The state's great weather makes Florida a very popular place to retire, but which of the many retirement communities should you choose?
Everyone will have a different view on the best retirement community for their needs in Florida. It depends on factors like your activity level, social preferences, and more. Some top options include The Villages, Bear Creek, and Lakewood Ranch.
Take a look at these and other top retirement communities in Florida and how to choose the right one to live out your golden years.
Best Retirement Communities In Florida: Your Complete Guide
Florida is one of the most popular states for retirees for many reasons, including its hot winter months and still-warm winters. A large number of Florida residents are at least 60 years old, which helps make it highly appealing. Factor in the proximity to attractions for yourself and when family visits, and the low taxes, and it's easy to see why so many people retire in Florida.
How To Choose Florida Retirement Communities
Before looking at the top retirement communities in Florida, it is important to understand that everyone is different. You may prefer one community while the next person prefers another one.
The following are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:
- City or location
- Proximity to attractions, restaurants, and shopping
- Access to medical care in the city
- Medical care on-site
- Accessibility as you age and potentially need a walker, wheelchair, or another assistive device
- Type of homes
- Level of security
- Recreation on-site, both organized and independent
- Lifestyle and culture
- Value and cost
A Note On 55+ Communities In Florida Or Other Age Limits
As you look at retirement communities, you will notice that they all have different age limits. Many require their residents to be at least 55 years old, but some require you to be at least 60 or 65. On the other end, some have much lower limits. Consider whether you are retiring early and at what age you prefer your fellow residents to be. This will affect things like recreation, organized activities, and on-site medical care.
Cypress Village (Jacksonville, FL)
The average price of homes in Cypress Village is highly affordable at just over $236,000. This is a good option for retirees who want to be close to nature and entertainment. It is close to local amenities like the Ritz Theater and Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. The community itself is filled with luxury. You can enjoy the fitness center, walking trails, bocce courts, vegetable gardens, putting green, metal workshops, and arts and crafts studio.
Discovery Village (Melbourne, FL)
Discovery Village is conveniently close to the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, making it appealing to anyone who loves history or spacecraft. The city also has plenty of art galleries and other attractions. Within the community itself, you get an outdoor heated pool and a wellness center. Relax in the game rooms, beauty salon, or movie theater. Consider the independent living options and take advantage of housekeeping services.
Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota, FL)
Lakewood Ranch is one of the top-selling retirement communities in Florida, partly thanks to how convenient it is to get to attractions and amenities in Sarasota from the community. One of the great things about Lakewood Ranch is that it has various neighborhoods and is a multi-generational community. Nonetheless, it is largely geared to retirees, and most of it is age-restricted.
Cresswind At Lakewood Ranch
This is one of the 55+ neighborhoods within Lakewood Ranch, making it a popular retirement community. There are 650 single-family homes in this neighborhood, with prices starting in the $400,000s. Each home has between 1,524 and 3,574 square feet of living space. The community has a training center, multi-purpose event rooms, lounge, social spaces, social clubs, cardio studio, dog parks, wide walkways, a resort-style pool, bocce courts, and more.
Del Webb At Lakewood Ranch
Del Webb is another popular 55+ neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch. Interestingly, Del Webb was a pioneer in retirement communities, as the company made its first development over half a century ago. So, the Florida community builds on that experience. It features resort-style amenities such as a grand clubhouse, social clubs, a full-time lifestyle director, and a resort pool with lap lanes.
Latitude Margaritaville Watersound (Watersound, FL)
You can find a home in Latitude Margaritaville Watersound for between $200,000 and $400,000. This 55+ community is an active living community, so it is great for those who retire with plenty of energy or want scenic surroundings. Enjoy on-site recreation, dining, and entertainment, along with golf court transportation.
On Top Of The World (Ocala, FL)
On Top of the World has 54 holes spread across three golf courses. It also features outdoor and indoor swimming pools, courts for racquetball and basketball, tennis courts, bocce ball, and a private R/C flying field. The community also has a health club with a spa, restaurants, and a fitness center. There are more than 175 clubs, hobbies, and more to participate in. You can choose from 23 different floor plans for your home in On Top of the World, with prices starting at $200,000.
The Glenview At Pelican Bay (Naples, FL)
This community is not just close to the beach; it has a private beach. It also has a hobby studio. As a bonus, you are incredibly close to downtown Naples, a city known for attracting retirees. As such, you will find plenty of amenities nearby, from museums to restaurants to shopping.
The Palace Group (Miami, FL)
The Palace Group accounts for almost 17% of Miami's population above age 65. The average home price is at the low $400,000 level, making it somewhat affordable. This retirement community has special events, community activities, a heated pool, and a fitness center. As a bonus, the community is incredibly close to downtown Miami, giving you easy access to all of the city's amenities.
The Villages (Orlando, FL)
The Villages is one of the most popular retirement communities in Florida, and for a good reason. It is incredibly spacious with a long list of clubs, numerous recreation centers, and golf courses. The size of the community means that it has more resources and activities than you will find in many other options on this list.
Valencia Walk At Riverland (Port St. Lucie, FL)
Valencia Walk is the third Port St. Lucie retirement community from GL Homes, following Valencia Cay and Valencia Grove. It fits into the Riverland master plan with the others. Homes start at the $400,000 level. Residents of this community get easy access to all of the amenities of Riverland, including the 5-acre Arts and Culture Center. Riverland is also working on building a 12-acre Paseo Park and Town Center.
Westminster Towers (Orlando, FL)
This retirement community has just over 287,000 people. While it is a retirement community, it is very family-friendly, featuring entertainment that your grandchildren will love. Of course, your grandchildren will also appreciate the proximity to Orlando's theme parks. This retirement community is well-established, as it has been around since 1954.
Other Excellent Choices
What if none of the above communities appeal to you? You may want to consider another of the great options throughout the state. The following are also worth considering. You will notice that Del Webb, the pioneer of 55+ communities, has options throughout the state, as does Valencia.
- Del Webb Oasis (Winter Garden, FL)
- Del Webb BayView (Parrish, FL)
- Del Webb Sunbridge (Orlando, FL)
- Del Webb eTown (Jacksonville, FL)
- Del Webb Nocatee (Ponte Vedra, FL)
- Del Webb Stone Creek (Ocala, FL)
- Del Webb Wildlight (Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island, FL)
- Del Webb Tradition (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- Del Webb Bexley (Land O' Lakes, FL)
- Del Webb Naples (Naples, FL)
- Del Webb at Viera (Viera, FL)
- Del Webb Oak Creek (Fort Myers, FL)
- Del Webb Minneola (Clermont, FL)
- Valencia Cay (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- Valencia Grove (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- Valencia Trails (Naples, FL)
- Valencia Del Sol (Tampa, FL)
- Valencia Sound (Boynton Beach, FL)
- Tradition (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- PGA Village Verano (Port St. Lucie, FL)
- Pelican Preserve (Fort Myers, FL)
- Bear Creek (Daytona Beach, FL)
- Latitude Margaritaville (Daytona Beach, FL)
- Venetian Bay (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
- Champions Gate (Osceola County, FL)
- Paseo (Fort Myers, FL)
- MiraBay (Tampa, FL)
- Harbor Isle (Anna Maria Sound, FL)
- Matanzas Lakes (Palm Coast, FL)
- American Village (Palm Coast, FL)
- Villages of Citrus Hills (Citrus Hills, FL)
- Avalon Trails (Delray Beach)
Of course, just because a retirement community didn't make our list doesn't mean you should ignore them. Just keep the previously mentioned considerations in mind when evaluating it.
Florida has dozens of retirement communities across the state. Many come from major developers with multiple locations, but there are also communities with a single development. Think about the amenities you want, your preferred location, your budget, and what city you prefer living in. From there, you should be ready to choose any of the above retirement communities to call home.
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.