at a slower speed — plus affordable housing, great golfing and fabulous fishing — will find it here.
St. Cloud was founded as a place for Civil War veterans from the Union to retire. More than a century later, seniors are still settling here. Unlike close-by Orlando and its theme parks, St. Cloud celebrates a slower pace of life and cultivates a small-town feel.
The third-biggest city in Florida and largest on the state’s Gulf Coast, Tampa is a great location for retirees who want a bit more culture and excitement in their golden years. In fact, Tampa has the fourth-largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the Southeastern U.S.
Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie is a fast-growing town on Florida’s east coast. The spring training home to baseball’s New York Mets, it can lay claim to having the third-oldest place name in the U.S. Only “La Florida” and “St. Augustine” have deeper roots than “St. Lucie.”
Ocala is horse country, with hundreds of thoroughbred farms and training centers located in the town. The 607-square-mile Ocala National Forest — the second-largest nationally protected forest in Florida — adds to the area’s reputation for quiet natural beauty.
As America’s fastest-growing area in the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, The Villages is a master-planned, age-restricted community that covers portions of three counties — Sumter, Lake and Marion. More than half of residents living here are age 65 or older.
Once the winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Sarasota now is known more as a cultural and environmental center of the Sunshine State. Home to the Sarasota School of Architecture, the area also is famous for its beautiful keys (islands), including Lido Key, St. Armands Key and parts of Siesta Key.
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