Best beaches to retire
Many people dream about retirement in a beach town. But a remote beach area isn’t always the right fit for retirees, who also need access to amenities and services, such as quality health care and transportation options. A recent
U.S. News analysis compared the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States as potential retirement spots, including data on housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care. Here’s a look at the highest-rated coastal towns to retire.
Read what each beach has to offer in the gallery below:
Fort Myers, Florida
The Fort Myers metro area is located along the Caloosahatchee River near Florida’s Gulf Coast. The mild winter weather makes Fort Myers a popular beach retirement destination, and Thomas Edison and Henry Ford both built winter estates in the area. The low cost of living makes it easy to relocate to Fort Myers. The median home price in the Fort Myers metro area, which also includes Cape Coral, is $200,200, which costs retirees a median of $1,364 per month with a mortgage and $562 for a paid-off home. Renters get to spend their retirement years boating, fishing or strolling along the beach in Fort Myers for a median of $1,033 per month.
Sarasota’s picturesque beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key, draw many visitors and retirees to the area. The unusual quartz sand at Siesta Beach is soft, white and powdery and stays cool to the touch, even on sunny days. The reasonable housing costs make it easy to retire near the water. The median home value among people age 60 and older is $204,000. Retirees with a mortgage pay a median of $1,382 per month for housing, and that drops to $527 per month among retirees who are mortgage-free. The median rent is $1,060 per month. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Doctors Hospital of Sarasota are major health care providers for the community. Several barrier islands separate the Sarasota Bay from the Gulf of Mexico.
Daytona Beach, Florida
If you’re looking for a cheap place to retire near the beach, consider Daytona Beach. The median home price among retirees is just $160,200. Homeowners age 60 and older pay a median of $1,173 per month with a mortgage or $433 monthly for a paid-off house. The median rent is $910 per month. But this is not a sleepy seaside community. The headquarters for NASCAR is home to several large motorsports events each year. Health care services are provided by Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center. Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, cars can be driven onto some of the hard-packed sandy beaches.
Located in southern California on the Pacific Ocean, San Diego has year-round pleasant weather and a variety of beach and coastal retirement options. You can soak up the California surfer vibe at Swami’s Beach, snorkel and scuba dive among the marine life at La Jolla Cove or watch a stunning Pacific Ocean sunset at Carlsbad State Beach. There are miles of sandy shoreline to explore at Mission Bay, a lively boardwalk at Pacific Beach and an old-fashioned beachfront amusement park at Mission Beach. The mica in the sand at Coronado Beach makes the beach sparkle on sunny days. The biggest challenge of retirement in San Diego is finding affordable housing in a metro area where the median home value is $483,600 among people age 60 and older.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
This beach destination has a four-season climate with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. Portland’s rocky coastline makes for dramatic viewing as the Atlantic Ocean waves crash into the shore. You can observe the pounding surf at Scarborough Beach State Park, spy on hiding hermit crabs along the ledges at the aptly named Crescent Beach State Park or toughen up your toes on the rocky ocean floor at Willard Beach. The view is best enjoyed while savoring some of Portland’s culinary delights, which range from seafood-serving favorites to innovative restaurants. A home in Maine’s largest city costs a median of $249,200, and retiree renters pay a median of $783 per month.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
(AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
This tropical city is located at the southern tip of Florida. Miami combines the sunny weather and sandy toes of a beach retirement spot with the amenities only a large metro area can provide. Miami retirees have a variety of quality health care options, including the Cleveland Clinic Florida, and are eligible to ride the public transit system for free. Beachgoers can choose to see and be seen in flashy South Beach or find some peace at an undeveloped beach at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. Monthly housing costs for those age 60 and older are $1,529 for homeowners with a mortgage, $589 for mortgage-free homeowners and $998 among renters.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Charleston, South Carolina
This seaside city on the Charleston Harbor is known for its historic homes and unique southern hospitality. The waterfront provides opportunities for boating and water sports, and numerous restaurants serve fresh local seafood. It’s worth the effort to check out the numerous nearby beaches. Surfers often prefer the waves at Folly Beach, while those looking for quieter relaxation might drive out to Kiawah Island. Sullivan’s Island beach provides excellent views of Fort Sumter, or you could take your grandchildren to the family-friendly Isle of Palms. Some parts of Charleston are expensive, but the median home price among people age 60 and older is $204,800.
Melbourne is an affordable beach town for retirement. The median home price among people age 60 and older is just $157,900. The Indian River Lagoon separates the mainland from a barrier island, which is a popular spot to catch glimpses of passing dolphins and sea turtles. You can visit the beach where Juan Ponce de León first landed in North America in 1513 near Melbourne Beach or observe and help protect sea turtles at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach. Residents of Melbourne enjoy a beach retirement along the Atlantic Ocean at reasonable prices.
Jacksonville boasts 22 miles of white sand beaches along the Atlantic coast. Movie nights and musical events are frequently hosted at the Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach during the spring and summer months. The Jacksonville Beach Pier provides opportunities for deep-water fishing and strolling nearly a quarter mile past the shore. Less crowded Neptune Beach often attracts surfers. This northern Florida city near the Georgia state line is bisected by the St. Johns River, which provides additional opportunities for boating and fishing. The median home price among retirees is $172,500, and it costs a median of $921 per month to rent an apartment near the beach in Jax, as the locals call it.
Boston retirees have access to all the amenities of a major city, but can easily escape to the beach on a regular basis. Massachusetts General Hospital is ranked 4th in the nation on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll, and the subway system makes it easy to get around without driving. The commuter rail can transport you to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, which is named for the sound the sand makes. You can catch a ferry ride to Spectacle Island, take your grandchildren for a ride on the Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach in Hull, check out the natural surroundings that inspired Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond State Reservation or make the drive out to the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The best beach towns to retire in the U.S. include:
— Fort Myers, Florida
— Sarasota, Florida
— Daytona Beach, Florida
— San Diego
— Portland, Maine
— Charleston, South Carolina
— Melbourne, Florida
— Jacksonville, Florida
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The Best Beach Towns to Retire in the U.S. originally appeared on usnews.com