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The Most Walkable Towns in Florida for Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

June 1, 2016 — Easy walkability to town, parks and lakes, and shopping were top considerations for retirement living when we surveyed our members 3 years ago. To help you find places that meet that criteria we have identified 10 Florida towns where it is easy and a joy to walk around in.

Some people’s vision of a Sunshine State retirement conjures up a bleak landscape of strip malls and busy highways. The reality is that Florida also has some of the most livable towns in America. Towns where you can live downtown or close to it, and walk to everything that is important to you, day or night. In fact, in most of these Florida towns the walking is so good that you could even survive without a car.

Our Top 10 Florida Walkable Towns
It is no coincidence that the towns that are best for walking tend to be ones designed before the advent of the automobile. Or that planned communities are usually more walkable than ones that developed haphazardly. To develop this list we used data from, along with our own research.

#1 Dunedin
This great little town just north of Tampa and St Petersburg still celebrates its Scottish heritage. It has a concentrated and interesting downtown that is easy to walk through. In a State known for its beaches, the easily accessible public beaches here are some of the best. There is a 39 mile bike/walk trail system running through town.
See a Video of Dunedin Florida

#2 Winter Park

Downtown Winter Park

The heart of this walkable town near Orlando is Park Avenue. It is aptly named, as Winter Park claims it has more park space than any town in Florida. The walkable main street includes retail and public civic buildings, art galleries, a private liberal arts college (Rollins), museums, a park, a train station, a golf course country club, a historic cemetery, and a beach and boat launch.

#3 Fernandina Beach
Situated at the very top of Florida on the Atlantic Ocean (just above Amelia Island), this town has a wonderful and walkable downtown. There are great restaurants and shops. Best of all if you live in one of the cute neighborhoods you can be downtown with just a few steps.

4. Delray Beach
We love Delray Beach for so many reasons. At the end of the main street is an amazing stretch of public beaches and dunes. Take a boat tour on the Intracoastal…Enjoy the interesting restaurants filled with interesting people of all ages…Live downtown in a condo above the many cool shops… or Take in a concert or a museum. Above all you can walk anywhere with ease.

5. Fort Lauderdale
The downtown scene in Fort Lauderdale is full of high energy. Luxury shops and great restaurants abound. You can easily get around on foot, or commute on a ferry (or your own boat!) along the Intracoastal. There are great beaches too.

6. Hollywood Beach.
Hollywood is just south of Fort Lauderdale. It enjoys about 60 parks, seven golf courses, and beaches that run for miles. Hollywood Beach is famous for the great boardwalk that extends about 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean.

7. Key West Once the wealthiest city in Florida, Key West citizens have created fortunes over the centuries from shipwreck treasures, turtles, sponges fishing, and cigars. Most recently its economy is based on the tourist trade and folks looking for a warm and artsy place to spend the winter. You can walk or bike anywhere on this small island with nice bike lanes and drivers who look out for pedestrians. “The Conch Republic” attracts artists, musicians, and people of every type under the rainbow.

8.Jensen Beach
This little town just north of Stuart on Florida’s East Coast is what we would consider funky – interesting and just a little rough around the edges (see our lists of other FL Funky Towns in the Further Reading section below). There are some fun restaurants and shops. Many people live in the surrounding RV and mobile home parks, which offer an inexpensive way to live with views of the Bay and barrier islands.

9. St Augustine.

St. Augustine

This old town is the longest continuously occupied European settlement in the U.S. – established in 1565 by the Spanish. It has been under 4 flags – Spanish, English, Confederate, and U.S. – some more than once! Located on Florida’s northeast coast and south of Jacksonville, it has residential neighborhoods near the compact downtown area. St. Augustine is very popular with tourists.

10. Venice
Crossing back over to the other side of the State, Venice is a planned city with a compact downtown surrounded by small scale neighborhoods. You can walk from the downtown to the beach in just a short time. Unlike many Florida towns, if you live in an active development out of the town center you can stil enjoy this walkable community when you visit downtown.

More about walkability and where you retire
A lot goes into being walkable community. There is more than just having a compact downtown or quiet pedestrian streets. A primary consideration is how safe it is to walk there – are the sidewalks wide and smooth, are there barriers between cars and pedestrians, are crosswalks set up well with the right equipment, do drivers respect pedestrians’ right to cross (particularly at marked crossings without stop lights)? Also, a city might be great for walking during the day, but if the downtown becomes deserted at night, it is not such a great place to be on foot. The AARP Public Policy Institute reported that about 40% of U.S. adults (age 50 and older) are concerned that… “their neighborhood is not pedestrian-friendly (Harrell et al, 2014)”.

Bottom Line
If being able to walk around in your town, both for leisure and for the essentials of life, check out these towns and others that score high for walkability. Visit and spend some time there before you decide. is a good resource for finding that out more about specific towns and even neighborhoods.

For further reading
Our Members Speak: Easy Walkability Is a Top Retirement Priority
10 Walkable Towns in USA
Florida’s Most Walkable Towns and Cities
Part I: 10 Funky Florida Towns
Funky Towns in Florida, Part II
BikeWalkAlliance 2016 Benchmark Report’s Top 50 List

Comments? In your experience are these good towns for walking? Are there some we missed? How about great towns for walking in other states? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on June 1st, 2016


  1. If you walk or bike ride in Fort Lauderdale you will have to dodge all the bums laying around 2 miles from the center of the city.

    by Jill Young — June 1, 2016

  2. What?? No Sarasota?? Miles of walkable streets downtown, an iconic bridge that hundreds walk over every day – and the beaches…

    by Teresa Peck — June 1, 2016

  3. As stated in the article, Delray Beach has a very walkable downtown and center city. There are many condos and some houses in this area, but they can be pricey. Further west and south of downtown, there are very affordable condos, especially active adult communities. These are just a few minutes’ drive to downtown Delray and the beach. There is some on-street parking, but it can be scarce. However, there’s usually plenty of parking in downtown lots and some multi-story garages. Some of the city-run lots are free (by the great Delray Beach Public Library, for example). You can also catch the free trolley at the town’s Tri-Rail station. It runs all along the main street (Atlantic Avenue) to the beach and back. You can get on and off at the many stops as you please.

    For people who haven’t been to Downtown Delray, seeing it comes as a delightful surprise. It’s reminiscent of a small town from the 40’s or 50’s, with lots of palm and shade trees lining several blocks. Among other throwbacks to that era, there’s an operating hometown-style drug store, office and art supply, well-stocked newsstand and several independent and chain coffee houses. Of course, there are now 50+ restaurants in the walking area ranging from cheap eats to gourmet, and everything in between. Also many galleries and boutiques.

    I don’t work for the Chamber of Commerce; I’m just glad we chose Delray Beach for our retirement home. We got a nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in a 24-hour manned/gated garden-style community with lots of amenities and activities. For well under $100,000.

    by Clyde R. — June 1, 2016

  4. Clyde – Thanks so much for your comment. I’ll be visiting Delray Beach in early September and am really looking forward to it. I have a friend who retired there and loves it.
    I’m curious – how long ago did you buy your condo?

    by Carol — June 2, 2016

  5. Obviously who ever did your ratings didn’t visit downtown St. Petersburg. Something must be wrong with your rating system. I’m starting get suspect about your evaluations. I’ve been to many of your top rates cities and I’m interested how St. Petersburg could get omitted, compared to the ones selected. Very disappointed.

    by Ed D. — June 2, 2016

  6. Carol, We bought our condo two years ago in June 2014. Prices have generally gone up maybe 10-12 percent since then, but still quite reasonable. Check and put in zip code 33484. You’ll see some nice condo units under 100k.

    by Clyde R. — June 2, 2016

  7. Clyde,
    What’s the name of your community? I’d love to check into it.

    by Sandy — June 2, 2016

  8. Sandy, We bought in Kings Point in Delray. It was built in the late 1970’s and was targeted toward middle class folk in the NY metro area. It has simple, but well-kept buildings and landscaping. Not pretentious or “keep up with the Joneses” kind of place. None are more than two stories (w/elevators) and almost all are “corner” units w/balcony or porch. Those who originally bought are aging out and a somewhat younger 55+ generation is moving in, like us: late 50’s – late 60’s+. Lots of big amenities and two Robert Trent Jones golf courses. Other 55+ developments in this part of Delray Beach include Lakes of Delray, Villages of Oriole, Floral Lakes and others.

    by Clyde R. — June 8, 2016

  9. Clyde I read that Kings Point has been flooded in the past. Is this the case? How many miles are you from the beach?

    Thank you in advance for your input.

    The Pepe’s

    by Skip P — June 9, 2016

  10. We have owned there two years and to my knowledge there has been no flooding in units during that time. Water has accumulated in some streets during heavy rains, but has drained quickly. There was a very heavy rain in early 2013 or 2014, I believe, that was centered directly over Kings Point and caused some units to take water. This was one of those 100-year type floods. Best bet is to check with a realtor familiar with the development about any particular unit. Previous flooding is part of a seller’s disclosure requirements, but you would want to know for sure. Or buy on the second (top) floor like we did and don’t worry about it (no flood insurance required). There’s an elevator and no neighbors above you.

    by Clyde R. — June 10, 2016

  11. Skip P.- Forgot to say how many miles from the beach. Between 4 and 5. An easy 10-12 minute drive usually. Definitely away from any surge flooding from a hurricane.

    by Clyde R. — June 10, 2016

  12. Clyde thank you for your informative and prompt response.

    The Pepe’s from TX

    by Skip P — June 11, 2016

  13. One further word about Kings Point. There is also a 55+ development in Margate, FL, by the name of Kings Point, but my comments are about the one in Delray Beach. The Margate Kings Point is in Broward County, about 5-10 miles southwest of the Delray Kings Point, which is in Palm Beach County.

    by Clyde R. — June 12, 2016

  14. I’m appreciate feedback from anyone who chose either Ormond Beach or New Smyrna Beach as their place to live. Or you considered either community and then decided not to move there. I’m not necessarily interested in an active adult community but would like a safe possibly gated neighborhood. Thanks for any information you can share on the merits of either community.


    by Tom — February 18, 2017

  15. I’m trying to decide where in Florida to look for my retirement destination going on vacation to look at the gulf side and then the ocean side. Not sure where to look first I was thinking the St Petersburg are first then maybe Clearwater….any advice is appreciated

    by Donald — February 19, 2017

  16. what about cental florida, The Villages, and Orlano area, many small towns, Ocala (horse country) Clermont, small with some nice homes, I never hear about Gainsville, it made your list abut 5 year ago, what happened?

    by jean — February 19, 2017

  17. Hi Donald, all depends what you are looking for in retirement, arts, high rises, beach, inland? To me Clearwater and St. Pete are opposites of each other, I think St. Pete is more laid back, where Clearwater is high-rises bustling with vacationers (beach area), downtown St. Pete is beautiful they have done a great job rebuilding this area, with a art’s area that is very up and coming. There are lots of little areas, from Gulfport, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, or go over the Sunshine Bridge to Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice the possibilities in Fl. are endless.
    We live in South Pasadena, right next to St. Pete Beach, very walkable/bike riding area, easy access to major HWY’s, Tampa airport, cruise lines, AMTRACK and can’t bet the weather here.

    by carolyn — February 20, 2017

  18. Hi, my wife and I are looking for an oceanfront community in the northeast to mid Florida area. We are interested in the Palm Coast area but are open. We are not interested in the crowds of south FL. Any shared experiences or thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks

    by Gerry — February 20, 2017

  19. you mean cant beat the wether right?

    by Don — February 20, 2017

  20. Im looking for nice beaches and financially affordable….cost of living is alot cheaper then where I currently live (new york)…I was told for 100,000 or less I could find something nice….not looking for a predominately retirement area a mix sounds good…..Thanks

    by Don — February 20, 2017

  21. Well, Don, I don’t know who told you that, but you’re not going to find anything “nice” for $100,000 or less in SW Florida. Double that for a starting point. And then it only covers condos. Which will need some remodeling at that price point.

    by Linda — February 21, 2017

  22. Don, You can still find something decent in Palm Beach County, FL, for $100,000 or less. However, it will be a condo and likely in a retirement community. You can find some 2 bed, 2 bath condos with HOA dues between $350-400 that cover all exterior maintenance and landscaping, with quite a few amenities. You’d be close to beaches (10-20 minutes), but beach parking is often an issue, though less so in the off-season. For example, go to (or similar website) and put in zip code 33484, then filter for 2 bed, 2 bath condos. You’ll find some decent ones between $75-100,000. They’ll

    by Clyde — February 21, 2017

  23. Gerry,

    Oceanfront areas sound nice but be sure to look at the cost beyond the purchase price. Some areas are experiencing huge year on year increases in mandatory hurricane and flood insurance. These cost can exceed 500 per month

    by Ron — February 22, 2017

  24. Ron, thanks for your thoughts on oceanfront communities. Does anyone live in the north FL area that can speak to the flood/hurricane ins issue? We have looked a little and the HOA fees are not cheap but we do like gated communities and the privacy and safety that it affords. Thanks

    by Gerry — February 23, 2017

  25. Thank you Clyde: Linda I could buy something for 400,000 here in NY I’m leaving here for financial first weather second

    by Donald — February 23, 2017

  26. Yes Donald, you and the rest of the North East! My understanding is that FL population was 10 million in 2010, now latest I heard is 21 million !!!
    Gerry asked about the Ormond Beach area. We have also been looking since 2013. We started looking at Del Webb Ponte Vedre in the new planned community of “Nocatee” about 4 miles from the ocean and just west of the Intercoastal. We are finding FL property taxes to be high compared to VA…FL has no income tax, but Va & FL come out about the same even with Va’s state income tax. I have visited the Daytona area since a baby in the 50’s so it’s quite familiar to me and feels like a 2nd home. Daytona area is less $ than JAX area.
    However, I’m afraid that the low key, small town feel is soon to change. MINTO Comm’s is developing a 55+ comm. called “Latitude Margaritaville” with over 7,000 homes planned. Already dubbed, “Villages of the East” …. This will make Palm Coast look small. West 95 from Exit 268 (40) to LPGA Exit 265.
    Just looked at condo’s yesterday and fee’s are $400 to $650 per mo. + My GA car ins. would go from $708 per yr. to over $1200. for 1st yr. THEN I would lose my discount (yeh, right!)…so probably double the cost. You also have yard maintenance 12 mos. yr. IF in a SFH, and anywhere you’ll have pest control bill. Heating bill goes away, and AC is much less expensive!
    After renting here for 16 months? over the last 3 yrs. I am seriously understanding that perhaps I’m a “snow bird” and should stay in GA or Mid Atlantic and save $ on taxes and rent in FL during the winter. One condo I viewed yesterday had a couple renting there 6 mos. a yr. for last 5 yrs. Their home is MI.
    Long rant, but hope it gives more info. to others 🙂

    by Betsy — February 23, 2017

  27. Hi Betsy, the info is helpful to me. We pay more in car ins in SC than in upstate NY. We do like the Palm coast area. I have a friend who has a place in Ormond beach and he said real estate is reasonable and to stay away from Daytona due to crime etc. It is very confusing. You also have to feel comfortable and enjoy where you live. So while the cost is impt it is not the only variable. Thanks for sharing and if you have other thoughts please post.

    by Gerry — February 24, 2017

  28. Pamela sent in this question:

    Retirement in Ft. Lauderdale area best/ safest areas ?

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 24, 2017

  29. Gerry,
    If you like the palm coast, might want to look at Vero beach. Barrier island is pricier than the mainland, but its quiet, temperate weather.

    by Stevenk — March 25, 2017

  30. We are looking at the Naples area because one major concern in many areas of coastal Fl is crime. I understand we cannot get away from it but to find an area that is less crime prone is a major on our wish list. Also, to be able to get to a major airport that is not 3-4 hrs away is a major consideration as we love to dive the Caribbean. Am I being to narrow minded??

    by Tim O'Dwyer — March 25, 2017

  31. Tim, if you can afford to live in Naples, go for it. It’s a lovely area. Although I wouldn’t call the Naples airport a major airport. Your “major” airport would be RSW, just like the rest of us who live in SW Florida and do not consider crime to be a problem. And, actually, I’m finding for really good air choices, I have to drive to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. I was used to being able to fly just about anywhere in the world nonstop from MSP. But now I find I’m flying a lot less than I did before. So check out the flight possibilities to the Caribbean from RSW before pulling the trigger.

    by Linda — March 25, 2017

  32. Thank you Linda. Already checked it out and never gave Naples airport a thought

    by Tim O'Dwyer — March 26, 2017

  33. My Aunt lives year round now in Naples in a gated golf community (NOT a 55+ community) and she loves Naples. Day to day is fine except in season (Oct-May) when the snowbirds arrive. It takes three weeks to get a Friday night reservation at a good restaurant and the traffic on the roads and in the grocery stores, etc. is horrific. There may be less crime, but it is a very upscale area and if one stays within one’s gated community life can be like a perpetual vacation. She built a pool on her property as well when the house was completed two years ago or so. The humidity does keep one indoors in air conditioning in the summer, but the breezes from the Ocean–she is five miles away from the Gulf–come in at night and it is a bit more comfortable. We had humidity and heat in Indiana too. I think the fact that many people who are friends in season go back to their homes up north In the summer can be a bit hard. Ft Myers has the nearest large airport and then Miami or Ft Lauderdale is a second choice. The train goes down the east coast and they would have to drive an hour to pick me up via Alligator Alley.

    by Jennifer — March 26, 2017

  34. Stevenk, thanks for the suggestion. For a while, I didn’t think anyone knew anything about the Palm Coast. The places we looked at were pricey but the oceanfront communities were very nice. Will check out Vero beach when we are in the area. Thanks

    by Gerry — March 26, 2017

  35. I have been looking on Delray Ft Lauderdale and Lauderdale by the sea. Ocean and walkable town is what I would love Looking for 2 bed 2 bath it would
    Be for me mostly. Husband from NY would come sometimes Not keen on 55 and older communities would like a mix of ages

    by Sophia — June 16, 2020

  36. Which ones of these are also affordable

    by Kate Waters — May 2, 2022

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