Check out this video for some of our previous picks, then read on for this year's picks:
At Florida for Boomers, I've written about many of the best places to retire in Florida and I cover 100+ of them in The Florida Retirement Handbook.
But every year I take a look at our website analytics and go through the hundreds of emails I get from readers to figure out the places that people are reading about and asking me about the most.
If you are researching the best places to retire in Florida and feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options, I hope this list can help you.
Without further ado, here are the 25 best places to retire in Florida today.
1. The Villages
Located about an hour north of Orlando, The Villages reclaims the top spot on our list for 2022. It's not for everyone, but more retirees moved to The Villages last year than any other place in Florida, so it at least deserves a look from anyone retiring in the Sunshine State.
Because of its sheer size and scale, The Villages is unlike any other place or community you'll encounter in Florida. Residents have access to an amazing collection of golf courses, recreation centers, and town squares, as well as an unparalleled number of clubs covering just about any topic you can imagine. Perhaps best of all, nearly everything is golf cart accessible. You can find more cool facts about The Villages here.
With all of the advantages that The Villages offers to its residents, it is no wonder that it consistently ranks as the fastest growing community in the entire country, and is consistently among the top three places we recommend each year. In fact, I have a completely separate weekly newsletter just about The Villages.
Located along the Gulf Coast just an hour south of Tampa and a little under two hours north of Fort Myers you will find the town of Sarasota. This city combines the historic Old Florida feel with vibrant cultural districts to create one of the most perfect atmospheres anywhere.
Where to Retire in Sarasota:
Lakewood Ranch is the #2 selling community in the country behind The Villages, and it owes a large part of its success to its proximity to Sarasota.
Though Lakewood Ranch is considered a multi-generational community, there are certain neighborhoods that are 55+, such as Cresswind at Lakewood Ranch and Del Webb at Lakewood Ranch. Another option nearby that some of my readers have already bought at is Del Webb Bayview.
Or, you can search all available Sarasota real estate here.
Earning a solid place in our Top 3, the Ocala area represents a unique combination of history, horses, and culture that is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural environments you will find anywhere. Sprinkle in the collection of interesting shops and restaurants in Ocala’s downtown district and you will find Ocala to be the type of place where no one struggles to find something to do.
Where to Retire in Ocala:
There are a handful of 55+ communities in Ocala, but two in particular stand out among the crowd.
The first is On Top of the World. Leisure amenities here include 54 holes of golf on three courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a private R/C flying field, bocce, racquetball and basketball courts, fitness center, health club and spa, restaurants, cultural venues, and much more. Residents can also participate in over 175 clubs, leagues, hobbies, and lifelong learning opportunities.
There are 23 floor plans available with prices ranging to suit every budget starting from the $200k's. You can request more information about On Top of the World right here.
The other Ocala area community you should check out is Del Webb Stone Creek, which is right next door to On Top of the World. It has all of the amenities most people have come to expect from Del Webb communities. Very few new Del Webb's in Florida have golf courses, but Del Webb Stone Creek does. You can learn more about Del Webb Stone Creek here.
If you are open to exploring both 55+ and non-55+ communities, you can search all available Ocala real estate here.
4. Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie and other neighboring towns in St. Lucie County promote themselves as offering “the real Florida,” which they describe as a perfect atmosphere for golf lovers or anyone looking for a small, friendly, beach town.
Where to Retire in Port St. Lucie:
Building on the resounding success of both Valencia Cay and Valencia Grove, which sold out at unprecedented rates, GL Homes is excited to introduce Valencia Walk – coming soon to Riverland! The third 55+ community to be built as a part of the overall 4,000-acre Riverland masterplan, Valencia Walk will offer the next generation of new home designs, incredible amenities and is located in very close proximity to Riverland’s 5-acre Arts & Culture Center, as well as the future City Parks and Town Center.Get More Information About Valencia Walk at Riverland Here.
Watersound is located near Panama City Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is a place that you are going to hear A LOT about in the coming years. That’s because its the location of the 3rd Jimmy Buffett-inspired Latitude Margaritaville retirement community, after Daytona Beach (1st location) and Hilton Head (2nd location), Latitude Margaritaville Watersound.
With the amount of land the developer has assembled, Latitude Margaritaville Watersound “could” get as big or even bigger than The Villages. That would take decades of course, but the space is there to do it.
Where to Retire in Watersound
Most people headed to this area are probably going to be interested in Latitude Margaritaville Watersound.
The list of amenities coming to Latitude Margaritaville Watersound is very similar to what we’ve seen in other Latitude Margaritaville communities. Home prices range from the $200k’s to the $400k’s.
As the third largest city in the state of Florida, Tampa offers residents all of the big city amenities they are looking for combined with the fantastic climate that draws people to the Sunshine State in the first place. In addition to tons of amenities and great weather, Tampa is also located right on the water and filled with outstanding shopping and dining options.
Where to Retire in Tampa:
Valencia Del Sol’s convenient Tampa location makes it easy to enjoy having fun in the sun along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Offering a robust and extraordinary 55+ lifestyle, Valencia del Sol caters to residents looking to socialize and stay physically active. Active adults will enjoy the 25,000 square foot Clubhouse offering an array of resort-style amenities including a fitness center, grand social hall, a relaxing pool and spa, tennis and pickleball courts as well as a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. A full-time, on-site lifestyle director will be dedicated to organizing a wide variety of fun events, clubs and opportunities for making new friends all year-round. This amazing new community features a stunning selection of twin villas and single-family homes that provide the ultimate in 55+ living at an incredible value.Get More Information About Valencia Del Sol Here.
You can see what else is available for sale right now in Tampa here.
7. St. Cloud
Located along the southern banks of East Lake Tohopekaliga near Kissimmee and just south of Orlando, St. Cloud is a quiet city that was originally known as a retirement destination for Civil War veterans.
In addition to having a rich history, the area also offers a type of small-town living that is getting harder and harder to find here in Florida. Combining that small town atmosphere with access to all of the amazing amenities located just to the north in Orlando makes St. Cloud a perfect mixture of old and new Florida living.
Where to Retire in St. Cloud
Del Webb Sunbridge is a new 55+ gated community in St. Cloud.
The 27,000 sf. Clubhouse will feature luxurious indoor and outdoor amenities like a zero-entry pool, resistance pool, pickleball and tennis courts, a fitness center, movement studio, and more. Single-Family Homes and Villas start from the mid-$200k’s.Get More Information About Del Webb Sunbridge Here.
You can see what else is available for sale in St. Cloud here.
Like many southwest Florida communities, Naples brings together the best of shopping, recreation, and beautiful white sand beaches. But residents here would definitely argue that Naples offers the best versions of all three.
Historic downtown Naples is filled with with high-end shoppes and boutiques. The surrounding areas are littered with championship level golf courses. And this location along the southern Gulf Coast of Florida boasts some of the most stunning beaches you will find anywhere.
Where to Retire in Naples
Valencia Trails in Naples offers the best resort lifestyle with a magnificent 42,000 sq. ft. Clubhouse where every day new events, clubs, and entertainment abound. Relax by the pool, grab a bite at the restaurant, catch a show in the social hall, or take a relaxing stroll or jog along the community’s iconic trails. The options are endless!
Designed for 55+ living, the gorgeous contemporary style single-family homes at Valencia Trails offer the ultimate in style, convenience, and luxury with spacious living areas, impressive gourmet kitchens, and screened and covered patios to make the most of Florida’s beautiful weather year-round. Come home to luxurious standard features including tile roof, brick pavers, stainless steel and gas appliances, designer tile flooring throughout main areas, rich stone exterior finishes and so much more.Get More Information About Valencia Trails Here.
9. Palm Coast
Located along the Atlantic Coast about halfway between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Palm Coast offers the perfect combination of nature and golf for anyone who likes to enjoy both at the same time.
Whether you choose to focus more on golf or nature, you will be happy to have both right at your fingertips here in one of Florida’s best kept secrets!
Where to Retire in Palm Coast
There are several communities in the area that would appeal to a retiring baby boomers active lifestyle, with single-family homes and condos that range in price from the mid $100s up to over $1 million.
One community I discovered recently is Matanzas Lakes, an age restricted community in Palm Coast with just over 100 homes. Another one, American Village, has just 45 homes but also has 96 condos, which I know a lot of people are looking for.
10. Fort Myers
Known for offering the perfect combination of recreation and relaxation, Fort Myers contains an endless amount of options including white sand beaches, first-class golf courses, exciting deep-sea fishing, and outstanding shopping. It's no wonder why you'll find so many 55+ communities there. One of the most popular communities in Florida right now, Babcock Ranch, is also close by.
There is an amazing selection of great local restaurants in just about every neighborhood, and baseball fans will be excited to know that both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins host their spring training activities here.
11. Palm Beach
Palm Beach County is the largest county in Florida by area, has 47 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, and in my estimation has more 55+ communities than any other county in Florida.
That said, most of the 55+ communities like Century Village and Kings Point were built in the ’70’s and ’80’s, and if you are like most of my readers, you’re looking for much newer communities.
Luckily for today’s modern retiree, there are still some great 55+ communities currently being developed in Palm Beach County.
Where to Retire Near Palm Beach
Cresswind Palm Beach at Westlake is an active adult community located in Westlake, FL between Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens. The clubhouse offers residents a place to gather and participate in social activities facilitated by a full-time Lifestyle Director.
Outdoor amenities include pickleball & tennis courts, walking trails, resort-style pool and spa, resistance pool, dog park, event and entertainment areas.
12. New Smyrna Beach
Located just 15 miles south of Daytona Beach is where you will find New Smyrna Beach. This quaint little beach town offers the atmosphere that many Boomers are looking for, but also brings quite a few unique amenities to the table.
New Smyrna is only about 20 minutes away from where I used to live in Daytona Beach Shores, and we often found ourselves down in New Smyrna for one reason or another (usually food or drink related…haha!) a few times per week.
Where to Retire in New Smyrna Beach:
Perfectly situated in Central Florida’s favorite beach town, Venetian Bay offers World Class Resort-Style amenities to its residents.
Play a round of golf on their 18-Hole Championship golf course, spend a day with your family at the Beach and Swim Club, enjoy a relaxing day at their World Class Spa, stay active by joining the on-site fitness center or walking and biking on the miles of beautiful trails.
Venetian Bay has luxury estates in gated private communities; semi-custom homes; mid-sized single family homes and duplexes; maintenance free luxury townhomes and apartment homes. With prices ranging from the $200k’s to over $1 million, there really is something for everyone at Venetian Bay.
13. Amelia Island
Located in the far northeast corner of the state, just north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is stunningly beautiful and filled with history, culture, great shopping, championship level golf, world-class resorts, and a collection of incredible restaurants.
People who make their homes on Amelia Island have been quoted saying things like, “It’s the kind of place that captures your soul.” They describe the area as “the type of place you feel like you spent your whole life searching for.”
Where to Retire Near Amelia Island
Del Webb Wildlight is a new 55+ community scheduled to open soon in the Amelia Island area. For those who plan to travel frequently, the community is only about 15 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport. You can expect to see the same types of homes and amenities offered in other Del Webb communities here in Florida.
Sitting right in the heart of Central Florida, just 20 miles west of Orlando, is where you will find the impressive little city of Clermont. It has at times been ranked as one of the Top 25 Best Places to Retire by Forbes and Money Magazines and was also voted the #1 Florida Bicycle-Friendly Community.
As if that wasn’t enough already, Clermont is considered the center point of the impressive Coast-to-Coast Trail, and the city is still growing and developing at an incredible rate.
Where to Retire in Clermont
Del Webb Minneola is a new 55+ community scheduled to open soon just north of Clermont. The community is only one mile from the Florida Turnpike, which makes getting just about anywhere you need to go in the greater Orlando area extremely easy. You can expect to see the same types of homes and amenities offered in other Del Webb communities here in Florida.
Palms at Serenoa is a gated community of 570 attached villas and single-family homes that began construction in 2018. Residents here enjoy access to amenities like a community clubhouse, fitness center, resort-style pool, and more than 16 acres of parks and green spaces around the community.
Esplanade at Highland Ranch is a gated community of 475 single-family homes. Amenities here include the standard selling points like a community clubhouse and a resort-style pool, plus there are plenty of courts and walking trails throughout the community.
15. Boynton Beach
Located just about halfway between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Boynton Beach offers residents a lifestyle that is far-removed from all of the popular Florida tourist destinations without actually being all that far away from those places.
Where to Retire in Boynton Beach:
Valencia Grand in Boynton Beach offers truly premium 55+ living unlike anywhere else, with a prime South Florida location, sophisticated country-club lifestyle, and all-new unmatched amenities. Valencia Grand takes sophisticated living to the next level with one-story home designs made for 55+ living with stand-out features including expansive high ceilings, transom windows that let in even more Florida sunshine, impressive gourmet kitchens, spa-like baths, spacious outdoor living areas and more starting from the $900k's.Get More Information About Valencia Grand Here
16. The Florida Keys
There are some places that are nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
The Florida Keys is perfect whether visiting for a weekend or deciding to make it a permanent home.
An idyllic tropical setting at the tip of the United States combined with a myriad of recreation, entertainment, and cultural opportunities create the ideal place to spend the next stage in life.
17. Daytona Beach
Because of its popularity among race fans, motorcycle enthusiasts, spring breakers, and summer vacationers, Daytona Beach is often overlooked by many boomers as they search for a Florida retirement destination that will fit their ideal lifestyle. However, those popular reasons for visiting Daytona Beach are really just scratching the surface of what residents enjoy here throughout the year.
Where to Retire in Daytona Beach
Latitude Margaritaville is a new 55+ community in Daytona Beach, inspired by the lifestyle and music of Jimmy Buffett.
Amenities include a fully outfitted gym / Spin Room, aerobics room with virtual personal trainer, indoor whirlpool spa and lap pool, Latitude Town Square where you’ll find the Bandshell with live music, The Last Mango Theater includes a banquet hall with stage for performances and dancing, Barkaritaville Pet Spa, Coconut Telegraph Business Center, Latitude Bar & Chill Restaurant, Changes in Attitude Bar, Paradise Pool with beach entry, cabanas, and tiki huts, plus, an amenity that you don’t see every day…your very own private beach club! Home prices start in the $200k’s.
18. The Nature Coast
Located along the inside curve of Florida’s coastline, the Nature Coast region connects the Sun Coast counties with the areas located further west along the Florida Panhandle.
It is comprised of nine counties that include Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, and the city of Dunnellon, which is a part of Marion County.
This area of Florida is known for being a nature lover’s paradise with some of the best collections of state parks and wildlife populations that you will find anywhere in the country.
Where to Retire on The Nature Coast
Just a short drive from Tampa, the Villages of Citrus Hills is a Florida Retirement Community with single family homes and maintenance free villas that have been built with today’s demanding baby-boomer in mind. But what makes the promise of Florida Retirement in the Villages of Citrus Hills truly come together for today’s new breed of active adult retiree is its extraordinary collection of world-class community country club amenities and extensive social activities. A wide variety of homes and homesite packages are available.Get More Information About Citrus Hills Here.
19. St. Augustine
Famous for being the oldest city in the country, St. Augustine is absolutely the perfect place for anyone who appreciates history. The city is located along the east coast of Florida just about 45 minutes south of Jacksonville, and a little over an hour north of Daytona Beach.
In addition to being a great location for history buffs, St. Augustine is also filled with tons of culture, great shopping, unique places to eat, and two really wonderful retirement communities. If you are passionate about any combination of those things, the Nation’s Oldest City could be a great option for your retirement.
Located just south of Sarasota, but not quite as far south as Fort Myers or Sanibel Island, Venice sits in a sweet spot along Florida’s southern Gulf Coast that makes it the perfect destination for anyone looking to make the most of 14 miles of stunning white sand beaches.
In addition to those beautiful beaches, Venice is also known for all kinds of exciting ways to enjoy the great outdoors. It is a fabulous destination for boomers interested in exploring arts and culture, boutique shopping, or a wide range of outstanding restaurant choices.
Considered part of the Space Coast on Florida's East Coast, Melbourne is seeing an uptick in interest among readers in part due to all of the activity surrounding the fast-growing commercial space program.
Where to Retire in Melbourne
Situated over 500 acres, with plans for approximately 1,300 homes, Del Webb at Viera will offer retirement living in an acclaimed master-planned community known for its robust amenities and proximity to beautiful beaches, fine dining and shopping.
Expected to begin pre-selling in mid-2022, Del Webb at Viera will offer single-family and villa homes similar to those available in other Del Webb communities. At the time of this writing, pricing has yet to be released.
22. St. Petersburg
Across the bay from Tampa and just south of Clearwater is where you will find the city of St. Petersburg.
Known for offering the perfect combination of white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and all of the big city amenities that make life enjoyable, St. Petersburg is the perfect destination for anyone who wants a little bit of everything in their retirement lifestyle.
23. Winter Garden
Located about 25 minutes west of downtown Orlando, Winter Garden offers residents the perfect combination of an Old Florida feel and plenty of modern amenities.
You’ll love strolling through the historic downtown district but will also enjoy the lake lifestyle, the thriving cultural scene, shopping at the weekly farmers’ market, and dining at the impressive collection of modern restaurants.
Where to Retire in Winter Garden
Del Webb Oasis is now selling in Winter Garden. This community is slated to include a 14,000 square foot clubhouse that will be situated to provide an excellent view of theme park fireworks. Del Webb Oasis is offering a selection of single-family homes and villas.
24. Delray Beach
Located just an hour up the coast from Miami you will find one of the best small town communities in the entire country. The state’s official tourism website describes Delray Beach as a “small and intimate town with big-city sophistication.”
This is obvious to anyone who visits based solely on the number of art galleries, restaurants, and nightly entertainment events available throughout the popular downtown area. Delray Beach is the place where you can find big city culture in a small town environment…which is why so many people have decided to make their homes here.
Where to Retire in Delray Beach
Avalon Trails is a new 55+ community in Delray Beach with 105 single family homes and 208 attached villas.
Located at the very far end of the panhandle, Pensacola is a perfect location for anyone looking to enjoy Florida’s perfect weather and those beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, without relocating to one of the popular tourist destinations.
Between the outstanding fishing opportunities, the adventure of canoeing along the Blackwater River, and the history of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, there is a never-ending supply of activities to keep residents busy here. But at the end of the day, life in Pensacola is a pretty close match to the relaxing Florida retirement lifestyle you have alway envisioned for yourself.
What Did I Miss?
There you have it, the top 25 best places to retire in Florida today.
Be sure to bookmark this page and check back often because I am constantly updating this page.
Better yet, sign up for our Florida retirement newsletter and I'll let you know whenever we update this list.
Know a great place in Florida that I should consider adding to the list in the future?
Let me know in the comments section below!