Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Across from Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle, Balmy Gulf Breeze Boasts a Zoo and is Close to White Sand Beaches
Idyllic Gulf Breeze sits at the end of the Fairpoint Peninsula on the western Florida Panhandle and is considered a suburb of Pensacola, which is just six miles away across Santa Rosa Sound via the Pensacola Bay Bridge. White sand beaches and azure waters, the kind found on old-fashioned picture postcards, are next door in the Naval Live Oaks Preserve, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and on Pensacola Beach, just across the water.
Aside from the beaches, the major attraction is the Gulf Breeze Zoo, with 50 free-range acres and hundreds of animals, including ostriches, wildebeests, chimps, zebras and more. It has an elevated observation boardwalk to make spotting the inhabitants easier. The town also maintains a recreation center, and 53% of its land, which equals 517 acres, is devoted to parks and green spaces. This includes Shoreline Park South, which has a boat ramp, a fishing pier and swimming area. Lovely Tiger Point Golf Club has views of the Gulf. Homes are fairly similar, mostly brick or stucco ranch ramblers. Retailers and restaurants not in Gulf Breeze are usually found in Pensacola.
Restoration of Deadman's Island, a migratory bird drop zone and a recreational paradise, has been a focal point for the city since 2007. The island's current uses include paddleboarding, crabbing, and kayaking.
Population: 7,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 51%
Cost of Living: 15% above the national average
Median Home Price: $490,000
Climate: This area has a humid subtropical climate, meaning two seasons per year, one hot and humid and one less hot and less humid. On average, Gulf Breeze receives 63 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 56%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes have hit Gulf Breeze in the past and have caused significant damage. It could happen again.
Notes: The town is hemmed in by water on three sides and the Preserve is on the east. Even so, Gulf Breeze's population has grown 12% within the last decade. Home prices have increased 24% since last year.
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 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.
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