Each winter, “snowbirds” migrate to Florida from northern states to stay for a few weeks or half a year. After getting a taste of the Sunshine State, many choose to make Florida their permanent home. The majority of retirees prefer to be near (but not too near) metropolitan areas where there’s quality health care, steady temperatures and plenty of recreational activities. They find that in and around cities such as Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach and Jacksonville. Consider this a very short – and definitely not definitive – list of some popular retirement destinations.
- The Villages is located about 25 miles southeast of Ocala and 50 miles northwest of Orlando. Since the early 1990s, the community has grown from about 4,000 residents to nearly 80,000. It spans across three counties and has its own hospital, newspaper, radio stations, bowling alleys, nightclubs, television stations, two town squares and 38 golf courses on which residents enjoy free golf... forever.
- Bonita Springs/Naples are roughly side by side in southwest Florida, and each are on or near the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from the easy access to the water and the chance to see some of the most extraordinary sunsets in the nation, the temperate climate and abundance of activities makes this a popular destination for retirees… and everyone else.
- Ponte Vedra Beach is roughly midway between Jacksonville and St. Augustine and is known for its beaches, as well as its association with golf such as well-known tournaments including THE PLAYERS Championship at Sawgrass.
- Destin and Fort Walton Beach are two relatively small communities on the Gulf of Mexico, located about 50 miles east of Pensacola. A popular vacation resort, the fact that it combines wonderful, white-sand beaches with a reputation for being one of the “luckiest” fishing spots in the world hooks retirees who enjoy a leisurely life of sunshine, angling and beachfront dining.
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