Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Reader Requested Short Review of Venice, Florida
Dating from the late 1870s, Venice (population 23,000) is an unassuming town nestled along the southwestern Florida coast. For many years it was a sleepy fishing village and citrus farming community. Then during the 1920s Florida land boom, developers began building roads and subdivisions, hoping to lure people to the area's calm, warm waters and dark beaches that are composed of fossilized materials.
These days Venice retains its early charm, with palm-lined streets and much of its splendid, early Italian Renaissance architecture intact. To maintain the attractive cityscape, new construction must adhere to strict building codes.
This is a balmy, nonchalant place, often overlooked by family vacationers who head to nearby Sarasota. The cost of living meets the national average. The median home price is $255,000, although homes near the Gulf, along the Intracoastal Waterway and overlooking a golf course are more expensive. Venice has grown by 7% within the last decade.
Residents are a mature bunch (nearly 60% are age 65 or better), and they are nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Snowbirds flock to Venice in the winter, and during the high season, seeing people younger than in their 60s or 70s is a rarity. The crime rate is below the national average.
As would be expected, much of life here revolves around the water, and Venice Municipal Beach is long and clean. Parts of it are dog-friendly. Venice also has the distinction of being known as the "shark tooth capital of the world," with fossilized shark teeth in great abundance along the shoreline. The annual Sharks' Tooth Festival is the town's biggest celebration.
The 700-foot long Venice Fishing Pier is a great spot to spend the afternoon (no fishing license required), and birders love the Audubon Rookery, home to great blue herons and egrets. At least 13 golf courses are in town or very close by.
Venice also has some very good restaurants and a beautiful downtown with more than 100 retailers, most locally owned. The entire town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two public libraries, one of which is a National Literary Landmark, provide books, an interlibrary loan program, a genealogy department and computers with Internet access.
Venice Theatre is one of the country's largest community theaters. The Venice Symphony performs during the high season, and musicians perform nearly every night at the Venice Beach Pavilion. Beyond that, though, nightlife is very quiet.
SCAT (Sarasota County Area Transit) operates 24 fixed bus routes throughout the county, with limited service in Venice (seniors ride for $.60). Para-transit service is also available.
Senior Friendship Centers, a well-established, non-profit organization with a network of centers throughout southwestern Florida, operates The Friendship Center in town. It provides a wide array of services and activities, including lifelong learning classes, home-delivered meals, health clinics and social get-togethers.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health (312 beds) is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a primary stroke care center. It has been named as a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital by Thomas Reuters, and it is award-winning for patient safety and surgery excellence. Medicare patients are accepted.
This area has a humid subtropical climate with essentially two seasons, one rainy (June through September) and one dry (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 at Retirement? Yes
A good hospital, clean beaches, a good senior center, plenty of outdoor recreation and a mature demographic make Venice a spot to consider for retirement.
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 more golf courses 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.
Population - 20,612,439
Persons 65 years old and over - 20%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $47,525
Median home value - $159,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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