Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Alachua, Florida?
Overview: Alachua got its start in the late-1880s, and the origins of the town's name are open to debate. Alachua may be a Native American term for "rolling prairie." If so, it is an apt description for the land surrounding this small town.
Although it is only 13 miles from Gainesville (population 130,000) in northern Florida, Alachua retains a distinctively rural quality. It has an agricultural history, and local farmers still plant beans, corn and squash. The town is enclosed by magnolias and hickory trees, and its cute main street is lined with Bradford Pear trees. Merchants include a garden shop, a candy store, a music store and charming cafes. A farmers' market has fresh dairy and produce for sale. During October, Main Street lamp posts are decorated as scarecrows, and the Fall Festival is a favorite event. Alachua has doubled in size during the last 10 to 15 years, and many newer homes are brick ranch ramblers. Locals travel to Gainesville for shopping and many services.
Residents are within minutes of some large fresh water natural springs, including Poe Springs, Blue Springs (a designated manatee refuge) and Ginnie Springs (known for its diving caves). Nearby San Falesco State Park and Oleno State Park are also draws. In particular, Oleno features sinkholes, sandhills, hardwood hammocks and nature trails.
Population: 9,800 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 37%
Cost of Living: 3% below the national average
Median Home Price: $172,000
Climate: Summer high temperatures usually top out in the low 90s. Winter temperature highs are in the 60s and 70s with lows in the 50s. Average rainfall is 52 inches per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Gainesville has several hospitals that accept Medicare patients.
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Gainesville has several hospitals that are accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 34% greater than the national average, and the poverty rate is slightly above the national average.
Notes: Alachua is racially diverse and has the largest contingent of Hare Krishnas in the Western Hemisphere. Interstate 75 runs through town. Not all long-time Alachua residents are happy with the recent growth.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes. People seem to like Alachua.
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, was struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
Population - 20,612,439
Persons 65 years old and over - 20%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $47,525
Median home value - $159,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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