Although Florida has always been a top retirement destination, the Jacksonville area, a hidden gem in Northeast Florida, has seen a growing population of retirees who want to downsize and enjoy a low-maintenance and tranquil lifestyle.
The Jacksonville Area has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot and humid summers. The region experiences seasonal rainfall from May through September, which are the warmest months. The driest months are from November through April and rainfall averages around 52 inches a year.
Ideally situated on Florida’s northeastern coast and centered along the banks of the St. Johns River, the city of Jacksonville lies just 90 minutes north of the popular Daytona Beach. Jacksonville, which is also known as the “River City by the Sea,” has about 900,000 residents as of 2017 and stretches across over 840 square miles, making it the largest city in land area in the contiguous U.S.
Parks, Rivers, & Beaches
Jacksonville is also known for having more than 57,000 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 popular white-sand beaches include Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, which all 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.
Along with all the natural beauty that Jacksonville has to offer, the downtown area also provides a wide range of urban attractions and entertainment. Baby boomers can visit The Cummer Museum, which boasts a great 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 has fun exhibits for visitors of all ages.
The city is also home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars EverBank 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. The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville is the home of the city’s minor league baseball team, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
With a growing population of baby boomers in St. Johns County within the Jacksonville area, the region has seen an increase in proposed or upcoming age-restricted communities since 2015, according to county growth management director Suzanne Konchan. 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 that will offer 167 homes built by Pulte Homes. Del Webb Ponte Vedra opened in 2007 and is still offering new construction homes. The community will host a total of 1,988 homes once built out. 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 which offer low-maintenance residences, resort-style amenities, and a long list of activities, classes, clubs and events for residents to enjoy and build lifelong friendships.
With the growth of demand for age-restricted communities, it’s easy to see why so many Boomers are flocking to the Jacksonville area for their ideal retirement destination.