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Retire in Matlacha, Florida?
On Florida's southwestern coast, mellow Matlacha (Mat-la-shay) sits on and completely covers a little island that is situated between Pine Island, which is Florida's largest island, and the mainland where Fort Myers is located. Cute, colorful and artsy, it is an old fishing village that still boasts ramshackle, seaside charm.
Pine Island Road, which connects the mainland with Pine sland, runs straight through Matlacha and has roads radiating from it. Along these roads, homes, which include funky pastel colored cottages, manufactured homes, concrete block ranch ramblers and little bohemian bungalows, are tightly packed together. Each one backs to a canal. There is no true downtown, but there are funky boutiques, quirky art galleries, fish houses and delicious seafood restaurants. Sandy Hook Fish and Rib House is a favorite with locals and tourists alike, and Bert's Bar and Grill is the place for great live music and a cold brew after a long day of not doing much of anything. Matlacha also has a lot of Hookers (women who wear hooks in their shirt pockets and are members of a civic group that sponsors fundraising events).
Recreational fishermen love this area, particularly with sea trout in such good supply. Professional fishermen tend their vessels at the marinas along Pine Island Road and each day set out in search of shrimp, clams and crabs. The Gulf about a 30 minute boat ride away.
Population: 875 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 72%
Cost of Living: 50% above the national average
Median Home Price: $695,000 See This Matlacha Waterside Home for Sale for $75,900
Climate: This area has a humid subtropical climate, meaning two seasons a year. Summer and early fall are hot and humid. Late fall and winter are less humid and cooler.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Cape Coral Hospital, eight miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Cape Coral Hospital, eight miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: No
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes are always a possibility.
Notes: Shopping and services are found either in Pine Island Center, three miles to the west, or in Fort Myers, five miles to the east. Matlacha's population started dropping in 2016 but has rebounded to where it was a decade ago. Home prices have increased 29% 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.
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.
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