10 Beautiful & Cheapest Places to Retire in Florida

As Americans, as we grow older and approach retirement, it’s important to make important decisions early to make our lives easier, instead of trying to figure everything out at the last minute. I have written a blog on the true pros and cons of retiring in Florida, so I recommend reading that too! You’ll know how it feels.

The first thing that comes to our mind is, “Which are the most affordable places in Florida”, so that we can enjoy warm weather, unexplored beaches, less crime, and have necessary amenities within easy reach? Florida is home to many budget-friendly romantic getaways, nothing can beat Florida!

cheapest places to retire in Florida

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People from all over the world come to Florida in December and January to explore the warm beaches. With that in mind, I’m here to tell you about the best and cheapest places to retire in Florida. But before sharing the details of these places and adult communities, I’d like to spill some true coffee beans about Florida.

Things to Know Before Retiring to Florida

  • According to Zillow, the housing price in Florida has been listed as $392,262 in 2023. This indicates that housing prices are high compared to other places in the USA. Also, with that the property insurance is expensive
  • You do not have to pay taxes on your retirement income. This means that money in your Individual Retirement Account and Social Security is tax-free  
  • Although you’ll love the warm climate, the temperate tropical climate prone to hurricanes makes Florida a potentially dangerous place for retirees. Hurricanes are often associated with landslides, which is another major concern
  • Florida takes good care of retirees; they have developed 55+ communities with clubs and active activities specified for them. You should check out the list of liberal cities in Florida for better-suited places.

Cheapest Places to Retire in Florida

1. Boynton Beach

  • Location: Across the Intracoastal Waterway
  • Population: 79, 016
  • Cost of living index: 110.4 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 28.16 (per 1,000 residents)

I just found out that Boynton Beach is also called the “Land of Five Minutes” because everything, from the beach and shopping spots like Yankee Candle and H&M, to restaurants, active care centers, and outdoor spaces, is just a short walking distance away.  

A beach like Boynton in Palm Beach County, with a single adult expense on average, including rent, is $36,375 annually, with a median home value of $204,900, making it a great deal.

On average, annual healthcare costs are around $4,001. So, don’t you want to retire in such an amazing, affordable coastal retirement town in Florida that won’t break the bank? The place is all about the beach, calming air, a relaxing vibe, and being away from the touristy commotion

Pros:

  • Many like-minded retirees
  • Streetside public art projects to keep oneself busy
  • Enjoy the view and life along Florida’s Atlantic Coast
Waterway Cafe
Waterway Cafe

2. Ocala

  • Location: Marion County, Central Florida
  • Population: 65, 100
  • Cost of living index: 84 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 35.88 (per 1,000 residents)
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As I hear the name ‘Ocala,’ it reminds me of the Ocala National Forest, which has beautiful blue-water rivers, springs, lakes, and forest trails for hiking and camping at night.

Don’t you think that in the city center, with a lot of traffic, Ocala can be a great place for older people to live on a budget? You can buy a home that, on average, starts from $128,600, with a single adult expense of around $33,271. 

Ocala is not only about forests and quietness; it also has cute cafes, lively restaurants, and a vibrant downtown area with all the healthcare facilities available. It also has 7 public transit routes operated by SunTran, ensuring affordable cash fares and discounts for seniors

Pros:

  • Ocala has a lot of ponies hence it is called the Horse Capital of the World. You can learn horseback riding or enlighten your knowledge from the World Equestrian Center
  • U.S. News and World Report in 2020 ranked Ocala as the 6th best place to retire in the entire country and also as the 4th safest place to live in the entire United States
  • AdventHealth Ocala is known for its high-quality medical care earning a B ranking in a national patient safety ranking report
  • Silver Springs State Park is just a few min distance
Family time at Jervey Gantt Park.
Family time at Jervey Gantt Park

3. Cypress Lake, Lakeland

  • Location: 10000 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33809
  • Population: Community size 1000 – 9999 units
  • Cost of living index: 94.8 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 27.71 (per 1,000 residents) – Lakeland

Cypress Lake is a community designed for retirees seeking a secure, fun, and active lifestyle without the stress of bank loans. This resort centers on the Big Cypress Club and two golf courses, creating a close-knit community.  

This affordable 55+ community in Central Florida spans over 1,000 private acres and features quality manufactured homes, walking areas beneath cypress trees, and lakes, and a lifestyle that feels like being in ‘vacation mode’ all the time.

The best thing about this community is that it supports and loves pets; however, aggressive pets are not welcome. They also hold spiritual classes through Bible studies. If your budget is around the mid $100k range, I recommend coming to Cypress Lake. 

Pros:

  • Explore the sandy shorelines or enjoy boating, and playing gulf in the morning
  • Emergency 24-hour monitoring
  • Kitchen and catering service
Cypress Lakes Community
Cypress Lakes Community

4. Delray Beach

  • Location: 20 miles south of West Palm Beach, South Florida
  • Population: 66,044
  • Cost of living index: 105.2 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 40.90 (per 1,000 residents)

Delray Beach, also known as “Miami’s baby cousin,” “Palm Beach County’s hidden gem,” and “Florida’s Village by the Sea,” boasts a diverse population with a significant Jewish and Christian presence. Life here is characterized by a vibrant nightlife scene and charming boutiques.

This is the best beach town in Florida to retire for those looking for vitamin D, a relaxed lifestyle, and opportunities to enjoy sailing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and access to 18 golf courses. The average cost of living for a single adult is around $38,025 a year, with average healthcare costs around $4,001 annually.  

My grandparents used to stay in Delray Beach, and I vividly remember that when I used to visit them, my grandfather would take me to different cafes every day. We both used to try American, Caribbean seafood, Italian, Mexican, and other cuisines.

Pros:

  • Great museums and galleries to explore
  • A lot of celebrations like – The Hatsume festival in April Lantern festival in October, Fashion Week, tennis tournament, Garlic Fest, Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Festival, and so more
  • The Palm Beach International Airport is just 15 minutes away
Delray Beach
Delray Beach

5. Aston Gardens at Pelican Marsh, Naples

  • Location: 4800 Aston Gardens Way, Naples, FL, 34109, USA

Aston Gardens at Pelican Marsh is a one-stop, affordable retirement destination in Florida, offering a range of care services, from memory care to independent living and assisted living, which is vital for the adult population.  

Dedicated team members work 24/7 to ensure a high-quality living experience with top-notch amenities like a fancy dining room, a movie theater, a Grande Lobby, and much more. All of these care and facilities come with a monthly charge of $3,545 on average.  

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I would highly recommend this place to people whose sons or daughters are not in Florida, and who lack human assistance. It’s undeniable that older people need more human assistance than just financial support

Pros:

  • 12 – 16 hours nursing, taking to the doctor, co-ordination, medication management, and full support to dementia patients
  • The NCH North Naples Hospital, CVC Pharmacy, St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox, and restaurants like Chili’s Grill & Bar are all nearby
Aston Gardens At Pelican Marsh
Aston Gardens At Pelican Marsh

6. Marco Island

  • Location: Barrier Island in Collier County
  • Population: 16, 307
  • Cost of living index: 138.6 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 7.26 (per 1,000 residents)

Let me tell you that Marco Island is a bit isolated but offers sparkling white beaches along the Gulf with the most crystal blue water, making it ideal for people who love getting a tan and enjoying the water. Don’t worry; there are plenty of entertainment options available! Also, this is one of the ideal spots to plan a vacation in Florida.

What’s interesting is that the median age of Marco Island is around 65 years, just like yours! You’ll see many retirees joining golf courses to enjoy and expand their friend circle. According to Zillow, the median home value here is around $643,988.  

Here, you can enjoy waterfront properties and get a taste of the Southern atmosphere. Although I know it’s the best place to retire in Florida, it’s undoubtedly not very budget-friendly, as the cost of living is 40% above the national average.

Pros:

  • As per Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index, Immokalee and Marco Island emerge as the top choices for residing. Additionally, The Naples-Marco Island region earned position 1 in the 2017 – 2018 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
  • Marco Island is 63% safer than other towns in the USA
Marco Island
Marco Island

7. Gainesville

  • Location: Alachua County, Florida
  • Population: 141, 341
  • Cost of living index: 90 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 38.52 (per 1,000 residents)

Florida’s tropical cyclones are indeed a concern for many people. Therefore, if you’re looking for a home in one of the safest places in Florida from hurricanes, Gainesville is an excellent choice. It is located in the North Central region and sits 75 miles from the east coast.

The streets in Gainesville are reminiscent of Old South movies, with Spanish moss-lined trees, a cozy quintessential downtown area, and a large population of college students because it’s home to the University of Florida.

There are several compelling reasons to choose Gainesville as your retirement destination, including its vibrant art culture, which will keep you busy. There are plenty of auditoriums, theaters, and museums like the A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center, and natural spots to relax.

Pros:

  • If you’re a member of The Institute for Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock, then can allow you to teach students and be a professor
  • Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a crystal clear spring that offers plenty of opportunity to swim, and enjoy the space
Hike to Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site
Hike to Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site

8. Gulf Breeze

  • Location: Santa Rosa County, a suburb of Pensacola, Florida
  • Population: 6, 833
  • Cost of living index: 110 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 13.38 (per 1,000 residents)

An offbeat retirement destination in Florida on a budget, where 25% of the population is over 65, is Gulf Breeze. Its idyllic atmosphere, white sandy beaches, azure water, postcard streets, and close proximity to Naval Live Oaks Preserve make it ideal for nature lovers too. 

If you’re a nature and water sports enthusiast, this place will be a haven; you can snorkel, hike, watch birds, and experience sea life. The median home price, on average, is around $436,900. Moreover, if you just cross the bridge to Pensacola, you’ll gain access to the best medical care, shopping malls, and fancy restaurants.

Locals sometimes bring their children to the Gulf Breeze Zoo to see over 1,000 animals. You can also spend time with them conversing, or reading a book at the public library or by the beach. 

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Pros:

  • I would highly recommend this small town where the environment is completely coastal
  • Shoreline Park South and Lovely Tiger Golf Club is ideal space to keep yourself busy
Sneaky Tiki Bar at Gulf Breeze
Sneaky Tiki Bar at Gulf Breeze

9. Mount Dora

  • Location: In eastern Lake Count
  • Population: 17, 265
  • Cost of living index: 100.4 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 29.40 (per 1,000 residents)

If you’re in search of an affordable senior living spot in Central Florida, surrounded by rolling hills, picturesque orange groves, and the shade of majestic Live Oak trees, Mount Dora is the best place to live in Florida for retirees.  

It sits at an elevation of 184 feet, making it akin to a mountain town in Florida. Also, its location is so prime that you can reach Orlando within 30 minutes. You’ll also love exploring the Mount Dora Marketplace, which is famous among foodies for its wide range of barbecue, tacos, and craft beer

Pros:

  • The Mount Dora Art Festival in the month of February and the Mount Dora Fall Craft Fair, Blue & Garden Weekend, Crafts Show, and Plant & Garden Fair are some huge celebrations
  • If you’re residing at Waterman Village, banks, pharmacies, restaurants, stores, and other necessary amenities are close by
Mount Dora, Gilbert Park
Gilbert Park

10. Jacksonville

  • Location: On the Atlantic coast of north-eastern Florida
  • Population: 962,970
  • Cost of living index: 94.2 (U.S. average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 33.76 (per 1,000 residents)

Forbes listed Jacksonville as the 25th best place to retire in 2023. Also, the cost of living is 5% lower than the national average, so don’t you find it one of the best-value retirement cities in Florida? Its thriving cultural scene and the presence of top healthcare facilities make it an ideal destination.

My sister’s mother-in-law was staying in Callahan, one of the suburbs of Jacksonville. I was amazed to see their spacious bungalow and Craftsman-style home, which they got at a very affordable price. Even when I was talking to her, she mentioned that the cost of living was very budget-friendly.

Also, if you’re a sports lover, you’ll be happy to know it’s the home of an NFL team. The place is very artistic, with visual art on the walls and murals showcasing the work. Additionally, there are hospitals like St. Vincent’s Southside, and Baptist Medical Center, one of the renowned ones.

Pros:

  • There are many 55+ adult communities. I recommend choosing Reverie at TrailMark by Dream Finders
  • Good access, an affordable living and quality nature 
Riverside Arts Market
Riverside Arts Market

Conclusion

I’ve given you a list of the least expensive retirement areas in Florida that you can consider buying a home or renting a property to live in peace by relaxing by the beach, playing golf with friends, attending kitty parties, or walking around the green space.

I hope you find your home soon!

Read More:

FAQ: Cheapest Places to Retire in Florida

1. Are there any tax advantages for retirees in Florida?

A. Yes, that’s correct. Florida does not impose taxes on Social Security retirement funds, pensions, or income from an IRA.

2. How much money do you need monthly to retire in Florida?

A. For a stress-free and hassle-free life, an older couple needs a minimum monthly income of $6,100.

3. Are there any government assistance programs for low-income retirees in Florida?

A. Yes, the federal government offers an assistance program called the Florida Emergency Financial Assistance Program (EFAHP) to low-income retirees aged 65 or above. Additionally, Fannie Mae offers assistance in the form of mortgage loans to retired individuals.

4. What part of Florida is less expensive to live?

A. The North-eastern part of Florida is less expensive mostly you should choose Jacksonville where the cost of living index is 94.2 (U.S average of 100)

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