Four Florida metro areas landed in the top 10 of the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Places to Retire in the U.S. 2020.” Fort Myers — a midsize metro area with a small-town heritage — claimed the No. 1 spot. It was closely followed by Sarasota (No. 2), Port St. Lucie (No. 5), and Jacksonville (No. 6).
The rankings evaluated the country's 125 largest metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans' expectations for retirement, including housing affordability, desirability, health care, and overall happiness.
It’s no surprise that Florida landed on top. We live where other people vacation.
Here are some of the greatest benefits of retiring in Florida.
- Year-round sunny weather. During the fall and winter, most Floridians are still in flip-flops and shorts. Meanwhile, their friends up north are shoveling snow just to walk down the sidewalk. Florida’s nickname is the “Sunshine State” for good reason — it’s sunny more days than not. Sunny weather also allows us to be outside more, which can benefit your mental health.
- Close vicinity to some of the best beaches in the country. Florida’s beaches are a destination in and of themselves. Clearwater Beach even landed in the Travel Channel’s list of top 10 beaches in America. Take a walk along the white sandy beaches, set sail on a fishing trip, or watch dolphins from the deck, all on the same day. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday?
- Perfect place for grandchildren to visit. Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida was the most visited theme park in 2018. People travel from all around the world just to go there — and you could live within driving distance of the big mouse. Take your grandchildren’s photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle, soar high with them on Dumbo the Flying Elephant and help them collect signatures from all their favorite Disney characters. You’ll surely be named “grandparent of the year.”
- Affordability. Florida has had one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, according to the independent research organization Tax Foundation. There is also no state income tax, which is great for retirees with a taxable income.
- Versatile real estate market. Another benefit of retiring in Florida is the versatile housing market. Downsize to a single-family home or condo — or upgrade to a spacious multi-family home, with spare rooms for your children and grandchildren. Choose from an endless number of property types and settings — a beachfront property, a historic vintage home, a lakefront cabin, or a golf-view condo. Nearly anything is possible in Florida (except snow season).
But the greatest benefit of retiring in Florida? Living out your golden years in a place that makes every day feel like a vacation.