U.S. News: Sarasota best city to retire in; Florida cities take 8 of 10 spots in list

by | Apr 8, 2022


Sarasota has once again topped the list of Best Places to Retire in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2021-2022 data. Seven additional Florida cities round out the top ten, spanning beach towns like Naples and Melbourne to more metropolitan settings like Tampa.

The study, which evaluates 150 metropolitan areas and ranks them according to criteria that include health care, housing affordability, air quality, crime rates, taxes, and overall desirability cited Sarasota’s beaches, parks, cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping as reasoning for its position atop the list.

“Sarasota has a distinct vibe that’s different from Florida’s relative coastal cities, with its own vibrant arts scene, beachy atmosphere and burgeoning food culture. People who choose Sarasota as their home are generally called by its unique charm,” said  Elizabeth Djinis, contributor for U.S. News. “There was once a time when Sarasota was dismissed as a playground for retirees, but that reputation is slowly changing as more young professionals begin to make it their own. One of the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods is the Rosemary District, where eclectic murals decorate storefronts and modern condominiums and hotels sit near casual breakfast cafes.”

Naples, Daytona Beach, and Melbourne occupy the second, third, and fourth spots, respectively, offering similar amenities as Sarasota while also having a relatively low cost of living. Only docked points because of their distances from Florida’s biggest urban centers, troves of urbanites, families, professionals, and retirees enjoy these cities.

Florida’s status as a non-income tax state makes it a natural draw for those that decide to semi-retire, of which there is a growing number in The Sunshine State. Publix is a leading employer in the state for semi-retired individuals, offering part-time jobs throughout their stores. Given Publix’s endless supply of stores throughout the state, finding employment as a senior citizen should not prove difficult.

Fort Myers holds the seventh spot on the list. Nestled adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers lies home to some of the best fishing spots in the country, as well as a plethora of shopping centers, sporting events, and cultural activities. The nearby Florida Gulf Coast University offers educational opportunities to those looking to return to school once their career settles down.

“Driven by rising household incomes, housing prices have steadily increased in Fort Myers over the past few years, but real estate here remains less expensive than in some other cities in Florida. In the rural areas east of Fort Myers, buyers can find homes priced well below state and national averages,” says Annabelle Tomatich. “Floridians don’t have to pay state income taxes, and the sales tax rate in Fort Myers is lower than the national average.”

2022 Best Places to Retire in the U.S. (U.S. News and World Reports) 

  1. Sarasota, FL
  2. Naples, FL 
  3. Daytona Beach, FL 
  4. Melbourne, FL 
  5. Lancaster, PA
  6. Tampa, FL 
  7. Fort Myers, FL 
  8. Port St. Lucie, FL 
  9. Ann Arbor, MI
  10. Pensacola, FL 


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