Best Places to Retire in Central Florida: The Top Cities & Communities

When you think of retirement, what comes to mind first? Aside from the mid-day tee times, afternoon piña coladas and work-free lifestyle, where do you see yourself enjoying retirement? Florida has long been a desirable place to retire with its sunny weather, oceans and lakes, and reasonable cost of living.  

If you’re looking for the perfect place to settle into this new phase of your life, consider calling Central Florida your new home! 

Why Do People Typically Retire in Florida? 

Florida is an extremely appealing state for retirees, especially for those who are tired of shoveling snow from their driveways every winter. The “Sunshine State” has a lot to offer and here are just some of the great reasons to pack up your snow boots and head down to Florida.  

  1. Sunshine all year-round: The warm weather is one of the main reasons people move to Florida. Even in the winter, Florida maintains mild temperatures, and you’ll likely never have to deal with harsh snowy conditions. This means you can enjoy outdoor activities year-round such as golfing, hiking, biking, and more! 

  2. Surrounded by other likeminded retirees: Florida has some amazing retiree communities which offer a variety of activities to form new connections and make friends in your new home state. So, while the thought of leaving friends and family behind might feel daunting, if you choose to live in a resort community, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded adults which makes the transition to a new state even easier.  

​Why Retire In Central Florida?  

While all of Florida experiences year-round sunshine, Central Florida has some of its own unique benefits that make it a wonderful place to retire. 

  1. Attractions: Sometimes it’s nice to feel like a kid again. Orlando, Florida is home to the world-famous Walt Disney World® Resort. There are tons to see and do for adults, such as whimsical and entertaining shows, drinking and eating around the world at EPCOT, as well as shopping and dining at places along Disney’s Boardwalk. Plus, if you have grandchildren, this a great place to spend a quality day riding rides, touring the Kilimanjaro Safari, or watching live-action films.  

  2. Inland Location:  While Florida is known for sunshine, it’s also widely recognized as a hot spot for hurricanes and tropical storms. Luckily, cities in Central Florida benefit from not being directly on the coastline, so that means your home is likely more protected in times of unpredictable weather.  

  3. Affordable Cost of Living:  Compared to destinations like Miami, Boca Raton or other South Florida areas, Central Florida is known for having more affordable cost of living for retirees. 

  4. Communities: Central Florida has some great communities for people to choose in this next chapter of their lives. If you’re looking for a great community in Central Florida to call home, make sure to check out Shea Homes® Ocala Preserve.  

​Retiring in the Orlando Area 
Orlando, Florida Cityscape

Population: 280,832 

Orlando is a phenomenal city with a lot to offer retirees. Here are just a few reasons people like to flock to this city.  

  • The year-round sunny weather makes golfing even more enjoyable! And luckily, Orlando has plenty of courses for you to try out! Of the 24 golf courses located across Orlando, some of the most popular courses are Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes Orlando, and Bay Hill Club & Lodge. 

  • The Orlando International Airport is a huge perk for retirees who have family that live far away, or for those who crave getaways. Located approximately 6 miles from downtown Orlando, this airport serves 135 domestic and international destinations.  

  • Do you enjoy professional soccer, basketball, ice hockey, or arena football? If so, Orlando has plenty of professional sports teams such as the Orlando Magic, Orlando City Soccer Club, and the Orlando Predators, that you can enjoy watching from your home, sport bars, or arenas.

  • Orlando boasts a vibrant arts scene with museums such as the Orlando Museum of Art and theaters like the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and other performances. Art galleries, cultural festivals, and community events provide ample opportunities to explore new interests and engage with the local culture.
Retiring in the Tampa Area​

Population: 387,916 

Tampa, Florida is another hot spot for retirees. Here are some benefits of retiring in the Tampa Bay area: 

  • Beaches – Living in the Tampa Bay area, you’re close to incredible white sand beaches and pristine waters.  Some of the popular beaches include Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island, Caladesi Island State Park, Ben T Davis, and much more! If you enjoy relaxing on the beach, boating, and other outdoor activities, the Tampa Bay area is the perfect year-round destination.  

  • Golf Course – If you enjoy practicing your swing, Tampa has world-class golf courses for retirees to refine their golf game. There are over 20 golf courses in Tampa, with some of the more popular courses being Pebble Creek Golf Club, TPC of Tampa Bay, Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, and much more. 


  • Arts & Culture – Tampa has an array of cultural opportunities to explore. Some of the amazing events and places to visit are the Performing Art Center, Art Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and many theatre companies.

​Retiring in the Ocala Area 

Population: 59,267 

Another gorgeous retirement area in Florida is Ocala. This city offers a lifestyle full of history, culture, and nature. There are plenty of parks and trails to support an active lifestyle. Plus, the year-round warm weather allows you to enjoy the fresh sounds and scents of nature even throughout the winter months.  

Ocala is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Set in the rolling green hills of “Horse Country,” equestrians will enjoy exploring the Florida Horse Park, which offers 500 acres and a dozen trailheads to roam. There are also tons of local horse farms that offer equestrian fans the opportunity to tour properties of some of the biggest names in the sport!

Where to Retire in the Ocala Area  

Ocala Preserve is a sophisticated yet welcoming gated 55+ and Resort Living community. Unrivaled in its thoughtful design, Ocala Preserve is set among groves of majestic live oak preserves with scenic green spaces stretching throughout the community.  Ocala Preserve offers unique outdoor experiences including a 7-acre lake, three themed parks winding throughout the 600+ acre community, and an expansive network of walking, biking, and hiking trails. Other amenities at this community include:  

  • Oak House - Oak House the Resort Club at Ocala Preserve, offers distinctive experiences with unique and innovative spaces for connection, fitness, and daily discovery. 

  • Incredible Dining - From Southern-inspired cuisine at Salted Brick, Ocala Preserve's restaurant, to private dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, to morning pick-me-ups at the Daily Grind, Oak House offers a variety of spaces to gather with friends for great food and drinks. 

  • The Golf Club at Ocala Preserve - As one of Ocala's premier golf course communities The Golf Club at Ocala Preserve is home to a Tom Lehman-designed, 18-hole golf course with revolutionary routing on 50 acres. Play a round and see how this course is redefining golf as we know it.

    Trilogy Ocala

  • Outdoor Amenities - From innovative outdoor workouts at the Avid Fit Pod, to friendly competition on the Pickleball Courts, to gear and goods for on-water excursions at Shoreline Outfitter, to miles of multi-surface trails just waiting to be explored—every day is a new adventure at Ocala Preserve. 

  • The Day Spa - The Day Spa is a soothing spot to relax, refresh, and renew. Offering a variety of services—from massage to aromatherapy to nail treatments and more—this spa focuses on rejuvenation of mind, body, and spirit. 

    Trilogy Ocala Spa

​Shea Homes provides a variety of home styles at Ocala Preserve with open and flexible floorplans that allow your life’s activities to flow from one stunning space to the next.  

Browse our home plans and even check out our quick move-in home options! 

Find Your New Home For Your Next Chapter 

Don’t wait another minute to find your dream retirement destination in Central Florida. Browse our communities today and talk with one of our representatives to find a home that is perfect for your evolving lifestyle.

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