July 18, 2021 — Some people thinking about retiring to Florida might worry that they won’t be able to afford it there. But the good news is that the Sunshine State is so big and has so many regions that it has plenty of less expensive places to retire. Central Florida is one of the most affordable regions within the State, where home prices are often well below Zillow’s national Home Value Index of $293,349 and Florida’s Index of $297,390. Home to hundreds of thousands of retirees, the area is known for its many lakes and lakeside living. The area is filled with active adult communities, many of which are quite inexpensive.
In this article we will highlight several cities and towns in Central Florida where home prices are below Zillow’s Florida Home Value Index. We will include a few more towns that are at or slightly higher, because they are exceptionally nice places to retire. Unless otherwise noted, home prices are from Zillow. See map below:
June 26, 2021 — Getting around on a bicycle is becoming more and more popular. People use their bikes to get to work, for exercise, or just for fun. Biking is inexpensive transportation, gets you outside, parking is a cinch, and it’s a healthy activity. The growing popularity of electric bikes, with the extra help they provide on long rides and hills, has helped to get even more people into cycling. So, just as they do for every popular activity, publications are coming out with lists of the cities and towns that are “best for biking”. We will highlight some of their choices here.
But first, what makes for a great biking town? The website Lawnstarter used a long list of considerations to score and rank the largest 200 U.S. cities on biking. Their multiple rating criteria fell into five categories: climate, bike lanes and routes, bike shops and bike share programs, safety, and community support. Safety features like bike lanes separated from car traffic and dedicated crossings were among the most important considerations, since biking isn’t fun and can be dangerous if speeding cars get too close. Icy cold winter weather, steamy hot summers, and car traffic were negative factors used in the ratings. PeopleforBikes.com rated even more towns, including smaller ones, to find out which are the best for biking. It used similar criteria to rate the towns it considered, such as the number of bike lanes and trails, ability to use multiple routes to get to the same place, bike parking, number of bike shops, safety, and slow speeds for cars. See video below from PeopleforBikes on what makes a best biking city. When you are checking out places to retire, don’t forget to keep your eyes open to what it would be like if you wanted to get around there on two wheels.
June 20, 2021 — Virginia’s recent Comment to our “25 Most Popular Active Communities in the Southeast” article really got things going. Many folks jumped in to help answer her question, which asked what people thought about retiring in Maryland. Since hers generated so many other Comments (and Maryland is not an active community nor is it in the Southeast) we thought we would pull everything together under a new post to keep everything in better focus.
Most of the Comments quickly got into taxes and cost of living, although just about everyone liked other aspects of the Free State. Regarding taxes, an estate lawyer once said something very wise to my mother and I. He said: “Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog”. In other words, if you want to do something for good reasons (like move to another state), do it. His mantra – enjoy your life; fear of taxes is not the way to live. Just as important as that thought though, you also have to act on the basis of the facts, not on what you think you know or heard from someone else.
June 19, 2021 — If you are a retiree looking for a place to retire that offers superior outdoor recreational opportunities – you are in luck! There are countless towns in this country where mountains, lakes, rivers, or trails are just outside your door. In addition to traditional activities like tennis, golf, and fishing, these retirement destinations usually provide great hiking, skiing, water sports, etc.. Here are our top 10 picks for great outdoor places to retire.
10 Great Retirement Towns for Outdoor Activities
Bend, Oregon. Located on the Deschutes River on the eastern edge of the Cascades, the area offers great scenic beauty, skiing, mountains, golf, fishing, and more. Word about how nice this city is has gotten out: the population keeps increasing by leaps and bounds.
Burlington, Vermont. On the eastern shore of Lake Champlain you will find this town, home to the vibrant University of Vermont. Burlington is very popular with outdoor loving retirees who also want the youth and enthusiasm provided by a major university. Mountain bikers enjoy many great trails such as “The International”, which is about 20 minutes outside of town. Nearby ski resorts including Sugarbush, Mad River Glen, Smugglers Notch, and Stowe, which now offer year round recreation. For the recreational bicyclist/walker/jogger there is the Island Rail2Trail path, which has 8 miles right along Lake Champlain.
May 27, 2021 — Not everyone dreams of retiring in an active community, a small town, or the suburbs. There is a sizable group of baby boomers who yearn for something bigger than that. For these folks, retiring in a small or medium sized city might be just the ticket. This lifestyle has the attraction of living in the center of things, walking to everything, choosing from a raft of interesting restaurants, or seeing a good play production or concert. To these folks that is a lot more appealing than endless rounds of golf, pickleball, or mowing the lawn. Here are picks for some great places to retire that offer an urban lifestyle.
For cities to be considered we had several wish list items, although not every city will have all of them. We tried to find cities that are walkable; where pedestrians enjoy wide sidewalks, safe crossing zones, and some separation from cars. Pedestrian-only zones are a big plus. Bike lanes and paths that keep you and your bicycle out of harm’s way from cars are nice to have. There has to be a number of good restaurants and cultural venues to choose from. The presence of a college or university definitely adds value. And finally, there should be some living options either in the downtown or in a quiet nearby neighborhood. Another bonus would be low cost of living (not all of our picks met that hurdle). We published a list of 9 Great Small Cities for Retirement a few years ago, and boy did that generate a lot of Comments and suggestions (199) – we think you will find them worth reading.
May 19, 2021 — Last week we asked our Members to tell us where they retired, or where they are considering. The response, although certainly not overwhelming, did come up with a lot more suggestions. To see all of them you can go to the Comments from that article, 29 of them so far. We have summarized (lightly editing) the places that were mentioned there, but you should really read the originals in their entirety to get more detail. We also encourage you to tell us where you are retiring, either at the bottom of this article or on the original one. Thank you to all who contributed, we really appreciate you making the effort!
May 11, 2021 — Maybe the question should be, “Where Are You Going to Retire”, as many of our Members have either not yet retired, or haven’t quite come to a final decision. We all want to know about those greener pastures that beckon(ed) to you. Or perhaps, you have decided to retire where you live now, either in the same home or in a different neighborhood. Whatever the case, the Topretirements community is very interested in your plans, because where people are actually retiring is always a lot more interesting than what all those “best places to retire” articles come up with.
Knowing what other people are thinking about gives people ideas as well as food for thought. There will be many possibilities where baby boomers are retiring that you hadn’t thought about, as well as considerations that you hadn’t taken into account before. To get things started, we have copied a sampling of suggestions from over 140 Comments we received a few years ago on this topic (although that Blog was specifically about where singles will retire, most of the Comments were applicable to couples as well as singles).
Your thoughts please! We encourage everyone reading this Blog to give us at least a sentence or two about where you retire, or the places you are considering. If everyone will do that, which will only take a minute, we will have an amazingly rich resource that thousands of people will find fascinating. Just go to the Comments section at the end of this article and give us a sentence (or more about why if you would like). In some cases we have to approve it before it goes live, but we will try to do that quickly. Thanks!
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.