Places to Retire in North Florida

North Florida is a mix of natural settings and bustling cities, from beachside gems like Apalachicola to the capital city of Tallahassee. Retirees can enjoy a vast array of recreational activities with easy access to pertinent senior services, which is part of what makes this area an attractive option for retirement. Choose from a number of small and large towns in North Florida to spend your golden years.


The capital city of Florida is home to two major universities, a thriving senior center and numerous retirement communities and apartment complexes. The Department of Elder Affairs is located here and offers local seniors a bevy of resources aimed at retirees. Recreation abounds here, with hiking trails at Tom Brown Park and kayaking at Lake Bradford. The Tallahassee Senior Center offers programs for local seniors and varied classes, from dance to exercise. The City of Tallahassee has entered into an initiative with the Department of Elder Affairs to make Tallahassee an elder-ready community, with easier access to social services, public transportation and increased activities for older individuals. There is no income tax in the state of Florida, and the sales tax as of early 2011 comes in at a mere 7.5 percent. The median household income in Tallahassee is $43,406 and the median home price is $136,156.


Located on Florida's Atlantic coast, Jacksonville also has numerous recreational opportunities for retirees. The Landing, on the cusp of downtown, has restaurants and vibrant nightlife opportunities for residents of all ages. High-rise apartments and intimate communities for seniors line the beach communities around Jacksonville and offer activities including fishing, kayaking, swimming and walking. There are also numerous health options here for aging residents, including the Mayo Clinic campus, Shands Jacksonville and St. Vincent's HealthCare. According to Home Insight, the median household income here is $45,171 and the median house price in Jacksonville is $127,982. The local sales tax here is a mere 6.93 percent.


This sleepy fishing village is situated along Florida's Forgotten Coast, nestled between Tallahassee and Pensacola. Seaside Village is located here, which is a 55+ community with activities and resources for an older demographic. Sidewalks, trails for hiking, a community clubhouse and golf courses are abundant. Swimming, canoeing and kayaking and fishing are all recreational options for retirees in Carrabelle. Hiking in Tate's Hell Forest is another fun opportunity for residents of this small Florida community. In 2009, the median household income for Carrabelle was $30,969 and the median home price was $133,842.


Pensacola, Florida is situated in the extreme western portion of the Florida panhandle and is home to a large military population. This makes this area a good place for military retirees to settle. The Pensacola Naval Air Station is located here, and The United States Naval Support Activity is just an hour away, in Panama City. There are beaches aplenty in Pensacola, as well as plenty of retirement communities for the 55+ crowd. The popular retirement destination Biloxi, Miss., is just two hours away, as are the sunny beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala. and Destin, Fla. Home Insight states that the median household income in Pensacola is $37,416, as of February 2011, and the median home price is $112,852. The sales tax here is also 7.5 percent.


About the Author

Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.