people strolling along beach in Sarasota

Retirement on the Gulf Coast could mean plenty of long strolls along the Siesta Key beach.

Florida real estate is relatively affordable compared to other areas of the country, even for people who want to live by the water. On the Gulf Coast, there are dozens of beach towns and larger cities with reasonably priced homes and 55+ communities that provide amenities, social activities, and winning locations that keep residents in proximity to golf, beaches, and a selection of shopping, dining, and culture.

These are some of the lowest-priced communities with homes for sale on the Gulf Coast, and they make excellent destinations for any Florida retirement.

Highland Lakes on Lake Tarpon - Palm Harbor

Below $100k - Low $300s

Palm Harbor is close to Tampa and St. Petersburg and located on the Gulf of Mexico. For active adults who enjoy hitting the links, Highland Lakes on Lake Tarpon offers an affordable and attractive option. Residents can play on the 27-hole executive golf course for free. There’s also a putting green and plenty of green space, including trails and parks as well as the calm waters of Lake Tarpon.

Other amenities include pickleball, shuffleboard, tennis, an outdoor pool and patio, and a library. The Arts and Crafts Building has a woodworking studio, a ceramics studio with kilns, and an area for stained glass creations. The Lake Tarpon Lodge is the hub of social activity and can be rented out for private parties. It includes a banquet room and catering kitchen as well as pontoon boats.

The scenic 55+ community is comprised of single-family homes and attached villas, all between one and three bedrooms with garages and patios. Some resale homes have private pools.

Palm Harbor is close to all of the Tampa Bay beach communities and home to John Chestnut Park, where there’s a lot of biking, hiking, and fishing to be done.

Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club - San Antonio

Low $100s - Mid $200s

Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club is one of the newest and most affordable 55+ communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Just half an hour northeast of downtown Tampa, buyers can find new and resale single-family homes in a variety of sizes and floor plans. Five different builders offer between two and four bedrooms in models that range from 1,200 to 2,600 square feet.

The amenities are hard to beat, with a 27-hole executive golf course, a 15,000 square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, pools, restaurants, and outdoor space for volleyball, tennis, and shuffleboard. The community center offers multi-purpose rooms where residents can get together for social events and club activities. Popular groups include creative writing, weight watchers, and scrapbooking. San Antonio is quaint and friendly, with St. Leo University in the neighborhood as well as outlet shopping and great tacos at Pancho’s Villa Mexican Restaurant.

Village in the Pines - Sarasota

Mid $100s - Low $200s

Sarasota homes for sale aren’t always cheap, but at Village in the Pines, 55+ buyers can find single-story attached condo units that are comfortable, low-maintenance, and affordable. There are 192 units with two or three bedrooms and between 1,021 to 1,756 square feet. The homeowners' association takes care of exterior maintenance, landscaping, and cable and water bills. The community is close to grocery stores, retailers, and even the beach.

Amenities include a clubhouse and a fitness center as well as an outdoor pool and patio. Holiday parties and social functions are frequently held, and with such an intimate community, residents have a unique opportunity to really get to know their neighbors. Village in the Pines is just a few miles from Siesta Key, which is regularly ranked one of the top beaches in the country. Get there early and enjoy free parking.

Riviera Golf Estates - Naples

Below $100k - Mid $200s

Further down the Gulf Coast from Tampa and Sarasota is Naples, which is known for its swanky shopping and fine dining. However, Riviera Golf Estates does a good job of attracting active adults on a budget.

This 55+ community has an 18-hole golf course that doesn’t require any memberships because residents simply pay when they want to play. Single-family homes and condos offer between 672 and 2,158 square feet with two or three bedrooms and carports or garages. Single-family homes have cathedral ceilings and several resale condos have upgraded kitchens.

Residents gather at the clubhouse for line dancing, art classes, and the computer club. Amenities include a fitness center, catering kitchen, library, and card room with billiards. There are outdoor pools, patios, and courts for tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, and shuffleboard. Plenty of walking and biking trails wind through the community.

Grocery stores like Publix and The Fresh Market are also nearby. When you’re ready to spend some of the money you’re saving on housing costs, visit The Village Shops on Venetian Bay and Waterside Shops for high-end window shopping at Salvatore Ferragamo and Brooks Brothers.

Seven Lakes - Fort Myers

Below $100k - High $100s

Free golf at Seven Lakes is one of the reasons budget-conscious homebuyers choose this 55+ community in Fort Myers. There’s plenty of affordable Ft. Myers real estate spread out over 108 acres of well-landscaped space. Condos are in buildings that are between three and five floors and have elevators.

They have one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. Buyers can also choose from the selection of resale villas, which have two or three bedrooms with two bathrooms. Dozens of floor plans are available with between 700 and 1,600 square feet.

The 18-hole executive golf course is probably the most popular amenity, and there’s also a putting green and a chipping course. After a game, players enjoy lunch or drinks at the Tee Room Restaurant. Residents also enjoy the clubhouse, exercise room, ceramics studio, and woodworking shop.

There’s a travel agency on-site and Seven Lakes University. Six heated outdoor pools, shuffleboard, and tennis courts are also available. Community transit will take residents into town when they don’t want to drive, all creating a lot of value at Seven Lakes for relatively low housing prices.