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.