Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Once a Sleepy Fishing Village, Charming, Balmy Venice Boasts Palm-Lined Streets, a Lovely Downtown, Calm Waters and Dark Sand Beaches
Dating from the late 1870s, Venice (population 26,000) is a balmy, unassuming town nestled along the southwestern Florida coast. For many years it was a sleepy fishing village and citrus farming community. Then during the 1920s Florida land boom, developers began building roads and subdivisions, hoping to lure people to the area's calm, warm waters and dark sand beaches similar to those found in Greece.
Often overlooked by family vacationers who head to nearby Sarasota, Venice has retained its early charm, with palm-lined streets and much of its splendid, early Italian Renaissance architecture intact. To maintain the attractive cityscape, new construction must adhere to strict building codes.
The cost of living is 10% above the national average. The median home price is $455,000, reflecting a 10% increase since last year. Homes near the Gulf, along the Intracoastal Waterway and overlooking a golf course tend to be the most expensive areas. Venice has grown 20% within the last decade. The crime rate is below the national average.
Residents are a mature bunch (nearly 60% are age 65 or better), and they lean to the right politically. Snowbirds flock to town in the winter, and during the high season, seeing people younger than 60 or 70 is rare.
As would be expected, much of life here revolves around the water, and Venice Beach is long and clean. Parts of it are dog-friendly. Venice is also the "shark tooth capital of the world," with an abundance of fossilized shark teeth along the shore. It is this fossilized matter that gives the sand its dark, almost black color. The annual Sharks' Tooth Festival is the town's biggest celebration.
The 700-foot long fishing pier is a great spot to spend the afternoon (no fishing license required), and birders love the Audubon Rookery, home to great blue herons and egrets. At least 13 golf courses are in town or a short drive away.
Venice also has some excellent restaurants and a beautiful downtown with more than 100 retailers, most locally owned. The entire town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two public libraries, one of which is a National Literary Landmark, provide books, an interlibrary loan program, a genealogy department and public computers with Internet access.
Venice Theatre is one of the country's largest community theaters. The Venice Symphony performs during the high season, and musicians take the stage nearly every night at the Venice Beach Pavilion. Beyond that, though, nightlife is quiet.
SCAT (Sarasota County Area Transit) operates 24 fixed bus routes throughout the county, with limited service in Venice. Para-transit service is also available.
Senior Friendship Centers, a well-established, non-profit organization with a network of centers throughout southwestern Florida, operates The Friendship Center in town. It provides a wide array of services and activities, including lifelong learning classes, home-delivered meals, health clinics and social get-togethers.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a primary stroke care center. It has been named as a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital by Thomas Reuters, and it is award-winning for patient safety and surgery excellence. Medicare patients are accepted.
This area has a humid subtropical climate with essentially two seasons, one rainy (June through September) and one dry (October through May). Winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and low 70s, and summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Florida Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
Clean beaches, a good senior center, a good hospital, plenty of outdoor recreation and a mature demographic make Venice a spot to consider for retirement.
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.
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