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Best places to retire on the East Coast

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Pixabay

Best places to retire on the east coast

Whether you're on the brink of retiring or fantasizing about your bucket list, Stacker rounded up a few places to consider fulfilling your retirement dreams. The East Coast is a strong contender—a region sparkling with sunny states, beautiful beaches, natural splendor, and a mix of affordable and upscale lifestyle options.

Using Niche's 2019 Best Places to Retire as a guideline, Stacker followed their lead to develop the list for what would be important to people thinking about retiring. Variables included weather, safety, housing expenses, and access to places like eateries, golf courses, recreation facilities, and health care. Listed here are numbers for the general population along with a look at percentages of people ages 55 to 64 and 65 and over, along with median household income, median household value, and median rent.

While the East Coast includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, only 10 states were included in the top 50 places to retire on the East Coast. To give the list more variety, only the top 10 places from each state were considered for the ranking.

Stacker's team notes that while many of the places are located in sunny states like Florida and North Carolina, states like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania made the list with small-town charm, dining, and cultural activities, giving retirees good reasons to retire in a specific area.

Take a tour of the 50 best places to retire on the East Coast, whether you are looking to spend your golden years with your toes in the sand, swinging a golf club, or enjoying the bounty of natural beauty in this region of America.

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exclusivepropertiesus.com // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Isle of Palms, SC

- Population: 4,333 (22% age 55-64 and 30% age 65+)
- Median household income: $102,656
- Housing: $805,900 median household value and $1,938 median rent

This laid-back barrier island community is close to Charleston, S.C., and offers a plethora of outdoor activities including golf, tennis, fishing, and dog walking. Clean beaches and lovely homes are the hallmarks of this affluent community.

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Idawriter // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Merrimac, VA

- Population: 2,017 (9% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $32,965
- Housing: $111,200 median household value and $476 median rent

Along with a picturesque mountain setting, the college town boasts a fine arts community and great health-care amenities. The small town is close to Roanoke and offers a plethora of outdoor recreation.

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Pixabay

#48. St. Simons, GA

- Population: 14,261 (16% age 55-64 and 32% age 65+)
- Median household income: $78,782
- Housing: $351,300 median household value and $1,207 median rent

Award-winning St. Simons Island is an idyllic spot to retire brimming with Southern charm, history, and a wide variety of outdoor activities. Couples looking for a beach lifestyle full of natural beauty will love calling St. Simons home.
 

 

 

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Claire Powers // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Flat Rock, NC

- Population: 3,267 (18% age 55-64 and 51% age 65+)
- Median household income: $69,732
- Housing: $398,400 median household value and $1,274 median rent

Looking for a quaint and historic village for retirement? Flat Rock, about 33 miles south of Asheville, is brimming with local charm. Dubbed the “Little Charleston of the Mountains,” this quaint village has galleries, shops, and eateries, and was also the home of poet Carl Sandburg.

 

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1512 Creative // Shutterstock

#46. Calabash, NC

- Population: 1,503 (15% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $42,107
- Housing: $121,900 median household value and $914 median rent

Nicknamed the Seafood Capital, the coastal town of Calabash was incorporated in 1972. The fishing village is one of North Carolina's Brunswick Islands and a great place for couples who enjoy golf and beaches.

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Greenville, DE

- Population: 2,305 (14% age 55-64 and 29% age 65+)
- Median household income: $98,125
- Housing: $667,400 median household value and $1,334 median rent

While Greenville is actually a suburb of Philadelphia, it is part of the state of Delaware. Along with great access to doctors, this peaceful community has a small-town vibe and is close to many recreational activities, including golf.
 

 

 

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JGHowes // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Timonium, MD

- Population: 10,548 (12% age 55-64 and 28% age 65+)
- Median household income: $89,007
- Housing: $360,900 median household value and $1,485 median rent

The safe and quiet town of Timonium is about 20 minutes away from Baltimore. The quaint suburb is close to Towson, which has abundant shopping centers, entertainment options, and eateries.

 

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Timothy Shauger // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Emerald Isle, NC

- Population: 3,705 (19% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $65,541
- Housing: $363,000 median household value and $1,175 median rent

The slogan “Nice Matters” gives a sense of the kind vibe in the beach community of Emerald Isle. Located on the Outer Banks, halfway between South Carolina and Virginia, Emerald Isle is celebrated for its unspoiled beaches.
 

 

 

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Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Chevy Chase Village, MD

- Population: 1,984 (17% age 55-64 and 23% age 65+)
- Median household income: $250,001
- Housing: $1,605,500 median household value and $3,501 median rent

This historic community of 721 homes sits on about a half square mile bordering the District of Columbia. Brick sidewalks, tree-lined streets, and open green space are just a few of the village's charms. Residents can walk to public transportation, shopping, and restaurants.
 

 

 

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Arina P Habich // Shutterstock

#41. Little River, SC

- Population: 9,208 (21% age 55-64 and 33% age 65+)
- Median household income: $47,866
- Housing: $182,500 median household value and $834 median rent

The oldest town along the greater Grand Strand awaits those who enjoy a slow pace of life, historic oak trees, and freshly caught seafood. About 20 miles north of Myrtle Beach, Little River is close to golf courses, entertainment, and shopping outlets.
 

 

 

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Jim.henderson // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Thomaston, NY

- Population: 2,735 (14% age 55-64 and 22% age 65+)
- Median household income: $117,279
- Housing: $809,700 median household value and $1,988 median rent

In the Long Island town of Great Neck, Thomaston's parks, restaurants, and coffee shops offer residents countless places to congregate. A fun fact is that comedian Groucho Marx had a house here.
 

 

 

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Leonard J. DeFrancisci // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Pinehurst, NC

- Population: 15,580 (14% age 55-64 and 41% age 65+)
- Median household income: $81,724
- Housing: $289,800 median household value and $1,633 median rent

Die-hard golfers know the magic of Pinehurst, renowned for the pristine courses at Pinehurst Resort, however this North Carolina town shines for its retirees, too. Boating, visiting botanical gardens, and culinary tasting tours are just a few of the activities at this destination that golfing couples will love.

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The ed17 // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Carolina Shores, NC

- Population: 3,771 (21% age 55-64 and 49% age 65+)
- Median household income: $50,541
- Housing: $180,900 median household value and $1,171 median rent

Retirees will be in good company in Carolina Shores, where the median age is 64. Outdoor enthusiasts will be drawn to the coastal community and its easy access to seafood restaurants, barrier islands, and Myrtle Beach.

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Bruce C. Cooper // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Penn Wynne, PA

- Population: 5,720 (18% age 55-64 and 21% age 65+)
- Median household income: $115,625
- Housing: $367,400 median household value and $1,500 median rent

Safe and green top the list of adjectives to describe Penn Wynne, a suburb of Montgomery County. Its large Orthodox Jewish community works diligently to preserve the area's natural assets.

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Huntington Bay, NY

- Population: 1,458 (20% age 55-64 and 27% age 65+)
- Median household income: $183,500
- Housing: $1,091,500 median household value and $2,250 median rent

The village of Huntington Bay, part of the town of Huntington, sits on the North Shore of Long Island. Lovers of water activities and sports will feel at home at the Huntington Yacht Club, the Head of the Bay Club, and the Town of Huntington's Crescent Beach. Nearby Huntington Village is home to fine eateries, pubs, and retail shops.

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Joe Lin // Flickr

#35. University Gardens, NY

- Population: 4,208 (14% age 55-64 and 18% age 65+)
- Median household income: $97,180
- Housing: $641,000 median household value and $1,478 median rent

University Gardens, in the Great Neck region of New York, is an urban spot ideal for affluent retirees who enjoy cultural activities like going to the theater, drinking fine wine, and shopping at boutiques.

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Matt Tillett // Flickr

#34. Somerset, MD

- Population: 1,113 (14% age 55-64 and 26% age 65+)
- Median household income: $250,001
- Housing: $1,209,600 median household value and $3,501 median rent

Somerset, between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, is best known for its charm and lovely countryside. Clean air, fresh seafood, and endless tidal bays and rivers make it a desirable destination for fishermen, nature-lovers, photographers, and kayakers.

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Michael Napoleon // Flickr

#33. Surf City, NJ

- Population: 1,238 (17% age 55-64 and 45% age 65+)
- Median household income: $77,885
- Housing: $669,700 median household value and $1,125 median rent

Beach-lovers will feel right at home to in Surf City. Along with being close to the sea and the bay, residents can enjoy a myriad of boutiques and restaurants. If relaxation and beautiful beaches are on your bucket list, Surf City is the place for you.
 

 

 

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Timothy Balogh // Flickr

#32. Surfside Beach, SC

- Population: 4,232 (19% age 55-64 and 27% age 65+)
- Median household income: $50,490
- Housing: $248,500 median household value and $900 median rent

Surfside Beach, around 10 miles south of Myrtle Beach, which is ranked one of the best beach towns in the country, is all about family and fun. Along with seven parks and pristine beaches, there's a wealth of places to enjoy fresh seafood and outdoor activities. The town council signed a proclamation making Surfside Beach the first autism-friendly travel destination.
 

 

 

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Roslyn, NY

- Population: 2,849 (13% age 55-64 and 28% age 65+)
- Median household income: $102,857
- Housing: $468,400 median household value and $2,271 median rent

In the hills of Long Island's Gold Coast, Roslyn is a vibrant village boasting lovely restored houses and buildings, historic landmarks, and a bustling downtown. Its library hosts lectures, events, and exhibits, while a 16-acre green space in the village center offers year-round activities.
 

 

 

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Acroterion // Wikipedia

#30. Parole, MD

- Population: 16,084 (16% age 55-64 and 32% age 65+)
- Median household income: $96,612
- Housing: $426,400 median household value and $1,830 median rent

In Anne Arundel County, Parole is a suburb of Annapolis. It's home to great shopping area, but also has a rich history. Although some may think its name was derived from convicted felons, it actually came from Civil War prisoners and Camp Parole.
 

 

 

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Ocean View, DE

- Population: 2,150 (15% age 55-64 and 41% age 65+)
- Median household income: $73,397
- Housing: $337,600 median household value and $1,189 median rent

The small town of Ocean View is a beachfront community. As its name suggests, many Ocean View residents have stunning views of the ocean. One mile west of Bethany Beach are outdoor recreational activities, including boating.
 

 

 

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Ytoyoda // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Garrett Park, MD

- Population: 1,020 (15% age 55-64 and 19% age 65+)
- Median household income: $173,889
- Housing: $810,000 median household value and $1,857 median rent

The arboretum town of Garrett Park has a small-town feel in the middle of the suburbs. Named for Robert W. Garrett, president of the B&O Railroad, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 

 

 

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D. Benjamin Miller // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Manhasset, NY

- Population: 7,922 (13% age 55-64 and 18% age 65+)
- Median household income: $130,433
- Housing: $1,019,300 median household value and $1,402 median rent

Only 18 miles away from Manhattan, Manhasset is a town brimming with community spirit and home to family-friendly parades. Along with a bustling downtown, Manhasset also has boutiques and a shopping center.
 

 

 

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Woodbury, NY

- Population: 8,684 (15% age 55-64 and 28% age 65+)
- Median household income: $166,568
- Housing: $831,100 median household value and $2,367 median rent

Dubbed “Gateway to Orange County,” Woodbury is a community brimming with natural beauty and lots of shopping. The Schunnemunk Mountain and Woodbury Creek that weave through the valley create the ideal backdrop. It is the home of Woodbury Premium Outlets, which features over 220 upscale shops.
 

 

 

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NC Wetlands // Flickr

#25. Pine Knoll Shores, NC

- Population: 1,409 (24% age 55-64 and 41% age 65+)
- Median household income: $76,771
- Housing: $364,200 median household value and $1,101 median rent

Pine Knoll Shores is best known for its pristine beaches and natural beauty. Those who enjoy kayaking, hiking, and exploring nature will adore this coastal town. Favorite things to do include a visit to the aquarium and Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area.
 

 

 

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D. Benjamin Miller // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Great Neck Gardens, NY

- Population: 1,240 (4% age 55-64 and 15% age 65+)
- Median household income: $195,865
- Housing: $892,700 median household value and National$949 median rent

A welcome respite from the hustle of New York City, Great Neck is a charming and welcoming collection of nine villages. On Long Island's North Shore, it was the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic “Great Gatsby.”
 

 

 

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Jeff Kubina // Flickr

#23. Southern Shores, NC

- Population: 2,829 (16% age 55-64 and 36% age 65+)
- Median household income: $96,912
- Housing: $446,500 median household value and $1,710 median rent

In North Carolina's Outer Banks, Southern Shores is is one mile wide and four miles long. Along with natural splendor, the coastal area boasts beaches, golf, and dining, and is close to two major shopping centers.
 

 

 

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KimWrenn // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Fearrington Village, NC

- Population: 2,784 (9% age 55-64 and 77% age 65+)
- Median household income: $70,370
- Housing: $305,200 median household value and $963 median rent

Close to Chapel Hill but a world of its own, Fearrington is a beautiful community located on historic farmland. The country village features woodlands and fields, a barnyard, gardens, shops, restaurants, and an inn.
 

 

 

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David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

#21. St. James, NC

- Population: 4,747 (27% age 55-64 and 66% age 65+)
- Median household income: $105,486
- Housing: $450,200 median household value and $1,836 median rent

Incorporated in 1999, St. John is a new town a few miles from Southport. The lively community features a beach club and marina, along with golf courses, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
 

 

 

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Adam E. Moreira // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Great Neck Plaza, NY

- Population: 6,964 (15% age 55-64 and 32% age 65+)
- Median household income: $74,303
- Housing: $338,900 median household value and $1,839 median rent

Great Neck Plaza has a lot going on for a village that is only about a third of a square mile. Easy to access via the Long Island Railroad, the village features over 260 retail stores, upscale shops, and restaurants.
 

 

 

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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Murrells Inlet, SC

- Population: 8,752 (19% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $51,667
- Housing: $234,000 median household value and $1,104 median rent

Murrells Inlet, is a quaint fishing village brimming with history and natural beauty located 10 miles South of Myrtle Beach. This slice of paradise awaits golfers, art enthusiasts, fishing enthusiasts, antique collectors, and naturalists.
 

 

 

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Mx. Granger // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Chevy Chase, MD

- Population: 9,844 (13% age 55-64 and 21% age 65+)
- Median household income: $173,333
- Housing: $897,000 median household value and $2,341 median rent

Founded as a streetcar suburb, Chevy Chase is affluent and friendly town located in Montgomery County. The small town has great access to museums, malls, restaurants, and parks.
 

 

 

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Keith Kissel // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Sunset Beach, NC

- Population: 3,769 (19% age 55-64 and 53% age 65+)
- Median household income: $56,689
- Housing: $263,300 median household value and $1,052 median rent

North Carolina's Sunset Beach, on the south end of Brunswick Island, was recently listed on National Geographic's 21 Best Beaches in the World. Golf, museums, eateries, kayaking, and shops add to the allure.
 

 

 

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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#16. South Kensington, MD

- Population: 8,684 (15% age 55-64 and 19% age 65+)
- Median household income: $160,303
- Housing: $718,000 median household value and $2,113 median rent

Frequently found on best places to live rosters, South Kensington is lauded for its safety and a plethora of places to enjoy outdoor activities. The affluent town boasts six parks, shopping, and eateries.
 

 

 

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PointsofNoReturn // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Bethany Beach, DE

- Population: 1,010 (23% age 55-64 and 53% age 65+)
- Median household income: $78,889
- Housing: $495,500 median household value and $1,211 median rent

Bethany Beach is a small, affluent beach and resort town between Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach. Along with a small boardwalk, Bethany Beach has lots of restaurants, and Delaware Seashore State Park is just to the north of Bethany Beach. Along with the benefits of no state sales tax, there are low property taxes.
 

 

 

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#14. Hilton Head Island, SC

- Population: 39,666 (17% age 55-64 and 34% age 65+)
- Median household income: $72,569
- Housing: $454,300 median household value and $1,153 median rent

Hilton Head Island, known for its beaches and golf courses, is a great place to retire. Planned developments known as “plantations” dot the area. South Carolina's low country is a popular place to retire, thanks to its low cost of living and warm climate.
 

 

 

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Dough4872 // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Rehoboth Beach, DE

- Population: 1,218 (24% age 55-64 and 49% age 65+)
- Median household income: $85,729
- Housing: $878,900 median household value and $1,231 median rent

Dolphins, birds, and beaches are just some reasons retirees flock to Rehoboth, Delaware. Only about one square mile, the popular beach area has a small-town feel and was named as a Best Place to Retire by the AARP.

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James Pillion // Shutterstock

#12. Garden City, SC

- Population: 9,702 (16% age 55-64 and 41% age 65+)
- Median household income: $42,879
- Housing: $138,400 median household value and $953 median rent

Ranked the most tax-friendly area for South Carolina retirees by a SmartAsset study, Garden City is blooming with many reasons to retire there, not limited to golfing, fishing, shopping, and sandy beaches.

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Suncoast Aerials // Shutterstock

#11. Siesta Key, FL

- Population: 5,850 (16% age 55-64 and 47% age 65+)
- Median household income: $84,890
- Housing: $659,400 median household value and $1,417 median rent

If retiring to a world-famous beach is on your bucket list, be sure to check out Siesta Key in Sarasota. The Travel Channel named Crescent Beach on Siesta Key as the best sand beach in the country. Mild weather, no income taxes, low property taxes, and 99% pure quartz sand are just a few more benefits.

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Garoutte0726 // Flickr

#10. Timber Pines, FL

- Population: 5,207 (12% age 55-64 and 81% age 65+)
- Median household income: $45,938
- Housing: $137,200 median household value and $934 median rent

Established in 1982, Timber Pines is a private community for people who desire “Country Club Living for Active Adults.” A great value for this style of community, Timber Pines offers golf, tennis, nature walks, and over 100 clubs, classes, and organizations.
 

 

 

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Patrick Mackin // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Lake Success, NY

- Population: 3,112 (12% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $167,083
- Housing: $1,156,900 median household value and $3,501 median rent

The name Lake Success is brimming with positivity. A village town in Great Neck, it is also a hub for the medical field.
 

 

 

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D Ramey Logan // Wikimedia Commons

#8. South Palm Beach, FL

- Population: 1,400 (13% age 55-64 and 58% age 65+)
- Median household income: $56,250
- Housing: $238,700 median household value and $1,672 median rent

Located on the same barrier island as Manalapan, South Palm Beach is only five-eighths of a mile long. For those who love great weather and pristine beaches, this tiny slice of paradise is a great spot to consider.
 

 

 

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Robert H Ellis // Shutterstock

#7. Cypress Lake, FL

- Population: 12,505 (17% age 55-64 and 44% age 65+)
- Median household income: $45,955
- Housing: $137,200 median household value and $1,084 median rent

Cypress Lake is located in the Fort Myers area of Florida; it's a great spot for those who enjoy nature and beaches. Safe, quiet, and peaceful are often used to describe the neighborhoods in Cypress Lake. Nearby are trails, parks, wineries, and golf courses.
 

 

 

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Matt Tilghman // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Whiskey Creek, FL

- Population: 4,979 (17% age 55-64 and 34% age 65+)
- Median household income: $75,407
- Housing: $222,700 median household value and $1,090 median rent

Whiskey Creek, in South Fort Myers, is a deed-restricted community. Lush landscapes and lakes grace the neighborhood, which is home to golf, entertainment, retail shops, and restaurants. For outdoor enthusiasts, the boating and nature walks can't be beat.
 

 

 

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Wolfgang Moroder // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Ridge Wood Heights, FL

- Population: 3,878 (17% age 55-64 and 22% age 65+)
- Median household income: $52,202
- Housing: $160,900 median household value and $942 median rent

Ridge Wood Heights is located in Sarasota, an award-winning town that's attracting more and more retirees. Along with mild weather, the area has beaches, cultural offerings, no state income taxes, and low property taxes.
 

 

 

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Matthew Ingram // Flickr

#4. North River Shores, FL

- Population: 3,405 (18% age 55-64 and 27% age 65+)
- Median household income: $46,206
- Housing: $184,300 median household value and $1,124 median rent

The small town of North River Shores boasts great weather and amazing value. In Martin County, it's a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and is a desirable place to retire for its year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a variety of community events.
 

 

 

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DaSpader // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Hillsboro Beach, FL

- Population: 1,465 (21% age 55-64 and 57% age 65+)
- Median household income: $71,833
- Housing: $376,300 median household value and $1,784 median rent

Hillsboro Beach, located on a peninsula between the Intracoastal Waterway, is just 3 miles long and 900 feet wide. The mainly residential town (with just one hotel) is a paradise for beach-lovers who delight in sea turtle sightings and lighthouses.

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Pixabay

#2. South Sarasota, FL

- Population: 5,265 (17% age 55-64 and 31% age 65+)
- Median household income: $70,179
- Housing: $360,700 median household value and $996 median rent

Sarasota has been gaining popularity as a haven for retirees over the past few years. Along with glorious weather, fabulous beaches, and golf galore, it has a rich cultural community thanks to the philanthropy of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Add no state income taxes and low property taxes to the list, and you can see why so many people retire here.

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naplesrealestate // Flickr

#1. Pelican Bay, FL

- Population: 5,876 (12% age 55-64 and 83% age 65+)
- Median household income: $127,361
- Housing: $852,300 median household value and $1,595 median rent

Pelican Bay, a luxury community in Naples, is the ultimate spot to retire. Surrounded by 88 parks and leisure areas, its peerless amenities include an electric-powered tram system and exclusive access to lifestyle activities including golf, tennis, sailing, and fine arts.
 

 

 

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