11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: This article is part of a series. See “For Further Reading” section at end for links to the rest of the articles Updated January 10, 2017 with current prices

Originally published June 15, 2010 — What’s not to like about retiring to a place on or near the water – except maybe the price that usually comes with that lifestyle. Until the polar icecaps melt some more, no one is making any more ocean front property, which means that as a rule only wealthy people can afford to pay for the privilege of watching the sun come up and down over the water from their front porches. Fortunately for the careful shopper though, there are different kinds of waterfront, some some of them affordable.
The first place we started when researching this article was our own Retirement Ranger. When we took our free, 10 question quiz we tried to keep it simple – we specified only 2 environmental selections – “coastal” and “lakefront” and “lower than average” cost of living. The Ranger came back with 100 choices in the USA, from which we chose 11 for this article.

Lakes with big coastlines offer some of the biggest waterfront bargains. Likewise, towns near rivers and bays can offer spectacular views or quick water access without spending mega-dollars. Finally, if you choose a place on the ocean that is far from a big city or in the right region, you might be able to snag a relative bargain. We urge you to use the Retirement Ranger and search on this and other sites for more ideas. Prices are from Zillow unless otherwise noted (the U.S. Zillow Home Value Index was $192,500 in late 2016). Insurance costs do tend to be higher near the ocean, so that is a factor to be considered.

Boynton Beach FL – Boynton Beach has always been the step-child to its more prosperous neighbors like Delray Beach and Palm Beach. It’s the same ocean, just a few miles north or south. Boynton Beach had a real estate meltdown in 2008 but has come back since, although not as much as nearby towns on the coast like Boca Raton. The median home price in 2010 was $150,000 (houses/condos close to the water were more), but that had increased to $224,300 by late 2016. There are many communities not far from or even on the beach that the careful shopper can choose from.

Downtown Leesburg

Leesburg, FL – This waterfront town in central Florida boasts 6 public beaches on 3 lakes, plus a yacht club. The centerpiece of the town is a former WPA project, the Venetian Gardens Waterside Park on Lake Harris. There is a community college plus a number of active adult communities to choose from. Zillow Home Value Index was $152,400 in late 2016.

Myrtle Beach, SC – Myrtle Beach remains a bargain for a community on the ocean. It offers low-cost housing, 120 golf courses, and of course – the Grand Strand, a great sandy beach that runs uninterrupted for almost 60 miles – from Pawley’s Island in the south to North Myrtle Beach. The median listing price on Zillow was $160,000 in late 2016.

Port Charlotte, FL – An amazing 40% of the homes in Port Charlotte have water access, thanks to a maze of canals and estuaries, complete with hundreds of species of marine life. There are dozens of active adult and 55+ developments /neighborhoods to choose from. The Home Value Index was a bargain at $164,500 in late 2016.

Lake Eufaula, OK – This area in east central Oklahoma is a popular resort and a low-key, relaxing retirement spot. Lake Eufaula has approximately 143,000 acres of water and over 600 miles of shoreline. Average home prices were $113,000 in late 2016.

Paris, TN – Paris is situated between 2 giant lakes, one of them being among the largest man-made lakes in the world. Paris is a small town of about 10,000 in northwest Tennessee, 15 miles from the vast and popular Land Between the Lakes recreation area. The Zillow Home Value Index was $95,200 in late 2016, about half the U.S. value.

Murphy, NC – The downtown is beautiful with tree lined streets and many historic buildings restored to their original state. The climate is mild and the scenery is breathtaking with mountains, lakes (several large ones like Lake Hiwassee), and streams. You can find a range of homes from the low to high $100’s, with the 2016 Home Value Index at $145,000.

St. Petersburg, FL – St. Pete offers a happy compromise in a very livable city,with many desirable neighborhoods and plenty of culture and recreation. Since St. Pete is on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, almost everything is near the water. Prices were in the low $100’s in 2010 but the NAR media sales price in the Tampa/St.Pete/Clearwater Metro was $205,000 in late 2016 (prices in many St. Pete neighborhoods/communities will be less, more in others).

Toccoa, GA – This small town on giant Lake Hartswell in northeastern Georgia has about 8500 residents. Athens is 50 miles away. The median listing price in 2016 was $150,000. (In the first edition of this article we listed Blue Ridge, GA, but it is no longer as affordable as it was).

Port Isabel, TX – Port Isabel is a beach town and a popular resort, as well as being a retirement destination. Fishing, beach going, and relaxing are popular activities. The area is quiet and the weather is warm in the winter. The Home Value Index was $131,200 in 2016.

Hayesville, NC – Lake Chatuge near Hayesville has over 130 miles of shoreline, much of which can never be developed. The artists’ community in Hayesville is diverse and growing, which gives the town another dimension. Home prices tended to be in the high $100s in 2016.

Drawbacks of Living Near the Water
There are always 2 sides to any story. And living near the waterfront is not a total picnic. Consider these drawbacks:
– High insurance costs. Particularly in Florida, hurricane and flood insurance can be very costly and hard to get. One recent study found that waterfront property is appreciating at a slower rate than those away from the water.
– Natural disasters. Related to above, it is no fun to be evacuated or have your home destroyed. As one of our commenters noted below, hurricanes are a very real threat to just about anywhere on the coast. Some towns have been hit over and over again.
– Man made disasters. The oil spill in the Gulf points out the type of disaster that might await many Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi owners of property on the waterfront.
– Taxes. Waterfront properties tend to be worth a lot and appraised accordingly for taxes, so your property taxes will be higher than comparable homes inland.

What do you think?
Give us your suggestions for affordable places to retire on the water. Or throw cold water on ours, for that matter. Use the Comments section below – we would love to hear from you.

See Also:
For further reference:
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2
10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2
20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire

Posted by John Brady on June 14th, 2010


  1. You missed the boat on this one. Part of the Cost of Living includes insirance and nearly all of the waterfornt locations you selected are in hurricane pronae areas, thus high insurance. Also, you forgot about humidity. While the locations you selected might be nice in the winter time, they are nearly unbearable in the summer and also have high electric costs for air conditioning. You completely missed the western half of the country. The west has many waterfron locations that are very affordable and yet are low humidity in the summer. The west tends to cool off at night and thus has a much lower AC requirement.

    by LaMarTEK — June 15, 2010

  2. When running through your list, other than the coastal locations, snakes kept creeping into my mind’s eye. Don’t think that would work – never relax.

    by V. Bittler — June 16, 2010

  3. Where do I go to see the entire affordable list of 50 waterfront locations?? – – thanks for the good information that you provide – – lots to think about – jim

    by Jim Utter — June 18, 2010

  4. Hi Jim,

    Good question. You can generate the list by taking our free Retirement Ranger http://www.topretirements.com/retirementranger/
    When you take it, choose “No preference” for all questions where this is an option – except the question for “Environment” (select “lake” and “coastal”) and the question for “Cost of Living” (select “Lower than Average”). When you get the email you will see the results, or just click on the “Recent Results” link at top left, after you take. You can then retake with more selective criteria to narrow it down. Good luck!

    by Admin — June 18, 2010

  5. Boynton Beach is such a great place to live. You are correct in saying that Boynton is the step-child of Palm Beach but in my opinion it’s one of the greatest places to live. If you can find great water front property (because now is the time) and you have the money to invest go for it. There are some killer deals out there.

    by Andy — June 23, 2010

  6. […] 8. Near the beach or a lake. We see from our Retirement Ranger questions that having access to a beach is very important to many people. For them being close could mean a 3-hour drive – that is still accessible. Living on the coast or a lake is a retirement dream for many, and we can see why. See this article: 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Water […]

    by 11 Good Reasons for Choosing a Retirement Town | Topretirements — July 6, 2010

  7. […] Also: 11 Affordable Towns on the Waterfront How to Retire in Style and on a Budget Posted by John Brady on July 27th, 2010 Comments (0) […]

    by how to find affordable retirement | Topretirements — July 27, 2010

  8. I live in the Seattle area and am moving to Oregon at retirement… There are some lovely areas near both rivers and ocean there but no west coast towns are mentioned! Why is that?

    by sally — July 28, 2010

  9. What about great water views? Being on the water has all the drawbacks mentioned above, but living back from the waterfront – yet with a view – eliminates at least some of them, and the housing will be somewhat less as well. So how about a list of affordable water views —- that includes the west?

    Thanks for all the great articles.

    by Sunny — September 30, 2010

  10. […] further reference: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront Most Affordable Places to Retire (2010) How to Find an Affordable Place to Retire Most Affordable […]

    by » 10 Very Affordable… and Great Places to Retire Topretirements — September 13, 2011

  11. Are there other regions which also offer affordability in retirement near the water? I don’t relish living with the humidity, insects, and hurricanes that are prevalent in the “southern” areas of our country. Can affordable retirment on the water be found anywhere on the west coast? (And I don’t mean Alaska)

    V.J. Kernick

    by V.J. Kernick — September 17, 2011

  12. […] FL as a Favorite Place to Retire – Best States to Die In – Top 10 International Places to Retire – 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Water – Best of the Best Places to Retire – 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy in An Active Community – […]

    by » Best Retirement Stories of the Year Topretirements — October 10, 2011

  13. What about Cape Cod Massachusetts?

    by Bill — June 11, 2012

  14. 1question and 1comment:
    To Sally- could you share your favorite location(s) in Oregon? I’d like to consider the area as well.
    To Bill: the Cape is a wonderful place to retire and although MA was on the “worst state list” I think there are as many different towns as there are personalities looking to move there.
    Summer traffic is. Nightmare, and places like Hyannis are very built up… I hear a train will run from Boston to the Cape this summer…

    by Deborah Lehan — May 26, 2013

  15. What about San Diego county, there are many small very desirable cities in that area?

    by JEAN — July 28, 2013

  16. Any thoughts about Saratoga Springs, N. Y., or anywhere in Saratoga county? I was originally considering Cape May and Atlantic counties in N. J., but the recent bad storms have me re-thinking that. Also, those areas often experience power outages.

    by Linda — July 29, 2013

  17. I’d think twice about some of the areas north of Tampa. Sink holes are common which has a lot to do with the cheap real estate. Florida is not the bargain that it once was. I loved living there but, the cost of living has escalated as the real estate market is bouncing back. If you want a low cost of living, I’d have to suggest Tn. I’ve lived in both places, and while I prefer Fl., it’s just too expensive in most of the state.

    by Chuck — July 29, 2013

  18. Bill, Cape Cod has many retirees. I’ve lived here for 14 years and during those years, we’ve only had 3 major snowstorms although last winter was a doozy. The summers are cooler than the greater Boston area while the winters are milder. The winter of 2011 had no snow. The real estate prices are still moderate. The senior centers are quite active and the beautiful beaches are never more than a 15 minute drive no matter where you live on the Cape. We love the Cape.

    by Lana — July 29, 2013

  19. To Bill
    Can you giv e the name of places on the cape that are 50+ communities. The Cape is my favorite place on earth. I’ve always heard it is very expensive to live there. Any info would be appreciated.

    by jeb — July 29, 2013

  20. I am familiar with San Diego, I am in Calif a lot. It is very expensive to live there. San Diego is struggling for money, the real estate taxes are high, lots of traffic, and the summer if very very crowed, but the weather is one of the best ever. Great place to visit and vacation. Just keep in mind you need a good amount of money to live there comfortably!!

    by Loralee — July 29, 2013

  21. Struggling with where we want to retire. One thing for sure is to get out of Louisiana. The food is great, but need to escape Hurricanes.!!! We have son who lives in Rio Rancho, NM and would like to live close to him, plus we like the mountains and the low humidity. We have looked at Santa Fe, NM; Flagstaff, AZ; and Sedona, AZ and a few places in Colorado and Utah. If anyone has lived or is living in these areas and would like to comment on how things are, it would be greatly appreciated.

    by Gary D — July 30, 2013

  22. […] Coast series, we’ve provided 10 coastal towns that are reasonably affordable. Part 1, “Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront“, came out in 2010 (it included some towns where the waterfront was on a lake, this one does […]

    by » Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast – Part 2 Topretirements — April 15, 2014

  23. […] further reading These College Towns Make for a Great Retirement Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront (part 1) 7 Great Places to Retire for Livability 5 Big Reasons Why Small Towns Are Great Places to […]

    by » 10 Great Places in the Mountains for Retirement Topretirements — May 22, 2014

  24. […] further reference: 8 More Affordable Places to Live 10 Very Affordable Places to Retire 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront Affordable College Towns in the […]

    by » 20 Great Affordable Towns for Retirement Topretirements — June 13, 2014

  25. […] to Retire on a Lake (2011) Great Mountain Towns for Retirement Great College Towns for Retirement Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront 5 Big Reasons Why Small Towns Are Great Places to Retire 10 Great Walkable Towns for […]

    by » At The Lake – Where the (Retirement) Living is Easy Topretirements — July 23, 2014

  26. […] Further Reading The Affordable and More Best Places to Retire List 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast 10 Affordable, and Highly Livable, Places to Retire 8 More […]

    by » Why Retirees Are Not Moving to Most Affordable Places to Retire - Topretirements — December 2, 2014

  27. <$200K for 1550 sq ft brick home in a waterfront subdivision on the Florida Panhandle in Mary Esther Florida. The community is named Marsh Harbor and is a gorgeous development. There's a boardwalk down to the beautiful Santa Rosa Sound where you can kayak, paddle board, fish, or just lay in the sun and watch the boars go by. HOA fees are <$700 a year. Home Insurance runs <$1200 a year. Taxes <$2000 a year. Brick homes are easy to maintain. HIP roofs that save many dollars on your home insurance. Small yards. Quiet neighborhood.

    by PDMorgan — January 3, 2015

  28. just looking for a good deal.

    by tom wells — February 8, 2015

  29. I’m not living anywhere with wild pigs.

    by John — February 9, 2015

  30. I’m in total agreement with John, LOL…….

    by botch57 — February 9, 2015

  31. We plan to retire in Corpus Christi, on the bay or the beach areas on Padre Island. ny feedback from the readers?

    by Roger Dabbah — February 9, 2015

  32. Why wild pigs taste good ! Time for a BBQ.

    by Tony — February 10, 2015

  33. John
    I’ve got a feeling that the OP meant boats not boars. If you look at keyboard, it could easily be a typo. IMHO.

    by Journey15 — February 10, 2015

  34. Those boars can sink a boat if you live let them on board. I heard one story about several boars taking over a boat and eating the owners lunch his wife prepared. Got to watch those boars. I not living near them.

    by geoff boston — February 11, 2015

  35. Looking for inland waterfront with an elevation of at least 3500 ft. to avoid the humidity and higher insurance rates of coastal properties. SE states only.

    by Jimmie — March 5, 2015

  36. […] further reading Is a Money Pit Going to Ruin Your Retirement Using Your Home to Pay for Retirement Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront (2 Part series) The Affordable and More Best Places to […]

    by » How to Find a Retirement Home for under $50,000 - Topretirements — March 23, 2015

  37. How about anywhere in Pennsylvania? I have a wife that refuses to leave our area because of proximity to our children, but Virginia taxes are killing us. We are both federal retirees with good pensions that are fully taxed by the state. Suggestions?

    by Dennis Nelson — March 24, 2015

  38. Pa – r u out of ur mind? Ur heading in the wrong directions. 2 mistakes IMO and my RECENT experience. 1. Moving to Pa. 2. Moving to be near the children. In order to save you a lot of headaches, money and Senior lifestyle I would respectfully suggest you do a lot of soul searching and lots and lots of HOMEWORK. Children can always come visit you and it will be cheaper in the long run to FUND their visit than move wrongly. How do I know? It wasn’t because the Bible told me so (wish it had) its because I made BOTH MISTAKES. We are headed back South to one of many better places/states to live.

    by Robert — March 25, 2015

  39. As a former PA resident with family in the state, PA is on my retirement list too. I’m rethinking it a little after this winter, since I got so many pictures from family members showing me all of the snow they had! I have two caveats for my PA shopping: require gas heat, and watch out for real estate taxes. Real estate taxes vary widely by county in PA. You have to be careful to (1) check if the property’s assessment is near the sales price, or you could have an unpleasant surprise when the property is reassessed as a result of the sale, and (2) make sure that you consider county, local and school taxes. I’ve seen some realtors identify only one or two of them, instead of the total. Also – gas prices are fairly high, which is something to keep in mind when considering beautiful rural PA.

    by Sharon — March 25, 2015

  40. Dennis – how about Delaware? Much less expensive than PA and lots of nice retirement areas…or if you really want to try to avoid the winters, travel a bit south of Virginia – North Carolina? We have friends in both states and they rave about how friendly and affordable they are. My daughter lives in PA ( in Bryn Mawr, outside of Philly) and her property taxes are astoundingly high!

    by SandyZ — March 25, 2015

  41. Hi SandyZ, any specific areas or communities in Delaware that you freinds would recommend.

    by Lane — March 25, 2015

  42. Was looking in Lewes Delaware for a while (close to home NJ). So many beautiful community’s but as soon as you leave them areas are run down. I know a lot of states are like that ??

    by Tony — March 26, 2015

  43. There are several 55+ communities in the Dover Delaware area.

    by sue — March 26, 2015

  44. Lane, our friends moved to the Newark area in Delaware -they love living in a college town! Our friends who have retired to NC chose Brunswick Forest and are so happy there! Hope that helps.

    by SandyZ — March 27, 2015

  45. Lane, Sandy Z , Tony: We love Delaware..retired here 8 years ago…so much to do and see..gorgeous clean beaches and wonderful restaurants, wineries, shopping and festivals year round. We live just above Lewes ..off Coastal Hwy. Quick 11 minute trip down to the beach area. Nice year round temps. very little snow if any. melts quickly.

    by sunlovingal — March 27, 2015

  46. Lane: Try Hearthstone Manor just below Milford DE..right off Coastal Hwy. Pool, Clubhouse and public Golf course right next door. 11 min. to beach area in Lewes and Rehoboth..Single one story homes, Villa’s and Condo’s with elevators..nice area. Good Luck! (We love it)

    by sunlovingal — March 27, 2015

  47. Thanks to those who provided info on Delaware. Hope to make a quick trip there just to see if the area appeals. If yes, then perhaps a longer visit. It always helps to have some ideas of where to look. I can usually reject an area on a quick trip, but need a second longer trip to explore. I am curious about Tony’s comment and will see if I get the same impression. I hope that I like it.

    I also intend to do a quick trip to SC and NC and GA and maybe even NE part of FL including Treasure coast. Love this blog!

    by Lane — March 27, 2015

  48. I am currently looking at a home in Lewes. The realtor told me the water is very expensive (water??) and when folks put in a sprinkler system and they also put in a well. This could be a deal breaker for me. This community is Red Mill Pond. I am on a fixed income and any information would be appreciated.

    by Gloria — March 28, 2015

  49. I am looking at a home at Red Mill Pond Lewes DE. The realitor told me that the water was very expensive (water??) and whenmost folks put in a sprinler system they also put in a well. I am on a fixed income and this could be a deal breaker for me. Anyone with information on this??

    by Gloria — March 28, 2015

  50. We live in New York , (Long Island) and had many trips down to Newark, De where my daughter went to college. It is a lovely college town for students, but would not be my cup of tea for retirement. Two years ago we took a trip down to the Wilmington, NC area and loved it. It is a small city witha river walk with many restaurants, stores and activities. We bought a house in Brunswick Forest that backs up to a 8 acre pond, the 4500 acre community is beautiful with all the amenities we would want and 15 min away from Wilmington. We plan on retiring in a year until then we rent the house out, but enjoy frequent visits down to the area.

    by Barbara — March 28, 2015

  51. I lived in Newark, Delaware for many years and agree I would not want to retire there. But have visited Rehoboth Beach and Lewes and had friends who lived in Lewes until he passed away. Looks like there are lots of opportunities now for 55+ living. Rehoboth is a great beach town, family friendly, nice downtown area for tourists and a beautiful long boardwalk. Naturally gets crowded in the summer and parking can be difficult near the beach. And summer traffic can be a mess on the weekends. But there is great shopping, lots of outlets, and no tax on purchases. There are also locations just a little farther south like Bethany Beach. If you want a mild climate it wouldn’t be a bad place to retire but for us, the climate is not mild enough. Agree that Wilmington NC is a lovely town and have looked at Brunswick Forest and liked it, but as of now there is only one bridge across the river to get to and from Wilmington, so that could be an issue. And that climate is not mild enough for us either.

    by Carol — March 28, 2015

  52. Forget the scenic views and look for good health care. This year, my husbands last we can’t keep up with the high cost changes. I’m chronic I’ll will 6 illness. How do I pay for $500,$600 etc Meds and eat? We planed hard for our retirement so now what?

    by Suzy — May 13, 2015

  53. I also wanted to mention that as you age there’s just no way your not going to have health issues! Can you take cold and snow? Who can sweep the drive way? Downtown Oregon was great and we loved condo living and great medical and public transportation. That being said are you prepared for just 3months of summer? The rest is grey gloomy and rain. Chk the annual rain fall. The coast is so beautiful but over an hour away. No medical care or even decent shopping. If you chose downtown it’s lovely to walk out your door and drink your coffee! But for that you have to accept one of the largest social services I’ve ever seen. Needle exchange, run away kids blocking the sidewalk while they sing smoke, you name it and beg. Like just dirty homeless people? They start their line around 3pm for a bunk and religion. We loved this town till we went back for a visit. It’s now filthy and going for a walk after dinner is a risk. Kids hide in the parking garages and alert others of your location. Broke my heart. Will your lungs and legs work-to run -like they did in your 30’s? Nope. High crime rate. The people in charge destroyed the city and cops don’t get paid enough to risk their lives. A real shame on a perfect city!!!

    by Suzy — May 13, 2015

  54. Can anyone suggest more places to look at in Delaware?

    by Mary — May 14, 2015

  55. Gloria,

    Re: Putting in a well in Lewes. We almost bought in DE and were told the same thing by a very forthcoming future neighbor. I think the price he quoted was around $3k? Decided not to build due to other issues like flood insurance and worries about every NE storm passing by bringing water to our backyard (neighbor also mentioned this)!

    by Fiona — May 14, 2015

  56. Mary: Look at Milford DE..Hearthstone Manor..Clubhouse and Pool and public golf course next door. Right off of Coast Highway Rt. 1..Just above Lewes. Pretty area. Lovely town with many little Boutiques, Art Gallery, and restaurants. Brand New Medical Center being built right across from Hearthstone . Will include Dr. office campus and all Out-patient services as well. So happy we chose this area..close to the beaches without the crowds and easy trip down in 11 minutes. Lovin’ Life in our Coastal DE area.

    by sunlovingal — May 14, 2015

  57. Has anyone have knowledge of Sun City Anthem? It is around the Las Vegas, NV.


    by David Palons — May 14, 2015

  58. […] up with a list of affordable places to retire. Check out our previous lists! For further reference: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2 10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire […]

    by » 10 Affordable…and Highly Livable… Places to Retire - Topretirements — July 21, 2015

  59. […] further reading: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2 10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire […]

    by » More Affordable Places to Retire – A Reading List - Topretirements — July 21, 2015

  60. Check this out: HGTV liked this funky, affordable beach town (it’s close to where I live):


    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley)

    by Jan Cullinane — July 23, 2015

  61. Look at beautiful Ute Lake in New Mexico. One of few places you can walk to water and still be on your own property.
    It is a state park and has camping and all the rest…
    Inexpensive for now. See images:


    by Steve Valdivia — December 9, 2015

  62. Thank you, Looks awesome. Do you know of any communities – 55+ where I can start looking? Do you know of any special locations to look?
    I have been searching for a place where the houses are not on top of one another with water views. only hadv had to opportunity to look in SW Florida. Thanks

    by MarianneM — December 10, 2015

  63. My wife and I lived in Pittsburgh, South Fayette Township for over 20 years. We retired in 2014 and moved back home to NY ( Chautauqua County ) as our second home and we have a townhome in Orlando as our primary home. We spend the summers 4 months in NY and 1 month in the winter and the rest of the time in Orlando. We have looked at tons of retirement communities but at this time we are not ready to move to a 55 plus community. We have talked about giving up Florida and moving back to PA but at this time we love living in NY for the summers and the warm weather in FL is just to hard to pass up. Good luck in finding a place but I have been looking for over 2 years and we always end up back in Orlando.

    by Bob & Barb — December 10, 2015

  64. There are many wonderful 55+ resident Owned Communities in South West Florida — In North Fort Myers, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero and Bonita Springs. I have been searching for a long time and this is the area that I have chosen to move to.

    by Larry — December 11, 2015

  65. Those wanting reasonable waterfront or near living, I suggest northern Arkansas. Lakes Norfolk, Bull Shoals, Beaver, and Tablerock are all nice. Tablerock is actually in southwestern Missouri, Kimberling city is on and Branson less than an hour away. Water in Tablerock is warmer, Norfolk is my favorite, SCUBA DIVING is taught in it. Norfolk has over 500 miles of shoreline, Bull Shoals has over 1100. Beaver is also nice, near Bentonville, Springedale, and Uni of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Lakes in Oklahoma are not far away.
    Florida pandhandle has some reasonable prices, cheap if near Alabama line, lots of small lakes, diving lakes, beach is maybe an hour away. Beaches are wonderful there, among the best in the USA. Mexico Beach, east of Panama City and Tyndall AFB is like old beach communties, beach is tiny shells instead of sand, great bay for sailing. Put in MLS Marianna, MLS Walton co., Fla , Gulf Breeze, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Defuniak Springs, Crestview, the Ft Walton Beach area, all have cheap to reasonable prices. Water Color, Seaside, the Hwy 30A area, some of Miramar, can be in the millions of dollars, but some is below $50,000. Hope this is helpful.

    by eva12 — February 9, 2016

  66. It would be nice to live on the waterfront. While we aren’t close to retiring, my parents are. My dad loves fishing, so he would love to do that practically on his own property. Since I’ve never heard of some of these locations, I can bet that they might not be as expensive as living in famous locations on the beach.

    by Anna Picket — April 27, 2016

  67. to Larry, I have moved to FL from AZ, presently renting in TheVillages, and I too am looking at te areas you mentioned, North Fort Myers, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero and Bonita Springs. In particular Pelican Preserve, I have found high CDDs here, high HOA, Community fees, recuring fees can be $10K at least, plus taxes and the financing on a house if you go that route. If you know of a 55 plus community with out such hi fees, please let me know.

    by jean — August 2, 2016

  68. Jean, if you’re willing to forego the high costs of a 55+ gated community, you’ll find lots available to like on canals in Cape Coral. At reasonable prices. Cape Coral has a fantastic New Residents Club in which you can make instant new friends.

    by Linda — August 3, 2016

  69. My Aunt recently just built a home just north of Naples in Bonita Springs at Spanish Wells. She seems happy there. It is a golf course gated community and the fees are not as much as I pay here in Washington, DC. Toll Brothers built their home with a pool, spa and outdoor kitchen. She sold a villa she had owned for fifteen years in Naples–about two miles from her current location. She only lived there six months of the year. She is close to Whole Foods Market and Trader Joes and not far from the shopping and cultural activities she enjoys in Naples.

    The Cons: So far, the heat has been the main issue–they knew that when they elected to stay year round in Florida. The contaminated canals and the water issues have been a bit bothersome as they are very much into health and organic living and they live in Lee County which was affected. In season, (Mid October- Early May) the traffic rivals Washington, DC near gridlock conditions and one has to make dinner reservations three weeks in advance at the best restaurants. Many people are really older and driving around with them can be challenging. They need more walkable communities down there. My aunt could get a golf cart for some activities, but apparently they can be a fire hazard so she is opting out of that for now.

    It is a toss up but I certainly do not see myself ever retiring in Florida–we have enough traffic up here. I do and will visit in the winter months and Holidays.

    by Jennifer — August 4, 2016

  70. We are looking at Spring Creek in Bonita Springs as there is very quick access to the Gulf. Does anyone live there or have any information on the community?

    by Debbie — August 5, 2016

  71. Jean,
    We rented a home in Cape Coral a few years ago. Many homes for sale; under-water, foreclosures, bankruptcies.
    Liked the area, but you have to cross the toll bridge to Ft. Myers to get to most places.
    Also. a lot of issues in Cape Coral on development, water authority, crime.

    You may find some nice places in Bonita Springs, but the gated communities are very pricey.
    As for traffic, our experience is that it gets really bad in January and dies back April 1.
    We always try to not go to Naples during that time.

    We snowbird in Estero 6 months, from October until April.
    We own in Cypress Bend, a 400 unit 55+ community in Estero.

    Estero recently became a village and a separate entity from Lee County.
    They have seen an acceleration of building in the area, which will continue.
    We find Estero close to shopping and activities, and easy to get to the beaches.

    Cypress Bend is a RV condo association, but most of the homes are manufactured park models.
    Our condo fees are $330 a quarter, which includes garbage, sewer, water, and Comcast cable.
    We have a heated pool, 4 shuffle board courts, 2 bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, and two tennis courts.
    The community center has a meeting hall, kitchen, exercise room, library, billiard room, and laundry.

    Some other similar communities you may also want to look at are:
    Riverwoods – Estero
    Siesta Bay – Fort Myers
    Palmetto Palms – Fort Myers
    Jamaica Bay – Fort Myers
    Indian Creek – Fort Myers
    Cinnamon Cove – Fort Myers
    Corkscrew Woodlands – Estero
    Citrus Park – Bonita Springs

    In some of these communities, you don’t own the land.
    When you don’t own the land your home sits on, the owner of the community could sell, and you have to leave. It’s happened in some smaller communities on prime real estate.

    by Tom — August 5, 2016

  72. We are going to grow old, older. Medical facilities and health care costs should be top consideration when preparing for retirement. Also accessibility to optional transportation when we can no longer drive ourselves and walkability safety should also be considered before any “scenic view”. Weather effects can be hard on the body when relocating from North to South or vice versa. Talk to your family doctor about this before any major move. See if there is enough medical Specialists in the area. And don’t forget City taxes helps to pay for emergency services, like ambulances, police, and fire departments. All these things are an expense to factor in when retiring.

    by DeyErmand — August 6, 2016

  73. I’ll take my scenic view any day. I don’t want to be sitting looking at a wall waiting to get old or need medical care.

    And Tom, you obviously were in Cape Coral during the housing crash. Things are rebounding quite nicely and I’ve only seen one short sale listing in the last year. And I don’t know what area you were in, but crime is simply not an issue where I am. And you don’t really need to cross the bridge. Lots to do in the Cape. Most of us hardly ever cross the bridge during the season. Too much traffic over there. Naples in season is crazy madness. Glad you are happy in Estero, but gated communities are not my cup of tea. Nor is the traffic there. I guess there’s something for everybody.

    by Linda — August 6, 2016

  74. Would appreciate hearing from anyone who has had any experience with Murrells Inlet, SC (Myrtle Beach area)? I am currently looking into purchasing a home in the Seasons at Prince Creek community. Any information, experiences would be appreciated.


    by Eileen — August 7, 2016

  75. Linda – It makes so much sense AND I really LOVE what you said, ” I’ll take my scenic view any day. I don’t want to be sitting looking at a wall waiting to get old or need medical care.” What area of Cape Coral is your scenic view in? Wishing you many healthy years of happiness and scenic views !!

    by Patte — August 7, 2016

  76. I’m in scenic SE Cape Coral on two intersecting canals.

    by Linda — August 7, 2016

  77. Scenic views are good if they are safe enough to walk. Walking keeps people healthy… some of the above areas in the article have a high crime rate. Too each their own!

    by DeyErmand — August 7, 2016

  78. Thanks Linda … that sounds wonderful !! I have a friend of a friend that lives in Cape Coral, but not on a canal. She’s been in her home for more than 5 years and is happy living there as well.

    by Patte — August 8, 2016

  79. Going in an entirely different direction, I’d love commentary about retiring in coastal areas of New Hampshire and Maine – pros and cons! I’d especially enjoy hearing from those who are living in single-family homes in maintenance-free, 55+ communities. Thanks so much!

    by Linda — August 9, 2016

  80. Any one live in On Top Of The World in Ocala What’s the real deal There? PRO AND Cons thank you….

    by Lily Bass — October 19, 2016

  81. Lily
    You may want to check and post under the Ocala Fl section under the Forum too, for additional information.

    by Moderator Flo — October 20, 2016

  82. I need an area south of DC that has good weather and great medical care. Does Myrtle Beach and some of these costal areas of the Carolinias have good doctors/hospitials/ university centers for medicine?

    by Doug Spaulding — November 22, 2016

  83. We’ve been looking at NC on Ablemarle Sound. We’re west coasters from an inland area between SAN Diego and LA. We’d like a change and a place where having a boat is convenient but not sure we want the summer humidity and bugs. Every place has its drawbacks and our present location has TRAFFIC that makes getting out a pain. For us the problem with Florida and far south locations is gators. I’m in abject terror of them yet no one ever mentions them in these posts…why not?

    by Laura C — December 3, 2016

  84. Laura C occasionally gators have been mentioned–I for one have a fear of snakes and Florida, has many venomous ones that terrify me–some are native and others are imported and are taking over the terrain. I will not be moving to Florida for that reason, my Aunt lives on a golf course community near Naples and she loves to walk in the early morning hours say 5:00AM and I fear it will be only a matter of time before some comes across one.

    by Jennifer — December 4, 2016

  85. Laura C. & Jennifer – have you considered the possibility on living in another part of Florida? I live in Tallahasee, FL & have never seen a gator in the almost 50 years I have been here. If you want to see them you’ll need to go down to Wakulla Springs or far out in the woods near a lake. I also have a terrible fear of snakes & have seen an occasional garden & oak snake (non-poisonous) but never a poisonous one. I have heard of snakes out in the woods but I don’t go there. If you live in the city you shouldn’t have any problems.

    We do have four seasons here with a very mild winter but a hot & humid summer. We are within an hour’s drive to the Gulf beach.

    by Cathy W — December 4, 2016

  86. Does anyone live on The Farm near Calabash, nc?

    by Diane — December 4, 2016

  87. Albemarle Sound is a lovely area. They probably don’t have gators, but I’ll bet they have snakes. We have a shy, harmless black snake who is rarely seen but takes good care of policing the property of other varmints. Again, not too sure the poisonous snakes are too fond of urban areas.

    As for gators, if you live in an urban area with good concrete seawalls on your canal, they’re a nonissue. Haven’t seen one yet.

    You’ll definitely get humidity in Florida! Very different from San Diego which has almost the perfect climate. I’d recommend spending some time here first. In the summer. And if you’re boaters, look for a boating community. I live in Cape Coral which has somewhere around 5,000 miles of canals. You can park your boat right outside your door.

    by Linda — December 4, 2016

  88. I live in south Pasadena FL, about .05 min from St Pete Beach, never seen a snake, gator and we rarely see bugs, we moved from Northern Nevada and never looked back. We love it here even the humidity, came from a cold dry area and our skin likes the humidity, no more dry itchy skin, best of all we can breath easier.

    by carolyn — December 5, 2016

  89. Linda:

    Could you provide some of your likes/dislikes re the Cape Coral area? This location continues to pop up as a good place to retire to and I’m wondering if it’s worth making a trip to see (am presently living in PA – not fond of it!). Am looking for activities that would be good for a retiree; maybe volunteering with animals; shopping and good all-around people. And how long have you been living there and what about renting vs buying right away? Am sure there are other things I should be asking but am hoping you can fill me in with your experiences. Thanks!

    by K L Fulford — December 5, 2016

  90. for K L Fulford: I bought a condo here a couple of years ago. I had visited the area often and liked it. If I had unlimited means, I would have wanted a house on the Gulf or the river, but that wasn’t in my budget. A condo on a major canal with an intersecting canal that leads to the Gulf via the river was a good compromise. I would definitely recommend visiting first. I visited a lot. Then when I got serious about relocating, I rented a place for 6 months. I did commute back and forth to Minnesota for a while, but that got real old fast. Minnesota house is on the market and I’m full time here now.

    Renting first allowed me to get a sense of where in the community I wanted to live. Cape Coral is geographically large. I discovered that most of the action was in SE, so that’s where I bought. Many shopping opportunities in the Cape and MANY more across the bridge in Fort Myers, Estero, Naples, etc. I compare it to having the benefits of a small town within a larger city. I know my mailman by name and he knows me. That would never happen up north. In two hours or so, I can drive across the state and leave on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Last year when I went to Europe in the fall, I rented a car at the airport here, dropped it in Miami, and caught a nonstop flight to Barcelona. One-way car rentals are the norm here and are not charged extra.

    Cape Coral is one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever lived in and I’ve lived all over the world. Everybody here is from someplace else. There is a very active New Residents Group which will provide you with an endless source of new friends, MANY activities, trips, etc. At our monthly breakfast meeting this morning I took some neighbors for their first meeting. 4 of the K9 officers from the police department were the featured speakers (together with their dogs). It was fascinating. We collected food for the local food bank and toys for Toys for Tots. Last month over 500 pounds of food was collected by the group at the monthly meeting. There’s a jazz group forming. The gang that builds a cardboard boat for the cardboard boat regatta every year was soliciting new members. We play bocce ball every Wednesday. You name it, you can probably find a group interested in doing it.

    by Linda — December 6, 2016

  91. I live in New England and thinkmabout moving to Florida, but am reluctant to leave family and friends. I am divorced, so would be going on my own. For those of you who have left family behind to move to a warmer climate, how often do you see your loved ones?

    by MaryNB — December 7, 2016

  92. KL (in Pennsylvania), and Linda,

    I too am living in PA. I just moved from Colorado to take a new job at a conference/retreat center outside of Philadelphia. It has been a very poor decision on my part for many reasons. Being widowed for quite a long time, I have recently been researching other areas where I can move to and really settle in. My husband and i lived in Bonita Beach for 4 years, so I’m familiar with the climate issues and the Cape area geography. That was a long time ago, so I don’t know how much the area has changed. I am not ready financially to go into full time retirement and one of the biggest things I am having issues with is finding affordable rental housing. My husband’s death and his fight with cancer really took a toll on my finances. I’d love to find a group of people that would be work towards a compatible shared living arrangement and the Cape is one of the areas that seems to keep popping up as an attractive area to return to.
    KL – perhaps you’d be interested in corresponding a bit off of this site? There are so many of us who are finding it more and more challenging financially to be on our own and needing a community that is of like mind in terms of support systems for each other.
    Thanks for your time.

    by Rebecca — December 7, 2016

  93. Linda:

    You certainly supplied a great deal of interesting information. I like the idea of the New Residents Group. When I lived in SC, they had a Newcomers Group for Women and it was a great way to meet people and get involved with luncheons, trips, etc. One of the things I failed to ask you was how do you find the health care system in your area? I’ve not heard all good things about health care coming from other Floridians. Did you find it difficult getting acclimated to the weather there considering you moved from Minnesota? It would certainly be my intention to travel to the area and check it out but don’t believe I’d want to do it until late March (weather issues here). That said, where should I start? Do you have a name of a real estate agent that you feel comfortable recommending? Which airport would be most convenient and hotel/motel recommendations? My intention would certainly be to rent first but I have two cats and that could present a problem even though I could provide references from a previous rental. I’d like to get on with this phase of my life sooner rather than later. My thoughts are to put my things in storage and sell this villa I’m presently in but I need to move somewhere before it’s put on the market – I’m hoping Spring to get started. Also thought about checking into Venice FL or even Mt. Dora – I just don’t know – I’m all over the map. Unfortunately, I can’t spend a lot of time on the road and check out various areas the way a lot of couples on this site are capable of so ANY information you can share is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!!

    by K L Fulford — December 7, 2016

  94. Rebecca:

    I would be more than happy to continue this discussion off this site. You can try me at fulf1213@gmail.com. Another thought – if you have a Facebook account, search for a group called “Elder Orphans” and join that group. There are a TON of women like us in the same boat and you might find it interesting to read the posts.

    by K L Fulford — December 7, 2016

  95. KL Fulford: If you’re looking in the Cape Coral, I used an excellent agent who I would be happy to refer you to. Have sent others and they were pleased. But they deal in sales, not rentals. I’m not sure how one goes about finding a rental. My sister found mine for me. That person rents for a minimum of 6 months. But it’s a no pet place. Most rentals happen by word of mouth down here and most places have minimum rentals during the season. Short-term rentals will be very expensive during the season if you can even find them. Perhaps Google it?

    The nearest major airport would be RSW, Southwest Florida International Airport. I would just book with whatever hotel chain you regularly use. I have friends in Venice and they like it there. No canals, however. Mt. Dora is in the interior. That’s a whole different ballgame.

    by Linda — December 8, 2016

  96. K. L.

    Saw your mention of interest in Mt Dora, FL. Did you see the Dec. 6 TopRetirements daily email? Scroll towards the bottom for the article on Mt Dora. Based on what you are looking for you may find it informative.

    by BeckyN. — December 8, 2016

  97. Thanks BeckyN – I did read that particular article on Mt Dora along with others that I’ve turned up. It’s just a fishing expedition at the moment.

    by K L Fulford — December 9, 2016

  98. to Linda
    I would appreciate your name of the R.E. agent in Cape Coral. I am renting in The Villages, lease will be up May 31 and want to move out of the area, have looked at VALENCIA near Tampa and like that GL Home community a lot, would like to look in CAPE CORAL. You can send info to jmildes2@gmail.com
    thank you

    by jean — December 27, 2016

  99. As mentioned by many, you missed the whole western half of the country. What about Lakes Mead, Mohave, Havasu, the Gulf of California area, all those lakes in Northern California, the rivers and coastal areas of Oregon and Wahington, on and on and on.

    I live in Arizona, but could just as easily live in Nevada and have a similar environment. I live within a few miles of several lakes and a major river. My boat insurance is low because I promise not to take it anywhere near the east coast! Fuel has been under $2/gallon. My tax load is not bad. While usually almost, or actually, on the water, I have not had a mosquito bite in years. I have not seen a palmetto bug in years. I think I have only seen one cockroach in years. In six years I have not had an ant in this house and I don’t trat the place with poison. Crickets I have, but maybe they are lucky like the Chinese suggest.

    I will grant that the fishing overall in the southeast is probably better, but it is still pretty good here!

    Kind of strange that not even one western USA location made it into the top ten.

    by steve — January 11, 2017

  100. Thank you Steve, I agree with you 100%. I live in sandiego ca but plan on retiring to coastal Oregon. It doesn’t seem too many people realize how much cheaper it is to retire there. All I keep hearing is about Florida and South Carolina. Mind you I have lived in all 4 corners of the US including Florida. I CAN’T handle the humidity and the bugs and you have to live to see if you can handle it for the long run….alot of people check it out for a while and then move back home and that can be costly. Its just too costly to continue living in CA, sure the weather is the best anywhere but there is a cost for that…..lol

    by areti11 — January 12, 2017

  101. Hi Steve,

    Curious where in AZ you live. We currently live in SF Bay area and will
    be heading down to AZ to check out Tucson and Prescott this spring as possible
    retirement/relocation areas… any insight into those to towns?


    by mike — January 12, 2017

  102. Hi Steve I would love to know where you live also

    by Virginia — January 12, 2017

  103. We are used to country living, i.e. no neighbors in site or sound, but near enough to medical, shopping, entertainment, and water views/waterfront would be a major plus. NOT into the winters of the northern states. Low cost of living, low crime.
    Is this a pipe dream, or are there such places in the US?

    by BECKY S. — February 14, 2017

  104. Becky, NPR radio just did a piece on Idaho. You might want to look into that state. Low crime and much of what you are seeking near lovely lakes.

    by Jennifer — February 15, 2017

  105. Becky, that’s a pipe dream.

    by Billy — February 15, 2017

  106. Billy–explain?

    by Jennifer — February 16, 2017

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