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On Florida's Wild Big Bend Coast, Peaceful, Remote Yankeetown is a World Unto Itself
Very much off the beaten path on Florida's Big Bend (northwestern) Coast, this tiny waterfront village was founded in 1923 by A. F. Knotts, an Indiana lawyer who moved to the area to hunt. Knotts built the Izaak Walton Lodge to host his friends from up north, and because of this, locals referred to the area as Yankeetown. Both the name and the lodge remain (although the original lodge burned down in 1999 and was rebuilt).
A slightly ramshackle place dotted with tall trees, Yankeetown has a soothing, ends-of-the-earth quality. Fishing and boating are a way of life, on both Withlacoochee Bay and on the Withlacoochee River. Roseate spoonbills, wood storks and hawks live along the river's banks, and manatees swim in its waters. The town manages boat ramps and parks, some of which are connected by kayak trails, and the marinas have willing guides and charters. Bird Creek is a small, natural beach. The 413-acre Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve has a boardwalk, a wooden observation tower and educational events, including astronomy nights. The Yankeetown Seafood Festival started more than 30 years, attracting a lively crowd every year. There are a couple of restaurants, including quirky Ike's Old Florida Kitchen.
Most shopping takes place in Crystal River or Dunnellon, both about 12 miles away. Housing stock includes mobile homes, bungalows and ranch ramblers.
Population: 650 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 67%
Cost of Living: 13% below the national average
Median Home Price: $325,000
Climate: Yankeetown has a humid, subtropical climate. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 48 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center is 10 miles away and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited By Joint Commission? No, but Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center is 10 miles away and is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 24%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes are not unknown. In fact, Hurricane Hermine in 2016 caused significant damage and Hurriance Michael in 2018 brought some flooding.
Notes: The population started to dip in 2009 but it has rebounded and grown 20% during the last three or four years. In 2016, Yankeetown started to address climate change and rising sea levels, one of the first towns in the U.S. to do so. Home prices have increased 1% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the hurricane threat is real and amenities are limited.
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.
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