The Attraction of Florida

Between its warm climate and gorgeous beaches, it’s no wonder Florida is such an attractive state for retirees. It doesn’t hurt that the state has no tax on income and has a relatively low cost of living.

No doubt, part of what makes Florida a big draw for older adults is the number of cities with different styles of living. Based on factors such as location, recreation opportunities, home prices, and crime rates, the following are ten of the best destinations for those looking to relocate to the Sunshine State. All population statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2018, the most recent year information was available.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida is one of the most popular places to retire in America, offering a variety of reasonably-priced options for those who love the city, the beach and everything in between.
  • The best of the larger cities on the list include Hialeah, outside Miami, Orlando, home of Disney World, St. Petersburg, home of the Dali Museum, and Tampa, home of Busch Gardens; all four cities have populations in excess of 200,000.
  • Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, and Pembroke Pines all boast beautiful beaches and ample entertainment and nightlife; all four cities have populations between 170,000 and 190,000.
  • At just 68,866 people, Daytona Beach is known as a Spring Break getaway city; it's also part of the larger Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach area, giving residents more entertainment and recreation options.
  • At just 23,376 people, Venice is the smallest city on our list, but with its connection to Florida's Gulf Coast and safe, affordable neighborhoods, it's a good option for retirees as well.

Cape Coral

2018 Population: 189,343

Cape Coral has a lot to offer for those in their retirement years, including some stunning Gulf Coast beaches. It also has enough golf courses, parks and nature preserve to help residents maintain a fun, active lifestyle. 

Daytona Beach

2018 Population: 68,866

Daytona Beach itself has a modest population, but the fact that it belongs to the larger Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach region means retirees always have plenty to do. One of the favorite haunts for locals is Jackie Robinson Park, where the minor league Daytona Cubs play. With the housing crash dramatically lowering real estate prices, the median price for homes sold in Daytona is now approximately $133,500, according to 2020 estimates, making it one of the most affordable retirement spots in Florida.

Fort Lauderdale

2018 Population: 182,595

Fort Lauderdale boasts – among other things – a pleasant, semi-tropical climate and a bustling arts scene. Residents can take a leisurely stroll down the charming Riverwalk and take in attractions like the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Art and Museum of Discovery and Science. A short drive from Miami and Palm Beach, the city is situated conveniently on the state’s southeast coast. 


The number of people aged 65 or older living in Florida, the highest percentage in the country, according to a recent study from the Pew Center for Research.


2018 Population: 238,942

The sixth-largest city in the state, Hialeah is approximately 11 miles northwest of Miami. One of the city’s highlights is the historic Hialeah Park, a venue for quarter horse racing that is undergoing a major revitalization. The culturally diverse municipality has long been a refuge for immigrants from Latin America, and even today many of its residents come from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking places. 


2018 Population: 285,713

The home of Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando isn’t just a popular spot for tourists – it’s also a favored location for retirees. Years of overbuilding before the housing market crash have only made the area more affordable. According to 2020 Zillow data, the median listing price of homes listed in the city is just $285,000.

The Sunshine State offers plenty of options for older adults seeking warm weather and a favorable cost of living.

Pembroke Pines

2018 Population: 172,374

Location is one of the prime benefits of living in Pembroke Pines. You’re just a half-hour car ride from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale – and Everglades National Park is only an hour to the west. If you’re a shopping enthusiast, you’ll find plenty to do right in town – it has 8.5 million square feet of retail property. One negative is the town's comparatively steep real estate; the 2020 median listing price of homes is about $300,000, according to Zillow. 

Port St. Lucie

2018 Population: 195,248

Port St. Lucie is located on the state’s Atlantic coast. With an average home price of around $141 per square feet, it’s easy to find diverse, affordable housing in this fast-growing city. Sports fans, in particular, will find a lot to love here. In addition to being the spring training home of the New York Mets, it’s also the site of three public PGA golf courses.

St. Petersburg

2018 Population: 265,098

Sure it has the Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and Tropicana Field, the home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays. But it might be St. Petersburg’s year-round warm weather that’s its biggest draw. The median age of residents is 42.6, proving it’s home to more than just the silver-haired set.


2018 Population: 392,890

Looking to keep busy in retirement? If so, Tampa is probably worth some serious consideration. With attractions like Busch Gardens and the Museum of Science and Industry, this city is ideal for adults looking for adventure. And if you like the idea of having some younger people around, Tampa’s reputation as a hub for 20-somethings is a plus.


2018 Population: 23,376

Compared to other destinations on the list, Venice is fairly diminutive. But with its favorable location on Florida’s Gulf Coast and low crime rates, the city is in the midst of considerable growth. Known as the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” Venice hosts an annual festival to celebrate the millions of shark teeth that wash up on its beaches.