15 Surprisingly Great Retirement Cities in Florida No One Is Talking About

INVESTING - SAVING FOR RETIREMENT
You don’t have to go to the big cities to enjoy your retirement years in Florida.
Updated April 9, 2024
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happy senior couple at siesta beach

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You may be considering Florida as a potential retirement destination but don’t want to go to typical spots like The Villages or Fort Lauderdale, and that’s okay.

There are still some great hidden gems in the Sunshine State that you can put down retirement roots — and keep more money in your pocket. You just need to do some research first.

Consider adding these underrated Florida cities to your list of possible retirement spots.

Editor's note: All median home sale prices were pulled from the real estate website Redfin.

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Ocala

Ryan Tishken/Adobe beautiful turquoise water at juniper springs

You may want to settle down in Central Florida but not in a mega retirement area like The Villages.

Just north is Ocala, which also features several 55-plus communities, like On Top of the World, for new residents who retire early and want to be around others the same age.

Venice

frank peters/Adobe sunset at venice clearwater beach

Venice is on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Its downtown area is beautiful and palm-tree-laden, filled with shops and restaurants.

The city also takes pride in being the Shark Tooth Capital of the World, with plenty of fossilized teeth to find while you wander the beach.

New Port Richey

TampaDroneAuthority/Adobe downtown new port richey river bridge

If you want something close to Tampa without the extra cost, consider the suburb of New Port Richey instead.

Compare houses in Tampa, which sold for a median sale price of $429,000 in March, with New Port Richey homes, selling for a median sale price of $214,000 for the same month.

It could be a good option if you want to retire but would struggle financially if you moved to Tampa.

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New Smyrna Beach

SailingAway/Adobe sunrise over flagler avenue florida

New Smyrna Beach has 17 miles of warm, sandy beaches and a downtown area with plenty of dining options.

Homes in the New Smyrna Beach area sold for a median price of $420,000 in March, compared to a median sale price of $407,070 for the state of Florida in the same month.

Amelia Island

Jillian Cain/Adobe mat for handicapped at amelia beach

Just south of the Georgia border along the Atlantic Ocean is Amelia Island.

The island offers plenty of outdoor activities, particularly fishing and visiting beaches. You can also enjoy the incredible Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance car show each March.

Mount Dora

SR Productions/Adobe orlando florida downtown mount dora

Northwest of Orlando is Mount Dora, with plenty of lakes and water access for outdoor activities you might want to enjoy when you retire.

The city also has plenty of antique shops, which you can peruse if you want to furnish your new home with unique finds.

Vero Beach

Ryan Tishken/Adobe informational sign in downtown vero beach

The Atlantic coast’s Vero Beach is home to the McKee Botanical Gardens and the McLarty Treasure Museum.

In March, Vero Beach's median home sale price was $385,000, making it an affordable option compared to other cities in the state.

Punta Gorda

David Sussman/Adobe sunrise southwest florida at punta gorda

North of Fort Myers is Punta Gorda, with homes set on a series of canals so you can always have access to water activities.

The city also has the Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Garden, with more than 4,500 plants and flowers to visit throughout the year.

St. Augustine

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe river bridge at st. augustine florida

Founded along the Atlantic coast by the Spanish in 1565, St. Augustine has plenty of history to explore if you decide to move to this town.

Be aware that homes may be a little pricier here, with the median sale price coming in at $425,000 in March. However, that price was 3.2% higher than a year ago, so you may want to keep an eye on the prices.

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Matlacha

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe colorful waterfront homes in matlacha florida

If you’re looking for more of a small-town feel, check out Matlacha near Fort Myers.

The small town features homes with water access and plenty of fishing for shrimp, crabs, and clams. And if you like eating the bounty of the water, there are plenty of seafood restaurants to try there.

Havana

Sabrina/Adobe multi ethnic senior women at park

Havana, filled with cute specialty shops, is north of Tallahassee and close to the Georgia border. 

You may not have the same access to beaches as other towns in Florida, but that may also help you with the cost of living. Homes in Havana sold for a median price of $315,000 in March.

Sebring

Creative Studio 79/Adobe panoramic view of downtown sebring florida

Sebring is laid out in a circle with a lake in the middle. This makes for plenty of enjoyment for residents and gives the town the nickname “The City on the Circle.”

Car fans will enjoy heading to Sebring International Raceway, which hosts the 12 Hours of Sebring race each year. You can also check out the boutique shops and art galleries in town.

Crystal River

Wollwerth Imagery/Adobe kayaker spotting manatee in crystal river

Crystal River gives residents plenty of options to check out nature on the state's west coast.

You can swim with manatees during the day or play golf before having a delicious dinner at one of the area's restaurants.

Boynton Beach

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe aerial photos of boynton beach florida

Boynton Beach is a little more laid-back than Palm Beach to its north or Boca Raton to its south.

It also has more affordable housing. The median sale price for a home in March was $390,000, compared to a whopping $1.3 million in Palm Beach and $701,250 in Boca Raton.

Cedar Key

Brian Lasenby/Adobe pier at sunset on cedar key

The Gulf Coast of Florida is home to Cedar Key, an island that can give you the perfect Florida experience.

Enjoy the quaint downtown with plenty of fishing options and water activities in the area.

Bottom line

icholakov/Adobe senior couple enjoying walk on beach

Before you decide to pack up and move to Florida, consider all your options. Factor how long you want to work in your retirement plans. This could change the cities you can afford.

And remember to factor in additional costs besides housing. Florida has no state income tax, but you could spend more on utilities, groceries, and other necessities.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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