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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Miami Beach, Florida

Glittering and Trendy, Miami Beach is Known for its Beautiful Beach, Art Deco Architecture and Lively Nightlife

Across from Miami and along Key Biscayne Bay in southeastern Florida, Miami Beach, just seven miles long and one mile wide, sits on a series of barrier islands. It is a thriving, teeming resort city that draws vacationers from around the world. A large Jewish population, a large Hispanic population and a large gay population create a diverse culture.

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The beach is the main draw here. Lined with tall, shiny condominiums and hotels, it features pristine white sand and bluer than blue water. The city is also known for its Art Deco architecture, and its funky Art Deco District, the largest assemblage of Art Deco structures in the world, has 960 buildings built between 1923 and 1943. The quirky South Beach neighborhood is one of the trendiest places on the planet (topless women and nearly naked men are a common beach sight here), and nightlife includes everything from dance clubs to cocktail lounges and dive bars. Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the biggest art shows in the nation, draws thousands of devotees every year.

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Other cultural offerings include the Miami City Ballet, the New World Symphony and the Bass Museum of Art. Lincoln Road is a pedestrian-friendly street and home to all sorts of colorful boutiques, eateries, galleries and pubs.

Condominiums make up the majority of the housing stock. The single family homes that are here tend to be very expensive.

Population:  82,000 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better: 40%

Cost of Living:  17% above the national average

Median Home Price: $515,000

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.  On average, the area receives 58 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission?   Yes

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Above the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Liberal

College Educated:  50%

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:   Rising sea levels are a concern, and street flooding during tropical storms is common. The city is in a mandatory hurricane evacuation zone.

Notes:   Home prices have remained steady since last year, as has the population during the last decade. This is a popular "snowbird" destination, particularly for people from New Jersey and New York. While much of Miami Beach glitters, the city also has pockets of poverty.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, although rising seas and the higher than average crime rate should be considered. Location matters.

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Florida:

Sticking out into Hurricane Alley, Florida was a land no nation seemed to want. Ruled successively by Spain, France, England, and the Confederate States of America, the state had a backwater reputation. Other than St. Augustine and Pensacola, there were few cities. The area was rural and populated by frontier farmers.

In the late-1800s, changes came when railroads began chugging down both coasts. Industrialist Henry Flagler's Florida Easy Coast Railway even made it all the way to Key West. The Great Florida Land Boom, the build-up to World War II, and the space industry also helped turn Florida into one of the nation's most populous states. In 1900, there were about 500,000 residents. Today, there are more than 20 million, almost 351 people per square mile.

Why do people keep coming? Tourism marketing is one reason. Annually, millions visit Orlando's theme parks and the state's 663 miles of white sand beaches. Taxes generated by the billion dollar vacation industry allow Florida to prosper without a personal income tax. Budget-sensitive retirees have flocked to its cities and shorelines.

If you can ignore the hurricanes, the state's climate is relatively mild. Only five other states are sunnier. Florida's system of state universities and community colleges is sizable, and its big cities are meccas for culture and the arts. Sarasota is a good example. Its Ringling Museum Complex contains internationally known art museum, a circus museum, an historic theater, and a 66-acre garden. Museums near Orlando range from a Zora Neale Hurston gallery to a Madame Tussauds.

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