Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Destin, Florida?
Overview: Once a small fishing village, Destin has grown into a major tourist destination. It is on Florida's western Panhandle and sits on a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Choctawhatchee Bay. The town's stunning white sand beaches and turquoise waters attract visitors from around the world.
Neighborhoods range from tidy with ranch ramblers to elegant with large custom homes. Toward the southern end of town, residences sit next to canals. Condominiums, fishing charter companies, boat rental stores, big box retail, restaurants and a boardwalk outline the northern edge of the harbor while tall hotels line the beach. The town has 12 beach access points, as well as nature paths, a golf course and one of Florida's largest fishing fleets. The Mattie Kelly Art Foundation sponsors concerts, wine walkabouts, and an annual weekend arts festival. Its Cultural Arts Village spreads across 52 acres filled with public art. Destin's History and Fishing Museum encompasses indoor exhibits and an outdoor park with legendary boats.
The planned Captain Royal Melvin Heritage Park will be a gateway to the city's harbor district. The parks and recreation department also sponsors senior day trips, golf excursions, a walking club, and a book club. Founded in 1948, the Destin Fishing Rodeo attracts anglers of all ages to the town every October. Craft shows, movies in the park, and community yard sales are also part of Destin's calendar. Next door, Henderson Beach State Park has more gorgeous beaches, boardwalks and a dune system with 60 camping sites.
Population: 14,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 44%
Cost of Living: 28% above the national average
Median Home Price: $355,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s with frequent rainstorms. Winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 53 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is just 10 miles away in Fort Walton Beach and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, 10 miles away, is accredited by the Joint Commission.
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Cons: Hurricanes are always a possibility.
Notes: The town's population triples during spring and summer months. Some of this is due to Destin being a popular Spring Break destination. Racial diversity is minimal. The higher crime rates are generally found in the tourist areas. Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018 but spared Destin.
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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, were 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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