By Robyn A. Friedman
Whether you’re already living in Florida and are looking for a new home for your retirement years or you’re planning to move to the Sunshine State when you retire, the big question is: Where to live?
South Florida. You already know everything that South Florida has to offer. From Palm Beach to Miami Beach, the area boasts warm temperatures, world-class dining, attractions, shopping, entertainment, casino gambling and cultural opportunities. Enjoy cruising? Three major ports are in our backyard. Plus, South Florida is home to three airports that make it easy for the kids to visit. No matter what your housing preference – from country-club condominium to oceanfront high-rise to single-family spread, South Florida has it all.
Sarasota. The Sarasota area is home to some of the nation’s top beaches as well as a substantial number of cultural offerings and attractions for a city its size. There’s an active arts community, including theaters, ballet and museums.
Naples. According to a recent report by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, the Naples area is “firing on all cylinders,” with strong demand from retirees. The area offers beautiful beaches, excellent dining, nightlife, entertainment, attractions and plentiful golf, but housing prices are high, with a median sales price in February of $508,000, according to Zillow.
Gainesville. If you’re looking for the ambience of a college town, complete with college sports (it’s helpful to be a Gators fan), music, cultural opportunities and excellent medical care, then Gainesville may be just right for you.
Tallahassee. Not a typical college town, Tallahassee still offers the advantages of the two universities (Florida State, Florida A&M), including excellent hospitals, the arts and fine dining. There’s also a lively political scene and active equestrian community.
Before purchasing any property for retirement, do your due diligence.
“Think in depth about what experience you’re looking for,” says Dave Bruns, a spokesman for AARP. “There’s a temptation to think that your needs and desires are never going to change, but they might. Think 10 years down the road.”