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Retire in Everglades City, Florida?
Tiny, remote Everglades City (also just called Everglades) is next to Chokoloskee Bay in southwestern Florida. It is across the water from the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands and is nestled against old growth cypress stands.
Everglades started out as a farming community in the 1870s. One hundred years later it was a favorite hideout for marijuana growers. Today the town is at one end of the Wilderness Waterway, a well known backcountry paddling route, and it earns its keep through tourist fishing trips, canoe excursions, swamp tours, wetland hikes and float plane adventures. There are several tasty seafood restaurants, some fast food places, a grocery, a marina and a bank (maybe just an ATM). In depth shopping takes places in Marco Island or Naples, both about 30 miles away. The annual Everglades Seafood Festival entices nearly everyone with great food, toe tapping music and carnival rides. The town core includes the visitors' center for the Everglades National Park.
Housing, while not plentiful, is a mix of stilt homes, bungalows, manufactured homes and Florida crackers. With the 729,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve next door, the area is home to agile alligators, endangered panthers and a variey of birds species, including osprey, snowy egrets and moorhens.
Population: 235 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 65%
Cost of Living: 11% below the national average
Median Home Price: $340,000 See This Everglades City Stilt Home in a Waterfront Community for Sale for $259,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 53 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No. The nearest hospital that accepts Medicare patients is 30 miles away in Naples. Everglades Health Center, part of Community Health of South Florida, provides primary care and has free prescription delivery.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is 30 miles away in Naples.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The nearest interstate highway is 25 miles away. Hurricane Irma caused significant damage in 2017. Another hurricane is always a possibility.
Notes: Everglades feels somewhat at the ends of the earth and has a bohemian vibe. The population started to decline in 2014 but then began rebounding in 2019. Home prices have increased 33% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the fact that a hospital and most supplies and services are 30 miles away should be weighed before retiring here.
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.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
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