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Retire in Port Salerno, Florida?
Settled in the 1920s by Italian immigrants, amiable Port Salerno sits on the St. Lucie River Inlet in southeastern Florida and straddles the Manatee Pocket, a quiet, scenic bay. Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean has made Port Salerno an excellent base for commercial fishing, a tradition that continues today.
Port Salerno is also a perfect base for recreational fishing, as sea bass, grouper, kingfish, mutton snapper are particularly plentiful. The town is known for its wonderful seafood festival, which features great food, live entertainment and arts and crafts. The pretty Manatee Pocket waterfront boasts a cluster of ship builders, marinas, fishing charter companies and seafood restaurants. It is also home to the Fish House Art Center, a company in which artists operate galleries and studios. The Chapman School of Seamanship offers classes to professional and amateur mariners alike. Home styles are mostly frame ranch rambler, concrete block ranch rambler and Florida cracker.
The nearby St. Lucie Inlet Preserve Park, which is directly east of town, has white sand beaches that are important sea turtle nesting areas. The Anastasia Rock Reef extends along the Park's waters and is ideal for snorkeling or SCUBA diving. A boardwalk wanders from the Park's dock to the beach. Stuart Beach, about 10 miles away, has a wide oceanfront beach and amenities, while Chastain Beach, about five miles away, is wild and more remote.
Population: 12,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 50%
Cost of Living: 7% below the national average
Median Home Price: $375,000
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 Stuart, about three miles away, has a hospital that accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Jupiter, about 15 miles away, has a hospital that is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, but it is limited.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: No, but Stuart, about three miles away, has a public library.
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 21%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes and tropical storms are always a possibility.
Notes: Port Salerno has grown 20% within the last decade and is popular with "snowbirds." Most shopping and services are in nearby Stuart. Home prices have increased 29% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Sticking out into Hurricane Alley, Florida was a land no nation seemed to want. Ruled successively by Spain, France, England, and the Confederate States of America, the state had a backwater reputation. Other than St. Augustine and Pensacola, there were few cities. The area was rural and populated by frontier farmers.
In the late-1800s, changes came when railroads began chugging down both coasts. Industrialist Henry Flagler's Florida Easy Coast Railway even made it all the way to Key West. The Great Florida Land Boom, the build-up to World War II, and the space industry also helped turn Florida into one of the nation's most populous states. In 1900, there were about 500,000 residents. Today, there are more than 20 million, almost 351 people per square mile.
Why do people keep coming? Tourism marketing is one reason. Annually, millions visit Orlando's theme parks and the state's 663 miles of white sand beaches. Taxes generated by the billion dollar vacation industry allow Florida to prosper without a personal income tax. Budget-sensitive retirees have flocked to its cities and shorelines.
If you can ignore the hurricanes, the state's climate is relatively mild. Only five other states are sunnier. Florida's system of state universities and community colleges is sizable, and its big cities are meccas for culture and the arts. Sarasota is a good example. Its Ringling Museum Complex contains internationally known art museum, a circus museum, an historic theater, and a 66-acre garden. Museums near Orlando range from a Zora Neale Hurston gallery to a Madame Tussauds.
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