It’s never too late to become a Floridian.
Between beaches, theme parks, and year-round sunshine, there’s a reason Florida is the South’s biggest tourist destination. What many people don’t realize is just how great of place it is to live full-time. With no state income tax, phenomenal medical care, and vibrant communities filled with newcomers, the Sunshine State is quickly becoming a retirement hot spot. If you’re thinking of making the move, but don’t know where to start check out these six towns. They make the thought of becoming a Floridian seem like a no brainer.
Despite being located in landlocked Central Florida, you won’t even miss the beach thanks to Winter Park’s small-town charm. With brick streets lined with oak trees, open-air cafes, and a gorgeous chain of lakes, you feel like you’re in a quaint New England village. Don’t confuse the word quaint with sleepy either: Winter Park has plenty to offer due to a booming culinary and arts scene. Notable favorites are checking out concerts or shows at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, catching classic movies at the Enzian Theater, or dining al fresco on Park Avenue. Plus, with Orlando’s attractions are only twenty-five miles away, your grandkids will love visiting you and Mickey Mouse at the same time.
This west coast town is occasionally overshadowed by nearby Sarasota, but that’s part of why locals love it. Venice has all the perks of a major city without losing its laid back, beachy vibe. Those looking to spend their retirement days on the water will love visiting Manasota Key and Nokomis Beach while sportier types will appreciate all the golf and tennis options available. Downtown Venice is also filled with local establishments offering live music, great food, and of course, idyllic views of the sunset.
If you’re looking for a community centric town, consider Vero Beach. This east coast city is home to many planned vacation and retirement communities. Some of which offer on-sight beach and pool access, restaurants, tennis, golf, and social events — you’ll have to find an excuse to leave the neighborhood! Downtown Vero has plenty to offer as well with a multitude of dining options (local haunts include The Tides, The Citrus Grillhouse and The Lemon Tree), boutique shops, local breweries, and gorgeous beaches.
With seniors making up nearly fifty percent of the population, it’s no wonder that Naples is consistently ranked as one of the top places to retire in the U.S.. Between superb medical care, top notch food, and recreational activities ranging from golf to fishing, this waterfront city is an ideal destination if you’re looking to move South. In Old Naples, check out the shopping on Fifth Avenue, Third Street South or even the area known as the Trail of Treasures for vintage finds. When the grandkids come to visit, there’s plenty to do with the whole family — from kayaking in the mangroves to the Naples Zoo to taking a day trip to The Everglades.
Palm Beach is the place Southerners go if they want to retire in style. While Worth Avenue and its high-end boutiques are pretty fabulous, the home of Lilly Pulitzer has a lot more to offer than just shopping. With a fifty-mile coastline and over one hundred and sixty golf courses, hitting the water or the links are popular hobbies for locals. Additionally, this coastal town has over eighty-one parks that you can hike, bike and explore. In terms of their arts and culture scene, catch a symphony or Broadway show at The Kravitz Center for the Performing Arts, see the latest exhibits at the Norton Museum of Art, or keep up with Palm Beach’s active fair and festival calendar that boasts everything from food and wine fests to boat shows.
The Florida Keys
It’s impossible to narrow down just one city in the Keys to retire in since it really is a matter of preference. Key Largo is the closest to the mainland, so it’s perfect for anyone looking to jet off to nearby Miami (it’s only an hour away!). It’s also great for nature enthusiasts due to state parks and a living coral reef that’s made Key Largo the state’s diving capital. Further out, there’s Marathon. With more locals than tourists, Marathon is everything a retiree is looking for since it offers sport fishing, boating, diving, and affordable housing. Lastly, there’s always Key West if you’re looking to make the lyrics to your favorite Jimmy Buffett songs a reality.