Where are the Best Retirement Spots in Florida?

L. Cane

There's no question that, for many, Florida is a desirable retirement spot. In 2021, SmartAsset ranked Florida as the number 1 destination for retirees. Arizona came in second place. There's much to like about the sunshine state in retirement. The weather is nice, and the state is tax-friendly. One can live an active lifestyle surrounded by nature, and there are plenty of attractions and amenities.

But there are also 67 counties in Florida. So retirees have many choices. And the choice of where to live is arguably an important one. When you've spent your life working, you may want to retire someplace where work is the last thing you have to think about.

But what is considered the best areas for retirees? The website Stacker wanted to know the answer to this question, so it pulled data from the website Niche and from the Census Bureau. Niche ranks a location based on a variety of factors like weather, cost of living, housing, access to amenities, safety, and the economy.

Here is the list of the top 25 counties from lowest to highest. Within the list, you will see the grades that Niche gave in several categories, as well as the area that Niche thinks is the top place to live in that county.

#25. Gulf County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A), cost of living (B), weather (A-), outdoor activities (B+)

Top places to live: Port St. Joe (B+)

#24. Nassau County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A), cost of living (B-), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Fernandina Beach (A-), Yulee (B+), Callahan (B)

#23. Levy County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A), cost of living (A-), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Williston (B), Cedar Key (B), Bronson (B-)

#22. Franklin County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A), cost of living (B+), weather (A-), outdoor activities (B+)

Top places to live: Apalachicola (B+), Eastpoint (C+), Carrabelle (B-)

#21. St. Johns County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A), cost of living (C+), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Nocatee (A+), Palm Valley (A+), Fruit Cove (A+)

#20. Flagler County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Palm Coast (B+), Flagler Beach (B), Bunnell (B)

#19. St. Lucie County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Lakewood Park (B), Port St. Lucie (B), River Park (B)

#18. Pasco County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Wesley Chapel (A), Land O' Lakes (A), Odessa (A)

#17. Marion County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Ocala (B+), Belleview (B-), Dunnellon (B-)

#16. Volusia County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: DeBary (A-), Port Orange (A-), Ponce Inlet (B+)

#15. Palm Beach County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Grandview Heights (A+), Highland Beach (A), Boca Raton (A)

#14. Manatee County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Whitfield (A-), Ellenton (B+), West Bradenton (B+)

#13. Hernando County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: North Brooksville (B+), South Brooksville (B), Brooksville (B)

#12. Collier County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Pelican Bay (A), Naples (A), Pine Ridge (A-)

#11. Lake County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Clermont (A-), Montverde (B+), Silver Lake (B+)

#10. Citrus County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B+), weather (A-), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Citrus Hills (B+), Sugarmill Woods (B), Hernando (B)

#9. Brevard County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Satellite Beach (A+), South Patrick Shores (A), Indian Harbour Beach (A)

#8. Sumter County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: The Villages (B+), Bushnell (B+), Wildwood (B)

#7. Martin County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: North River Shores (A), Jensen Beach (A), Palm City (A-)

#6. Charlotte County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Punta Gorda (B+), Charlotte Park (B+), Grove City (B+)

#5. Pinellas County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: Euclid-St. Paul (A+), Holiday Park (A+), North Shore (A+)

#4. Lee County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

- Top places to live: Whiskey Creek (A), Gateway (A), Sanibel (A)

#3. Highlands County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B+), weather (A), outdoor activities (B+)

Top places to live: Lake Placid (B), Avon Park (B-), Sebring (B-)

#2. Indian River County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (B-), weather (A), outdoor activities (A-)

Top places to live: Indian River Shores (A), South Beach (A-), Wabasso Beach (A-)

#1. Sarasota County

Niche grades: good for retirees (A+), cost of living (C+), weather (A), outdoor activities (A)

Top places to live: South Sarasota (A), Osprey (A), South Gate Ridge (A)

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