12 Best Places to Retire in Florida on a Budget

The best places to retire in Florida on a budget can offer an incredible lifestyle for seniors who want to spend their golden years in warm weather near beautiful beaches. According to a 2024 WalletHub study, Florida is still the best place to retire. The Sunshine State is consistently ranked as the best state for seniors to enjoy their golden years.

The financial benefits for retirees in Florida, which include low taxes and no estate, inheritance, or income taxes, are a huge draw for retirees. The state also offers many outdoor and recreational activities, sports activities, golf courses, and country clubs and can cater to almost every hobby under the sun.

Florida also ranks first for the percentage of the population age 65 and older, which means that retirees can easily find community within the state. The Sunshine State is also the best place for retirees because it ranks ninth in life expectancy, making it one of the top 10 states for enjoying a long life. Below are the 12 best places to retire in Florida on a budget.

Fort Pierce, Florida

jetty park fort pierce

Fort Pierce, Florida, has fantastic museums, serene beaches, and marinas adjacent to waterfront restaurants. It’s an excellent place for retirees to enjoy the warmth of the sun in their golden years. Many retirees are drawn to the city because of its affordability. The average rent for an apartment in Fort Pierce is $1,600. Townhomes, single-family homes, mobile homes, and retirement communities in and around the city provide affordable home options.

Spanish Lakes in Fort Pierce is a resort-style adult community with affordable homes on a beautiful golf course. Some of the most popular active adult communities and senior and independent living facilities in Fort Pierce include the Collonades at Fort Pierce, Lake Forest Park, and Lynmoore at Lawnwood.  Fort Pierce is a growing and lively town that offers retirees a leisurely and active lifestyle. Fort Pierce is undoubtedly one of the best places to retire in Florida on a budget.

Gainesville, Florida

gainesville florida

Gainesville is a college town and home to the University of Florida. It’s also one of the cheapest Florida cities to retire. The average monthly rent in Gainesville is $1,700. However, it’s possible to find significantly cheaper neighborhoods within the city in the Duval, Eagle Eyes, and Ridgeview Forest Ridge neighborhoods, where rent is $1,200 on average.

The average cost of a home in Gainesville is around $300,000. The city has a rich arts and cultural history with over a dozen local theaters. Gainesville is perfect for retirees looking for an artistic city filled with great museums, breathtaking exhibitions, and plenty of shows to attend.

Port St. Lucie, Florida

port st lucie florida

Port St. Lucie was ranked number three as one of Florida’s best cities to retire. The city is dynamic with a thriving center and has grown incredibly as people move to Port St. Lucie to retire. There are many wonderful retirement communities in Port St. Lucie, including Tradition, PGA Village, Southbend, and St. Lucie West.

There are also beautiful gated golf communities and numerous 55+ neighborhoods. Retirees can also access excellent medical centers, including the HCA Florida St. Lucie Hospital and the Traditional Hospital Cleveland Clinic. Fantastic weather, access to beautiful beaches, and abundant retirement communities make Port St. Lucie, Florida, one of the best places to retire in Florida.

Panama City, Florida

panama city beach florida

Panama City is in the county seat of Bay County, Florida, and is one of the most budget-friendly cities in Florida. It’s a nice-sized city that is more affordable than many cities of the same size. The average rent in Panama City is around $1,400 a month, significantly lower than the state and national average.

One of the most popular retirement communities in Panama City is Seagrass Village, which is a unique senior living community that encourages an active lifestyle. Retirees looking for a brand new community should consider Latitude Margaritaville Watersound, a masterplanned community surrounded by beaches and golf courses. Panama City’s population is just over 35,000, offering plenty of chances to connect with the community and participate in volunteer activities.

Vero Beach, Florida

vero beach florida

Vero Beach is a peaceful, serene, excellent place for retirees. The beaches are pristine, and the restaurants and shopping are superb. The city has a welcoming community perfect for transplants and retirees. The city also has an abundance of homes available and amazing retirement communities for 55+. The Vero Beach Outlets are popular for retail therapy, offering some of the biggest brands at great prices.

Budget-friendly communities in Vero Beach include Grove Island Condos, Oak Harbor, Oak Park Terrace, Riverside Gardens, and many other unique communities that provide a wonderful lifestyle for seniors. The average rental price for Vero Beach is also considerably lower than the national average at only $1,560 per month.  Vero Beach also has a lower cost of living compared to other Florida cities, making it an excellent choice for seniors on a budget.

Clearwater, Florida

clearwater florida

Clearwater, Florida, was ranked number two on Niche’s Best Cities to Retire in America list, although this didn’t focus solely on budget. The city is located on Florida’s Pinellas Peninsula, offering easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Clearwater is a fantastic city that has earned many distinctions, including being named one of the best beaches in South Florida by USA Today.

The average home price in Clearwater, Florida, is around $365,000, although finding a significantly less expensive home is possible. A very affordable option for retirees is the Twin Lakes Manufactured Housing Community, which is great for seniors on a budget. The average rent in Clearwater, Florida, is $1,700.

Pensacola, Florida

pensacola florida

Pensacola is located in the westernmost part of the Florida panhandle. The city is most known for its naval air station and proud military heritage; the area is home to the renowned Blue Angels. Pensacola has a fascinating cultural history and is one of Florida’s most affordable retirement places. Housing expenses in Pensacola are nearly ten percent lower than the national average.

The low housing cost is the most significant reason for Pensacola’s affordability. There are also excellent retirement communities within Pensacola, such as the Waterford at Carpenters Creek and Blake Avenue Pensacola, a beautiful community with fantastic food. Pensacola, Florida, is an excellent option for retirees searching for an affordable retirement home in the Sunshine State.

Daytona Beach, Florida

daytona beach florida

Daytona Beach is famous for being the headquarters for NASCAR and the annual host of spring break, but it’s also a fantastic city for retirees who want a budget-friendly retirement option in Florida. The moderate home prices in Daytona allow retirees on a budget to live close to the ocean.

The average home price in Daytona is $266,000; for one person, the average cost of electricity, water, trash, and sewer is less than $100 per month. Daytona, Florida, has many activities to keep retirees engaged, and the city consistently ranks as a top spot to retire in Florida.

Bartow, Florida

bartow florida

Source: City of Bartow Facebook Page

Bartow is a small, charming town in Polk County, Florida. Bartow is surrounded by lakes, and citrus grows and is perfect for people looking for a peaceful and rural Florida lifestyle.

The town has one of the lowest living costs in Florida, with the average single-family home costing $275,000. The average rent is $1,458. The city has a handful of retirement communities, including the Oak Hammock Retirement Community. There are also numerous 55+ neighborhoods available for retirees.

Jacksonville, Florida

jacksonville beach florida

Retirees who want a large city with many amenities and plenty of things to do will appreciate Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is more suitable for retirees who desire city life at their fingertips. The city is filled with eclectic museums and a vibrant art scene and has miles of beaches. The average median home listing in Jacksonville, Florida, is $315,000, significantly below the national average.

Average rent prices are around $1,500. There are beautiful historic neighborhoods throughout Jacksonville offering great options for retirees. The city also provides an abundance of 55+ communities. Jacksonville is an excellent place for seniors looking for a budget-friendly, large metropolitan.

Kissimmee, Florida

kissimmee florida

Kissimmee is a fun, vibrant city not far from the excitement of Orlando, Florida. Kissimmee is full of beautiful rivers, sparkling lakes, and plenty of attractions for the young and old. The city is a family-oriented destination off the beaten path. Kissimmee is perfect for retirees who are young at heart.

The average house price in Kissimmee is around $380,000, and the average rental is about $1,800. Affordable senior apartment homes are also available in the city. The area has lovely communities for retirees who need assistance or want to live independently. The low cost of living, unique diversity, and entertainment options make Kissimmee, Florida, a great choice.

Okeechobee, Florida

okeechobee florida

Okeechobee, Florida, is a small, rural town with a friendly atmosphere located on Lake Okeechobee. This lake is a haven for fishing and wildlife enthusiasts; the town hosts a yearly Speckled Perch Festival which is its biggest celebration.

Okeechobee might be a good fit for retirees on a budget seeking a nature-centric community with a focus on outdoor activities. The city actively seeks new businesses, which could indicate economic opportunity for some retirees. The real estate market in Okeechobee is very suitable for those looking for affordable retirement, with average home prices around $263,000.

Lakeland, Florida

lakeland florida

Lakeland is named for its numerous gorgeous lakes around the quaint city. The city has 38 lakes, creating plenty of opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing, and other water-related activities. Lakeland, Florida, also has many affordable mobile home rentals perfect for retirees looking for a cheaper cost of living.

The town also has excellent retirement communities, including Westminster Lakeland and Lake Gibson Village. The Lakeland real estate market is affordable, with the average home price around $310,000 and average rent in around $1,500. Lakeland also has several great neighborhoods to choose from. The city is between Tampa and Orlando, providing easy access to big-city amenities.

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