People walk and shop at the Harborwalk Village in Destin, Florida. Editorial credit: Andriy Blokhin /

9 Top-Ranked Towns in Florida for Retirees

Boasting year-round, delightfully warm weather, beautiful beach scenery, and an extremely tax-friendly environment, Florida presents the ideal mix of elements for a retirement destination. There is no state income tax to worry about, allowing pensioners smooth sailing into their sunset years. While the Sunshine State stands out for its electric nightlife and world-class theme parks, it also hosts charming small towns that shield retirees from the crowds and commotion in the big cities. These precious gems remain hidden in Florida’s backcountry, providing a laid back setting with lovely natural surroundings. The communities are friendly and welcoming to visitors, with close-knit ties that will make a stranger feel at home. Each area comes with a unique vibe and exciting attractions to keep you entertained at all times. If you are planning to call time on your career soon and settle in the South, these small towns in Florida will make an excellent retirement destination.


Coastal waters around Destin Florida
Coastal waters around Destin, Florida

This precious Panhandle locality best exemplifies the picturesque beauty of Florida’s Emerald Coast, boasting white sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and stunning Gulf of Mexico vistas. Its laid back atmosphere is ideal for senior living, with unique spaces like Henderson Beach State Park inviting you to embrace the great outdoors. Pensioners can enjoy a lazy stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk while soaking in Atlantic Ocean views or go for a dip in the toasty waters. The Harborwalk Village is a lively entertainment center, which allows retirees to mingle and interact in a festive atmosphere, hosting a string of festivals, live music, magic shows, and other attractions throughout the year.  Destin is a very safe community; it experiences less than 2 cases of violent crimes per 1,000 residents, which is way below the national average. Living in Destin costs as much as it does in Average America and residents have access to multiple healthcare institutions, including HCA Florida Destin Emergency. 


Tourists walking and shopping along the restaurants and luxury stores of 5th Avenue in downtown Naples, Florida
Tourists walking and shopping along the restaurants and luxury stores of 5th Avenue in downtown Naples, Florida, via AevanStock /

Naples is an excellent retirement destination, delivering the perfect balance between small-town flair and big-city comforts. Its relaxed beach scenery allows for peace of mind and pensioners can make the most with a lazy stroll through the historic Naples Pier. The secluded walkway is perfect for unwinding and spotting dolphins in the water. The town’s rich biodiversity can be witnessed at the 170-acre Naples Botanical Gardens, a natural paradise with diverse species of tropical and subtropical plants. Meanwhile, newcomers can acclimate to the area’s colorful past at the Naples Historical Society by browsing a unique collection of artifacts. 

A reliable healthcare system in Naples ensures that seniors can look forward to prompt solutions to their medical needs, with access to renowned centers like the NCH Downtown Naples Hospital. The crime rate is 20% below the national average and senior citizens can survive comfortably on less than $1,000 a month. Furthermore, several assisted living facilities provide cheaper housing with social support, including the Collier at Naples. 

St. Augustine

Waterfront view in St. Augustine, Florida
Waterfront view in St. Augustine, Florida

How poetic would it be to spend your golden years in the nation’s oldest city? St. Augustine presents a fine retirement scene, especially for seniors who appreciate history. It allows them to explore the storied beginnings of the nation through a rich mix of historic sites. Walking along the town’s quiet streets reveals gems like the 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos and Lightner Museum. St. Augustine’s rich culture is evident from the Spanish colonial architecture dominating its buildings, with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine offering the perfect example. Beyond the history, the town has lovely coastal scenery that outdoor enthusiasts will fancy at Anastasia State Park. It also enjoys a safer atmosphere than most Florida destinations and looks after the senior population’s well-being with assisted communities like Allegro Senior Living. Pensioners can own a home in St. Augustine for less than $500K and the living cost is almost in line with the national average. 

Punta Gorda

The Peace River at Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte.
The Peace River at Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. Editorial credit: Feng Cheng /

A mix of picturesque waterfront parks, well-preserved history, and a small-town vibe makes this tiny southwest Florida city an inviting prospect for retirees. Punta Gorda impresses with multiple nature centers with unique flora and fauna, including the popular Laishley Park. The local community often gathers here to hang out in the peaceful memorial garden, admire water views from the marina, and fish at the pier. Animal lovers can show some TLC at the Peace River Wildlife Center, which rehabilitates injured species. For a taste of history, war enthusiasts can head to the Military Heritage Museum, home to over 30,000 artifacts related to the military. 

Punta Gorda is one of the cheapest and safest towns in Florida that retirees can settle in. It records 0.44 violent crime cases per 1,000 residents, which is way below the national average. The same applies to the cost of living, with median home listings at less than $400K. Senior citizens who need medical attention can find reliable service at the 208-bed ShorePoint Health. 


Bird's eye view over historic downtown Clermont
Bird's eye view over historic downtown Clermont

Forbes Magazine once ranked Clermont among the “Top 25 Best Places to Retire,” a testament to its general appeal. Located about 22 miles from Orlando, it presents a relaxed rural vibe while offering easy access to the premium amenities in the big city. Clermont has a thriving biking community that favors retirees who appreciate an active lifestyle. Its top attractions include the Presidents Hall of Fame, which documents past American presidents and their families. Outdoor opportunities abound at the Waterfront Park, home to recreational activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing. The local art scene also impresses with family-friendly venues where the community congregates to enjoy live shows, highlighted by Clermont Performing Arts Center. Clermont’s crime rate is 40% below the national average, recording less than 2 violent crime incidents per 1,000 residents. The cost of living is slightly higher than America’s average, but this is a small price to pay given the town’s proximity to Orlando. Besides easy access to world-renowned theme parks, retirees enjoy dependable healthcare from institutions like Orlando Health South Lake Hospital. 


Street view in Venice, Florida
Street view in Venice, Florida, via Andriy Blokhin /

Venice sits on an idyllic location along the Gulf Coast, providing almost 14 miles of shoreline for pensioners to take advantage of. Besides its stunning beaches, it hosts a couple of green spaces that beckon you to explore the outdoors at every opportunity. Among its top attractions is Venice Beach, known for its beautiful offshore coral reef, while Caspersen Beach invites residents to speculate for shark teeth. Furthermore, Centennial Park is a popular meeting spot in the heart of the town center, perfect for hanging out and people-watching. Retirees need not worry about their safety when roaming the quiet streets of Historic Downtown Venice; crime is barely a thing here. 

Several assisted living communities allow retirees to achieve a level of independence in their sunset years, such as Village On The Isle and the Harbor Inn of Venice. Finally, the cost of living is slightly higher than the country’s average, with homes selling for just above $400K. 

Vero Beach

Vero Beach, Florida.
Vero Beach, Florida.

A dream destination for retirees in Florida, Vero Beach lets you lead a stress-free life in a laid back coastal community. Beach lovers flock to South Beach Park to take advantage of the town’s scenic shores, with an opportunity to sunbathe on the soft sand, swim in the warm waters, or walk along the picturesque shoreline. Heading inland, McKee Botanical Gardens houses a biodiverse nature space with native and exotic flora spread over 18 acres. Connoisseurs have a chance to experience world-class art by the beach at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. This fine facility exhibits an exceptional collection of works by regional and national creatives.

Meanwhile, pensioners don’t have to wipe out all their savings to own a home in Vero Beach as homes go for less than $300K. With a crime rate below the state and national averages, you can enjoy shopping in Downtown Vero without constantly looking over your shoulder. There is also an eclectic mix of restaurants in the vibrant neighborhood, and you can walk into Citrus Grillhouse to savor sumptuous seafood. 

Winter Park

Downtown Winter Park, Florida.
Downtown Winter Park, Florida.

This adorable landlocked community in Central Florida proves that you don’t have to live by the coast to experience the beauty and appeal of the Sunshine State. It has an easygoing atmosphere, punctuated with green gardens, quaint historic homes, and delightful art centers. Senior citizens can spend quality time outdoors relaxing in the secluded grounds of Mead Botanic Garden or walking their canine companion along scenic trails inside Lake Baldwin Dog Park. There is also plenty of amazing art to explore displayed inside the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. 

The tight-knit Winter Park community gathers weekly at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market to shop for farm-fresh produce in a festive atmosphere. This grants an excellent opportunity for newcomers to socialize and establish lifelong friendships. Your chances of being a victim of violent crime in Winter Park are 1 in 343, making it way safer than America in general. The town is also just 15 minutes from Orlando, which comes in handy when the grandkids want to visit its popular theme parks.


Street view of the Dixie Theater in Apalachicola, Florida
Street view of the Dixie Theater in Apalachicola, Florida

This historic fishing town in Franklin County hosts a small-knit community of under 2,500 where everybody knows everybody. It has a strong sense of community that discourages animosity among members, with the crime rate almost half the state average. There are several points of interest to keep pensioners engaged and entertained, including Orman House Historic State Park for those curious about local history. On the other hand, nature lovers will appreciate the quiet and serene atmosphere of Lafayette Park, which offers ample shade under massive oak trees. 

Apalachicola is an affordable bet for senior citizens and allows them to enjoy a living cost below the state and national averages. For less than $300K, you can buy a cute home in the town. Furthermore, the weather is comfortably milder compared to Florida’s average hot temperatures, making it a no-brainer for retirees.

In Conclusion

Florida provides countless options for retirees seeking comfortable communities with ideal weather, amenities, healthcare, and recreational activities. Each of the highlighted towns in Florida has distinct characteristics and cultures, but all provide a superb quality of life for their residents, both young and old. With low crime, tax-friendly environments, and access to top-tier medical facilities, these small towns represent some of the best Florida has to offer for safe, affordable retirement living. Their friendly, engaged atmospheres allow seniors to remain active and involved for many years to come. 

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