10 Best Places to Retire in Florida

These Are 10 of the Best Places in Florida for Retirement

 

sunset over water at marina

Dunedin Florida

My Dunedin for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 30.6%

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors 65+: Above average for US

Cost of Living: Average for Florida today.

Housing Cost: High

Population: Approximately 36,000

Location: Dunedin is located on Florida’s west coast just above Clearwater (but has much lower crime than Clearwater). It’s just a little over a half hour’s drive to both Tampa and St Petersburg from Dunedin.

Particular Positives

Safe vibrant pedestrian-friendly downtown.

Plays host to 25 different festivals annually.

The Toronto Blue Jays spring training camp and stadium is located here.

It’s just minutes to the beaches of Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island State Parks which offer some of the best natural beaches Florida.

Access to 40 mile bike trail system

The Mease Dunedin Hospital is rated 4 out of 5 stars by Medicare.

Particular Negatives

Dunedin’s coastal location means there’s a higher risk from hurricane damage and disruption than places farther inland.

Best for:

Retirees moving from rural areas who want to be a little closer to amenities in retirement.

Seniors moving from small towns or medium sized cities.

Dunedin may also work for those relocating from large cities who are looking for a less stressful pace of life, but still want access the amenities that larger areas offer. Tampa and St Petersburg are just a half hour away.

Learn more about Dunedin in this video…

Dunedin Florida’s Official Website: https://www.dunedingov.com

Note: Nearby Safety Harbor is another place to consider as it does qualify as a best place and its Mease Countryside Hospital has a 3 star Medicare rating.

_____

 

blue sky over large marina

Milton Florida is less than an hour from beach towns in Florida’s Panhandle

Milton Florida

My Milton for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 15.2%

Crime and safety rating: Very good

School and Employment rating: Average

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent, for its small size.

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors age 65and over: Average for the US

Cost of Living: Below Average for Florida*

*This will likely change not long after this article goes public. When that happens, lots of new buyers looking for a more affordable place to retire in Florida, will likely overwhelm this small town’s limited available housing and push prices up.

Housing Cost: Average for Florida*

Population: Approximately 10,000

Location: In Florida’s Panhandle about 24 miles and 36 minutes northwest of Pensacola Florida.

Particular Positives

Milton was established before Florida became a state and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town values its local history and culture and is a designated Florida Main Street Community.

Friendly residents, strong sense of community.

Particular Negatives

None

Best for:

Retirees moving from rural areas, small and medium sized towns.

People who will be comfortable in a town that is more southern than cities along Florida’s east coast that are populated mostly by transplants from northern states.

Milton Florida’s Official Website: https://www.miltonfl.org/

Book on Florida

 

homes and boats on a cape coral canal

Cape Coral Florida

My Cape Coral for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 21.9%

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Good

Healthcare for seniors age 65 and over: Above Average for US.

Cost of Living: Average for Florida today.

Housing Cost: Average

Population: Approximately 175,000

Location: Cape coral is located on a Peninsula in Southwest Florida, just across the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers (but has a far safer crime rates than the latter).

Particular Positives

Has 400+ miles of man-made canals (more than any other city on the planet) that provide lots of waterfront properties. Many offer boating access to Gulf of Mexico.

Annual events and festivals such as the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, The Cape Coral Irish Festival and the Sounds of Jazz and Blues Festival.

The League of American Bicyclist has named Cape Coral a Bicycle Friendly Community for its efforts to create safer better places to ride.

Particular Negatives

Cape Coral’s Southwest Florida coastal location means higher risk from hurricane damage and disruption.

Best for:

Seniors who are relocating from rural areas and small towns to medium sized cities. Despite it’s almost 200,000 residents, it feels more like a suburb than a city. Cape Coral’s residents are spread across 100 square miles.

Those looking for a high quality of life for a more affordable, average cost of living.

Healthcare Note: Cape Coral is large with over 100 square miles of land. The medical facility that qualified it for this list was the 3/5 star Medicare rated Cape Coral Hospital on Del Prado Blvd South. You’ll want to keep distance to it in mind when choosing a home.

A Cape Coral Video…

Cape Coral Florida’s Official Website: https://www.capecoral.net/

_____

 

red sky sunset over water

The City of Miramar Florida’s western border is the Everglades Wildlife Management Area

Miramar Florida

My Miramar for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 9.6%

Crime and safety rating: Very Good

School and Employment rating: Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors age 65 and over: Very good, above average for US

Cost of Living: Very High

Housing cost: Very High

Population: Approximately 135,000

Location: Miramar Florida is about 35 minutes and 22 miles north of Miami in Southeast Florida.

Particular Positives

As part of the Miami metropolitan area, just about anything you could possibly want to do or see is less than an hour away.

The Memorial Hospital Miramar is rated 4 of 5 stars by Medicare.

Access to professional sports teams and stadiums.

Multiple Atlantic beaches are just a short drive.

Access to a vast variety of art and culture of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties

Particular Negatives

Miramar’s Southeast Florida coastal location means higher risk from hurricane damage and disruption than locations farther inland.

Best for:

Retirees who want access to the vast variety of amenities that major metro areas provide.

Seniors looking to retire to a city in Florida with a diverse population. Miramar is approximately 46% African American, 37% Hispanic and 6% Asian.

Here’s a Miramar Florida video to learn more…

Miramar Florida’s Official Website: https://www.miramarfl.gov/

Note: If you travel to check out Miramar, the next door town of Pembroke Pines is another place that qualifies as a best place to retire.  Pembroke Pines “Memorial Hospital West” is rated 3/5 stars by Medicare.

_____

 

restored victorian home in historic fernandina beach

Fernandina Beach Florida

My Fernandina Beach for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 30.9%

Crime and safety rating: Very Good

School and Employment rating: Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors age 65 and over: Very Good, above average for US.

Cost of Living: High

Housing Cost: High

Population: Approximately 13,000

Location: Fernandina Beach is just south of the Georgia-Florida border, about 30 minutes off of I-95

Particular Positives

Unique island lifestyle.

It’s hospital, Baptist Medical Center, is rated 4/5 stars by Medicare.

Has a pedestrian-friendly historic downtown

Walk from downtown to the beach

Particular Negatives

Fernandina Beach’s is right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is vulnerable to hurricanes disruptions and damage.

Best for retirees who:

Are retiring from rural areas, small towns and possibly even medium sized cities.

Want a Florida beach town to retire to.

Like to bike, walk or run for exercise and pleasure.

Want a place in Florida that’s not as hot as south Florida.

Will be traveling to northern states by car and back for visits. Fernandina is about 5-7 hours closer than southwest Florida.

Fernandina Beach’s Official Website: https://www.fbfl.us/

_____

 

view of Gulf and Siest Key from penthouse condo

Bee Ridge, South Sarasota and Siesta Key Florida

My Bee Ridge for retirement ratings…

(Data is for Bee Ridge, the largest of the three Census Designated Places)

Percent of population age 65+: 37.3%

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Very Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors age 65+: Excellent

*Cost of Living: Very High

*Housing Cost: Very High

*Data is for the Sarasota FL area.

Population: Approximately 11,000

Location: About 30 minutes south of Tampa-St Petersburg on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast

Particular Positives

All 3 places are just a short drive to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. Both facilities have been awarded Medicare’s highest rating of 5 stars.

Siesta Key Beach is one of the highest rated beaches in the world.

The Sarasota area is the art and culture capital of Florida’s West Coast

Particular Negatives

All 3 places are located have a coastal location and a higher risk from hurricane damage and disruption than places farther inland.

Best for:

Bee Ridge, South Sarasota and Siesta Key may work for those moving from almost anywhere, from small towns to major metro areas.

Retirees who want access to nearby upscale dining, shopping and entertainment in a small-medium size coastal city.

A Siesta Key Florida Video…

_____

 

palm trees and pier on water

Key Largo Florida

My Key Largo for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 24.3%

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Very Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors 65+: Excellent

Cost of Living: Very High

Housing Cost: Very High

Population: Approximately 11,000

Location: Key Largo is an hour south of Miami and two hours north of Key West.

Particular Positives

Offers an island lifestyle that many of us dream about. Offers the rare ability to see a sunrise over the water in the morning on one side of the island, and another sunset on the water on the other side.

Key Largo’s Mariners Hospital enjoys Medicare’s highest rating of 5 stars.

Miami and everything you could want from a major city is only a half hour away. But when you’re in Key Largo, you feel like you’re a world away.

Particular Negatives

Vulnerable to hurricane damage and evacuations as well as possible future insurance issues.

Best for:

Retirees from rural all the up to large cities who want an island lifestyle.

Seniors who want to make boating, fishing or other water-sports part of their retirement lifestyle.

Those who desire easy access to a major metro area but want to live where they can get away from it all.

Here’s a Key Largo video…

Official Website: The official website for all of the Florida Keys is https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/

_____

 

Gulf Breeze Florida

My Gulf Breeze for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 19.8%

Crime and safety rating: Very Good

School and Employment rating: Excellent

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors 65+: Excellent

Cost of Living: High

Housing Costs: High

Population: Approximately 6,500

Location: Gulf Breeze is located in Florida’s panhandle. It’s just south of Pensacola by way of a miles-long bridge and at the southern end of a peninsula.

Particular Positives

The Gulf Breeze Hospital is a small community hospital. However, it has the advanced technology, services and experienced staff that is often only found in large hospitals. Better yet, this friendly small town hospital has earned Medicare’s top rating of 5 stars. That’s something hundreds of larger hospitals have not been able to do.

Seniors can enjoy an “island lifestyle” that most people only dream about, by buying a home for roughly the same price as the current US median.

Particular Negatives

Gulf Breeze’s proximity to the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make it more susceptible to the hassle of evacuations and damage from hurricanes.

Best for:

Those seeking a safe, quiet, friendly small town.

Seniors who have dreamed of living on a tropical island (although Gulf Breeze is technically located on a peninsula). Those who want to be close to beaches and water sports such as fishing and boating. Gulf Breeze is minutes by bridge from portions of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Gulf Breeze Florida’s Official Website: https://cityofgulfbreeze.us/

_____

 

Niceville Florida

My Niceville for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 14.9

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Very Good

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors 65+: Good

Cost of Living: Average for Florida today.

Housing Costs: High

Population: Approximately 15,000

Location: On a bay in near the Gulf in Florida’s panhandle region.

Particular Positives

Niceville is a coastal small town that’s quieter (if you don’t count the aircraft from nearby Air Force Base). It’s less hectic than most of the west and east coast of Florida.

Many of Florida’s best less crowded beaches and interesting fishing villages are less than an hour’s drive.

Particular Negatives

Niceville’s coastal location makes it more susceptible to disruption and damage from hurricanes.

Best for:

Retirees relocating from small towns and rural areas.

Those who are retiring to Florida for time on the beach, fishing, boating and other water related activities.

Niceville Florida’s Official Website: https://cityofniceville.org/

_____

 

Naples Florida

My Naples for retirement ratings…

Percent of population age 65+: 51.5%

Crime and safety rating: Excellent

School and Employment rating: Excellent

Shopping and dining rating: Excellent

Recreation rating: Excellent

Healthcare for seniors 65+: Very Good at 1 of it’s 3 major medical centers, the Naples Community Hospital

Cost of Living: Very High

Cost of Housing: Very High

Population: Approximately 21,000

Location: Deep Southwest Florida on the Gulf, almost due west from Miami.

Particular Positives

Was named as one of the best places to retire for nature lovers by AARP due to its location near numerous nature preserves and parks such as the Everglades National Park.

Historic walkable downtown.

It’s a beach town.

Many upscale dining, shopping and entertainment options.

Has more golf courses per capita than just about anywhere else in the US.

Particular Negatives

Naples coastal location on the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico means a higher chance of disruption and damage from hurricanes.

A high number of homes and condos are owned by wealthier folks who are only in town for the winter. Some feel it becomes too crowded during those months, and almost deserted the rest of the year.

Best for:

People looking for a true upscale town for retirement in Florida.

Retirees who feel that high temperatures and humidity for most of the year won’t be a problem long term.

A video from Naples Florida…

Naples Florida’s Official Website: https://www.naplesgov.com/

_____

There’s a couple of important points you should know about this list.

  1. Finding places to retire in Florida that offer high quality healthcare for seniors is not easy. Why? Because not many cities and towns in Florida have healthcare facilities that are rated as average or better by Medicare, the main health insurer of Floridians over 65 years of age. Higher quality healthcare is a requirement to make my best places to retire in Florida list.
  2. It’s even harder to find cities and towns in Florida with average or better medical facilities, that also offer a higher quality of life. However, the 10 cities and towns on my list offer both, better healthcare than you’ll find elsewhere in Florida and very high quality of life scores across the board.
  3. If you’ve been reading my best place’s lists for years, you’ll notice that most of the same places appear year after year, and that’s exactly what you want! Why? Because you don’t want to go through all of the hassle and expense of moving far away just to end up in a city where the quality of life starts to deteriorate. I’ve seen “best” places on other lists that rapidly change for the worse, forcing many who just recently moved there, to move again. What you really want when retiring to Florida, is a great place to retire that will remain a best place for the duration of years you want to stay.

The Criteria: Why These Particular Places are Best for Retirement in Florida Today

This is very important because in the last couple of years, most other best places lists have drastically reduced, or eliminated all together, any consideration of crime rates and safety in their ratings.

Always check the methodology for any best places list to see if it meets your criteria!

All of our best places to retire choices have crime rates so low they’re among the safest places to live in the US.

After a lifetime of work, you deserve to be able to go where you want in your community without worrying about your personal safety.

While there are no guarantees, I analyzed these places and personally feel they have a better chance of maintaining their excellent low crime rates into the future.

How long do you plan on staying in Florida?

The places on our list have better schools than the average Florida town. Why is this important even though you’re retiring?

Whether you rent or own, you will help pay for the education of the children where you live.

So get your money’s worth. Better educated children turn into adults that are employable.

This will help to keep crime rates low in the community into the future.

The places on our lists have better than average job options which can also help keep crime rates low.

Crime rates that remain low can help protect your property value.

Additionally, if you retire to Florida and expenses increase faster than your fixed income, it would be nice to know you have a better chance of finding the extra income you need to make ends meet. Just in case.

Many retirees pick up part time work just to get out of the house or to stay connected.

All of our choices have more recreation, dining, shopping, entertainment per capita, than most other places in Florida.

Now that you’re no longer obligated to spend 40+ hours a week just earning a living, you’re going to have a lot of white space on your calendar.

Retiring to the places on this list will give you plenty of options to enjoy your new found free time.

The Additional Step I Took to Make Sure These Are The Best Places to Retire in Florida: Higher Quality Medical Facilities

All of the towns on my best places to retire in Florida list, have 3-5 star Medicare rated hospitals located right in town or just a short distance away. Just in case…

Why is this so important to know when retiring to Florida?

  • Most of the hospitals in Florida have below average ratings from Medicare (The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). It’s alright if you weren’t aware of this, I found almost no newly retired folks moving to Florida know this (and a lot of other things too, found in my Florida Move Guide).
  • Medicare has been the main health insurer for almost all US retirees 65 and older, for many years and they’ve learned a thing or two. They’ll probably be paying your healthcare bills for you too. The latest hospital ratings from Medicare were made available in January 2020. Of the 50 US states and DC, only Nevada, New York and DC (in that order) have a lower average hospital rating than Florida, according to a study done by Psy.D. Programs published February 24th 2020.
  • Additionally, Florida’s health care quality in general, is rated lower than most other states. That’s according to data from the US Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Here’s an article on the subject from Heath News Florida

Moving to Florida for Retirement Tips

Florida retirement relocation tip #1:

I very recently spent years as a caregiver for 2 close family members who developed cancer.

I always assumed that healthcare in the US was top notch at all hospitals.

However, those years of actual experience with loved ones who relied on that care, has led me to believe that the quality of medical care can vary wildly, depending upon which hospital/healthcare system where treatment is received.

This is especially important to consider, because the quality of healthcare overall in Florida is a very mixed bag according to Medicare itself.

This is why all of my best places to retire lists will now only include cities/towns with average or better hospital systems as rated by Medicare, who is the primary health insurer for most people 65 and better.

Warning: A lot of hospitals in Florida only received 1 or 2 stars out of 5, by Medicare on quality.

Tip #2

A best places to retire list will only be as good as the criteria it uses to choose it’s places, no matter how well known and popular the list publisher is.

For instance, I have seen recent lists where the crime criteria stated, says any place with crime rates lower than twice the national average qualifies.

Are you okay losing all of the money it takes to move 1100 miles, not to mention the hassle, just to end up living in a place where crime happens almost twice as often as average nation wide?

I have seen more than 2 recent lists that include a city in Florida where the violent crime rate is 300% higher than the national average.

Do you want to retire to a city that has far more crime that where you have lived for years? My decades of selling homes to seniors tells me you don’t.

So my tip is, check the criteria used to choose these places, before you waste your time looking at the list because the criteria may not meet your standards.

The criteria for my list is clearly spelled out on this page.

In case you’re wondering, my criteria on crime is that all places, on all of my lists on all of my websites, must have both property and violent crime rates below the national average. Preference is given to places with rates far below average.

Here’s what you need to know to make this, or any other best places list, work for you…

Where Are the Best Places to Retire in Florida FAQ

Q) What is the best area to retire in Florida?

A) The best area to retire in Florida is different for everyone and has a lot to do with where you are moving from. I’ve been selling homes to people moving in and out of different states for more than 30 years, and here’s a little tip. Retiring to a place that is pretty similar in many ways to where you’re moving from, will drastically cut down on expensive relocation mistakes.

For instance, how happy do you think a newly retired person who lived their whole life in rural Iowa would be, if they moved to a major city in Florida populated mainly by people who moved there from other major cities such as Chicago and New York? How happy do you think someone who lived in major cities such as Chicago or New York all their lives would be, if they moved to a small rural Florida town populated by people who moved there from other small rural towns?

There’s more to it than just this, but the best area to retire in Florida for you will probably be similar in size and amenities to the place you moved from. Except of course it will be 1000-1500 miles south and have palm trees.

Q) Is Florida a good state for retirees?

A) Florida is one of the best states for vacation. The state has worked for decades at being excellent for spending a week or so at the beaches or theme parks. A state that’s great for vacations doesn’t necessarily make a good state for retirement.

I can tell you that Florida is a great place to sell real estate because people are constantly moving in (often for retirement) because they loved vacations in the state. Those same people will also call you to sell that home when they are moving out. All of the extra moving in, moving out and the accompanying buying and selling means more income for real estate agents, than in less transient states.

I’ve read population studies by well known universities in Florida and my best guess is that about 50% of “permanent” moves to Florida will not work out over time. However, almost everyone loves living in Florida at first.

More estimates: Florida will be a good state for 90% of retirees for up to 3 years. Up to 75% seniors relocating to the state will still be in the state after 5 years. Only about 50% will still be Floridians at 10 years.

The disconnect is that almost 100% of people moving to Florida for retirement are totally convinced it’s the best state and their move is a permanent one.

Q) What is the cheapest place to retire in Florida?

A) What is the cheapest place to live where you’re now located? The cheapest place to live in your area is probably also one of the least desirable places. It may be the cheapest because there’s a lack of places to work, shop or dine. It could be cheap because lots of violent crime happens there.

The cheapest places to live in Florida are also usually, but not always, cheap for a desirability/demand reason. However, there are still a few places that offer a high quality of life where the cost of living is lower.

That’s what you really want, a place that’s both affordable and also a desirable place to retire. You’ll be happy to know that all of the places on the list below are highly desirable places to retire, and a couple are affordable.

Q) What are the safest places to retire in Florida?

A) When it comes to putting money down and signing a lease or an offer on a home, most retirees will only do so if they perceive it’s a safe place to retire. The problem is their “perception” may not be correct. Florida has a higher overall crime rate than most states (based on FBI statistics) at this writing.

Most people and especially as we get older, will not move to someplace that has more crime than where we are moving from. That’s why all of the places on my list below (my whole site actually) have crime rates lower than the national average for both property and violent crime.

All the places on the list below are safer for retirement in Florida than average. Most are “Mayberry” safe. If you don’t know what that is, you’re too young to be retiring.

Why is it so Critical to Choose the Right City to Retire in Florida?

  1. Because selling your home, buying a new one in Florida, then moving you and your stuff a 1000 miles is not cheap or easy. The money you burn up relocating is an expense and gone forever. Time is life, we only get so much so we shouldn’t waste any. Why spend lots of time (life) just to end up living in the wrong place with a bad case of “relocation remorse”?
  2. A far higher percentage of seniors than what most people would guess, move to Florida only to eventually decide it was a mistake. Many get to the point they feel they must spend more of their limited time on this planet and money to correct the error, by moving all over again. Moving to the ideal place in Florida that’s right for you (if in fact Florida is the right move in the first place) will remove at least this one factor for relocation discontent.
  3. While real estate in Florida has a history of steep price increases followed by price declines, the true best places tend to regain their property value quicker and hold it better over time.

_____
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

  • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.

_____

47 thoughts on “10 Best Places to Retire in Florida”

  1. Hi Ron,

    I enjoyed your book and the honest information it presents. I always thought I wanted to live very close to the beach in the Panhandle, until I saw the damage Hurricane Opal caused in 1995. The fact that you address hurricanes first in your book is telling of the risks one takes living on or quite close to the Gulf.

    Nonetheless – a recent article I read in a magazine about good towns in which to retire across the country listed Cape Coral, so I started looking at current homes for sale on realtor.com. A move wouldn’t come until after my wife and I both retire, which is still 8 years away, but I would like to have a good idea where we may move should we choose to leave the Nashville area. I specifically filtered by “No HOA” and was surprised how many homes came up – after all, HOAs seem to go hand-in-hand with popular areas to live these days. But I found out in reading the descriptions of the houses that the “No HOA” filter doesn’t really work, as some descriptions actually said “low HOA fees”. Your book mentioned it may be unknown sometimes when Deed Restrictions are present – I don’t mind some restrictions because they can definitely be beneficial. But I DO NOT want an HOA telling me to get their approval to repaint my shutters the same color, as is the case in the neighborhood where I live currently. So my question is, do you know of a website that can correctly identify if a home is governed by an HOA?

    Also, I hope you do come out with recommended cities to live in some other warm weather states, in particular AL, MS, and AZ.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Tommy,
      One thing that you may have missed in the book, is about how fast things change in a high growth state like Florida (when times are good and millions are moving there). Any place you focus on in Florida today, will probably look completely different 8 years from now when you retire, and may go from a place you’d love to retire in 2021, to undesirable in 2029. If it were me, I would spend my free time enjoying life today, and my vacations in various beautiful states and countries rejuvenating. Besides, no one knows what HOA/condo fees will look like for a particular community far into the future with buildings collapsing, sink holes opening up, etc. If Florida was still on the radar when I was a year from retirement, then I would get serious about specifics. Just something to consider.

      Again, without taking sides, the book describes the advantages and disadvantages of HOA rules. Rarely are they concerned with the color you paint your shutters, but even if they were, would that be a bigger deal than somebody buying the home next to you and parking junky cars all over the yard right next to your lawn? In the book you read about how people have bought in areas with no HOA’s and new “neighbors” moved next door and trashed up the place so much that they felt they needed to sell. Well that unsightly home and yard next store also turns off many buyers, usually resulting in a longer time to sell and a lower price. There are pros and cons to each, but we need to determine which ones are “deal breakers” for us.

      On your last suggestion, I actually do have another website that lists best places for other states. You can find the link below. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tommy and have a great day.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

      To find my choice for best places in other states https://www.bestplacestolivenow.com/

  2. Hi Ron,
    Retiring near family in Jacksonville. Other than Fernandina Beach, do you recommend any other area? Maybe Palm Valley area or St. Augustine? Safety is priority since we currently live in very safe area. Thanks for the great info. Millie

    • Millie,
      It’s very difficult to find places in Florida that offer 1) a high enough quality of life to qualify for our lists, and 2) have hospitals or other medical facilities with better ratings from Medicare, like the places that are named in the best places to retire in Florida article above. However, this list may give you another place to consider in the Jacksonville area that does not have the additional benefit of a facility with a better rating by the largest health insurance provider for retirees in the US.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  3. Ron,

    My friends are in the Davenport area, Polk County and also some a bit further south in Sebring but I noted high crime there in a comment reply. How do those areas rate for retiring and medical services? I am not sure about how to research senior services for medical options and Medicare. Iffy about FL with humidity and hurricanes. However, FL comes out on top of surveys. Any direction for searching beyond your FL Move Guide?

  4. Hi Ron, great site. One question and sorry if you may have touched upon it already but what about the Red Tides that hit the west coast of Florida? Do they factor in your reviews?

    • Hello Jason,
      No, Red Tide (which can also affect the east coast of Florida) is not factored into any of my best places lists, but it is covered in the Florida Move Guide as one of the negatives to take into consideration before moving or retiring to Florida. The criteria used for the above list is listed near the bottom of the article, with a link to it near the top. The minute I ding a town for Red Tide, it won’t have it for 10 years similar to the 10 year Florida hurricane “drought”.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  5. Hi Ron,
    I read you move guide and really appreciated the information. I would imagine that your recommendations are constantly changing, so I was wondering if you have a way to notify all your fans of the changing Florida scene. Do you have a newsletter? Also, since this housing bubble is going to eventually burst, I’d really like to know when it does. A newsletter, yet again, would be really handy. I haven’t decided yet where I want to relocate, but I have determined that I don’t want to be on either coast, and I don’t need to be near the beach. I prefer lakes, but I’ve been told that they are full of alligators. I’m not fond of being alligator bait.
    Thanks again for your very helpful information.

    • Hello Alice,
      You wrote “I would imagine that your recommendations are constantly changing”
      If you were referring to the towns and cities chosen for our Best Places to Retire in Florida or any of my other lists, my recommendations rarely change. I see other lists that have almost totally different towns named every year. How “best” is a place if it’s recommended this year, but not next year? Are you supposed to move every year after retiring to continue living in a town with a high quality of life?

      The truth is that most places with low crime, better schools and job options, better healthcare, etc. tend to remain that way year after year. Many of these places actually improve their quality of life factor scores over time because that’s what they’re focused on. However, if a recommended town’s score do drop below my criteria, I won’t hesitate to remove it. Again, it’s been my experience that if chosen correctly, towns with high scores maintain their desirability. If anything, the biggest change that can happen after they are named as best on this site, is that more people move there increasing demand for homes and prices which hurts affordability.

      I’m getting more requests for a newsletter every week now and it’s being considered, but I am working to finish and publish 3 new books (one at a time of course) that I’ve been working on for years, and other projects. I’m not certain I can find the time to commit to a monthly newsletter on top of everything else. However, a free newsletter sign-up form may appear on this site by the end of February 2021, if not, then possibly in May after I finish the next book (the book is not Florida specific).

      Thanks for taking the time to write Alice.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  6. Hi Ron,
    I just ordered your book but have a few questions – (1) what are your thoughts on the Sebring area, and (2) Fernandina Beach is a recommended area, but what about the paper mill – how much pollution does that contribute to deteriorating the air quality, and overall, where is the best area quality in Florida? thanks!

    • Hello Carol,
      Sebring doesn’t qualify to be recommended on this website as a best place to retire or otherwise because it fails the first quality of life factor we consider. Personal safety is one of the most important concerns of retirees, especially now. Sebring’s violent and property crime rates are close to double the national average. Smaller towns are usually much safer than average.

      This article about better air quality in Florida should provide answers to your questions. Florida is the 3rd most populated state and the #1 tourist destination in the country. That generates a lot of air pollution but the article covers the reason Florida’s air still gets better ratings.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.
  7. Hi,
    Interested in the West Coast of Florida. Living in Nj/Ny area & it is getting out of control in every aspect. Looking to be near Tampa\ Sarasota And nice beaches, but safety Huge concern. I ordered your book, but looking for some advise…. looking to buy a home With pool and some privacy without breaking The bank.
    Loved Longboat key, but super-expensive! Thx! I heard Dunedin nice, but never there.

    • Hello LALA,
      You are not alone, lots of people are very concerned about their personal safety today. If you’re looking for a safer place to retire, any town, on any of our lists, might work for you. The first hurdle for a city or town to qualify as a best place on our lists, is having crime rates lower than the national average. Most of our best place choices are among the safest places to retire in the country because their crime rates are so low. The places on the above list have the advantage of better hospitals according to medicare ratings. Good luck LALA.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
  8. Hi Ron,
    We are looking to retire in south Marco on a Canal, coming from northern NJ. Fishing, golf, being outdoors 6 months, then come back up to Jersey for the spring, summer time. What are your thoughts? We have friends who are doing the same in Naples. I’m just so worried about missing my family and community here. We are wealthy and absolutely want to take advantage of the no income tax, etc. too.

    • Hello Chris,
      Missing family and friends after retiring and moving to Florida, and the lifestyle you describe are both thoroughly covered in the Florida Move Guide.
      How confident are you that Florida’s tax advantage will remain intact? Will New Jersey “let you” move if you’ll spend 6 months in the state each year? Good luck Chris. Please don’t answer that here, it’s just something I would seriously take a look at.
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
  9. Ron, Now that Venice has elected a “progressive” Democrat mayor, do you still think it is still a good place to retire?
    Here in NYC, under a socialist Democrat’s policies, crime, homelessness and bureaucratic waste have spiraled out of control.
    Do you think the same future bodes for Venice?
    Bob

    • I only use facts such as crime rate, better schools and job options (so crime rates have a better chance of remaining low into the future), senior healthcare quality (as rated by Medicare who probably knows better than anyone), etc. to decide which places qualify for my best places lists. I do not take politics into consideration. I do research to find best places in all states for another website I have, and for books I’m writing. I can tell you that there are places that are “best” regardless of what political party is in office.

      So yes, Venice is a good place to retire but it doesn’t quality to be on the updated best places to retire list because the VENICE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER – BAYFRONT HEALTH only received a 1 star rating out of 5 for healthcare quality from Medicare, as of this writing. Venice does qualify for our best places to live list because senior healthcare is the only thing keeping it off the retirement list.

      Besides, Venice is a small little town with far different demographics than NYC, the median age in Venice is among the oldest in the nation. I don’t expect much to change.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
      • Ron,

        A friend of mine from Brooklyn is looking at Del Ray Beach, any thoughts or major concerns? Thanks

        Larry

        • Hello Larry,
          Delray Beach does not qualify as best for this website because it fails the first criteria check we do, which is crime and safety. The property and violent crime rate of Delray Beach are far higher than the national average according to FBI statistics.
          _____
          Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

          • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.

          _____

  10. Sandra stay in IL if you have friends there. You will have to look like you are 50 to move to FL and make because if you look like most 83 year old women no man will come close unless he is way older and most men do not live to be 83

  11. Ron,

    What do you think of Myakka City for retirement? It’s 25 miles from Sarasota Memorial Hospital?

    • Larry,
      I don’t see anything particularly negative about the area if someone desires a rural lifestyle, larger lots, possible homestead asset protection of more than 1/2 acre, etc. There are convenience trade-offs of course, but the Sarasota-Bradenton area isn’t far and it has everything one could want. Having insurance coverage or a membership for medical flights could make the difference one day and be worth the peace of mind even if it’s never needed.
      Good Luck Larry.
      Ron

  12. Key Largo is 2 1/2 hours northeast of Key West not 5 hours, unless you are on a scooter going 25 mph.

    • I was on a scooter, it was hot out (it is the Keys) so we stopped at quite a few bars on the way to stay hydrated. It took 5 hours.
      Hey Jerry, thanks for catching that.

  13. Hi Ron, as a few others have commented we are also considering either moving to FL (New Smyrna Beach area) or Venice any thoughts?

    • Hello Sherry,
      New Smyrna Beach does not qualify for any of our best places lists, Venice has been on them for years.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  14. The FL Medical System is all but non existing. Very poor in service to patients and only want to collect insurance payments. They do not follow-up on anything. Never rely on this system to make follow-up appointments. Doctors exit this system very quickly for one reason or another. State or Veteran it is all the same here. TERRIBLE!!!!

    • How true!!!! Florida has one of the worst medical systems in the United States. In the Orlando area medical offices “NEVER” answer their phones and it can take 1/2 year to get an appointment – your 1st visit will be just for them to obtain info then you will have to make a 2nd visit for an exam at most providers. They never call about lab results – have already received a report 1 1/2 weeks ago dr. still has not called – but they sure know how to bill & collect. In Florida a patient can demand a itemized (line by line) bill – the drs billing office often don’t respond unless you threaten to file a complaint with the licensing agency. Last year I had absolutely NO PROBLEM whatsoever in making an appt at a well known Boston dr/hospital provider almost immediately – I had to ask them to give me a couple of weeks to make plane reservations. And, someone actually answered the phone and scheduled an appt with the Director of the dept I needed to see. Dr’s in Florida (at least many) are quick to suggest surgery – always, always, always get a 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinion. If they prescribe any meds be sure to demand answers – had one change meds on me for no particular reason and I had a severe adverse reaction (almost hospitalized) – called dr. got voicemail and no call back so called pharmacist who told me to immediately STOP. Dr. never did call – that kind of tells one something about caring for a patient. Going back north ASAP – because will NEVER RELY on these docs –

    • According to Florida Trend the health system ranks 48th and 49th (Credit: https://www.floridatrend.com/article/24498/floridas-health-care-system-ranked-48th-in-the-nation). Truly non-existent other than for stealing one’s money. There is absolutely NO FOLLOW-UP. Almost 2 months and still waiting for a call from my doctor to go over lab results, no matter how many times I’ve called they NEVER ANSWER the phone – NEVER also applies to most medical offices here. Trying to move back up north, trying to sell house to buyer who can actually afford to purchase instead of giving some lowball offer plus wanting the seller to pay for all their expenses. Geesh.

  15. Ron, Hi, I have just finished your book, and it brought to light some things. We are thinking of moving to a community near Ormond Beach. About 8min drive inland from the coast. Any thoughts/suggestions?
    thanks.
    C.

    • Hello Carol,
      You won’t find Ormond Beach on any of our best places lists because both property and violent crime are higher than the national average. Ormond is right next door to Daytona Beach that now has a property crime rate about 200% higher, and a violent crime rate 300% higher than the national average.

      All of the best places on our lists have crime rates far lower than the national average and a higher number of goods and services than the average for Florida, located right in that city or town. Too often people retire to a community because the price is right and it looks nice, but don’t give much thought to where the nearest hospital, doctors, dentists, grocery stores, etc. are located, until after they’ve already paid for the house and moved in. Will you have to travel to a higher crime area than you’re comfortable with on a regular basis just to meet most basic needs? Will you have to do a 16+- mile round trip to accomplish anything? If so, how does this compare to where you live now?

      Two additional thoughts…
      1) Nothing in Florida ever stays the same. During good times, they’re ripping up everything and building. During economic downturns, places close up and people move out. If you’re retiring to this area, you probably intend to be living there a long time. What will this area likely look like in 3, 5 or 10 years?
      2) Will crime in the area, where you live and where you’ll have to travel to for a doctor’s appt. or groceries, likely be higher, or lower in 5 years? Home values almost always move in the opposite direction. Crime goes up, values go down.

      I know I often come across as negative, but having a good idea if Florida is right for you, and choosing the right place to retire to, is critical to a successful long term relocation. Good luck Carol.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  16. I live in the South Sarasota, Florida area. Have lived in various parts of Sarasota since 1981. My children were raised here and now there are second generation (grandchildren) several of which were born at 5 star rated “Sarasota Memorial Hospital”. It is truly paradise in every aspect of life. As I near retirement age, I look forward to spending it right here! Only if you like sunshine, outdoor activities (boating/kayaking, fishing, swimming, beach, hiking/walking, biking, picnicking, camping, golfing, tennis); the Arts/theatre, the local Comedy Club, numerous bars, clubs and or restaurants; watching nature (birds, manatee, cranes, sea turtles, dolphin), visiting beautiful gardens and attractions such as Selby, Ringling Art and Circus Museum, Mote Marine Laboratory, St. Armands Circle, Fairs, two state parks; and just so much more. As a retiree, you will find many 55 + and older communities with others that want to socialize. There are mobile homes as well as mansions or condos at the beach, all less than 5 miles from South Sarasota. You can drive a Honda like me, or if you can afford, visit the Lamborghini dealer on Clark Road. The negatives? Yes humidity can be tough; traffic during season (Nov. to approx. April) backed up during rush hour; higher housing costs for newcomers; and some areas near lakes/ponds have increased bug activity/mosquito, love bug season. We coexist with the alligator which I compare to the black bear. You learn not to swim in lakes nor feed them. The only publicity with gators is when mating season occurs or when people forget to respect them. Guess I’m a little lengthy in this reply but I just absolutely love living in Sarasota through so many changes over the years, and no matter when I leave here to travel cannot wait to come home.

  17. Florida is the worse place I have ever lived.Do too varied backgrounds driving here is dog eat dog and enforcement is almost non existent due to chamber of commerce controlling the laws and not wanting to offend any tourists,My auto insurance more than doubled from Ohio.After seeing how people drive here I am surprised its not more.Home prices for cement block homes very high and same with real estate taxes.Of course I am comparing to the Midwest.Unfortunately many people here come from the East and think prices low compared to the East so they inflate the prices by paying these high prices.( Many also bring their aggressive driving habits also.) We are trapped here helping our grandaughter not grow up in the welfare system.As bad as it is ,it is worth it for that reason.Our only hope is we can live to her adulthood and get back to die in peace away from all the crime and daily murders and hit and runs here.

  18. Hmmm, now I’m beginning to re-think a move to Pensacola. I’ve lived in central California (Monterey, Carmel) for the last 15 years. I want to retire, AND be able to live on my teacher retirement with maybe some part-time work. I’m very aware of the heat, humidity, hurricanes, bugs and conservative politics-and am prepared for that, I am a native south Texan. I’m a widow and will be moving on my own. The price of real estate is so tempting-you get so much more for your money compared to California. I do have friends and family not too far from Pensacola, so thought it may be an ideal place to re-locate. Now I just don’t know.

    • Spot on Spike

  19. Well said!

  20. After reading these comments, I am very depressed. I live in Central Florida for about 25 years now, the 1st 10 years were okay because I loved my boss, but I struggled financially, due to low pay and high cost of living. After they closed down our dept and laid us off, I wanted to leave, but was “stuck” as many others have said. About a year later I started to work for a local municipality and over the years worked myself up to a “decent” salary. But I was miserable, people are unfriendly and it is very hard to form and keep true friendships or relationship. After 14 years I was forced to quit by the new, younger management. At 63, I did not fit in to the employers “culture” and not a “good fit”. Older employees were being eliminated or forced to leave and younger/cheaper employees hired. (I worked for a very wealthy City). …. To make a long story short, I am now ready to get out of Central Florida.
    Three days ago I had a reading with a psychic/medium, one of the best in the world…I did a lot of research, and she is one of the best, no doubt! So….she tells me that she sees me moving, that my soul is not happy here, and this place is affecting everything else in my life. (Health, relationships, etc.). She then says that I will be moving to the SouthEast coast of Florida somewhere south of Orlando, she mentioned Ft Lauderdale as a thought but said to go look around and it will come to me……and that I will simultaneously start working at a new job. She said I will find more people who get me and will start a relationship with a new man. (BTW, I am ex NY’er, from Long Island). (I heard that ex-New Yorkers retire or move to the east coast of Florida.). As I was doing research I found this website, and with each comment, my newfound hope started to fade away…..fast! Is it possible for me to find happiness in SE Florida? I don’t have a lot of money, will soon collect SS and have a bit less than $200,000 in my 401 retirement account so I’m thinking I will take home around $2000 per month or so. I am alone and single. Any suggestions?

  21. Hi, I just found your website and appreciate all your information. I’m considering retiring to the Melbourne/Viera area. Can you please comment on the pros and cons about the Space Coast? Thanks!

    • Hello Carol,
      Melbourne Florida is not on any of our best places lists because the property crime rate is far above the national average and violent crime is more than double the national rate. Our crime criteria to be a best place on this website are crime rates (both property and violent) below the national average but most of our choices have rates so low they’re some of the safest places in the country to live or retire. Viera East is okay but Viera West is a little better. Nearby Satellite Beach has been on our lists for years.

      There are issues other than crime in that area you may want to consider such as one pointed out in this Florida Today article published this year. I feel the more we know about a place the better our decision making will be.
      Good luck Carol.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  22. I am in the same boat like you. I want to leave Md in 5 years but don’t know where in Fl . Don’t want to be too close to the water .I wish I could find a decent community to retire and make some new friends

  23. Hello Kristine,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on living in your part of Florida. Most people thinking of moving to Florida probably aren’t looking to relocate to a place where “it’s like Mexico alot of criminals,crime and drugs here” as you put it. You do make a good point about crime. All of the towns/cities you mentioned: New Port Richey, Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and Tampa all have property and/or violent crime rates higher than the national average so they do not qualify as best on this website. Over 30 years of experience of working with 1000’s of home shoppers teaches me that the last thing people want to do when buying a home and tying themselves to an area for quite some time, is to move to an area that is less safe than where they moved from. Especially if they are moving for retirement and expect to stay put for a long time. Unfortunately, too many retirees move to areas in Florida that have more crime than what they’re aware of, until after they move in.

    That’s why we do these best places lists and you won’t see any advertising on this site (except for my stuff of course). All of our Best places have crime rates (both property and violent crime) far lower than the national average. Most are some of the safest places to live in the US. I’ve seen other very recent “best places to retire lists” include high crime cities because they now use a “formula” that the makes high crime okay if they bring puppies for the felons to pet once a month or whatever. We don’t fudge crime rates so we can include cities with high crime so we can sell ads to the developers in that area because they spend more. We use the data the FBI reports based on statistics local law enforcement reports to them.

    Thanks again Kristine, hearing from regular people living in Florida (that aren’t trying to sell homes, lots, vacations, etc.) about their real experience helps people who are now just thinking of retiring there.
    _____
    Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

    • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
    • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  24. Hi Ron,
    How are the hospitals in the Venice and Englewood areas?
    Thanks, Bob

    • Hello Bob,
      The hospital in Englewood is rated 4 stars, which is great because most hospitals in Florida on Medicare’s published list are 2 stars or lower. The hospital in Venice did not appear on the list of 3-5 stars rated. However, it looks like 2 new hospitals are coming to Venice, a small city that is on our best places lists every year.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  25. I have enjoyed your books and wanted to check the site. Sorry to say that the videos do not show. Just the circular rotating icon like it is thinking. It is going continually on all the cities. Blessings, Leanne

  26. Looking forward to move in a community of 55 or older
    I am 62 years old in Kissimmee Florida or Orlando Florida

  27. thanks, good info, nice videos

    • fl taxes areway less then ill the taxes in fl paidfororthird housewe had built and now all we get is ourss check and every thing is a lotlessin fl and it is always warm and or air conditioner is way lessthen ill wherethey need heat in the winter which is way higher then the airiffl in thesummer otherwisein fl there is always awind that blows hot or coldwe only turn air on for 4months and it is a lot cheaper then ill and most everyone in new york moves to fl fromdec to june 1

Comments are closed.