Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida

Pool side Bradenton 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.

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Best Florida Places to Retire To   |  City of Bradenton

Best Florida Small Town: Bradenton Florida
Best Florida Small Town: Bradenton Florida

Two Interesting Small Towns with Retirement Communities in Georgia

Cresswind at Lake Lanier

Interesting Georgia Small Towns with Retirement Communities

Retirement communities and small towns go together anywhere and Georgia is no exception.

Maybe it is the idea that folks want to slow down and get out of the rat race. Maybe some folks remember growing up in a small town and would like to return to the days not so complicated by traffic and businesses everywhere.  Some want the natural scenery and being close to many outdoors attractions. Some say the land is cheaper for the big track of land to be developed into a large retirement community.

What ever the reasons, many of the retirement communities in Georgia are located in small towns, albeit many are in close proximity to the large Atlanta metro area.

So what are some of the small towns with retirement communities in Georgia?

Fall Festival in Hoschton GA
Fall Festival in Hoschton GA

1.  Hoschton, GA – Is home to Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb community of over 1,000 homes. By the way a new hospital with 100 beds is under contruction adjacent to this community.  The City of Hoschton is a small community located just off Interstate  I-85 in Jackson Country in North Georgia.  This area where Deaton Creek is located is the convergence of three or four counties and most of the homes are actually located in Hall County but have a Hoschton mailing address.  This area is a small community but close enough to be at Mall of Georgia in about 20 minutes.  This mixes the advantage of small town living and the convenience of being less that 45 minutes from cities like Athens, Gainesville and Atlanta metro.

Lake Lanier GA
Lake Lanier GA

2.  Gainesville, GA – ia home to  Cresswind at Lake Lanier, a wonderful retirement community on Lake Lanier while still in the city of Gainesville, which is the country seat of Hall County. Downtown Gainesville has a mixture of shops and first class restaurants. Also there are like 4 or 5 theaters and playhouses in Gainesville. At the foothills of the North Georgia mountains and easy access to Metro Atlanta from both I-985 and GA 400, Gainesville is a highly rated town for retirement with excellent hospital, shopping, Lake Lanier and more.

Other Georgia towns with nice retirement communities are Griffin, Canton and Greensboro.

Small Town Pride | Best Towns Contests

Travelers Rest SC

Small Town Pride | Best Towns Contests

I have noticed people living in small towns have a lot of pride about where they live.  They have pride in their local parades and community events like fairs, art festivals and beauty contests. They have pride in their high school sports teams. They have pride in winning town contests.

Magazines hold contests where you can vote for your small town to win the title of something and people really get involved and promote voting for their town. I did a post about the South’s Tastiest Small Towns contest. Then there are the prettiest towns,  best places to live, most liveable towns, best small towns for food, healthiest small towns and many others.

People like calling their town “the best” in anything. Newspapers and Chamber of Commerces really liked the PR of having the title of being ‘the best” gives their town.

In the news today, I see the headline “Travelers Rest tied for third in ‘coolest small towns’ contest.  This is in the Budget Travel magazine’s annual contest to find the coolest small towns in America.  Other finalists include Berlin, Md.; Buckhannon, W.Va.; Cazenovia, N.Y.; Deadwood, S.D.; Elkin, N.C.; Estes Park, Colo.; Evergaldes City, Fla.; Galena, Ill.; Hunting Woods, Mich,; Kelleys Island, Ohio; Matthews, Va.; Nevada City, Calif.; Pahoa, Hawaii; and Rockport, Texas.  Apparently there were about 1,000 small town entries in the coolest small town contest.

So I went to the Budget Travel website to see what the criteria is for the coolest small towns 2014 but only see “we know a cool small town when we see it”.  I guess coolness is hard to define but you will know it when you see it.

So I go over to view the comments left by people on the contest page to see if I can find any clues as to why a small town may be cool.

Fay says “Travelers Rest SC is the perfect place for people who love the outdoors and want the very best of living with nature and having all the things civilization has to offer in Greenville. Lots of local culture and the ocean is only 4 hours away.”  (Ashevlle is nearby too).

The contest does have a good description for each of the finalists in coolest small town contest. You have until Feb 25th to vote.