Mirtha Barzaga
Mirtha Barzaga
Published on May 7, 2020
A bridge over a body of water with a city in the background

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Although Florida has always been a top retirement destination, the
Jacksonville area, a hidden gem in Northeast Florida, has seen a growing
population of retirees who want to downsize and enjoy a low-maintenance and
tranquil lifestyle.


The Jacksonville Area has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot
and humid summers. The region experiences seasonal rainfall from May through
September, which are the warmest months. The driest months are from November
through April and rainfall averages around 52 inches a year.


Ideally situated on Florida’s northeastern
coast and centered along the banks of the St. Johns River, the city of
Jacksonville lies just 90 minutes north of the popular Daytona Beach. Jacksonville, which is also known as the “River City by the
Sea,” has about 900,000 residents as of 2017 and stretches across over 840
square miles, making it the largest city in land area in the contiguous U.S.

Parks, Rivers, &

Jacksonville is also known for having more
than 57,000 acres of parks including state and federal lands as well as
wetlands, marshes, nature preserves, hiking trails, and pocket parks.
Jacksonville also has a variety of sandy beaches, scenic water views, and
plenty of urban park systems for outdoor recreation. Retirees will love
Jacksonville’s 22 miles of wide and beautiful beaches. The city’s three popular
white-sand beaches include Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville
Beach, which all offer endless options for fun and recreation such as swimming,
paddle boarding, and surfing.

The city’s access to waterways, like in the
historic village of Mayport or along the banks of St. Johns River, make it
convenient for catching fresh fish daily as well as enjoying water activities.
Active adults can fish, sail, or kayak in the beautiful St. Johns River or
enjoy the beautiful sights during a leisurely stroll along the scenic
Jacksonville Riverwalks. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Catty Shack Ranch
Wildlife Sanctuary are other outdoor attractions that locals enjoy.

Urban Attractions

Along with all the natural beauty that
Jacksonville has to offer, the downtown area also provides a wide range of
urban attractions and entertainment. Baby boomers can visit The Cummer Museum, which boasts a great collection of over 4,000 items, the Museum of Contemporary
Art Jacksonville
 that has a
unique art display, and the Museum of Science and
 that has fun
exhibits for visitors of all ages.

The city is also home to the NFL’s
Jacksonville Jaguars EverBank Field, which was also the site of the 2005 Super
Bowl. The Veterans Memorial Arena hosts a variety of athletic events and
performances from world-class entertainers. The Baseball Grounds of
Jacksonville is the home of the city’s minor league baseball team, the
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.


With a growing population of baby boomers in
St. Johns County within the Jacksonville area, the region has seen an increase
in proposed or upcoming age-restricted communities since 2015, according to
county growth management director Suzanne Konchan. Retirees can find a great selection
of new and resale active adult communities throughout the Jacksonville area
that offer low-maintenance homes, world-class amenities, and an exciting social

One of the newest 55+ communities in the
Jacksonville area is Bridge
Bay at Bannon Lakes
 that will offer
167 homes built by Pulte Homes. Del
Webb Ponte Vedra
 opened in 2007
and is still offering new construction homes. The community will host a total
of 1,988 homes once built out. But active adults can find reasonably priced
homes in established 55+ communities like Sweetwater in Jacksonville and Cascades
at World Golf Village
 in St.
Augustine, both which offer low-maintenance residences, resort-style amenities,
and a long list of activities, classes, clubs and events for residents to enjoy
and build lifelong friendships.

With the growth of demand for age-restricted
communities, it’s easy to see why so many Boomers are flocking to the
Jacksonville area for their ideal retirement destination.

If we’re measuring land mass, Jacksonville is the largest metropolitan area in the
entire United States. The downtown area is jumping with art, culture, and good
restaurants while surrounding neighborhoods have diverse and aesthetic charms. And don’t forget—there’s
also the beach.

Florida is filled with ideal places for active adults to retire.
If you haven’t considered Jacksonville as a potential relocation destination,
you might want to think about Northeastern Florida when you’re ready to find
your next home. Today, we have five great reasons why.

Low Cost of Living, High Quality
of Life

If you’re on a fixed income or prefer to pinch pennies so you
can splurge in big ways, Jacksonville is an easy place to stay on a budget. The
cost of living is at least two percent lower than the national average, and
it’s a full 10 percent lower than what it is in Miami. There’s no state income tax in Florida, and that
means you keep more of your money.

Everything from gas to food is a little less expensive than in
other cities across the country, and housing is also more affordable. Total
housing costs in Jacksonville are around $184,508, compared to the national
median of $222,408. With a lower cost of living, residents enjoy less stress,
more sunshine, and a higher quality of life.   


It’s Easy to Stay Active

The outdoors is the best place to be when you’re retired in
Jacksonville. Less than half an hour from downtown is Jacksonville Beach. There’s plenty of
coastline for sunbathing, surfing, fishing, swimming, and snorkeling. For a
special beach and nature experience, there’s Big Talbot Island State Park, a unique habitat of
forests, trails, and shoreline. Bring your camera. Historic sites also abound,
including Kingsley Plantation and the remains of a
Spanish mission as well as parks, museums, gardens, and theaters.

If you enjoy hiking, kayaking, jogging, biking, horseback
riding, or nature photography, you’ll love getting outside and exploring parks
like Reddie Point Preserve, Guana Pine State Park, and Castaway Island Preserve. You might even plan a
trip to the Catty Shack Ranch
Wildlife Sanctuary
. You can also find plenty of places to golf, play tennis, and
go fishing.

Warm Weather with a Balance

Few people clamor for cold weather when they retire. But high
heat isn’t always ideal, either. Jacksonville does a nice job of finding the
sweet spot. It stays relatively warm all year long, but you won’t be confused
by humid nights and stifling days in December. The average temperature in the
summer is a pleasant 82 degrees, and in the winter, you still get to wear
sweaters without shoveling snow. The average winter temperature in Jacksonville
is 56.7 degrees. So, you get the seasons without the drama.

The rainy season is the summer and fall, but it’s usually a late
afternoon thunderstorm that requires you to seek shelter for half an hour.
While there’s always a hurricane risk, Jacksonville is hardly as susceptible to
big storms as those cities in Southern Florida and along the Gulf Coast.


Growing Facilities and

Jacksonville is growing, and this growth contributes to a bigger
economy and higher wages. The tech industry is becoming more robust, and
the University of North Florida is establishing
itself as one of the best universities in a state that’s full of great

This city is also a major player in healthcare. With the Mayo
Clinic, University of Florida Health, Ackerman Cancer Center, Memorial
Hospital, Brooks Rehabilitation, and many other world-class hospitals and
health centers, Jacksonville is attracting people who need help managing
illness and living longer, healthier lives.

Jacksonville International
 is available for residents who love to travel, and
Interstate 95 passes right through the city, helping people get to the north or
the south with relative ease.


55+ Communities Are the
Places to Be

Active adults looking to live in a community of like-minded
people can find a couple of great options in Jacksonville. At Sweetwater, condos, attached villas,
and single-family homes start in the low $200s. Residents enjoy world-class
amenities, including an indoor lap pool, a putting green, and an innovative
fitness center with all the latest equipment to keep you trim and toned. Buyers
can choose from 15 different floor plans.

Jacksonville is also the home to Freedom
at Arbor Mill
, where new homes are available in the low to mid $200s. This
community provides pickleball, bocce, a dog park, a pool, and an exercise room.

Right outside of Jacksonville, there are a number of other gorgeous 55+
 to consider in cities that include Saint Augustine, Ponta
Vedra, and Middleburg.

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