Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Bonita Springs, Florida
Along the Gulf of Mexico, Pretty Bonita Springs Boasts Palm-Lined Lanes, Canals, Lakes, 50+ Golf Courses and One of the Nation's Best Beaches
Beautiful Bonita Springs is sandwiched between Fort Myers and Naples on Florida's southwestern coast. Its eastern edge borders a watershed wilderness with panthers, bears and alligators. Its western edge sits next to Estero Bay, and across the bay, the Gulf of Mexico. The town caters to retirees and second home owners.
The city is dotted with ponds, laced with canals and bisected by the Imperial River, which runs through the middle of downtown. Popular Riverside Park provides river access, with a boat ramp and a fishing pier. Coconut palms line city streets, and locals are proud of their arts council, large air-conditioned flea market, two farmers' markets, free city band concerts and wildlife preserves. The annual Shrimp and Music Festival, the Southwest Florida Hot Air Balloon Festival and other events attract lively crowds. The Centers for the Arts sponsors film festivals, art shows and live theater performances. Fifty or so golf courses are in and around town.
Some neighborhoods are modest with concrete block homes, but most areas are well-tended with newer Mediterranean-style construction. Many homes back to a canal, river or pond.
Bonita Springs' barrier island is home to Bonita Beach, which has sand dunes, swimming areas, a boardwalk and nearly a dozen access points. Barefoot Beach, also on the island, is a county-owned public beach tucked behind million dollar homes and mostly known only to locals. Dotted with sea oats, sabal palms and sea grape trees, it is often called one of the nation's best beaches.
Population: 57,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 60%
Cost of Living: 34% above the national average
Median Home Price: $595,000
Climate: The climate is tropical. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 53 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients: No, but Physicians Regional, 14 miles away in Naples, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital is Accredited by Joint Commission: No, but Physicians Regional is 14 miles away in Naples and is accredited. It is also a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence.
Public Transit: Yes, provided by LeeTran, but it is limited with just a handful of stops in town.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 34%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The area is susceptible to hurricanes and was struck by Irma in 2017. In 2022, Ian brought significant flooding and wind damage. The city continues to recover and rebuild.
Notes: The city has grown 19% within the last decade. Home prices have increased 15% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The world's 11th largest peninsula doesn't just have an east coast and a west coast. It has a First Coast, Surf Coast, Space Coast, Treasure Coast, Gold Coast, Paradise Coast, Lee Island Coast, Cultural Coast, Nature Coast, Big Bend Coast, Emerald Coast, and a Forgotten Coast.
Each of these geographic regions is packed with its own history and attractions. The first place to be colonized by Europeans, the First Coast is rich with tidal marshes. It's the home of Amelia Island and St. Augustine. The venerable Castillo de San Marcos sits here and guards the Matanzas Bay.
Daytona Beach and the Halifax River are the heart of the Surf Coast. Automobile racing helped it develop its reputation. The area code is 386 (FUN). South of the fun is the Space Coast. Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center are a part of its culture.
Named after the Spanish fleet lost in a 1715 hurricane, the Treasure Coast's principle city is Port St. Lucie. It is a northern neighbor to Miami and the Gold Coast. The affluent Naples and major land reserves characterize the Paradise Coast. The Ringling Estate and Sarasota make the Cultural Coast come alive. Twenty miles of beaches along the Gulf Coast distinguish the Suncoast from the forests and blackwater rivers of the Nature Coast.
Travel up to Florida's Big Bend along its emerald waters. Find the Forgotten Coast. With no major cities, it may be the best place to enjoy the state's white-sand beaches.
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