Central-Florida-retirement was our choice for several reasons not the least of which was that this was home where I had worked for more than twenty years. For us, Central-Florida-retirement made a lot of sense because, we already owned a home near Orlando with an established network of friends and neighbors.
My description of central Florida is that area north and south of Interstate 4 or basically what is known as the “I-4 corridor.” On the east coast, this area runs from Daytona Beach on the north to Melbourne on the south. On the west coast it runs from Spring Hill on the north to Sarasota and Bradenton on the south.
The options for Central-Florida-retirement within the described area are plentiful. These options include:
One retirement destination in Central Florida with an enduring popularity is “The Villages.” The Villages is located mid-way between the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. It is about an hour north of Orlando near Interstate 75 and the Florida Turnpike. While it is an easy commute to beaches on either coast or the Orlando attractions, you really don’t have to go anywhere else to find meaningful things to do. If you love golf you can play free for life on any the Villages executive courses.
Another popular destination is Sun City Center. Sun City Center offers year round activities for the active retiree. These include Golf, tennis, pickle ball, softball, lawn bowling, swimming, fitness exercises, dozens of crafts, cards, dancing and a chance to read and study at the library. It is located in West Central Florida just a few miles from Tampa Bay. Many Sun City Center residents use golf carts to drive to the golf course, go shopping, or visit friends.
The major cities and towns located in the Central-Florida-retirement area offer many recreational, cultural, sports, shopping and social opportunities. In Tampa you can enjoy Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium and the city's fine museums. Additionally, historic Ybor City has the bay area's liveliest and hottest nightlife. Disney World is located just west of Orlando. And there are a large number of golf courses throughout the area.
If you love sports, Central Florida has an NFL franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Major League Baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays. The National Basketball League is also represented by the Orlando Magic. The area has a number of other sports teams, such as the Tampa Bay Lighting of the of the National Hockey League, two teams of the Arena Football League and the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League.
Several Major League Baseball teams have spring training camps in Central Florida, including the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. Dunedin, located just north of Clearwater, is one of the smallest communities used by Major League spring training teams.
The Orlando Metropolitan Area is home to a substantial theater population. This includes many community theaters such as the Central Florida Ballet and the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, which will soon be replaced by the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (2012).
Florida has a sales tax that varies slightly depending on your county of residence. Ours, in Seminole County, is seven percent on purchases excluding groceries. Florida does not have a state income tax or local county income taxes.
Florida has a tax on property (ad valorem), which provides funding for local government. Tax on a home in Florida is based on the fair market value of the property. If the property is the taxpayer’s primary residence, there is a $25,000 homestead exemption. Additional exemptions are available in other taxpayer situations.
There are several major Hospital complexes in central Florida. There is access to excellent medical facilities and physician networks throughout the area.
All in all, Central Florida is a great place to retire and to live. It offers a variety of opportunities for active retirement living and has a depth of support services for mature adults.
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