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Retire in Carrabelle, Florida?
Overview: Carrabelle is a working fishing village and deep water seaport on the eastern Florida Panhandle. It dates from 1877 and sits at the convergence of three rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by water, open land and forests, Carrabelle exudes an old fashioned Florida vibe but is growing quickly, doubling in size during the last decade or two.
Harvesting seafood remains a way of life for many residents, with shrimpers and oystermen heading out to sea each morning. Sport fishing tourism helps support the local economy, with grouper, snapfish and tarpon in good supply. The waterfront is lengthy and authentic. Although the downtown is a little nondescript, it has a grocery and deli, a seafood market, a hardware store, a gift shop and the "World's Smallest Police Station," which is a 1963 phone booth that is now a tourist attraction. The annual Riverfront Festival brings nearly everyone out for food and people watching. The beach, Carrabelle Beach, is just to the west and is clean, quiet and unspoiled by development. Dog Island's strips of sand, which are just offshore, are particluarly welcoming.
Tate's Hell State Forest and Apalachicola State Forest border Carrabelle to the north and are the place for camping, hiking and biking. They are also teeming with wildlife. Neighborhoods are rural, and homes range from shacks and cottages to nice, brick ranch ramblers.
Population: 2,800 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 44%
Cost of Living: 3% below the national average
Median Home Price: $175,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. Winters have temperatures in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 56 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Tallahassee, 50 miles away.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The area has been struck by at least three hurricanes, the latest being Michael in 2018, which caused significant damage.
Notes: Many residents travel to Tallahasse, 50 miles away along country roads, for shopping and services. The town is racially diverse. Weems Memorial Hospital is not accredited but has a heliport for fast transport to Tallhassee if needed.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the non-accredited hospital and hurricane threat are concerns.
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 golf courses, more 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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