retirement

St. Petersburg, Fla.: A Great Midsize City for Retiring in Good Health

With theaters, concert halls and stadiums -- there's something for everyone in St. Petersburg.

Population: 257,083

Cost of living: 91.6 (national median: 100)

Median home price: $140,000 (national median: $185,000)

Healthy highlight: the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail for walking, jogging, skating and biking.

North East Park, Old Northeast and the rest of the inner northeast side of St. Petersburg offer a mix of bungalows, Craftsman-style cottages, large ranchers and enough Spanish-influenced design to suggest you’re in Pasadena or Santa Monica instead of Florida. You can easily bike or walk to neighborhood bars and restaurants and to St. Pete’s artsy downtown, anchored by the marvelous Dali Museum and the antique district on Central Avenue.

St. Pete and Tampa—the area's other, higher-rising central city—include an array of theaters, concert halls, stadiums, colleges (the University of South Florida has campuses in both cities) and hospitals, but without the density and congestion of Miami or the inflated real estate costs of Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Average temperatures in January through March range from the low 60s to the high 60s, but they can also can drop into the 50s or climb into the mid-70s (all temperatures are in Fahrenheit). Generally, the hurricane risk on Florida's west coast is less than on the east coast.

The city of St. Pete extends 10 miles west to the Gulf of Mexico, where you can follow a 20-mile beachfront road north to Clearwater, home of the giant Morton Plant Hospital complex and the area’s best-known beaches, most of which are free or nearly free. You can also explore the area via the Pinellas Trail, one of America’s best recreational trails. It starts in downtown St. Pete by the Tampa Bay Rays' ballpark and links a variety of commercial and suburban neighborhoods. The jewels are the string of beachside towns north of Clearwater, starting with Dunedin, whose compact center has some of the area’s best restaurants. Top refreshments: Strachan's ice cream and Dunedin Brewery's microbrews.

Keep following the Pinellas through quiet and quaint areas such as Ozona, Crystal Beach, Palm Harbor and finally Tarpon Springs, a town founded by Greeks and famous for Greek restaurants and bakeries and a landmark Orthodox cathedral. Many residents of the trailside towns tear down clapped-out small houses and build anew. And a bonus for the grandkids: It's just 90 minutes up I-4 to Disney World.

Most Popular

Are You Still Chasing the Almighty Dollar, Even Though You Have Plenty to Retire?
retirement

Are You Still Chasing the Almighty Dollar, Even Though You Have Plenty to Retire?

In our experience, many have saved enough money to retire comfortably. Yet too many worry about their money running out and want more. Maybe it’s tim…
May 6, 2021
Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs
Coronavirus and Your Money

Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs

People have lots of questions about the new $3,000 or $3,600 child tax credit and the advance payments that the IRS will send to most families in 2021…
May 4, 2021
20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement
dividend stocks

20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement

Each of these high-quality dividend stocks yields roughly 4%, and you can expect them to grow their payouts even more. That's a powerful 1-2 combo for…
May 7, 2021

Recommended

7 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
Tax Breaks

7 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Since this year's tax deadline was pushed back to May 17, many people are just now filing their tax return. That means there are a lot of tax refunds …
May 8, 2021
33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes
retirement

33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes

Even with the federal exemption from death taxes raised, retirees should pay more attention to estate taxes and inheritance taxes levied by states.
May 6, 2021
Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class
Tax Breaks

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class

Your retirement contributions could be the key to a lower tax bill.
May 3, 2021
The Benefits of Working Longer
Empty Nesters

The Benefits of Working Longer

Delaying retirement for a couple of years—or even a few months—is the most effective way to improve your retirement security.
April 29, 2021