Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Winter Garden, Florida?
Overview: Just northwest of Orlando in north central Florida, Winter Garden was settled in the 1850s as a citrus and vegetable farming community. It began to grow with the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s and has grown by 30% within the last decade alone.
It is a pleasant, racially diverse city known for its cute, tree-lined downtown, which has well-tended buildings dating from 1915 to 1940. Inside these buildings are fun shops, bookstores, cafes and a couple of museums. The Saturday morning farmers' market brings out crowds in search of baked goods, herbs and produce, and it receives great reviews. The city has a number of pretty parks, a system of walking and bicycling paths, a good recreation department, a nice library, a community theater group and a number of city festivals and events, including garden shows, music performances and a juried art show. Winter Garden Village is a popular outdoor mall.
There are semi-rural areas and leafy, established neighborhoods with older ranch ramblers. Sprawling new subdivisions with Mediterranean style houses, however, are becoming the norm. Hyde Park is a leafy, low key 55+ community.
Population: 42,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 34%
Cost of Living: 20% above the national average
Median Home Price: $305,000
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 Health Central, three miles away in Ocoee, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Health Central, three miles away in Ocoee, is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, but it is limited.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 135% greater than the national average.
Notes: People say that Winter Garden has a nice feel to it, although it has some less than desirable areas. Not everyone is happy with the rapid growth.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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.
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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