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, but several  Florida small towns really stands out. Here are some of our favorites. Continue reading “Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida”

Lessons Learned From My Stay At The Villages Florida

Lessons Learned From My Visit To The Villages Florida

I made a mistake of calling The Villages in Florida a small town, according to one of my social media friends.  He said “Obviously you have not been there!”  Well I took this under advisement and just returned from a weeks stay at Lake Sumter Landing in the heart of The Villages. He was right, The Villages is a large place with 110,000 residents and 60,000 golf carts, three town squares, probably 15+ recreational centers and much more.

I had been hearing for years how much residents loved living in The Villages and I have to agree they have an attractive and somewhat unique idea. So returning from my trip I began thinking of what makes The Villages so unique. What ideas could be learned so other 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from what The Villages is doing.

Here are two ideas that struck me as unique that The Villages is doing and that might be a good idea in other places too.

1. They simply call their senior centers “recreation centers“. I like that. Everyone knows many people don’t like the name “senior” so senior centers started called themselves “adult centers” and other such names.  They are really only recreation centers.  Why not call them 55+ Recreational Centers or whatever minimum age fits.

2. The Villages are open to anyone to visit, eat, shop and use. Their three town squares have all kinds of events like the Arts and Crafts show and the Classic Car show when I visited. Families and persons of all ages were enjoying the town squares. Now the “villages” as they call the residential communities do have a security gate but the rest of The Villages is wide open. I like that.

Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts
Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts

I think towns could benefit from idea 1 above and just call their senior center “55+ Recreation Center”. I also think 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from more of a collaboration in joining the 55+ Community or even several 55+ Communities around a rejuvenated town square with shopping, activities, entertainment, outdoor spaces and the like. It would benefit the town and the community, which really are one and the same.

I still think, even after my visit, The Villages have a small town feeling.

Even though in total they are quite large, the three town squares certainly gave me the feeling of a small town. People greeted, acknowledged and spoke with others like they do in a small town.  Like a small town, people were relaxed and not in a big rush. The recreation centers are close by to each residential community so you are likely to meet your neighbors there. Yes, I think I still consider The Villages a small town.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

 

Lake Sumter Landing
Lake Sumter Landing

The Villages in Florida is a Small Town Retirement Mecca

The Villages in Florida is a great place to retire to. Many retirees have chosen The Villages to spend their lives living a fun and interesting life surrounded by their peers. Most people look forward to retirement and this small town provides the perfect place for them to retire to. It was created specifically for senior citizens to have a place where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there are so many people living here that are over the age of 55 that this community is one of the world’s biggest retirement communities.

P1000626The Villages in Florida is a great place to retire to. Many retirees have chosen The Villages to spend their lives living a fun and interesting life surrounded by their peers. Most people look forward to retirement and this small town provides the perfect place for them to retire to. It was created specifically for senior citizens to have a place where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there are so many people living here that are over the age of 55 that this community is one of the world’s biggest retirement communities.

Seniors who want to visit this community before deciding whether or not to make it their home can come for a vacation and stay in a fully equipped cabana. The Creekside Cabanas can be found in Lake Sumter Landing. Those who come and stay in one of the community’s cabanas will receive a golf car that they can use for the duration of their stay. Some of the recreational activities offered include tennis and golf courts, pools and fitness & recreation centers. The signature stores found in this community offer discounts and free movie tickets to visitors. These are all privileges that the community’s residents are entitled to every day.

Visitors can board a boat for a very relaxing ride that departs from Lake Sumter Landing. They can also take a tour of the town by hopping aboard the community’s trolley. There are countless exciting activities offered to residents on a regular basis such as the community’s three town squares; Brownwood Paddock, Spanish Springs Town and the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

Brownwood Paddock Square is designed to look like a typical cattle town in Florida. Residents and visitors can see a movie at the Barnstorm Theatre, which shows the newest Hollywood releases. It is also the home of Brownwood Paddock Square’s log cabin, where live performances take place every single night. The Spanish Springs Town Square has a southwest feel to it, which can be seen in the town square’s shops and fountains. Some of attractions found in Spanish Springs include the Church on the Square, the Rialto Theatre and Cruise-In, which is a monthly classic car show. There are many restaurants to choose from that offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Live entertainment takes place every night at the Spanish Springs Town Square as well. Lake Sumter Landing resembles an intimate seaside village. The landing’s lighthouse is a Spanish Springs landmark. Lake Sumter Landing is also where the Old Mill Playhouse movie theatre is located.

In addition to all the fun aspects of these small towns, potential residents should know that their physical, mental and spiritual health would be taken care of while living here. There are many health care and fitness facilities on site, as well as The Villages Regional Hospital, a VA outpatient clinic and the Moffitt Cancer Center. The community has a hospital dedicated to long term acute care.

The Spanish Springs Town Square holds the MVP Sports Club, which offers personal training, spas services and exercise/fitness classes. The various fitness centers found throughout the community provide residents with a place to work out with weight training machines or treadmills.

Those residents who wish to attend church while living in the community have many choices at their disposal. Some of the churches that can be found here are the Hope Lutheran Church, Temple Shalom the Chapel of Christian Faith, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Open Bible Lutheran Church, and the St. George Episcopal Church.

Residents who wish to keep their minds sharp can always take classes at the community’s Lifelong Learning College. Classes are offered all year long in a variety of different subjects.

Transportation throughout the community is made easy because every resident has their own golf car, which they can easily drive to any of the attractions found in this diverse community.

Best Places to Live in Florida

Best small towns and places to live or retire to in Florida

Florida Retirement

Best Places to Live in Florida

Florida, known as the Sunshine State, has been attracting people almost every year since World War II due to its warm weather, world-class entertainment, beautiful beaches and recreation areas, and proximity to both North and South America as well as the Caribbean.  Although many people think of Miami or Orlando when considering moving to Florida, there are many smaller communities that are attractive and still close to those major areas.  In this article, we’ll explore why these Florida retirement communities should be considered for anyone wanting to move to a small town in Florida.

1. Naples, FL – with the first people moving to what is now know as Naples, FL arriving in the 1860’s, Naples has always been noted for it’s mild climate and plethora of fish and other game.  Socialites have always called this place home back to the time of Thomas Edison and Greta Garbo.

Why would someone want to live in an area known for celebrities? With one quarter of the population older than 65, this area is very retiree friendly as well as having beautiful beaches.  With many cultural amenities like museums and parks, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities to enjoy as well. Some museums to check out include the Collier County Museum, highlighting local history through the centuries, and the Von Liebig Art Center, which showcases art after 1950 and in the local style.  Parks to enjoy include the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary , which was the first national preserve in the US Parks System and is great for birdwatching, canoeing, and kayaking, and Fakahatchee Strand State Park which is full of endangered species including the Florida Panther.  It also has a 2,000 foot boardwalk to look at the natural setting.  If you’re daring, you can even get a guide tour of the swamp!

Overall, Naples is full of shopping as well.  Fifth Avenue South is the heart of this shopping.  There are lots of little cafes and restaurants in this area.  Whether you like natural stuff like parks or shopping,

2.  Clearwater, FL– named one of the “Ten Best Beaches From Maine to Hawaii” by USA Today, Clearwater, FL is one of the nation’s top vacation destinations.  However, with a great climate and white sand beaches, it’s also an ideal place to relocate due to a laid back lifestyle.

Located just west of Tampa, FL, Clearwater has 28 miles of beaches and is a stereotypical beach town with small roads, people hauling coolers, and lots of boats.  However, it has a diverse economy with manufacturing, education, and tourism making it an easy place for people to find jobs.  Being close to St. Petersburg International and Tampa International Airports also makes traveling and having friends visit easy as well.

With marinas, beaches, and an aquarium, Clearwater’s location on the beach means there’s lots of water sports and fishing.  As home to the biggest fishing boat fleet on the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are many opportunities to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, and just leisurely sailing the clear waters.

3. Winter Park, FL– this little community is located just north of downtown Orlando and is probably one of the first “wealthy” areas of Orlando.  There is a lot of history here with professionals from Orlando’s early years residing here.

Home to Rollins College, Winter Park is a small community that has kept its roots as a vacation resort to the rich in times past to now becoming a bedroom community of Orlando.  In many parts of this small town, you can walk by various shops with a farmers market every Sunday just west of the main park north of Rollins College.

Although a bit pricey for homes due to the highly-educated and highly-paid workforce, Winter Park makes up for it in cute brick paved streets and low speed limits which makes it quiet for people living here.

Winter Park is a great community to consider living in for those who want a tight knit, classy town that has all the amenities of a small town while being a few minutes from downtown entertainment and work space.

Overall, living in Florida has its pros and cons.  Even though it’s extremely hot in the summer months, the proximity to the beach, mild temperature outside of the summer months, and slow pace of life make Florida a great relocation destination for those who want a simple life that doesn’t involve winter weather.  Naples, Clearwater, and Winter Park are all communities that a person should consider when looking at Florida 55+ homes for sale.

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