Many people want to retire somewhere affordable, beautiful, warm and full of activities.
Enough parts of Florida check those boxes frequently enough that the state usually ranks at or near the top of “best places to retire” lists.
Not all Florida cities are equally great for retirees, of course — and sometimes the big ones get the lion’s share of attention.
That’s what makes WalletHub’s recent analysis of the best places to retire in Florida so interesting. The site looked at more than 100 cities in the Sunshine State and ranked them on a 100-point scale across 29 metrics broken down into the categories of quality of life, health care and activities.
Here are the best cities in Florida to retire in, along with what may make them attractive to retirees.
24. Tarpon Springs (tie)
Total score: 49.82 out of 100
Tarpon Springs, a relatively short trip from Tampa, isn’t your typical Florida retirement town. It’s full of Greek history dating back to the 1880s, when immigrants built up its sponge diving industry there, according to VisitFlorida.com. That makes it an excellent place to spend your golden years if you enjoy Greek food and culture.
24. Boynton Beach (tie)
Total score: 49.82
Boynton Beach ranks sixth for health care in WalletHub’s analysis and is close enough to West Palm Beach for residents to enjoy easy access to its arts and entertainment offerings, including the Palm Beach Symphony and Kravis Center.
23. North Fort Myers
Total score: 50.17
Fort Myers ranks as the seventh-best place in the U.S. to retire, according to U.S. News & World Report. North Fort Myers — separated from the city proper by a river — is host to good hiking, shell hunting, sailing and horseback riding.
22. West Palm Beach
Total score: 50.48
West Palm Beach ranks just outside the top 10 for both health care and activities in WalletHub’s analysis. The city sits across a lagoon from the barrier island of glitz and glamour that is Palm Beach. About one in five people living in the city are age 65 or older, according to Census Bureau data.
Total score: 50.60
Total score: 51.02
Estero ranks second for quality of life in WalletHub’s analysis, and that quality of life in this city on Florida’s west coast seems to be a big draw for retirees. More than half of the city’s population is 65 or older, according to Census Bureau data.
Total score: 51.10
Melbourne, a coastal city southeast of Orlando, ranks as the fourth-best place in the entire U.S. to retire, according to U.S. News & World Report. WalletHub, using different criteria, didn’t place it quite so high — but it did give it No. 10 for health care and No. 21 for activities.
18. Cape Coral
Total score: 51.83
Boating is a popular hobby for the folks in the Gulf Coast city of Cape Coral. The city just south of Fort Myers also ranks fourth for quality of life in WalletHub’s analysis — which might be why it was named one of “The 50 Happiest Communities in America” a few years ago.
17. Bonita Springs
Total score: 52.01
Bonita Springs, another of the popular coastal cities south of Fort Myers, ranks eighth for quality of life and 16th for health care in WalletHub’s analysis. Money also named it the fifth-best place to retire in 2020.
16. South Bradenton
Total score: 52.06
South Bradenton takes the No. 7 spot for quality of life in WalletHub’s analysis — just behind the rank of Bradenton proper, a city just across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg. Retirees seem to be well aware of the appeal, since nearly a quarter of the population is age 65 or older, according to Census Bureau data.
Total score: 52.57
Pensacola isn’t as famous as Miami, but that also makes this retirement destination in northwestern Florida a much more affordable beach town.
WalletHub ranked Pensacola No. 10 for activities, and the city also recently was featured in U.S. News & World Report’s national list of the best places to retire thanks in part to its local dolphin populations and explorable military forts.
14. Winter Park
Total score: 53.51
Winter Park is a city in central Florida, part of the Orlando metro and less than 30 miles from Disney World. So, as you might imagine, there’s plenty to do there. It also has excellent health care, ranking No. 9 for that category on WalletHub’s list.
Total score: 53.56
Jupiter, a coastal city just north of West Palm Beach, ranks No. 15 on WalletHub’s list for its activities. As we noted in “The 10 Best Small Cities for Retirement,” it’s also known for providing easy access to medical centers and having a large percentage of senior residents.
Total score: 54.05
Immokalee, an inland community to the southeast of Fort Myers, ranked the best for health care in WalletHub’s study and is near the top 10 for quality of life. It has also topped the list of “The 50 Happiest Communities in America” and is known for its casino and regional raceway.
Total score: 54.71
Speaking of the happiest communities in the U.S., the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area on the Gulf Coast ranked No. 7 on that list. It also took the No. 6 spot for quality of life in WalletHub’s ranking.
Total score: 54.87
While Clearwater wasn’t outstanding in any of WalletHub’s categories, it nonetheless ranked high for being decent across the board.
The proximity of this coastal community to the larger city of Tampa provides a wide variety of entertainment options and activities. The city was featured in “The Best U.S. Cities for Retirees to Live and Work in 2020,” too, in part for its large senior population.
9. Delray Beach
Total score: 54.92
Delray Beach, south of West Palm Beach in South Florida, ranked No. 7 for health care and No. 13 for activities in WalletHub’s report. A pinball museum and Japanese gardens are some of its diverse offerings, and retirees will find they are in good company with approximately a quarter of the population being age 65 or older.
8. Fort Lauderdale
Total score: 55.02
Fort Lauderdale, another South Florida beach community, scored the No. 6 ranking for activities on WalletHub’s list.
Total score: 55.65
This city on the Treasure Coast just south of Melbourne, was ranked the best in Florida for quality of life in retirement by WalletHub. It’s known for its wildlife, fishing, boating, golf and proximity to Disney’s Vero Beach resort.
Total score: 56.32
Tampa ranked No. 2 for activities in WalletHub’s list — not surprising, as one of Florida’s three largest cities and a major cruise port on the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. News & World Report ranked it the No. 6 best place nationally to retire, too.
Total score: 58.54
Orlando ranks No. 3 for activities on WalletHub’s list. This, too, is no surprise — this bustling central Florida metro is home to major theme parks and immense tourism. Universal Studios and Disney World are just the tip of the iceberg and may make it easier to convince relatives to visit.
Total score: 62.48
Miami’s glitz and sports teams contribute to its No. 5 ranking for activities by WalletHub, but the city also secured the No. 5 spot for health care.
As we reported in “The 10 Most Walkable U.S. Cities,” it’s also considered “a walker’s and bicycler’s paradise.”
3. Boca Raton
Total score: 62.69
Boca Raton, another of South Florida’s coastal cities, nabbed the No. 4 spot for both health care and activities in WalletHub’s rankings. Its beaches and golf courses are a huge draw and may help explain why more than a quarter of the population are seniors.
2. Fort Myers
Total score: 63.17
Fort Myers, on Florida’s west coast, ranks well across the board: No. 2 in health care, No. 9 in activities and No. 12 for quality of life.
SmartAsset called it the best city for retirees to live and work in 2020 and highlighted it as the spring training ground for Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins.
Total score: 69.66
Here we are at the top of the list. Whether your top concern is activities (No. 1), health care (No. 3) or quality of life (No. 5), the coastal city of Sarasota has it all. U.S. News & World Report also named it the best place in the nation to retire for 2022, citing reasonable housing costs and its white sand beaches.
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