In 2018, 84,600 retirees moved to Florida. Seniors love the favorable tax climate, year-round warmth, and inviting culture of the sunshine state. There’s more to do than most seniors can manage in a lifetime, which means you'll never be bored. If you’re contemplating a move to Florida, myriad options await you. That means more to do with kids and grandkids, more options for physical activity, and a better shot at the retirement of your dreams. You’ve worked hard. You deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Here are the best options for seniors of every interest, ability level, and budget.
Benefits of Staying Active
There’s more to an engaged and active retirement than meets the eye. Seniors who make new friends, cultivate new hobbies, develop new skills, and keep moving in retirement may actually live longer and healthier lives. Some key benefits of staying active as you get older include:
- A longer life. Exercise can help reduce blood pressure, lower blood glucose, and slash your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. This may help you live longer. Of course, exercise is easier to do when it is fun, so find ways to incorporate activity into daily life — by walking with grandkids, gardening, or playing with a puppy, for example.
- Better mental health. Remaining physically active may lower your risk of depression and anxiety. Socialization, new hobbies, and fun events may also improve mental health by staving off isolation and making your retirement the best chapter of your life.
- Reduced loneliness. Many seniors live alone, and age and infirmity can make it difficult to spend time with loved ones or drive to special events. This loneliness can be deadly. Remaining active can help you avoid loneliness. Emerging research suggests loneliness may be even worse for your health than obesity or smoking.
- New and better relationships. Remaining active in retirement affords the chance to meet new people. By embracing new activities and an active lifestyle, you may also deepen your existing relationships. Bond with your grandchild over your mutual love of animals. Shop with your daughter. Or schedule a weekend away with your son. Vibrant, engaged people naturally attract others. Staying active makes it easier to spend quality time with the people you love most.
- Reduction in chronic pain and mobility issues. Seniors who remain physically active — whether by bicycling, snorkeling, or just walking — are less likely to suffer from joint health problems, chronic pain, muscle tension, and other common age-related maladies. Physical activity can also lower your risk of osteoporosis and falls, which are a major cause of disability.
- A lower risk of dementia. One in three seniors will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The longer you live, the more your risk increases. Physical activities and hobbies that challenge your brain can lower your risk of dementia by keeping your brain active and healthy. Some research even suggests that exercise may counteract a gene linked to Alzheimer’s.
Best Senior Activities in Florida
No matter what you love, there’s something for you to do in Florida. This can be a big selling point if you’re trying to entice the kids to move south or lure the grandkids to visit. For help planning a family trip or for more ideas about what to do, check out Visit Florida.
It’s hard to beat Florida if you love the great outdoors. As one of the few areas of the country that’s warm year-round, Florida is a great place to grow a garden, swim in the winter, and spend summers hiking, fishing, and taking in some natural splendor. Here are our picks for the best outdoor living options in Florida:
- Beach life. Is there any substitute for digging your toes into the sand, reading under an umbrella, and taking a quick dip in clear, sparkling water? Key West and Destin are some of the best picks for exceptional beach life. To find the perfect beach in your area, check out this roundup of Florida’s top beaches.
- National parks. Seniors can buy a lifetime pass to the nation’s national parks for a mere $80. Florida is home to some of the best national parks in the country, with plenty of opportunities to fish, camp, and hike. Check out the tropical marshlands of the Everglades, or enjoy a lush tree canopy and endless hiking trails at Big Cypress National Park. Get close to wildlife at Silver Springs State Park, where you can take a tour on a glass-bottom boat.
- Golfing. Enjoy golfing near the ocean, along a gentle stream, or under a shady canopy of trees. Seminole Golf Course, Calusa Pines Golf Course, TPC Sawgrass, and Jupiter Hills Club top Golf Digest’s list of best golfing spots.
- Enjoy fresh organic produce, arts and crafts, and more at one of Florida’s many farmers’ markets.
- Go snorkeling or kayaking. Key West is a great destination for water activities.
Florida is chock-full of excellent cultural events. No matter what you love, there’s an event near you. Check out some of the following great options:
- Visit the internationally respected Florida Orchestra in Tampa Bay.
- Visit the Florida Ballet.
- Enjoy antique cars at the Revs Institute.
- Take in some space history at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
- Pay homage to one of America’s best writers at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
- Visit the National Naval Aviation Museum.
- Check out some exceptional contemporary art at the Salvador Dali Museum.
Shopping and Dining
Florida offers plenty of opportunities to shop until you drop, then eat an incredible meal. Here are some of the best options:
Check out Sawgrass Mills or Aventura Mall, two of Florida’s top shopping destinations.
Try taking the Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami.
Adventure and Tourism
No blog about Florida living would be complete without mentioning Walt Disney World, Orlando’s favorite family destination. Some other great options for tourists and adventurers of all ages include:
- Universal Studios theme park
- Daytona International Speedway
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- Busch Gardens theme park
Senior Living: Doing It All in Florida
With so many options for enjoying your retirement in Florida, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. No matter how much you want to remain active and engaged, age can present some significant challenges. Many seniors struggle with:
- Logistical issues. The best of intentions sometimes aren't enough. Coordinating with friends, finding fun events, and carving out time in your schedule can all prove difficult.
- Motivation. It’s tough to get up, get ready, and get out the door in time for a day filled with activity.
- Driving. As you age, your reflexes slow and your vision may worsen. This can make driving difficult. Many seniors prefer to avoid highways or drive only during daylight hours.
- Finances. Special events can be expensive. Eating out, local classes, and even the cost of simple hobbies such as gardening can add up.
Don’t let this deter you from living the retirement of your dreams. Florida’s senior living communities offer everything under one roof — live music, support groups, friendship, daily classes, transportation, community outings, and tons of special events. Enjoy gourmet dining at every meal, and welcome your friends and family into your stunning new home. Forget about driving, planning, and endless coordination. When everything is centrally located, including friends and neighbors, the perfect retirement requires little effort.
Perhaps even more importantly, senior living can be more affordable than you think. Many benefit programs fund all or a portion of the cost of senior living. Selling your house can also help fund your luxury retirement. For help weighing the costs of senior living and deciding if it is right for you, check out our senior living cost calculator.
The Arbor Company has served seniors in Florida and across the United States for 30 years. We’re proud of the vibrant, active communities we build, and we’d love to welcome you to one of our many events. Give us a call to plan your tour. We’re excited about helping you shape the retirement you deserve.