Pool side Bradenton Florida

Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida

Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida

Do you want to retire to the Sunshine State, but want to skip the crowded streets, high housing prices, and worrisome crime rates of big cities like Miami and Jacksonville? Small town Florida living offers all of the benefits you seek – great climate, senior-friendly tax laws, proximity to beaches, great healthcare facilities – without the nuisances of urban retirement. Although the “best” place to retire is a very subjective question, one Florida small town really stands out: Bradenton.

Bradenton, Florida, self-styled “The Friendly City,” has a population hovering around 49,000. This means residents can find friendly, quiet neighborhoods and local businesses, while at the same time enjoying some of the perks of larger city living – shopping and dining, arts and entertainment, a good public transportation system, and excellent healthcare options. In fact, of the many small Florida cities we considered in our quest for the best, Bradenton had one of the highest “senior-friendly amenities per capita” ratings. With its proximity to an international airport (Sarasota-Bradenton Int’l Airport is just 8 miles from downtown Bradenton), this location also offers ease of travel to globetrotting retirees.

Situated on the western coastline of Florida between Sarasota and Tampa, with Tampa Bay on one side and the Manatee River on the other, Bradenton enjoys some of the state’s mildest weather (with an average temperature of 60), water views and beachfront living – and plenty of beach access and marinas for water-sports enthusiasts.

This small Florida city is renowned for its thriving art community, centered around the specially-zoned 36-acre Village Arts Center located in a reclaimed and revitalized area of town, where homes do double duty as galleries and studios. The town also attracts artists with the ArtCenter Manatee – an art education and appreciation center housing galleries, classrooms, an art library, and an artists’ market – as well as the South Florida Museum and Riverfront Theatre.

Bradenton is home to the Manatee Memorial Hospital and a number of other modern medical facilities. For more specialized healthcare needs, the nearby cities of St. Pete, Sarasota, Tampa, and Clearwater have plenty of top-of-the-line facilities and medical specialists.

There are a number of quality 55+ communities in and around Bradenton, and housing prices hover in the low to mid 130s. The newest residential areas are found in the eastern part of town, but some of the older neighborhoods have more of the kind of friendly diversity and appeal that many are looking for in a small-town retirement location.

The Villages Florida
Destin Florida
Florida – Why Wait?
Best Florida Places to Retire To   |  City of Bradenton

Best Florida Small Town: Bradenton Florida
Best Florida Small Town: Bradenton Florida
Big Canoe lake

Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe
Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Last week we used a friends home in Big Canoe for a couple of days for a family reunion and I was reminded what a nice community Big Canoe is.  It is a beautiful mountain community with 8,000 acres, 3 or 4 lakes and 22 miles of trails.  A self sustaining park like community only one hour north of Atlanta GA.

Lake at Big Canoe
Lake at Big Canoe

Now Big Canoe is not officially a retirement community but they have everything say a Del Webb Community has and more. There are over 100 clubs in their activity center building as well a gym, pool, craft room, etc.  Several restaurants are in the community.

We happened to be there during their annual Oktoberfest which I really enjoyed. Happened to run in to Margie and Denis Casey the publishers of Real Estate Scorecard which just announced that Big Canoe won their 2014 Bliss Award for the Best Mountain Community of the year.  Check out their scorecard report on Big Canoe.

Oktoberfest at Big Canoe
Oktoberfest at Big Canoe

The residents come from all over the country and the world to live in Big Canoe. I don’t know if it’s one of a kind, but I have never seen anything like it.  Is has great appeal for everyone.

Kathy my sister in law took her grand kids to the lake to fish and they (we all did) loved it. During the Summer there are canoes and paddle boats and on the larger Lake Sconti there is a pontoon boat marina.Fishing at big canoe

Fishing at big canoe

Our friends David and Tina took us for a ride up the 1.7 jeep trail crossing several streams and climbing boulders to get to two waterfalls. On the trail there was an historic moonshine still and a cabin.

Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe
Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe

My wife Mary Ann and some family members went over to the Georgia Apple Festival in nearby Ellijay.  The small town of Jasper is the closest but other small towns nearby too.  Big Canoe is it’s own small town with it’s own zip code.

It you want something different than the large 55+ communities, then you may want to visit Big Canoe as it is an excellent place to live and retire.  This picture I took after our dinner at the Black Bear Pub at the Big Canoe Clubhouse and walking out to the deck overlooking Lake Sconti. It is a couple holding hands looking out over the peaceful lake. Now if that’s not a great retirement photo, I don’t know what is.

Big Canoe lake
Big Canoe lake

 

Resources:
**The official Big Canoe Website
**Margie Casey’s Real Estate Scorecard has reviews and wonderful photos of many top planned communities, most in small towns.
** North Georgia Retirement

Baby Boomers – A New Website Just for you – Be.group to Answer All your Senior Living Questions

This post brought to you by The be.group. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Small Town Retirement.

The be.group website launched in August of 2014, but is already relied on for the valuable information they provide to seniors, family, professionals, and caretakers. The site provides more information than about just selling senior living. There are printable guides to videos.

Are you a baby boomer? Be.group has a very user-friendly website waiting for you. You will have access to a wealth of information so you can be fully informed on your senior living options. There you will find step-by-step guides for things such as choosing the right community for you, deciding if you are ready for senior living, options on paying for living, and so much more.

Are you a caretaker or professional? If you work closely with the baby boomer community, you will want to have this website in your favorites list. You will want to refer your patients or client to the site
when they are ready for that next phase in life, so he or she can be proactive in their decision-making.

You will also have access to the site’s information, which can be easily tailored to your needs as a
professional.

Are you a family member? You will want to be just as informed as your loved one on the many senior living options available. The Be.group website will provide you that information. The site has guides about talking to your loved ones, tips, articles, and can also be tailored to you as family as well.

There is a great short video available to view, which introduces the Be.group website. It gives a brief overview of what the site is all about and you can view it below.

After viewing the video, be sure to visit the site today. You will be guided in the right direction for making this next step in your life. The more you are informed you are, the easier the decisions will
become. In addition, when you are knowledgeable on senior living solutions, they become far less stressful and become exciting.

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Best Small Towns to Live In or Retire To