Exploring Jacksonville, Florida for Retirement

Twilight view across the water of the Jacksonville skyline.
Let's explore Jacksonville as a retirement destination.

Although Florida has always been a top retirement destination, the Jacksonville area is a hidden gem in Northeast Florida. The city has seen a growing population of retirees who want to downsize and enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle.

Here are some things to know about Jacksonville if you’re considering the city for your retirement.

Climate

Sunrise over a pier in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Jacksonville area has a humid subtropical climate. The winters are mild, while the summer are hot and humid. The region experiences seasonal rainfall from May through September, which are the warmest months. The driest months are November through April, and rainfall averages around 52 inches each year.

Location

View of the bridge leading to Downtown Jacksonville in Florida.

Ideally situated on Florida’s northeastern coast and centered along the banks of the St. Johns River, Jacksonville lies just 90 minutes north of the popular Daytona Beach. Jacksonville, which is known as the “River City by the Sea,” had about 950,000 residents as of 2020. Also, the city stretches across over 840 square miles, making it the largest city in land area in the contiguous U.S.

Parks, Rivers, and Beaches

A raised boardwalk at Castaway Island Preserve Park in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville is also known for having more than 80,000 acres of parks, including state and federal lands as well as wetlands, marshes, nature preserves, hiking trails, and pocket parks. Jacksonville also has a variety of sandy beaches, scenic water views, and plenty of urban park systems for outdoor recreation.

Retirees will love Jacksonville’s 22 miles of wide and beautiful beaches. The city’s three white-sand beaches include Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. All these beaches offer endless options for fun and recreation such as swimming, paddle boarding, and surfing.

The city’s access to waterways, like in the historic village of Mayport or along the banks of St. Johns River, make it convenient for catching fresh fish daily as well as enjoying water activities. Active adults can fish, sail, or kayak in the beautiful St. Johns River or enjoy the beautiful sights during a leisurely stroll along the scenic Jacksonville Riverwalks. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary are other outdoor attractions that locals enjoy.

Urban Attractions

A sculpture in Memorial Park in Jacksonville, Florida.

Along with all the natural beauty that Jacksonville has to offer, the downtown area also provides a wide range of urban attractions and entertainment. Retirees can visit The Cummer Museum, which boasts a collection of over 4,000 items, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville that has a unique art display, and the Museum of Science and History that offers fun exhibits for visitors of all ages.

The city is also home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars TIAA Field, which was also the site of the 2005 Super Bowl. The Veterans Memorial Arena hosts a variety of athletic events and performances from world-class entertainers. Also, the 121 Financial Ballpark is the home of the city’s minor league baseball team, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Communities

Aerial view of the entrance to Del Webb Ponte Vedra in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

With a growing population of retirees in within the Jacksonville area, the region has seen an increase in proposed or upcoming age-restricted communities. Retirees can find a great selection of new and resale active adult communities throughout the Jacksonville area that offer low-maintenance homes, world-class amenities, and an exciting social atmosphere.

One of the newest 55+ communities in the Jacksonville area is Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes with 167 homes built by Pulte Homes. Del Webb Ponte Vedra opened in 2007, and the community has a total of 1,988 homes. But active adults can find reasonably priced homes in established 55+ communities like Sweetwater in Jacksonville and Cascades at World Golf Village in St. Augustine. Both communities offer low-maintenance residences, resort-style amenities, and a long list of activities, classes, clubs, and events for residents to enjoy.

With the growing demand for age-restricted communities, it’s easy to see why so many retirees are flocking to the Jacksonville area for a carefree retirement.

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