Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Mellow Englewood, Florida (population 16,000) sits facing Lemon Bay between Fort Myers and Sarasota on Florida's southwestern Gulf Coast. Dotted with palm trees, it has an Old Florida feel to it and came about in the late 19th-century as a lemon-producing center and timber hub.
Today, it is known for its easy lifestyle, excellent fishing and abundance of retirees. In fact, 70% of residents are age 45 or better. Politics lean to the righ, and 24% of residents hold at least a four year college degree. The crime rate meets the national average.
The cost of living meets the national average, too, and the median home price is $365,000, reflecting a 24% increase from just a year ago. Properties range from modest manufactured homes and nice ranch ramblers to stylish waterfront estates.
Outdoor recreation is why many retirees come to Englewood. Four state parks are within close proximity. Golfers love the two dozen courses in and around town, and fishermen revel in the area's abundance of of redfish, grouper and tuna.
Perhaps best of all, though, are the four beautiful, often uncrowded beaches just across the Bay on Manasota Key, a barrier island, giving locals plenty of opportunities for boating, diving, swimming, sailing and jet skiing. Wildlife viewing is popular, too, with manatees, dolphins, herons and more making regular appearances.
The annual Spring Fine Arts Festival and Crusin' on Dearborn, a classic car show, are two favorite festivals. The Elsie Quirk Public Library is open six days a week and has Monday night movie nights, books by mail, interlibrary loan, public computers and free wi-fi.
Colorful Dearborn Street is the road and where many independent retailers and eateries are located. The handful of restaurants include the Mango Bistro and Comadres. Nearby big box stores include Wal-Mart, Publix and Home Depot.
Sarasota County provides limited public bus service, but stops are made at the hospital, Wal-Mart, the library and along Dearborn Street. A para-transit service makes runs Monday through Friday to the VA hospital in Bay Pines.
Englewood does not have a senior center of its own, but a non-profit Friendship Center, a hub of senior activities (for people age 50+), is in Venice, just 12 miles away. Services include exercise classes, congregate meals, card games, a telephone reassurance program, home delivered meals and much more.
Englewood Community Hospital (100 beds) is accredited by the Joint Commission and is also an accredited chest pain center. It is nationally recognized and award-winning for its gastrointestinal care, stroke care and pulmonary care. It accepts Medicare and Medicaid patients. For military retirees, the nearest VA hospital is in Bay Pines, 65 miles away.
This area has two seasons, the rainy one (June through September) and the dry one (October through May). Winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and low 70s, and summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. The sun shines 250 days of the year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Florida Tax-Friendly for Retirement? Yes
With its casual ambiance, seaside location, abundant beaches, good hospital, outdoor recreation and safe neighborhoods, Englewood is worth consideration at retirement time.
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
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