Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Gulf Breeze, Florida?
Overview: Idyllic, comfortable Gulf Breeze sits at the end of a peninsula on the western Florida Panhandle and is considered a suburb of Pensacola, which is just across the bay. The Naval Live Oaks Reservation, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, is just to the east and has the kind of white sand beaches and azure waters that are found on old-fashioned picture postcards.
Gulf Breeze has a homogeneous feeling about it. Homes are fairly similar, mostly brick or stucco ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers. 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. Large retailers include Publix, Beals and Lowe's, and what is not in Gulf Breeze is found in Pensacola, just six miles away across the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
Restoration of Deadman's Island, a migratory bird drop zone and a recreational paradise, has been a focal point for the city since 2007. Much of the restoration work was destroyed by the BP Oil Spill in 2010, but the city continues its efforts to rebuild Deadman's. The island's current uses include paddleboarding, crabbing, and kayaking.
Population: 6,400 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 51%
Cost of Living: 7% above the national average
Median Home Price: $290,000
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, the area receives 63 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very, very conservative
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes have hit Gulf Breeze in the past and caused significant damage.
Notes: The town is hemmed in by water on three sides and the Reservation is on the east. Even so, Gulf Breeze's population has grown by 13% within the last two decades.
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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