Best Places To Retire In Florida For 2020


We analyzed over 143 places in Florida to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in Florida.

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Whether you are just starting our your career or at the end of it, there is one magical time that we can't help but think about: retirement.

It may seem like you are working for this mythical period of your life that involves fun and relaxation, but really, it can happen -- just fast forward a few decades. So now you are over 65 and a good chunk of your paychecks have been saving for this moment and now you will have to come to the next big decision of your life: what will you do with your retirement and most importantly, where will you live?

The state that comes first to mind is probably Florida. It is known as the retirement state. A place where you can soak up the sun and live in massive upscale retirement communities. It is no surprise that Florida is a favorite retirement destination. The weather is beautiful, the beaches practically surround the state, and the state is very affordable. From Disney to the Everglades and everything in between, Florida is a great vacation spot, so why not retire here? Who wouldn't want to swim with dolphins, snorkel with manatees, or drink bottomless pina coladas? If Florida is a top retirement state, then we wanted to know which places are the best to retire. After all, the state is pretty big. Not every city can be a retirement paradise.

Luckily for you, HomeSnacks has figured out the best places to retire in florida and it's not Miami or Jacksonville.

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

We analyzed 146 cities in Florida and came up with the best of the best to retire: Tavares. This ranking was based on several retirement criteria, like low cost of living, low crime, good weather, and the average age of residents.

If you are a huge circus fan, then Sarasota is your place. It is actually the hometown of the Ringling Brothers Circus. You can tan on the beach by day and visit the circus at night. Perhaps elephants and circus folk aren't your forte -- that's fine. You've got a lot of other top retirement choices like North Palm Beach and Naples. The beach could just become your backyard in these cities.

Interested to see how your favorite Florida city stacked up in terms of retirement glory? Read on to find out and to see how we crunched the numbers to find the best of the best retirement cities in Florida for 2020.

For more Florida state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Florida For 2020

Tavares, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,199
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $964
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
More on Tavares: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tavares is a city located in the central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Lake County. The population in 2015 was 14,583, with a total of 5,000 households and an average household income of $40,000. It is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name is a popular Portuguese surname and toponym.

Sarasota, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 56,102
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,069
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
More on Sarasota: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sarasota is a city in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. The area is renowned for its cultural and environmental amenities, beaches, resorts, and the Sarasota School of Architecture. The city is at the southern end of the Tampa Bay Area, north of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. Its official limits include Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013 Sarasota had a population of 53,326. In 1986 it became designated as a certified local government. Sarasota is a principal city of the Sarasota metropolitan area, and is the seat of Sarasota County.

Vero Beach, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,558
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Rent: $880
Distance to Closest Airport: 35 miles
More on Vero Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Vero Beach is a city in and the seat of Indian River County, Florida, United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 data, the city had a population of 15,220.

Clearwater, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 114,015
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $1,052
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
More on Clearwater: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, United States, northwest of Tampa and St. Petersburg. To the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and to the southeast lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 107,685. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area.

Review Of Clearwater by HomeSnacks User

Crime continues to be a growing issue in parts of Clearwater. The downtown area used to be very pleasant, unfortunately it has been taken over by the Scientology cult groups. It's a real shame. The beach, however, is truly fantastic...gorgeous white sand....outstanding! We moved after living near the downtown Clearwater area after 25 years. We still go back to visit each year.

Favorite place, Costco. Lot's of good restaurants....the nations #1 Beach!

North Palm Beach, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 12,899
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,462
Distance to Closest Airport: 9 miles
More on North Palm Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bradenton, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 55,059
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Rent: $1,083
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
More on Bradenton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bradenton BRAY-den-ton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2016 population to be 54,437. Bradenton is a principal city of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2007 estimated population of 682,833. It is the county seat.

Lynn Haven, FL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 20,768
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $1,071
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Lynn Haven: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lynn Haven is a city in Bay County, Florida, United States, north of Panama City. The population was 18,493 at the 2010 census. It has the smaller population of the two principal cities of the Panama City - Lynn Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Naples, FL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 21,564
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Rent: $1,343
Distance to Closest Airport: 26 miles
More on Naples: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Naples is a city in Collier County, Florida, United States. As of 2015, the city's population was about 20,600. Naples is a principal city of the Naples-Marco Island, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of about 322,000 as of 2015. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth highest per capita income in the country, and the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the US. Real estate is among the most expensive in the country, with houses for sale in excess of $40 million.

Review Of Naples by HomeSnacks User

The economy of Naples is based largely on tourism and was historically based on real estate development and agriculture. Due to its proximity to the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands, Naples is also popular among ecotourists.

The economy of Naples is based largely on tourism and was historically based on real estate development and agriculture. Due to its proximity to the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands, Naples is also popular among ecotourists.

Fort Myers, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 76,591
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Rent: $969
Distance to Closest Airport: 7 miles
More on Fort Myers: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Myers or Ft. Myers, is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. It has grown rapidly in recent years. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 62,298 and in 2016 was estimated at 77,146.

Hialeah, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 237,285
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Rent: $1,117
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
More on Hialeah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hialeah is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, Hialeah has a population of 224,669. Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in the state. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census. It is located west-northwest of Miami, and is the only place in the county, other than Homestead, Florida, to have its own street grid numbered separately from the rest of the county.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Sunshine State for 2020

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 -- 915 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 146 places from across the state.

For these 146, 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 146, with the lowest number being the best.

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

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Florida Yet...

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

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

  1. Homestead
  2. Ocoee
  3. Cutler Bay

For more Florida reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Florida?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Tavares 16,199 $964
2 Sarasota 56,102 $1,069
3 Vero Beach 16,558 $880
4 Clearwater 114,015 $1,052
5 North Palm Beach 12,899 $1,462
6 Bradenton 55,059 $1,083
7 Lynn Haven 20,768 $1,071
8 Naples 21,564 $1,343
9 Fort Myers 76,591 $969
10 Hialeah 237,285 $1,117

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.