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Are You Retiring to Florida?

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Florida has long been a mecca for American retirees; elderly Americans have been fleeing rust belt cities for Florida’s beaches and warm climate for many decades. As “retirement” has come to take on new meaning — with retirees seeking to start new lives rather than simply live out their old lives — older Americans have broadened their horizons, seeking fulfillment in all corners of the country and indeed the globe. But Florida remains near the top of most lists.

Attractions in Florida For Retirees

What is the best place to retire in Florida? Most people think primarily of the state’s beaches, and indeed, with over a thousand miles of coastline, Florida’s beaches offer a great deal of diversity. And the area around Orlando has become popular with golfers and other retirees who don’t need to be close to the water but appreciate the warm climate and numerous facilities for retirees. But Florida has much more to offer than these traditional retiree attractions; there are big, international cities; dozens of large universities; cultural activities; major league sports; and all the amenities you would expect from a vibrant, modern environment.

Are You Retiring to Florida?
Island Everglades on the west coast of Florida

Western Florida Coastline

Picking out the best place to retire in Florida is purely a matter of personal taste. If you simply want to relax and enjoy a quiet retirement, there are hundreds of retirement communities around the state catering exclusively to retirees; most of these are to be found on the Gulf Coast, south of Tampa, in areas such as Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Naples. The beaches along this coast are calm and good for boating; many communities are crisscrossed with inland waterways developed expressly for boating. Many of these communities are quiet, newly developed, and pristine; however, they may appear too sterile and lacking in diversity for many retirees, who wish to pursue a more active lifestyle.

Atlantic Florida Coastline

The beach communities along the Atlantic coast are generally older and perhaps have more character than new Gulf Coast towns, and the beaches themselves have a different appearance. The sand on the Atlantic beaches is coarser, and the surf rougher. Many people prefer rougher surf, although it can be hazardous if you are not experienced in dealing with rip tides and large waves.

Large Florida Cities

For many, the allure of Florida lies in its urban environments, particularly around Miami. This large metropolitan area is a mix of various subcultures, including a large Jewish community (from older generations of retirees) and a substantial gay presence, particularly in the South Beach area, with its blocks of restored art deco hotels. There has been a major Cuban presence in Miami for more than 50 years, since the fall of the Batista dictatorship in Cuba 1959 and the exodus of tens of thousands of Cubans fleeing the newly installed communist government. These various communities make Miami one of the most dynamic cities in the United States, and certainly Florida’s cultural focal point.

Florida’s “Redneck Rivera’

Northern Florida has more the character of the traditional South than the beach communities further down on the peninsula. Many retirees are looking at Gainesville, a medium-sized city with more southern pine than palm trees and a major university. And the coastline along the Florida panhandle — sometimes referred to as the “redneck Riviera” — is quieter and cheaper than coastal communities further south.

See the Whole State Before You Decide From An RV

What’s the best place to retire in Florida? For starters, perhaps an RV, which will allow to you move around and gradually explore the entire state before settling down more permanently. You’re sure to find a community that’s just right for you.


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