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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Laguna Beach, Florida

On the Florida Panhandle Coast, Low Key Laguna Beach Boasts a Long, Wide Stretch of Sugar Soft Sand Nestled Against Dazzling Turquoise Waters

Low key Laguna Beach sits at the western edge of busy Panama City Beach (PCB) on Florida's central Panhandle coast. On the south side of town is the Gulf of Mexico and on the north side is lush Conservation Park, a 3,000-acre wetland area with walking trails and a few alligators.

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Laguna Beach is actually a residential, census-designated place, sometimes just considered the quieter, less developed side of PCB. Its beach is the same as PCB's, long and sparkling white with the soft sand tucked against the Gulf's warm, dazzling turquoise waters. Thanks, though, to a WWII-era Florida Supreme Court ruling, no tall hotels or condos are south of Laguna Beach's main drag, U.S. 98, and no commercial development is along the beach south of Front Beach Road, leaving most of the sand in its natural state. The beach is much less crowded than PCB's beaches, and for people who love to sunbathe, swim, beachcomb or paddle, it is just about perfect.

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Stubby palm trees and telephone poles line narrow neighborhood streets without sidewalks, and housing includes bungalows, manufactured homes, ranch ramblers and conches. Nearly all services, shopping venues and amenities are in Panama City Beach.

Population:  3,900 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:   52%

Cost of Living:   Meets the national average

Median Home Price: $380,000

Climate:  This area has a humid subtropical climate, meaning two seasons a year.  Summer and early fall are hot and humid.  Late fall and winter are less humid and cooler.  

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  No, but Gulf Coast Medical Center, 15 miles away in Panama City, accepts Medicare patients.

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?    No, but Gulf Coast Medical Center, 15 miles away in Panama City, is accredited.

Public Transit:  A bus runs along Front Beach Road and connects to Panama City Beach.

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:   No

Political Leanings:  Conservative

College Educated:  28% 

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:  Laguna Beach is completely exposed to the Gulf and in 2018 Hurricane Michael caused some flooding and property damage (Panama City Beach suffered much more extensive damage).

Notes:   Laguna Beach has grown 4% within the last decade and was named after the town in California. Home prices have increased 19% since last year. Depending on the real estate website, Laguna Beach homes may have a Laguna Beach address or a Panama City Beach address.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes

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Florida:

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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