May 4, 2021 – Back in the day St. Petersburg was considered one of the best places to retire for people from the Midwest and Northeast. Tourists also flocked to this amazing city on Tampa Bay, about half way down Florida’s West Coast. Some retirees settled here permanently, others spent the winter months in one of the many classic downtown hotels that are still present (but in different form). After the 1970’s the city faded into a retirement backwater, supplanted by trendier destinations like Fort Myers, Naples, and affordable towns in Central Florida. Blight and poverty took over in many parts of the city, leaving some big downtown buildings as unused relics. Fast forward to today, when St. Pete is not only a very hot destination for retirement, but people of all ages are moving here. The population is 265,381, with 18.6% of the population 65 and over (about 2% points higher than the U.S. overall).
On a recent visit to the fair city we were very impressed with St. Petersburg’s revival. It is not hard to see reasons for the resurgence. The city’s location could not be better – a manageable city sitting on peninsula surrounded by the gigantic Tampa Bay. Broad streets host gracious buildings. Along the edges, nothing obscures the views of the Bay. Very few towns in the world can match the number of its parks and amount of open space along the Bay. Nicknamed the “Sunshine City”, it logs an average 361 days of sunshine per year. On a recent late April evening the streets and parks were filled with people of all ages and types. The human diversity on display was refreshing. There were straight and gay pairs, mixed race couples, baby boomers, and millennials. The sidewalks were full of people out for a stroll along the boulevards and parks, having dinner in an outdoor restaurant by the Bay, or enjoying an ice cream. Soon even more will be coming to enjoy St. Pete’s enviable cultural scene, which, as Covid ebbs, is on the verge of opening up. Retirees live in high rises, neighborhoods, or surrounding communities. There is a big variety of living choices.
April 22, 2021 – Which Carolina, North or South, is the best place to retire? We get asked that question a lot. To help you make the most informed decision on that topic we have revised our Dueling Carolinas: North vs. South Carolina as a Retirement Restination feature, which is possible the most popular article ever posted on this site. We have updated tax comparisons, cost of living, 65+ population, etc., as well as adding a new section on how each Carolina voted in the 2020 election.
Since originally posted in 2010 it has generated over 660 Comments, and they keep coming in. Reading them is like taking an intensive course on what is like to live in dozens of places in these two great states for retirement. Check it out!
April 20, 2021 — Our mission here at Topretirements is to find great places to retire, so we are always on the lookout for undiscovered gems. Today we are going to spill the beans about some undiscovered retirement towns that you might not have heard about before. See end of article for more ideas for underappreciated places to retire.
By definition, most of these places are small.
Boca Grande, Florida. This small, upscale and beautiful residential community is located on Gasparilla Island between Fort Myers and Sarasota. It is home to many retirees and seasonal residents with an average age of 66. The Boca Grande Pass is the deepest natural pass in Florida, and is considered to be the world’s best tarpon fishing spot. That makes the small town not only a tourist destination, but a haven for fishermen. The seven mile island also offers white sand beaches and a quaint downtown and restaurants, but you won’t find any high rises, traffic lights, grocery stores, or gas stations.
March 14, 2021 — One thing about Florida, it’s bigger than you think. Google Maps, which assumes no one ever has to stop for gas or a health break, figures it takes 12 hours and 20 minutes to drive from Pensacola to Key West. Looking for a great Florida place to retire on that trip takes you through many very different areas. Today we will travel to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, which is loaded with best places to retire. Our tour will start north and move south. See list of our other regional retirement tours at end.
The east coast of Florida, which runs from the Georgia border and ends in Key West, is fairly uniform. Most towns here have two components: a barrier island with a beach town, and the main town and bigger residential developments located across a causeway on the mainland. Its many bays and inlets provide great boating and waterfront living. It is very flat and very low; coastal flooding is here and it is getting worse.
February 16, 2021 — Last week on this Blog we posed the question, “How Much Is Enough for Retirement“. So when we came across this new study on the cheapest and most expensive places to retire from NetCredit, it seemed like the perfect follow-up.
As most retirees in the US or UK are figuring out, retiring in their own country means they are going to need over half a million dollars in the bank to do it comfortably. If that sounds unreasonable, then retiring abroad might be the next best option. NetCredit’s new study crunched the numbers to find out what it would cost to retire comfortably in (almost) every country around the world.
February 15, 2021 — By far the two most popular states for retirement are Arizona and Florida. Choosing between them can be hard, there are so many factors to consider. Both have warm winters in most of the state, but beyond that the field is open. Many people in the western half of the U.S. choose the Grand Canyon State for retirement, while in the East Florida is the more convenient choice. But there thousands of exceptions to that, for multiple reasons.
We have just updated our ever-popular Dueling Retirement States article comparing Arizona to Florida. Here in one place you can analyze and compare which one might be more appealing to your retirement situation. Best of all, you can enjoy and learn from the 220 (and growing) Comments made by our Members and visitors.
January 26, 2021 — Every year we have fun rendering our opinion on the very “Best Places to Retire“. This list is meant to highlight retirement towns that represent exceptionally great places to retire. But it is important to remember, any place where you can be happy in retirement, that is the best place – for you!
To develop this list we consulted our previous reports of the 20 Best Retirement Towns in three of the major U.S. retirement regions. But the primary consideration was visitor and Member interest at Topretirements.com – the cities that generated the most interest from January to December on this site were the winners. The big news is that several of the towns generating top places on this list had never placed so high. Arizona garnered the top two places on this list, joining Florida and New Mexico who also had two winners. Congratulations to all!
10 Best of the Best Places to Retire
Popularity on this site, as measured by online visits by our Members,was the most important criteria. On that basis, here are the best of the best places to retire in all of the U.S.
January 12, 2020 — Arizona is a really popular place to retire because of its climate, scenery, and interesting towns. At Topretirements it is the second most popular state for retirement. It also has the second highest net immigration of people over 65 (SmartAsset). Since Covid has put the damper on travel and exploration, please join us on this virtual tour of the best places to retire in this beautiful state. This is the second in our series of virtual tours of popular states for retirement (Southwest Florida was the first).
The Road Trip
Arizona is the sixth largest state in terms of size and 14th by population. Florida by contrast has almost 3 times the population in just under half the area, with many more retirement communities. Arizona’s sheer size means a retirement tour of the Grand Canyon State involves a lot of driving. If done outside of the summer, it means bringing along some warm weather clothing for parts of the trip, because many areas have high altitude and chilly weather at times. This virtual tour will hopefully whet your appetite for an Arizona exploration, and learn more about the many towns we mention here and over 300 active adult and 55+ communities in our Arizona Directory.
January 6, 2020 – The coronavirus and the election might have been the two big national stories in 2020, but Topretirements Members and visitors had some other issues on their minds as well. We published almost 100 Blog stories last year, and it turns out that once again, features that highlight great places to retire almost always come out on top. Here are the most popular articles on Topretirements last year, 2020. As always, we appreciate any future story ideas you might have too.
20 Great Places to Retire on a Lake. This article picked the top 20 communities from the 122 lake towns reviewed on Topretirements. We focused on places where it is possible to live on or near the lake, with some kind of nearby town for entertainment and the necessities of life. This story from January was the runaway favorite of the year.
10 Best of the Best Places to Retire for 2020 In this “Best of the Best” review, we picked 10 towns from lists of our 60 Best Retirement Towns in three major U.S. retirement regions. Asheville (NC), a frequent winner, came out of top.
December 7, 2020 — With the pandemic putting a damper on travel, many people are postponing their winter time retirement explorations. As a partial substitute for those travels, here in Part 1 of this series we will provide a virtual tour of some of the best places to retire in Southwest Florida. In Part 2 we featured a tour of Arizona places to retire. Future installments will cover Florida’s East Coast, Central Florida, the Carolinas, and others suggested by our Members.
Best Places to Retire in Southwest Florida
Southwestern Florida starts just above Tampa and goes south to Marco Island. This 180 mile stretch probably has more places to retire than anywhere in the world, with the possible exception of the southeast coast of FL from Vero Beach to Miami. Here on the Gulf Coast there are barrier islands, 3 good sized cities (Tampa/St.Pete, Sarasota, and Fort Myers), fabulous beaches, endless waterfronts and waterways, and a variety of towns that make for interesting places to retire. There are thousands of active adult and 55+ communities, ranging from budget RV/Mobile Home parks to exclusive refuges catering to the 1%.
Anyone looking for a warm winter retirement should definitely at least consider this area – when safe travel resumes again a leisurely exploration would be well worth it. While you are there, if certain towns and areas appeal, you might consider a Stay and Play package or monthly rental to see if you really like the place. Note: Most of the names of the cities and towns in this article are linked to more detailed reviews as places to retire.