The Best Places to Retire in Florida

Florida’s sunny beaches and pleasant winters have long drawn retirees who spent their working years in colder climes.

“Florida is a retirement paradise because of the leisurely laid-back lifestyle, the sunshine and the financial benefits,” says Desiree Avila, a real estate agent in south Florida with a senior real estate specialist designation. “In addition, as Florida’s retirement population has boomed, it has created an infrastructure to support the retirement community. There are many different 55+ and over communities existent and being built that offer year-round resort living.”

There are also medical facilities tailored to senior care, Avila adds, including assisted living facilities, retirement communities and memory care facilities.

Low housing prices in many Florida cities make the Sunshine State an affordable place to relocate. There’s also no state income tax in Florida, which can benefit retirees with taxable income. The reasonable cost of living and proximity to the beach make Florida a desirable place to retire, according to a U.S. News analysis of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. The study includes data about housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care. Consider these Florida cities for retirement.

14. Miami


Population: 6,105,897 Share of population age 65+: 18.2% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,292 Median monthly rent: $1,492

Miami is one of the most densely populated cities in Florida filled with diverse communities. The city ranked No. 82 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Retire in the U.S. for 2024 and ranked modestly in housing affordability and health care. Seniors retiring in Miami will need to budget for the city’s higher cost of living. However, The Magic City offers retirees plenty of activities.

“It’s more expensive, but the rich cultural experience, nightlife, dining, shopping, and health care facilities are top-tier,” says Larry Mastropieri, real estate broker and owner of The Mastropieri Group and Discover South Florida in Boca Raton.

13. Tallahassee


Population: 382,747 Share of population age 65+: 14.6% Median monthly mortgage cost: $986 Median monthly rent: $1,042

Tallahassee isn’t your typical Florida city. Located along the border of Georgia, Tallahassee has four distinct seasons, and its short winters are typically colder than the state’s coastal regions. Housing is more affordable here than in other Florida cities, and the property tax rate is below the national average. Retirees can take classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Florida State, or enjoy one of Tallahassee’s many museums, historic sites, parks and trail systems.

[READ: 2024 Most Affordable Places to Retire]

12. Fort Myers


Population: 752,251 Share of population age 65+: 28.4% Median monthly mortgage cost: $963 Median monthly rent: $1,307

Fort Myers scored well on the desirability and happiness metrics. Many retirees are able to comfortably afford a home, which frees up retirement income for other essential expenses. Fort Myers is located along Florida’s Gulf Coast and the Caloosahatchee River. Nearly a third of the population is age 65 or older in this popular retirement destination. Seniors in Fort Myers can create a relaxing beach retirement lifestyle, even on a modest budget.

11. Port St. Lucie


Population: 482,922 Share of population age 65+: 26.3% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,028 Median monthly rent: $1,256

Port St. Lucie is among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Over a quarter of the population is age 65 or older. Port St. Lucie is located along the Atlantic Ocean in southern Florida. This coastal city is an affordable place to retire near the water. If you tire of the beach, you can check out the wetlands at Savannas Preserve State Park or the native plants at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. Sports fans will enjoy the New York Mets spring training at First Data Field.

“Growing in popularity among retirees, Port St. Lucie features affordable housing, good fishing spots and plenty of golf courses,” Mastropieri says. “It strikes a balance between suburban and planned communities.”

10. Pensacola


Population: 503,173 Share of population age 65+: 16.5% Median monthly mortgage cost: $977 Median monthly rent: $1,105

Located at the northwestern tip of Florida, Pensacola is an ideal location for an affordable beach retirement. Pensacola sits along the Pensacola Bay and is near the Gulf of Mexico. Popular beaches include Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Pensacola scores high marks for desirability, happiness and low taxes for retirees. Pensacola’s many beaches provide ample opportunities for boating and fishing, and local restaurants are known for their fresh seafood.

9. Jacksonville


Population: 1,581,680 Share of population age 65+: 15.9% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,062 Median monthly rent: $1,175

Jacksonville has miles of white sand beaches along the Atlantic coast, and the St. Johns River and Jacksonville Beach Pier provide opportunities for fishing. The area is also a popular retirement destination for golfers, and some of the most scenic courses overlook the ocean and river. Florida’s most populous city is the 12th biggest city in the U.S. The cost of housing in Jacksonville is lower than the national median sale price, but costs vary depending on the neighborhood and type of residence.

“The cost of living varies, but can be quite favorable, and the city offers cultural diversity along with miles of beaches,” Mastropieri says.

[READ: How Raising the Retirement Age Could Help or Hurt Seniors]

8. Naples


Population: 372,797 Share of population age 65+: 32% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,198 Median monthly rent: $1,440

Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples‘ white sand beaches, golf courses and pleasant winter weather draw many retirees to the area. Naples scores high marks for desirability, happiness and low taxes for retirees. It’s pricier than some other spots in Florida, but its virtues outweigh that for some. Residents of the Naples metro area, which includes Immokalee and Marco Island, will find plenty of other retirees for company, as over 30% of the population is age 65 or older.

George Mato, director of sales at London Bay Development Group in southwest Florida, says there’s been a recent surge in popularity in the Naples and Bonita Springs area among retirees. Many retirees have moved into luxury developments located in “Blue Zones,” such as the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Estero Bay. “The unparalleled quality of life in Bonita Springs has garnered the city, along with eight other communities in Collier and Lee County, the distinction of being the first certified Blue Zones in the Southeast U.S. — which are awarded to unique regions where people seemingly defy aging and live longer and healthier lives due to various lifestyle and environmental factors,” Mato says.

7. Ocala


Population: 370,372 Share of population age 65+: 28.5% Median monthly mortgage cost: $767 Median monthly rent: $993

This equestrian town is best known for breeding award-winning horses. Retirees can attend horse shows and equestrian events and enjoy regular horseback rides on local nature trails. This inland Florida city is more affordable than many other parts of the state. Ocala‘s inexpensive housing makes it easy to relocate to the area. The Ocala National Forest has hundreds of lakes, rivers and springs where you can swim, fish and canoe.

6. Orlando


Population: 2,632,721 Share of population age 65+: 14.8% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,105 Median monthly rent: $1,363

Orlando is a popular vacation destination due to the area’s theme parks, convention centers and resorts. The city is also a college town, and the massive University of Central Florida has nearly 70,000 students. Health care is provided by AdventHealth Orlando. The mild winter temperatures, prolific entertainment options and low cost of living are attractive to retirees. Your grandchildren will beg to visit you if you live near Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida.

If you’re looking for a retirement community, Avila recommends The Villages northwest of Orlando. “It is simply huge. It covers over 30 square miles and boasts a population of about 135,000 people living their best life,” she says.

5. Melbourne


Population: 601,573 Share of population age 65+: 23.5% Median monthly mortgage cost: $992 Median monthly rent: $1,185

This part of Florida is often referred to as the Space Coast due to the nearby Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Locals can watch rockets as they launch into space. Many streets, schools and other places are named after the space program. Melbourne has an affordable cost of living, and health care is provided by the Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center. When you’re done pondering the cosmos, earthly pleasures include relaxing on an Atlantic Ocean beach or spotting dolphins and sea turtles at the Indian River Lagoon.

4. Lakeland


Population: 713,148 Share of population age 65+: 19.9% Median monthly mortgage cost: $916 Median monthly rent: $1,090

This city is aptly named for the area’s 38 scenic lakes, some of which are inhabited by swans. The humid summers are tempered by mild and sunny winters. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a quieter and more affordable alternative to Florida’s larger cities. Health care is provided by Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Lakeland is also a college town and home to Florida Polytechnic University and Florida Southern College, which has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.

[See: Tips for Finding a Great Place to Retire]

3. Sarasota


Population: 824,160 Share of population age 65+: 32.2% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,050 Median monthly rent: $1,359

Retirees are drawn to Sarasota‘s white sand beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key. But it’s the high quality of life that keeps people in the area. Sarasota scored highly on the desirability and happiness metrics, and the area’s many retirees enjoy mild winter weather and convenient access to the Gulf of Mexico. Sarasota Memorial Hospital is a high-performing hospital for the region, according to U.S. News Best Hospitals data. The reasonable housing costs allow retirees on a budget to live near the water.

2. Tampa


Population: 3,146,074 Share of population age 65+: 19.6% Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,071 Median monthly rent: $1,230

Located on the Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is a city of skyscrapers and high rises. Tampa has a variety of entertainment options including a zoo, an aquarium, theme parks, professional sports teams and a popular port for cruise ships. There are several health care providers, including Tampa General Hospital. The reasonable home prices make Tampa affordable to seniors who want to retire near the beach on a budget while still enjoying the amenities of a metro area.

1. Daytona Beach


Population: 662,671 Share of population age 65+: 25.4% Median monthly mortgage cost: $886 Median monthly rent: $1,181

Daytona Beach is not a quiet beach retreat. This bustling city is a haven for motorsports and the headquarters for NASCAR. Fans flock to the city for the Daytona 500, Speedweeks and many other large automobile and motorcycle events each year. The moderate home prices in Daytona Beach allow even those on a budget to live near the ocean. A popular vacation destination, this coastal city also has sandy beaches, water parks and golf courses. At No. 8, it’s the highest-ranking spot in Florida on the overall Best Places to Retire list.

“The cost of living is reasonable, and there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep active seniors engaged,” Mastropieri says.

More from U.S. News

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Will the Silver Tsunami Change the Housing Market?

What Is a Good Monthly Retirement Income?

The Best Places to Retire in Florida originally appeared on

Update 03/18/24: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Correction 03/20/24: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Blue Zone-certified areas in Southeast Florida.

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