retirement

St. Augustine, Fla.: A Smart Place to Retire

The Florida beach town has everything from golf to belly dancing for retirees.

Population: 14,576

Cost of living: Not available

Median home price: $343,000

College perk: Low-cost continuing-education courses on everything from digital marketing to belly dancing.

St. Augustine and the surrounding St. John’s County offer more than just surf and sand wedges. But retirees looking for fun in the sun will find it here in spades, along with plenty of cultural activities, affordable luxury living, and first-class health care.

The 42 miles of sand on St. John’s Atlantic coast offer something for everyone. St. Augustine Beach, located 10 minutes from downtown, is backstopped by laid-back restaurants serving up the day’s catch to folks in flip-flops. If a peaceful hammock is more your vibe, chill with the local wildlife on the secluded beaches of 1,600-acre Anastasia Island State Park.

A short drive north will land you in Ponte Vedra Beach, replete with ritzy beach clubs and golf courses. Here you’ll find TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players Championship, one of the PGA’s most prestigious annual events. The area is also home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the PGA Tour Academy—for golf legends both real and aspiring.

You can’t walk very far in St. Augustine without being reminded that it is the oldest European-established city in the U.S.—one that houses more than 60 historic sites and attractions, including a town square that dates to 1573. The city is still very much alive, however. Pedestrian-only St. George Street, lined with bistros, boutiques and bars, bustles all day and well into the night, with live music coming from practically every other open door.

Also keeping the city young: Flagler College, which operates as a center for educational and cultural enrichment for students and locals alike. Retirees can take in free lectures, plays, musicals, concerts and art exhibitions on campus.

Living costs in greater St. Augustine aren’t cheap by national standards, but retirees—especially those from the northeast—are snapping up its relatively affordable beachfront property, says real estate agent Carrie Reynolds. Oceanfront condos with pools in St. Augustine Beach run about $500,000, compared with $1 million or more in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, she says. She recently showed a 2,222-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath house in nearby South Ponte Vedra Beach for $520,000. Residents can walk through a tunnel under the adjacent highway straight onto the beach.

Florida has a plethora of health care providers. The Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus, a five-star hospital, is about an hour from St. Augustine.

Florida is among the tax-friendliest states in the country for retirees. There is no state income, estate or inheritance tax.

For population figures, we used the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Cost-of-living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research (100 represents the national median). Median home prices were provided by Redfin, Zillow and local associations of Realtors.

Most Popular

Where's My Refund? How to Track Your Tax Refund Status
tax refunds

Where's My Refund? How to Track Your Tax Refund Status

If you're waiting for your tax refund, the IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your payment.
March 2, 2021
Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your stimulus checks.
February 19, 2021
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021

Recommended

The Cost of Retirement Has Tripled! But a New Way of Planning Can Help
retirement planning

The Cost of Retirement Has Tripled! But a New Way of Planning Can Help

With today’s low interest rates and paltry dividends, the old way of saving for your retirement and living off your dividends and income to preserve y…
March 5, 2021
The Basics of Required Minimum Distributions: 12 Things You Must Know About RMDs
Financial Planning

The Basics of Required Minimum Distributions: 12 Things You Must Know About RMDs

Retirement savers who are 72 must start withdrawing funds from tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Here’s what you need to know about required minimum…
March 4, 2021
A COVID Storm Hits Senior Living
Coronavirus and Your Money

A COVID Storm Hits Senior Living

The pandemic has created significant challenges for all types of senior living communities. Because of that, it's more important than ever to review a…
March 3, 2021
8 Insurance Products You May Not Need
Financial Planning

8 Insurance Products You May Not Need

You may be paying for insurance, such as long-term disability or product warranties, that is potentially unnecessary.
February 26, 2021