Thinking of retiring in Florida? For most people, the first places that come to mind are quaint beach towns along South Florida's coastline such as Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Overlooked, however, is one of Florida's true hidden retirement gems… Jacksonville. Situated on the Atlantic coast, with the St. John's River running directly though it, Jacksonville is the state's largest city with a population of nearly 900,000 Floridians. The greater metro area makes up approximately 1.5 million residents, making it a top 40 city in the United States. But what makes Jacksonville such a great city for retirees?
For starters, the cost of living is significantly lower than most popular retirement destinations across the nation, especially coastal cities where real estate and rent prices tend to be higher. A lower cost of living is especially important for retirees, as they usually live off of a fixed monthly income. Furthermore, Jacksonville is littered with world-class hospitals and health clinics such as University of Florida Health, The Mayo Clinic, Memorial Hospital, and Baptist Medical Center. It's no secret that older adults eventually require higher levels of care to maintain good health as they reach their 80's and 90's. Fortunately, Jacksonville has hundreds of excellent senior healthcare providers to chose from including home care agencies, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities.
Another little-known factor that sets The River City apart is its embarrassment of activities and entertainment. Having major professional and collegiate sports teams in its backyard (Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida Gators) is simply icing on the cake when considering other fantastic activities such as the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Santuary, Cummer Museum of Art, and The Jacksonville Jazz Fest. Did we mention the beaches? That's right, it's not just South Florida that has great beaches. St. Augustine Beach - the nation's oldest city, is merely 45 minutes away - or eat daily fresh caught fish at Neptune Beach and Ponte Vedra.
Like all great cities, Jacksonville is not a one-trick pony when it comes to its variety of neighborhoods. Sure, Jacksonville has a fantastic downtown, but the heart of Duval County also has an abundant of charming neighborhoods and suburbs as well, each with their own unique culture and things to offer. If you are a retiree looking to settle down in Jacksonville, consider Riverside, San Marcos, Northside, or Orange Park.