Ft Myers and the Caloosahatchee River in Florida.
If warm weather, easy access to the beach and an affordable price tag sound like your dream retirement, this town might be for you.
U.S. News & World Report recently released its list of the best places to retire, and Fort Myers — a midsize riverfront city in southwest Florida just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico beaches — topped the list. What’s more, Kiplinger’s also called out Fort Myers on its 50 best places to retire list this year, noting that it was “yet another great place to consider for your retirement.”)
So what makes Fort Myers special? U.S. News writes that the city has “retained its small-town heritage…with a charming downtown lined with shops and restaurants, many of which are dog-friendly” adding that “museums, parades, festivals, theaters, parks, historical sites and art galleries pepper the metro area and its social calendar.” And for those who love the beach, “just a few miles away, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island are popular among boaters, kayakers, sailors and anglers.”
Perhaps best of all, it’s pretty affordable, with a cost of living that’s just a bit above average and median homes a little over $200,000, according to Sperling’s Best Places. Plus, Florida doesn’t have state income tax, so your 401(k), IRA or pension withdrawals won’t be taxed by the state, nor will your Social Security.
Of course, Fort Meyers has some big downsides that include muggy, hot summers and the fact that it can sometimes feel overrun with tourists.
Other towns that rounded out the top five on the U.S. News list include Sarasota; Lancaster, Penn; Asheville, N.C.; and Port St. Lucie, Fla. U.S. News looked at the 125 largest metro areas and graded them on happiness, housing affordability, health care quality, desirability, retiree taxes and job market ratings.
Should Fort Meyers not be your thing, but you’re looking for other affordable spots to retire near the beach, you’re in luck: MarketWatch recently created its own list of the best beach towns where you can retire comfortably on about $40,000 a year. These include Pensacola, Fla.; Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Corpus Christi, Texas.