These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Florida For 2018


We analyzed over 144 places in Florida to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Florida.

But where exactly in Florida? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Florida that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Sarasota don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Sunshine State to retire for 2018:

  1. Sarasota (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Tavares (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Vero Beach (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. North Palm Beach (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Bradenton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Clearwater (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Melbourne (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Daytona Beach (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Fort Myers (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Naples (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Why did Sarasota take the top spot? And where are Jacksonville and Miami?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Florida.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Sunshine State

To create our list of the best places in Florida to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Sunshine State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 143 places from across the state.

For these 143, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 143, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Sarasota, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida

Population: 54,425
Median Rent: $951
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,575
More on Sarasota: Homes For Sale | Data
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km2), of which 14.9 sq mi (38.6 km2) is land and 11.0 sq mi (28 km2) is water.

2. Tavares

Tavares, Florida

Population: 14,965
Median Rent: $907
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,499
More on Tavares: Homes For Sale | Data
The city was founded by newspaper and railroad man Alexander St. Clair-Abrams in 1880 and named for a Portuguese ancestor. In 1883 a post office was established, which was followed by a hotel, three stores, a sawmill, and eight cottages in 1884. While St. Clair-Abrams did not achieve his dream that Tavares become the state capital of Florida (Tallahassee has held the spot since 1823), in 1887 the city was named the seat of Lake County. St. Clair-Abrams later chartered a railroad to run from Tavares to Orlando. In 1919, Tavares incorporated as a town.

3. Vero Beach

Vero Beach, Florida

Population: 16,070
Median Rent: $829
Distance to Closest Airport: 35 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,080
More on Vero Beach: Homes For Sale | Data
A neolithic skull was discovered in 1915, but it has since been misplaced. It appeared to represent a culture from 11,000 to 14,000 years ago, with 13,000 years ago as the most likely timeframe.

4. North Palm Beach

North Palm Beach, Florida

Population: 12,581
Median Rent: $1,228
Distance to Closest Airport: 9 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,454
More on North Palm Beach: Homes For Sale | Data
In 1954 for $5.5 million John D. MacArthur bought 2,600 acres (11 km2) of land in northern Palm Beach County that had been owned originally by Harry Seymour Kelsey and later by Sir Harry Oakes. The land included most of today’s North Palm Beach as well as Lake Park, Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach Shores. MacArthur then began developing what is now North Palm Beach, which sat on former mangrove swamps and farm land. The area was punctuated only by Monet Road and Johnson Dairy Road to the north and south and US 1 and Prosperity Farms Road to the east and west.

5. Bradenton

Bradenton, Florida

Population: 52,985
Median Rent: $963
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,852
More on Bradenton: Homes For Sale | Data
The area that would become Bradenton (originally spelled ‘Bradentown’) was explored in 1539 by the Spanish during the famous expedition led by Hernando De Soto. Bradenton was established in 1842. The original town of Bradentown was incorporated in 1903. The city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during Seminole Indian attacks. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown.

6. Clearwater

Clearwater, Florida

Population: 111,747
Median Rent: $970
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,929
More on Clearwater: Homes For Sale | Data
Present-day Clearwater was originally the home of the Tocobaga people. Around 1835, the United States Army began construction of Fort Harrison, named after William Henry Harrison, as an outpost during the Seminole Wars. The fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th-century residential development called Harbor Oaks. University of South Florida archaeologists excavated the site in 1962 after Mark Wyllie discovered an under ground ammunition bunker while planting a tree in his yard.

The area’s population grew after the Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 offered 160 acres (0.65 km2) to anyone who would bear arms and cultivate the land. Early settlers included the Stevens, Stevenson, Sever and McMullen families, who claimed and farmed large tracts of land. Prior to 1906, the area was known as Clear Water Harbor. The name ‘Clear Water’ is thought to have come from a fresh water spring flowing from near where the City Hall building is located today. There were many other freshwater springs that dotted the bluff, many in the bay or harbor itself.

7. Melbourne

Melbourne, Florida

Population: 78,911
Median Rent: $863
Distance to Closest Airport: 1 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,037
More on Melbourne: Homes For Sale | Data
Evidence for the presence of Paleo-Indians in the Melbourne area during the late Pleistocene epoch was uncovered during the 1920s. C. P. Singleton, a Harvard University zoologist, discovered the bones of a mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) on his property along Crane Creek, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Melbourne, and brought in Amherst College paleontologist Frederick B. Loomis to excavate the skeleton. Loomis found a second elephant, with a ‘large rough flint instrument’ among fragments of the elephant’s ribs. Loomis found in the same stratum mammoth, mastodon, horse, ground sloth, tapir, peccary, camel, and saber-tooth cat bones, all extinct in Florida since the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago. At a nearby site a human rib and charcoal were found in association with Mylodon, Megalonyx, and Chlamytherium (ground sloth) teeth. A finely worked spear point found with these items may have been displaced from a later stratum. In 1925 attention shifted to the Melbourne golf course. A crushed human skull with finger, arm, and leg bones was found in association with a horse tooth. A piece of ivory that appeared to have been modified by humans was found at the bottom of the stratum containing bones. Other finds included a spear point near a mastodon bone and a turtle-back scraper and blade found with bear, camel, mastodon, horse, and tapir bones. Similar human remains, Pleistocene animals and Paleo-Indian artifacts were found in Vero Beach, 30 miles (48 km) south of Melbourne, and similar Paleo-Indian artifacts were found at Lake Helen Blazes, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Melbourne.

After the Civil War, pioneer families arrived, and Melbourne was founded in 1867 by former slaves.[citation needed]

8. Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Florida

Population: 64,105
Median Rent: $791
Distance to Closest Airport: 2 miles
Crime Per 100k: 7,816
More on Daytona Beach: Homes For Sale | Data
The area where Daytona Beach is located was once inhabited by the indigenous Timucuan Indians who lived in fortified villages. The Timucuas were nearly exterminated by contact with Europeans through war, enslavement and disease and became extinct as a racial entity through assimilation and attrition during the 18th century. The Seminole Indians, descendants of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama, frequented the area prior to the Second Seminole War.

9. Fort Myers

Fort Myers, Florida

Population: 71,051
Median Rent: $851
Distance to Closest Airport: 7 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,377
More on Fort Myers: Homes For Sale | Data
Spain originally had colonial influence in Florida, succeeded by Great Britain and, lastly, the United States. During the American Indian Wars of the 1830s, the United States built Fort Myers as one of the first forts along the Caloosahatchee River; it was used as a base of operations against the Seminole. During the Seminole Wars and Indian Removal period, Fort Myers was a strategic location, with access to Atlantic waterways. While many Seminole were forced to remove to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, others used their knowledge of the Everglades and Florida wilderness to resist the Americans. They were never defeated and two federally recognized Seminole tribes still control some of their historic territory.

During the American Civil War, Confederate blockade runners and cattle ranchers were based in Fort Myers. These settlers prospered through trading with the Seminole and Union soldiers.

10. Naples

Naples, Florida

Population: 20,980
Median Rent: $1,189
Distance to Closest Airport: 26 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,035
More on Naples: Homes For Sale | Data
The city of Naples was founded during the late 1880s by former Confederate general and Kentucky U.S. Senator John Stuart Williams and his partner, Louisville businessman Walter N. Haldeman, the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Throughout the 1870s and ’80s, magazine and newspaper stories telling of the area’s mild climate and abundant fish and game likened it to the sunny Italian peninsula. The name Naples caught on when promoters described the bay as ‘surpassing the bay in Naples, Italy’. Major development was anticipated after the railroad reached Naples on January 7, 1927, and the Tamiami Trail linking Naples to Miami was completed in 1928, but did not begin until after the Great Depression and World War II. During the war the U.S. Army Air Forces built a small airfield and used it for training purposes; it is now the Naples Municipal Airport.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Florida goes to Sarasota.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Homestead
  • Crestview
  • Ocoee

For more Florida reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Florida

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Sarasota 1 54,425 $951 4 4,575
Tavares 2 14,965 $907 28 2,499
Vero Beach 3 16,070 $829 35 3,080
North Palm Beach 4 12,581 $1228 9 1,454
Bradenton 5 52,985 $963 6 3,852
Clearwater 6 111,747 $970 6 3,929
Melbourne 7 78,911 $863 1 5,037
Daytona Beach 8 64,105 $791 2 7,816
Fort Myers 9 71,051 $851 7 4,377
Naples 10 20,980 $1189 26 2,035
Hialeah 11 235,626 $1035 5 2,621
Lynn Haven 12 19,799 $970 3 2,484
South Daytona 13 12,470 $833 3 3,568
Fernandina Beach 14 12,156 $1160 18 2,278
Punta Gorda 15 17,721 $860 28 1,264
New Port Richey 16 15,503 $756 21 4,876
Tampa 17 361,477 $983 3 2,685
Safety Harbor 18 17,268 $1120 6 1,528
Miami Springs 19 14,430 $972 1 3,430
Dunedin 20 35,882 $985 11 2,087
Wilton Manors 21 12,270 $1106 6 4,555
Tarpon Springs 22 24,244 $805 17 2,870
Port Orange 23 58,780 $1062 5 2,616
Sebring 24 10,423 $646 65 5,219
Lighthouse Point 25 10,946 $1308 14 1,872
Lake Mary 26 15,478 $1530 6 2,196
Largo 27 80,678 $913 5 4,188
Stuart 28 16,204 $970 36 3,900
Eustis 29 19,661 $795 27 3,646
Hollywood 30 148,114 $1083 2 3,756
Lady Lake 31 14,501 $927 43 1,689
Edgewater 32 21,306 $1005 17 1,262
Seminole 33 17,906 $1086 7 3,172
Winter Park 34 29,543 $1068 11 3,841
Winter Springs 35 34,439 $1093 6 1,434
Palmetto 36 13,138 $880 9 3,851
Gulfport 37 12,222 $888 11 4,058
Palm Bay 38 106,573 $949 8 2,211
Miami 39 432,622 $995 5 5,307
Satellite Beach 40 10,495 $1293 5 1,105
Lantana 41 11,016 $943 7 5,637
Cape Coral 42 170,063 $1095 16 1,943
Niceville 43 14,325 $954 52 1,940
Holly Hill 44 11,839 $817 4 6,495
Sebastian 45 23,432 $1015 23 2,172
Ormond Beach 46 40,686 $997 8 4,433
Pinellas Park 47 50,946 $955 3 5,615
Fort Lauderdale 48 175,153 $1135 4 6,722
Mount Dora 49 13,204 $921 24 3,036
Venice 50 21,722 $1156 21 1,832
Winter Haven 51 36,669 $864 36 4,186
New Smyrna Beach 52 24,574 $1045 12 3,837
North Port 53 60,871 $985 31 1,560
West Melbourne 54 20,207 $1140 3 2,998
Sunny Isles Beach 55 21,937 $1499 9 1,704
West Palm Beach 56 104,978 $1096 4 6,242
Lake Worth 57 36,838 $951 4 6,482
Casselberry 58 26,649 $1039 9 4,578
Rockledge 59 26,144 $1087 15 2,275
Tamarac 60 63,747 $1227 11 2,384
Maitland 61 16,911 $1276 13 2,980
Miami Lakes 62 30,833 $1404 8 2,017
Boca Raton 63 91,702 $1500 20 2,981
Fort Pierce 64 43,883 $812 50 4,236
Jacksonville 65 856,616 $955 10 4,324
St. Augustine 66 13,867 $948 47 5,466
Cocoa 67 17,558 $705 20 8,993
Parkland 68 28,354 $2663 17 663
Coral Gables 69 50,533 $1412 7 3,219
Altamonte Springs 70 42,557 $1061 12 3,964
Margate 71 56,245 $1189 12 1,948
Key West 72 26,039 $1627 1 4,243
Fort Walton Beach 73 21,238 $941 57 3,192
Temple Terrace 74 25,654 $1001 10 3,332
Lake Wales 75 15,206 $752 39 3,702
Hialeah Gardens 76 23,351 $1264 7 2,655
Orlando 77 263,306 $1040 1 6,390
St. Petersburg 78 253,585 $959 10 5,730
Key Biscayne 79 12,935 $2549 10 1,213
Longwood 80 14,117 $1151 8 3,655
Marco Island 81 17,361 $1437 41 552
Kissimmee 82 66,840 $968 10 4,754
Pensacola 83 53,250 $862 91 4,754
North Miami Beach 84 43,722 $1025 9 4,546
Sweetwater 85 20,718 $1194 5 3,721
Palm Springs 86 23,592 $1054 3 4,976
Deerfield Beach 87 78,642 $1177 16 3,140
Oakland Park 88 43,660 $1115 7 5,215
Bartow 89 18,501 $821 43 5,351
Zephyrhills 90 14,454 $789 28 6,434
Riviera Beach 91 33,683 $1074 7 5,391
Lauderhill 92 70,452 $1051 7 4,238
Delray Beach 93 65,044 $1332 15 4,964
Palm Beach Gardens 94 51,865 $1450 12 2,884
Sanford 95 57,039 $1001 2 5,880
Davie 96 98,717 $1252 8 3,240
Deland 97 29,442 $944 17 5,519
Coconut Creek 98 57,731 $1393 14 2,289
Titusville 99 44,746 $845 28 4,968
Oldsmar 100 14,023 $1077 9 3,109
St. Cloud 101 44,198 $1070 13 1,993
Atlantic Beach 102 13,089 $1151 20 2,987
Lakeland 103 102,714 $890 31 5,304
Boynton Beach 104 72,748 $1338 10 5,590
Jupiter 105 60,597 $1454 16 2,323
Wellington 106 61,371 $1551 11 1,844
Miami Shores 107 10,772 $1428 8 5,430
Pembroke Pines 108 164,753 $1459 12 2,483
Oviedo 109 37,545 $1392 8 1,169
Ocala 110 57,873 $819 61 6,284
Leesburg 111 21,570 $821 39 6,110
North Miami 112 62,158 $1019 10 4,910
Miami Gardens 113 112,514 $1089 10 3,923
Palmetto Bay 114 24,522 $1218 11 3,250
Aventura 115 37,515 $1681 7 5,312
Cocoa Beach 116 11,466 $1075 16 6,793
South Miami 117 12,207 $1148 5 4,890
Winter Garden 118 39,219 $1001 19 3,980
Port St. Lucie 119 175,652 $1170 44 1,530
Royal Palm Beach 120 36,829 $1490 8 2,484
Clermont 121 31,171 $1149 29 2,479
Weston 122 68,893 $1933 15 550
Palatka 123 10,407 $576 48 6,418
Miami Beach 124 91,784 $1198 9 10,196
Auburndale 125 14,638 $830 37 4,119
Sunrise 126 91,177 $1302 9 3,650
Gainesville 127 128,610 $858 68 4,492
West Park 128 14,884 $1265 6 4,131
Lauderdale Lakes 129 34,321 $1011 7 5,684
Coral Springs 130 127,673 $1330 15 2,052
Doral 131 53,426 $1806 4 3,357
Pompano Beach 132 106,004 $1099 11 5,788
Miramar 133 133,741 $1447 12 2,382
North Lauderdale 134 43,087 $1277 10 2,669
Tallahassee 135 188,466 $931 86 6,769
Minneola 136 10,371 $1248 28 1,764
Apopka 137 47,023 $1074 18 4,746
Jacksonville Beach 138 22,519 $1104 23 5,977
Belle Glade 139 18,855 $633 35 6,687
Cutler Bay 140 44,002 $1394 15 3,824
Ocoee 141 41,393 $1176 17 4,119
Crestview 142 22,941 $974 64 4,437
Homestead 143 65,688 $1084 24 5,372

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