#1 in Best Places to Retire
Warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches and a thriving arts and cultural scene have made Sarasota a go-to place for retirees and families, not to mention a handful of celebrities. This southwest Florida region, which is about an hour from Tampa and two hours from Orlando, continues to attract new residents with great restaurants and plenty of shopping options7.6 Overall Score
Fort Myers, FL
#2 in Best Places to Retire
For many years the Southwest Gulf Coast’s population had little growth and remained somewhat isolated from the rest of the Sunshine State. That seclusion ended in the early 1900s when inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist Henry Ford built winter homes in Fort Myers. At the start of the 20th century, the City of Palms started to boom. And that growth has continued to this day…Just a few miles away, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island are popular among boaters, kayakers, sailors and anglers
Port St. Lucie, FL
#3 in Best Places to Retire
Port St. Lucie is nestled along Florida’s Treasure Coast, along the state’s southeast side, about halfway between Miami and Orlando. Lucie has a more relaxed atmosphere than its larger neighbors. Its clean streets and quiet neighborhoods are woven around scenic waterways and lush green golf courses. Homes in the area are affordable to buy or rent, compared with other South Florida housing markets. However, this may change as Port St. Lucie’s popularity rises…Port St. Lucie’s natural side is strengthened by its world-class amenities. The New York Mets play spring training games at Clover Park, and Port St. Lucie is home to the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, as well as an all-inclusive resort on the St. Lucie River.
#4 in Best Places to Retire
Nestled between the edges of the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico sits Collier County, home to Naples, Immokalee and Marco Island, as well as a range of distinctly Florida flavors. Long known as a preferred retirement spot for the rich, powerful and cold-averse, the greater Naples and Marco Island area supplies pristine beaches, sprawling golf courses, and fine dining and shopping. Closer to the area’s rural interior, meanwhile, cattle graze and seasonal workers pick tomatoes in the fields around Immokalee, a farming community an hour’s drive outside of Naples…Although geared more toward the older demographic that tends to settle in the Naples and Marco Island area, the two beachside communities are located just more than a two-hour drive from bustling cities including Tampa and Miami …But proximity to the beach, loads of sunshine and no state income tax come with drawbacks.
#5 in Best Places to Retire
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, offers a balance between natural and commercial spaces that residents appreciate.
#6 in Best Places to Retire
Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala maintains deep equestrian roots even as the area evolves into a diverse metropolitan community…A vibrant, historic downtown features Victorian-era homes framing a city square with an active food scene and nightlife. A creative impulse locally fuels independent movie makers, artisanal brewers, painters and sculptors…The proving ground of Kentucky Derby winners, every year the top thoroughbreds in North America come to Ocala to learn how to become racehorses.
Ann Arbor, MI
#7 in Best Places to Retire
Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It is at once rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech, counterculture and high society.
#8 in Best Places to Retire
Hailed as “The Land of the Sky,” Asheville, North Carolina, is often considered by outsiders to be a delightfully strange place.
#9 in Best Places to Retire
Dubbed “The Magic City,” Miami is one of the most vibrant metro areas in the U.S., and it’s well on its way to becoming one of the largest international business hubs in a World. Suburbs such as Key Biscayne, Coral Gables and Doral are popular locations for raising families. Miami proper draws young professionals with a multitude of trade and banking careers, while Miami Beach still has a party-hard atmosphere.
#10 in Best Places to Retire
Troves of urbanites, families, professionals and retirees enjoy Melbourne, Florida, one of the Space Coast’s most populated metro areas… The population has access to water-centric activities on the 155-mile long estuary, Indiana River Lagoon, which separates the Space Coast from the Atlantic Ocean…The Space Coast is committed to blending the arts, science and economic development into its energetic community. Most people are generally warm and welcoming, and given that Melbourne attracts new residents from all over the country, you are sure to meet interesting folks from all different walks of life.
#13 in Best Places to Retire
Jacksonville is the largest metro area by land mass in the continental U.S., and it offers a range of culturally and aesthetically diverse neighborhoods surrounding downtown…Sitting near the Atlantic shore in northeast Florida, Jacksonville is tied together by bridges, crossing rivers to unite residents in the downtown area with nearby beaches. Restaurants, shops and entertainment options fill all of Greater Jacksonville’s neighborhoods. There are nature trails to hike and marshes to kayak. There is history to see, and there is business to develop. In fact, the region witnessed an ignition of its art and music scene, stimulating business development that has led to demand for a higher standard of living.
Daytona Beach, FL
#15 in Best Places to Retire
The Daytona Beach population swells and wanes like the ocean tide. Every winter, the region’s beaches overflow with tourists looking to thaw after bearing the cold temperatures back home. Come summertime, the city feels empty by comparison. Many things that make Daytona Beach a popular vacation spot also make it a good place to live. Fishing is a popular pastime, and residents can be seen casting from a pier or the deck of a yacht. Fishing’s land-based recreational counterpart is golf, and the area’s affinity for the sport goes back more than a century. And then, of course, there’s racing: Home to the Daytona International Speedway, the area regularly welcomes NASCAR fans from around the country…Among the many advantages of living here is that residents have access to more than just Daytona Beach itself. Creating the metro area, adjoining towns and communities like Port Orange, South Daytona, Ponce Inlet, Ormond Beach and Holly Hill provide a range of living choices at various prices
#16 in Best Places to Retire
When travelers say they’re going to Orlando, the question is, “Which one?” There’s downtown Orlando, the seat of Orange County government and a center for nightclubs, restaurants, concerts and post-game celebrations. There’s residential Orlando, which developed during the 1920s’ “City Beautiful” movement to feature canopied oaks and lakefront bungalows. And then there’s the Orlando that tourists know: the Orlando that’s home to some of the world’s top theme parks and that welcomes millions of travelers each year, making it one of the most popular vacation destinations in America.
#18 in Best Places to Retire
Aptly named for its 38 stunning lakes, Lakeland is infused with Old Florida history and natural beauty. Remnants of Lakeland’s past, like Polk Theatre and Munn Park, remind residents of the metro area’s 19th-century roots. Meanwhile, nearly 40 parks allow Lakelanders to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather…Due to its placement between two of Florida’s major metropolises, Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland is often overlooked. The relatively small metro area lends itself to a small-town feel where neighbors know each other and people often run into friends while out shopping or dining.
#20 in Best Places to Retire
Residents of the Tampa Bay area enjoy both a laid-back beach lifestyle and the amenities of a large metropolitan area, including professional sports teams, interesting museums, and an array of entertainment and dining options…Living in the Tampa Bay area is like being on vacation all year. Located north of the bay, Tampa has a hip social scene and a thriving Hispanic community and is notable for Ybor City, once known as “the Cigar Capital of the World.” On the opposite side of the bay, the beaches of St. Petersburg offer water sports and activities like parasailing and dolphin-watching cruises, while the city itself has become a major arts destination, home of the renowned Salvador Dali Museum. Clearwater is popular with the spring break crowd and in recent years, the city’s notoriety as the headquarters of Scientology has been eclipsed by its marine movie star, Winter, of the 2011 film “Dolphin Tale.”
#25 in Best Places to Retire
Bordering Escambia Bay and Pensacola Bay, the Pensacola metro area is a blend of history and nature…The region’s warm climate and desirable setting isn’t the only reason people choose to live in Pensacola. The military has a relatively small, though very significant, presence here. The Naval Air Station Pensacola was the first of its kind commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and its job prospects draw military families. Residents also find employment in the health care, manufacturing and, of course, tourism sectors.